UFC on ESPN+ 37 play-by-play and live results

ABU DHABI – MMA Junkie is on scene and reporting live from Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 37 event.

The event takes place at Flash Forum at Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main card airs on ESPN and streams on ESPN+ following prelims on ESPN+.

In the main event, Marlon Moraes (23-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets Cory Sandhagen (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in a key bantamweight bout. In the co-feature, Edson Barboza (20-9 MMA, 14-9 UFC) takes on Makwan Amirkhani (16-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at featherweight. Plus, Ben Rothwell (38-12 MMA, 8-6 UFC) fights Marcin Tybura (19-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC) at heavyweight.

To discuss the show, be sure to check out our UFC on ESPN+ 37 discussion thread. You can also get behind-the-scenes coverage and other event notes from on-site reporter John Morgan (@MMAjunkieJohn) on Twitter.

Enjoy the fights, everyone.

Bruno Silva vs. Tagir Ulanbekov

Round 1 – The two fighters trade leg kicks to “kick” things off. Silva lands a punch. Ulanbekov responds. Both fighters are coming straight forward. They both land in a boxing exchange. A spinning wheel kick from Silva is blocked. Ulanbekov lands a combination. Silva connects with a hard punch. Ulanbekov lands a spinning backfist. Ulanbekov shoots for a takedown. Silva defends and the two fighters are back on the feet. Silva is pushing Ulanbekov against the fence. Ulanbekov reverses position and drags Silva to the mat. Ulanbekov is on top in half guard. Silva works his way to the feet. They separate. The kicking continues. Ulanbekov pumps a jab. A spinning back kick to the thigh lands for Silva. 10-9 Ulanbekov. Great round.

Round 2 – Ulanbekov connects with a combination. Silva is bleeding. Ulanbekov has really found his range. He’s opening up. The two fighters clinch and Ulanbekov drags the fight to the canvas. Ulanbekov is back in half guard. Silva scoots himself toward the cage. He briefly gets to his feet but Ulanbekov drags him back down. Silva gets up again, bearing Ulanbekov’s weight. Ulanbekov tries to hop onto Silva’s back. Ulanbekov falls off. They both get up. Silva ties Ulanbekov up against the fence. Ulanbekov reverses position. They separate briefly. Silva is tying up Ulanbekov again, looking for a single leg. Silva sweeps Ulanbekov’s legs out from under him. Ulanbekov gets up right before the round ends. 20-18 Ulanbekov.

Round 3 – Ulanbekov connects on another outside leg kick. Silva is pressing forward. Ulanbekov meets him with a jab. Ulanbekov shoots and Silva stuffs him. Both fighters land punches. Ulanbekov shoots again – and again Silva stuffs him. Silva threatens a submission with a front headlock. He lets go and immediately shoves Ulanbekov to the mat. Ulanbekov gets up, but Silva gets him down again. Ulanbekov works his way up and separates. The fighters clinch in the middle of the canvas. Silva tries to hip toss Ulanbekov but it fails. Ulanbekov drags him to the mat. They scramble. Silva rolls him over and gets him in a front headlock. Ulanbekov scrambles away but Silva presses him against the fence again. They separate. The two fighters wildly exchange. The round ends. MMA Junkie scores it 29-28 Ulanbekov.

Result: Tagir Ulanbekov def. Bruno Silva via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Records: Bruno Silva (10-6-2 MMA, 0-3 UFC), Tagir Ulanbekov (13-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Division: Flyweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Lukasz Bosacki
Judging: Anders Ohlsson (30-27); Michael Bell (29-28, scoring Round 3 for Silva); Victor Wolf (29-28, scoring Round 1 for Silva)

Tracy Cortez vs. Stephanie Egger

Round 1 – Cortez lands a leg kick. Egger responds with a leg kick of her own. Egger connects with a punch. Egger lands a body kick. Egger throws a combination. Cortez tries to tie her up but to no avail. They separate. Cortez lands a right hand and Egger goes down. It looked like it was more of a slip than anything. Egger throws a big overhand right. Cortez swiftly ducks under the strike and shoots for a takedown. She gets it. Cortez is in Egger’s full guard. Egger threatens an omoplata. Cortez avoids and gets Egger’s back in the scramble. Cortez has almost two minutes to work, body-triangle locked. Cortez is working for a rear-naked choke but Egger is fighting the hands well. Egger punches behind her own head, connecting on the face of Cortez. Egger separates Cortez’s legs and rolls. Cortez scrambles up and Egger is now pushing her against the fence. Cortez reverses position. Egger tries a hip toss and rolls for an armbar. The round ends. 10-9 Cortez.

Round 2 – Egger comes out aggressive. Cortez circles away. Just like in Round 1, Egger winds up for a bomb and Cortez takes her down. Cortez is in half guard. Cortez begins landing some hard shots. Egger shoves her off. Cortez is standing above her grounded opponent. Egger lands a hard upkick which appeared to stun Cortez – heel-to-head. Egger tries to take advantage of her hurt opponent but Cortez ends up on top. Cortez works to Egger’s back. Cortez is softening up Egger with punches. The round ends with Cortez on Egger’s back. 20-18 Cortez.

Round 3 – Both women still look fresh. Egger is coming forward – Cortez, the counterpuncher. Egger shoots for a takedown. Cortez prevents it. Egger is pushing Cortez against the cage. Egger is straining for a takedown – but to no avail. Cortez eventually shoves Egger off. Egger goes for a throw but Cortez slips out. Egger falls to the mat and Cortez grabs hold of her on the ground. Egger gets up. They separate, the clinch again. Cortez takes Egger down. Cortez eventually works her way to the back. The round ends with Cortez controlling. MMA Junkie scores it 30-27 Cortez.

Result: Tracy Cortez def. Stephanie Egger via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Records: Tracy Cortez (8-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Stephanie Egger (5-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Division: Women’s bantamweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Kevin Sataki
Judging: Vito Paolillo, Darryl Ransom, Clemens Werner

Giga Chikadze vs. Omar Morales

Round 1 – Interesting. Morales extends his hand to touch gloves. Chikadze shakes him off, to Morales’ surprise. Chikadze tries high kicks early, but he misses. Chikadze rips a body kick. Morales throws a combination and Chikadze comes over the top with a hard right hand. Chikadze connects with a leg kick but Morales cracks him with a punch. That one hurt but Chikadze continues pushing forward. Chikadze and Morales trade. Chikadze switching stances constantly, throwing with mean intentions. Morales clinches Chikadze and briefly shoves him against the cage. Chikadze breaks and the two return to the center. A hard calf kick lands by Chikadze – and another. Chikadze winds up and chucks a two-punch combination. Miss-miss. Morales has seemed to figure out the footwork. Suddenly he’s the one pressuring Chikadze. Morales throws a leg kick. Chikadze smiles and rips a mean body kick. Morales answers with a punch. The round ends. 10-9 Chikadze.

Round 2 – The fighters chuck right hands. Morales connects and smiles. Chikadze gets low with a karate kid style stance. Morales shoots for a takedown off a wild Chikadze punch. Morales gets Chikadze down but only briefly. Chikadze uses the cage to stand up. They separate. Chikadze lands a body kick. Morales dodges a looping Chikadze punch. Morales slips and gets up. Both fighters connect with punches. Morales is still the aggressor. The pace has slowed significantly as we hit the halfway mark of Round 2. Morales lands a kick to the body. Chikadze misses on a two-punch combination. The two fighters exchange in multiple combinations. They’re visibly tired. Morales is bleeding from the bridge of his nose. Chikadze doubles up on his kicks – the second one cracking Morales in the midsection. That was loud. The round ends. 20-18 Chikadze.

Round 3 – Morales comes out guns-a-blazing, pressing Chikadze. Chikadze is on the outside, circling away, remaining calm. Morales pumps a jab. Chikadze lands a kick, then tries a one-two combination. The combination misses. Morales sneaks in a right hand. That landed. Chikadze lands a beautiful body-kick-punch combination. Morales keeps pressing forward. Chikadze cranks Morales with a hard right hand, which floors him. Chikadze pounces. Morales is trying to survive. He eats a dozen-plus punches but gets up. Morales’ face is battered. What heart! The two fighters reset. Morales lands a good punch. Chikadze tries a rolling thunder, which fails. Morales pounces, as the final horn sounds. MMA Junkie scores the fight 30-27 Chikadze.

Result: Giga Chikadze def. Omar Morales via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Records: Giga Chikadze (11-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC), Omar Morales (10-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC)
Division: Featherweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Marc Goddard
Judging: Michael Bell, Vito Paolillo, Victor Wolf

Ali Alqaisi vs. Tony Kelley

Round 1 – Alqaisi opens up with a pair of leg kicks – a theme throughout tonight’s fights. Kelley winds up for a high kick. Alqaisi grabs hold of Kelley’s leg and takes him down. Kelley is working for rubber guard but Alqaisi is posturing up. Kelley shoots for a triangle but Alqaisi works out of it. Now, Alqaisi has Kelley in a front headlock. The two fighters hand-fight. Kelley tries to work his way out of the position. Alqaisi jumps to a mounted guillotine. Kelley rolls so Alqaisi is now on the bottom but the guillotine choke is still locked. This looks tight – but Kelley gets out. They scramble to the feet and Alqaisi gets another takedown. Kelley shoots up for a modified triangle of sorts. Kelley is trying to work it into an armbar. This is an unusual position. Oh, man. Kelley extends the arm of Alqaisi, who somehow, someway doesn’t tap. He’s saved by the bell. 10-9 Kelley.

Round 2 – The two fighters trade punches. Alqaisi lands an inside leg kick – and another. Kelley returns with a leg kick of his own. The two fighters trade leg kicks. Kelley throws a kick. Alqaisi grabs hold of the kick attempt and maneuvers to a takedown attempt. Kelley doesn’t let that happen. They separate. Kelley throws a high kick just as Alqaisi ducks. Alqaisi leans right into Kelley’s knee and is staggered. Kelley connects with a punch that hurts Alqaisi even further. Kelley grabs hold of Kelley and lands a series of knees to the body. The fighters hit the mat. Alqaisi is seeking a leg. Kelley is kneeling, punching Alqaisi. They get to the feet briefly but Alqaisi gets a takedown. Kelley works Alqaisi into his guard and throws his legs up high again, possibly seeking a triangle. Alqaisi advances position and grabs hold of a guillotine choke – but the round ends. 20-18 Kelley.

Round 3 – Alqaisi comes out aggressive. Moments later, the same exact sequence from Round 2 occurs. Kelley throws a high kick but his knee glances Alqaisi. Kelley goes for the kill, landing follow-up punches. Once again, Alqaisi survives. They separate. Alqaisi still doesn’t look quite right. Perhaps he’s trying to shake out the cobwebs. Alqaisi shoots for a takedown. Kelley lands a punch. Alqaisi lands a hard spinning backfist that sends Kelley backward. This is wild. Both men had exciting promotional debuts earlier this year and their sophomore outings are living up to the hype as well. A knee lands low – a little too low. Kelley knees Alqaisi in the groin. The referee calls timeout but Alqaisi only needs a moment. The action resumes. Kelley tries a jumping knee, which misses. Alqaisi connects with a leg kick and misses with a spinning back kick to the body. Both men let their hands go with just about one minute left on the clock. Alqaisi shoots for a takedown. Kelley avoids. Alqaisi lands a leg kick as the horn sounds. The two fighters move toward each other. Kelley shoves Alqaisi after the bell. The referee and cageside officials intervene as the two fighters exchange insults. Wow. What a fight. What an ending. MMA Junkie scores it 30-27 Kelley.

Result: Tony Kelley def. Ali Alqaisi via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Records: Ali Alqaisi (8-5 MMA, 0-2 UFC), Tony Kelley (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Division: Bantamweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Lukasz Bosacki
Judging: Darryl Ransom (30-27); Anders Ohlsson (29-28, scoring Round 1 for Alqaisi); Clemens Werner (29-28, scoring Round 3 for Alqaisi)

Joaquin Buckley vs. Impa Kasanganay

Round 1 – Buckley comes out guns-a-blazing. He rocks Kasanganay right off the bat with a series of punches. Kasanganay escapes danger and circles back to the center of the cage. Buckley lands a push kick to the body, followed by a leg kick. Buckley lands another combination. Buckley gets a trip takedown. Kasanganay works his way to the feet. Upon separation, Kasanganay lands a blow that knocks the mouthpiece out of Buckley’s mouth. The referee puts it back in. The two fighters exchange again. Buckley connects on another hard punch. Kasanganay’s chin is being tested – perhaps for the first time in his career – and it’s holding up well. A hard leg kick from Kasanganay lands. Buckley answers with a head kick. A right-hand lands for Kasanganay. The round ends. 10-9 Buckley.

Round 2 – “We’re not the dog. Walk the dog,” Kasanganay’s corner tells him. Both fighters come out with some bite, throwing bombs. It’s all power all the time for these guys. There’s a lot of missing right now, which is infinitely good for these guys’ consciousness. These are fight-enders, should they land. Buckley lands a combination. He’s pressing the action. Buckley throws a kick which Kasanganay catches. Buckley jumps and lands a spinning back to the face. Kasanganay is stiff. He’s out cold. That’s one of the best knockouts I’ve ever seen. One of the best in UFC history. Oh. My. God. Give him all the bonuses. Wow.

Result: Joaquin Buckley def. Impa Kasanganay via knockout (spinning back kick to the face) – Round 2, 2:03
Recap: Joaquin Buckley’s insane back kick delivers ‘Knockout of the Year’ candidate
Records: Joaquin Buckley (11-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC), Impa Kasanganay (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Division: Middleweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Kevin Sataki

Chris Daukaus vs. Rodrigo Nascimento

Round 1 – The big boys are up next. It’ll be tough to top that last finish but I’m sure we’ll see some heavy strikes. Right on cue, Dauakus lands a nice combination. Moments later, he floors Nascimento with a two-punch combination. Daukaus isn’t letting him off the hook. He lands follow up elbows and punches galore. Nascimento gets back up but Daukaus sits him down again. Goddard steps in. That’s it. Daukaus is impressive, man.

Result: Chris Daukaus def. Rodrigo Nascimento via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:45
Records: Chris Daukaus (10-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Rodrigo Nascimento (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC)
Division: Heavyweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Marc Goddard

K.B. Bhullar vs. Tom Breese

Round 1 – Breese appears to be in peak physical condition. These are two rangy middleweights. Breese comes out the aggressor and lands a combination. Breese lands an outside leg kick. Bhullar answers with a kick to the thigh – and another. Breese connects with a jab. Breese cracks him with a right hand. Another right-hand lands for Bhullar, who circles away. A stiff jab floors Bhullar. He’s covering up. Breese pounces and lands a series of hammerfists. The referee dives in. Tom Breese is back!

Result: Tom Breese def. K.B. Bhullar via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:42
Records: K.B. Bhullar (8-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), Tom Breese (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
Division: Middleweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Lukasz Bosacki

Ilia Topuria vs. Youssef Zalal

Round 1 – Both fighters come out orthodox. Zalal is wearing white footwraps, circling away from Topuria. Zalal tries a flying knee. Topuria connects with a counter punch. Topuria has power. He’s showing it, though his punches are largely whiffing thus far. Zalal is staying just out of range, moving to and from. Topuria ducks under a Zalal punch and goes for a single leg takedown against the fence. Zalal is doing a great job of preventing that. After Topuria is warned about grabbing the fence, Zalal reverses him. Topuria then winds up and tosses Zalal in a beautiful body-to-body suplex throw. Topuria is in mount. Zalal rolls and Topuria works for an arm-in guillotine. Zalal defends, at least for the time being. Zalal gets to his feet but Topuria works him back down. Topuria switches to an anaconda choke. Zalal, toes in the cage, works his way out – temporarily. Topuria switches to an arm-in guillotine choke. Zalal pushes off the cage. Topuria switches back to an anaconda choke. Zalal pushes off the cage again – and breaks Topuria’s grip. Zalal gets up. With 10 seconds left, the two fighters square off. Topuria shoots again but the round ends. 10-9 Topuria.

Round 2 – Zalal shoots for a takedown early. Zalal is straining but is unable to muster up any sort of success with his takedown. Despite multiple activity warning from the referee, he’s not separating the fighters. The fighters separate themselves and Topuria finds some success in his boxing. After landing a couple of punches, Topuria gets a takedown and is in Zalal’s guard. Topuria is bleeding from above his left eye. Zalal briefly shoots for a triangle but Topuria shoves down that attempt. Topuria advances and is now working for a submission of his own – a mounted guillotine. Zalal breaks out and turns the position around. Topuria scoots to his feet. Zalal backpacks him briefly before falling off. Topuria is back on top. Zalal tries for a kneebar but runs out of time. 20-18 Topuria.

Round 3 – Topuria wastes no time, dragging Zalal to the mat. Zalal works for a kimura but Topuria escapes and gets Zalal’s back – kind of. This is a weird position. Topuria has one hook in and has a reverse body lock with his arms. Eventually, Topuria works to the back and attempts a rear-naked choke. Zalal breaks out and reverses. Zalal goes for another takedown against the fence. Topuria denies him. Topuria shoots for a takedown. Zalal grabs hold of his neck. He’s got a guillotine choke. Topuria tries to shift his hips but lands right into Zalal’s guard. Topuria pops his head out and moves to half guard. Topuria works to Zalal’s back and snatches a rear-naked choke attempt. Zalal circles out and ends up on top. They scramble to their feet. Both men are fatigued. Topuria stumbles backward on his own whim, bashing into the cage. He’s exhausted. Zalal senses it. He’s pushing forward. Topuria shoots for a takedown and is pressing Zalal against the fence. They move away from the fence and Topuria gets another takedown. The round (and the fight) ends at the horn. MMA Junkie scores it 30-27 Topuria. That was a really impressive promotional debut.

Result: Ilia Topuria def. Youssef Zalal via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Records: Ilia Topuria (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Youssef Zalal (10-3 MMA, 3-1 UFC)
Division: Featherweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Kevin Sataki
Judging:

Tom Aspinall vs. Alan Baudot

Round 1 –  Two big boys touch gloves and we’re off. Baudot tries a spinning backfist, which misses. Baudot digs his toes into the stomach of Aspinall and follows it up with a punch. Aspinall keeps moving forward and recognizes Baudot is out of position. Baudot, with his feet crossed, tries a back elbow. The two fighters separate. Aspinall moves in again. Once again, Baudot tries a back elbow – and another. Creative, but not particularly effective. Aspinall shoots for a takedown and gets it. Aspinall postures up and rains down punches. Baudot covers up. The referee gives his warning – and there’s the stoppage. Aspinall with two UFC fights – and two quick ones that end in TKO stoppages.

Result: Tom Aspinall def. Alan Baudot via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:35
Records: Tom Aspinall (9-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC), Alan Baudot (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC)
Division: Heavyweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Lukasz Busacki

Dricus Du Plessis vs. Markus Perez

Round 1 – Perez comes out pushing the action. Du Plessis looks a bit uncomfortable with the aggression. Perez lands a left hand. Du Plessis connects with a punch of his own. Du Plessis whiffs on back-to-back leg kick attempts. Perez rips a slapping body kick. Du Plessis tightens up. That must have hurt. They trade leg kicks. Du Plessis lands a leg kick, then a punch. Both men miss. Perez lands a hard inside leg kick. Du Plessis comes flying across the cage in a burst of energy, throwing punches all the way. They all miss. Perez catches a kick and counters. Perez attempts a Yair Rodriguez-like elbow and Du Plessis clips him. Perez faceplants and Du Plessis pounds him further into unconsciousness – a first-round KO for Du Plessis in his UFC debut!

Result: Dricus Du Plessis def. Markus Perez via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 3:22
Recap:
Records: Dricus Du Plessis (15-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Markus Perez (12-4 MMA, 2-4 UFC)
Division: Middleweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee: Kevin Sataki

Ben Rothwell vs. Marcin Tybura

Round 1 –

Result:
Recap:
Records: Ben Rothwell (38-12 MMA, 8-6 UFC), Marcin Tybura (19-6 MMA, 6-5 UFC)
Division: Heavyweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee:
Judging:

Edson Barboza vs. Makwan Amirkhani

Round 1 –

Result:
Recap:
Records: Edson Barboza (20-9 MMA, 14-9 UFC), Makwan Amirkhani (16-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC)
Division: Featherweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee:
Judging:

Marlon Moraes vs. Cory Sandhagen

Round 1 –

Result:
Recap:
Records: Marlon Moraes (23-6-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC), Cory Sandhagen (12-2 MMA, 5-1 UFC)
Division: Bantamweight
Broadcast: ESPN+
Referee:
Judging:

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/lists/ufc-fight-island-5-marlon-moraes-cory-sandhagen-play-by-play-live-results

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