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LaFlare, Simon, Anderson earn wins in Atlantic City prelims

LaFLARE vs GARCIA

Back in action for the first time since a July loss to Alex Oliveira, Long Island welterweight Ryan LaFlare returned to the win column at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday with a three-round unanimous decision over Alex Garcia in UFC Fight Night prelim action.

Scores were 30-27 across the board for LaFlare, now 14-2. Montreal’s Garcia falls to 15-5.

Fighting tactically and smart throughout, LaFlare used his clinch game to wear the hard-hitting Garcia down in the first round, and then focused on his grappling attack to take the next two rounds, keeping Garcia from getting into any kind of rhythm on the feet or mat.

SIMON vs DVALISHVILI

Octagon newcomer Ricky Simon appeared to be on his way to a decision loss against Merab Dvalishvili in their bantamweight bout, but Simon never stopped looking to turn things around, and he did, submitting Dvalishvili at the end of the third round.

Dvalishvili could not have had a better opening round, as he dropped Simon with a right hand and scored several takedowns. Simon showed his grit in the first five minutes and got in some shots of his own, but the aggressive Dvalishvili was in control the whole way.

The pace dipped a bit in round two, but Dvalishvili was just as effective, as he put another frame in the books. Simon was far from out of the fight, though, and he scored a takedown of his own, but he was still a step behind the Georgia native.

And while the pattern continued for much of the third round, Simon pulled off a miracle comeback when he locked in a guillotine choke in the closing minute. For several agonizing seconds, Dvalishvili pumped his legs as Simon tightened the choke, but by the end of the round, Dvalishvili was out, with referee Liam Kerrigan calling a stop to the fight at the 5:00 mark of the third and final round.

Vancouver, Washington’s Simon moves to 13-1 with the win. Dvalishvili falls to 7-4.

BAHADURZADA vs CHAGAS

Welterweight veteran Siyar Bahadurzada made the statement he wanted to make against Luan Chagas, knocking the Brazilian out in the second round to extend his winning (and finishing) streak to three.

Bahadurzada got off to a fast start, landing his strikes well before doing good work on the mat from the top position. But suddenly at the midway point of the frame, Chagas exploded off his back and took Bahadurzada’s back, changing the complexion of the rest of the round, which was controlled by the Brazilian.

It was a standup clash for the first half of round two, with Chagas landing, but Bahadurzada doing more damage. Then a right kick to the liver finished things off, with Chagas falling in delayed fashion and covering up, prompting referee Gary Copeland to step in at 2:40 of the second stanza.

Bahadurzada ups his record to 24-6-1 with the win. Chagas falls to 15-3-1.


ANDERSON vs CUMMINS

No. 10-ranked light heavyweight contender Corey Anderson snapped a two-fight losing streak, winning a shutout three-round unanimous decision over No. 11-ranked Patrick Cummins.

Scores were 30-26 twice and 30-27.

After turning back Cummins’ first takedown attempt, Anderson began letting his hands go, putting his foe on the defensive. Soon, Cummins was bloodied, and Anderson kept the heat on, throwing in a couple takedowns to go with his barrage of strikes.

Anderson’s domination continued in the second and third rounds, as he mixed his striking and wrestling smoothly, not allowing Cummins to get back into the fight. And while Cummins was as tough as always, on this night it was all “Overtime,” who upped his record to 11-4 with the win. Cummins falls to 10-5.

MARTIN vs NAKAMURA

Former 155-pound standout Tony Martin made his UFC welterweight debut a successful one, as he shut out Japan’s Keita Nakamura over three rounds in the opener.

Two minutes in, Martin found his range and proceeded to rock Nakamura with several hard right hands. After eating some of those, Nakamura took the fight to the mat with a minute left, but he was unable to do anything with it.

There was more of the same in the second stanza, with Martin putting Nakamura in deep trouble late before another takedown by “K-Taro” stopped the bleeding.

Nakamura had a better round in the third, but it was not nearly enough to turn things in his favor, allowing Martin to leave the Octagon with the victory via identical scores of 30-27.

With the win, Coconut Creek’s Martin moves to 13-4; Tokyo’s Nakamura falls to 33-9-2 with 1 NC.

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