UFC 274: "Oliveira vs Gaethje" Live Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship headed to Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona tonight for UFC 274: “Oliveira vs Gaethje.” The event was headlined by a would-be UFC Lightweight Championship matchup between Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira, who missed weight, and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje.

As a result of Oliveira’s controversial weight miss, the title was vacated and only Gaethje was eligible to win the championship tonight. In the co-feature, UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas faced off against Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza in a rematch from December 2014.


Vacant UFC Lightweight Championship

Charles “do Bronx” Oliveira vs Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje

Round 1:
Gaethje landed two leg kicks to begin the fight, but Oliveira hurt him with a right hook and then followed with more punches that backed Gaethje up to the cage. Gaethje recovered and he dropped Oliveira twice with left hooks. Oliveira got back to his feet and he landed a flying switch knee. A left hook landed for Gaethje and Oliveira, bleeding heavily from around his left eye, pulled guard. Gaethje immediately stood up and Oliveira followed. He dropped Gaethje with a right hook and tried to secure a rear-naked choke on the ground. When that failed, Oliveira attempted an inverted triangle choke. Gaethje escaped and Oliveira quickly locked on another rear-naked choke. This one was tight, and Gaethje tapped out.

Winner: Charles Oliveira by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) at 3:22 of round one. He improves to 33-8-0, 1 NC. Oliveira is now the #1 contender for the lightweight title that was vacated due to his weight miss.


UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship

Carla “Cookie Monster” Esparza vs “Thug” Rose Namajunas

Round 1:
Namajunas circled on the outside throughout the first half of the round. Esparza landed a right hand and Namajunas reddened her face with a hard jab. Esparza lunged forward with a left-right combo that came up short. Nothing else transpired in the round. 10-10.

Round 2:
Esparza shot in and got Namajunas down to a knee, but she could not keep her down and the fight returned to the feet. Esparza landed a left hook and Namajunas continued to keep her distance. Namajunas landed a left cross in the final minute. The crowd began doing the wave, as nothing happened. 10-9 Esparza due only to the brief takedown.

Round 3:
Esparza scored another very brief takedown and she landed a left hook. Namajunas answered with an uppercut and Esparza missed with a quick flurry. Two jabs landed for Namajunas as the round entered its final 90 seconds. Esparza tried to clinch and failed, but she did graze with a right hook. Another very close round. 10-9 Esparza by a slim margin.

Round 4:
Early in the fourth round, Esparza scored a takedown into back control, but Namajunas was able to shake her off of her back and the fight returned to the feet. Namajunas circled and Esparza threw occasional right hands. She took Namajunas’s back and suplexed her down, but Namajunas spun free from Esparza’s grip and landed an uppercut as she rose to her feet. Namajunas landed a jab and Esparza answered with a leg kick before the bell. 10-9 Esparza.

Round 5:
Nothing of substance landed during the first half of the final round. Namajunas finally connected with a solid right hand, but she was unable to follow up. As the fight entered its final minute, Namajunas landed a right hand from a southpaw stance. She took Esparza down in the final seconds of the fight. 10-9 Namajunas.

Winner: Carla Esparza by Split Decision (49-46, 48-47, 47-48) after five rounds. She improves to 19-6-0 and becomes the new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion.


“Iron” Michael Chandler vs Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson

Round 1:
Ferguson checked two leg kicks and he landed a body kick early in the fight. A counter hook dropped Chandler and Ferguson clipped him with a right hand after Chandler returned to his feet. Ferguson landed a right-left combo and a body kick. Chandler shot in and powered Ferguson down to the mat. Ferguson cut him with elbows from the bottom and he kicked Chandler off, then tried to transition to an omoplata. Chandler stayed on top and he dropped a series of right hands. Ferguson could not stand up, but he continued to land knees from his back. 10-9 Ferguson despite the takedown.

Round 2:
Mere seconds into round two, Chandler landed a massive front kick to Ferguson’s jaw that sent Ferguson crashing face-first to the mat and ended the fight in an instant.

Winner: Michael Chandler by KO (Front Kick) at 0:17 of round two. He improves to 23-7-0.


Ovince “OSP” St. Preux vs Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Round 1:
Leg kicks were exchanged during a cautious opening minute and St. Preux landed a quick combo as Rua pressed forward. He opened a small cut on Rua’s forehead with a left cross and Rua missed with a lunging right hand. St. Preux threw front kicks to Rua’s body, which turned bright red, and Rua charged forward with punches that mostly came up short. Rua landed one leg kick late in the uneventful round. 10-9 St. Preux.

Round 2:
The second round was more of the same and the crowd became restless as the fighters traded leg kick for leg kick. Rua landed two punches and St. Preux answered with a straight left and a body kick. Rua caught a body kick and landed a right cross, but he was unable to mount any sustained offence. He blocked a St. Preux head kick, but St. Preux landed three body kicks and a jumping knee in the final 30 seconds. 10-9 St. Preux.

Round 3:
St. Preux grazed with a head kick and Rua threw two leg kicks in the final round. A pair of body kicks and a left cross scored for St. Preux, who opened a cut above Rua’s right eye. St. Preux kicked to the body and then landed a left cross. A head kick landed for St. Preux, but Rua was not fazed. St. Preux did back him up with a left cross and then landed a kick to the body. A jab-cross combo landed for St. Preux, but the action remained very sparse and the crowd once again voiced its displeasure as the bout came to an end. 10-9 St. Preux.

Winner: Ovince St. Preux by Split Decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) after three rounds. He improves to 26-16-0.


Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs Joe “J-Lau” Lauzon

*Fight cancelled due to a Cerrone illness after yesterday’s weight cut.


Randy “Rude Boy” Brown vs Kalinn “Khaos The Ox Fighter” Williams

Round 1:
Williams targeted Brown’s lead leg with kicks in the opening minute and he looked to set up an overhand right. He caught a kick from Brown and clinched with him against the cage. Brown landed a knee and a straight right on the break. Williams hurt him with a counter hook and Brown fell to the mat. Williams held him in an Anaconda Choke grip, but he did not roll with it and ultimately let Brown go. Back on the feet, Williams landed a leg kick and Brown clinched. Williams threw uppercuts to his ribs and Brown let him go. Williams stuffed a takedown and also fought off a guillotine choke attempt from Brown. 10-9 Williams.

Round 2:
Brown connected with a nice right hand to begin the second round and Williams barely flinched. Brown jabbed and he checked two leg kicks. More jabs landed for Brown, but he began to taunt and Williams backd him up with an uppercut. Brown continued to taunt and he narrowly missed with a slashing elbow. When Williams clinched, Brown held him in a front headlock. Williams freed his head and Brown resumed jabbing. He clipped Williams with a counter right hook as Williams clinched, and the round came to an end. 10-9 Brown.

Round 3:
Williams landed a right hook in round three and Brown answered back with a series of jabs and a front kick to Williams’s jaw. Williams chopped away with a leg kick and then dropped Brown with a shovel uppercut. Brown worked back to his feet and he landed a right hook that wobbled Williams. Brown missed with a wild right hand and that allowed Williams to clinch. Brown separated from the clinch with one minute to go and he landed a standing elbow. Brown stuffed a takedown and he landed three knees in a late clinch. Close final round. 10-9 Brown, just barely.

Winner: Randy Brown by Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29) after three rounds. He improves to 15-4-0.


(Undercard results and play-by-play on Page Two.)