UFC Fight Night 216: "Cannonier vs Strickland" Play-By-Play & ResultsThe Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada tonight for UFC Fight Night 216: “Cannonier vs Strickland.” The final UFC event of the year was headlined by a middleweight contender’s bout between Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier and Sean “Tarzan” Strickland.

In the lightweight co-main event, Arman “Ahalkalakets” Tsarukyan took on Damir Ismagulov. Elsewhere on the main card tonight, Amir “The Prince” Albazi clashed with Alessandro “Nono” Costa in a featured flyweight fight. MMARising.com has live play-by-play for the UFC Fight Night 216 card.


Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier vs Sean “Tarzan” Strickland

Round 1:
Cannonier kept a measured pace and threw single leg kicks and right hands during the opening 90 seconds. Strickland jabbed and circled to his left, avoiding a one-two from Cannonier. Strickland caught a leg kick and tripped Cannonier, then took his back as he got to his feet. He landed short left and right uppercuts to Cannonier’s face before letting go of the back clinch and moving away. Cannonier landed a hard leg kick and followed with a second one. Strickland landed a nice right cross and two long jabs late in the round. 10-9 Cannonier by a slim margin.

Round 2:
Strickland had continued success with his jab in the second round and he used it to stay out of range of Cannonier’s right hands. Cannonier landed two leg kicks and Strickland continued to jab. A lunging right hook partially landed for Cannonier, who connected with another leg kick. Strickland threw two jab-hook combos and Cannonier landed a right hand to the body. Strickland backed Cannonier up with a quick combination and followed up with another jab. Cannonier landed a right hook and Strickland finished the close round with a one-two. 10-9 Strickland.

Round 3:
The fighters traded jabs throughout the first two minutes of the third round. Strickland’s jabs appeared to have more power behind them and he countered a right hook from Cannonier with a one-two. Cannonier landed two jab-hook combos and he was noticeably more aggressive. Strickland flurried to the body and Cannonier landed a leg kick. Strickland jabbed and Cannonier partially landed with an overhand right. Late in the round, Cannonier landed a lead left hook. 10-9 Strickland.

Round 4:
Strickland checked leg kicks from Cannonier and stunned him with a quick jab-cross combo. Cannonier recovered and Strickland landed another right hand off of a jab. Cannonier scored with a strong inside-leg kick and a lead right hook. Strickland landed a body kick and then resumed jabbing from a distance. Cannonier scored with a lead right hook and two more punches, which prompted Strickland to clinch. Cannonier broke free and he landed two left hooks. Cannonier remained aggressive and the round ended with Strickland landing a jab and Cannonier throwing a leg kick. Another close round. 10-9 Cannonier.

Round 5:
Strickland backed Cannonier up with an overhand right in the final round. Cannonier regained his footing and both men landed jabs. A big right hook scored for Cannonier, but Strickland barely flinched. He landed a right-left combo in response, but Cannonier snapped his head back with a one-two of his own. Strickland began to bleed from his nose, but he countered a Cannonier right hook with a quick flurry. Cannonier jabbed and pressed forward in the final minute, but Strickland landed a counter one-two and a lead left hook. Cannonier landed two right hooks and Strickland finished a combination with a kick to the upper body. Very close fight. 10-9 Cannonier. Decision could go either way.

Winner: Jared Cannonier by Split Decision (49-46, 49-46, 46-49) after five rounds. He improves to 16-6-0.


Arman “Ahalkalakets” Tsarukyan vs Damir Ismagulov

Round 1:
Ismagulov landed a right hook early in the fight and Tsarukyan landed leg and body kicks in response. He took Ismagulov down, but Ismagulov worked back to his feet and Tsarukyan held him against the cage. Ismagulov reversed a takedown and landed on top in mount, but Tsarukyan swept from the bottom and the fighters returned to their feet. They separated and Tsarukyan was active with strikes from a distance. He grazed with a spinning backfist and landed a body kick late in the back-and-forth round. 10-9 Tsarukyan.

Round 2:
Tsarukyan countered a knee from Ismagulov by taking his back and pulling him down to the ground. He was unable to sink in both hooks and Ismagulov managed to scramble up to his feet. Tsarukyan maintained back control and he dragged Ismagulov down again. This time he secured full back control and went to work in search of a rear-naked choke. Ismagulov defended and managed to fight back to his feet, only to be immediately taken down. Ismagulov stood and he landed a right cross on the break. Tsarukyan tied him up in another clinch and both men landed knees to the body in the final seconds. 10-9 Tsarukyan.

Round 3:
Time was called early in the final round when Ismagulov was kicked in the groin. The fight resumed and Tsarukyan took Ismagulov down into back control. Ismagulov managed to get back to his feet and Tsarukyan popped him with jabs while circling to his side. He took Ismagulov down once more and threatened with another rear-naked choke. Ismagulov was briefly in danger, but he broke Tsarukyan’s grip and defended until the end of the fight. 10-9 Tsarukyan.

Winner: Arman Tsarukyan by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after three rounds. He improves to 19-3-0.


Amir “The Prince” Albazi vs Alessandro “Nono” Costa

Round 1:
Little transpired in the opening two minutes until Costa landed a right hand and Albasi clinched with him against the cage. He tried to take Costa down, but Costa balanced on one leg and then broke free from the clinch. Costa jabbed and landed another right hand. He stuffed an Albasi takedown attempt and landed a stiff jab. Albasi landed two jabs of his own and a leg kick. Costa finished the round with a one-two. 10-9 Costa.

Round 2:
The second round began with Costa landing a lead left hook and an uppercut. Albasi dropped him with a right-left combo and then entered Costa’s guard. Costa did a good job of tying Albasi’s arms up, but Albasi still landed a few elbows and right hands from the top. He punched Costa’s body and Costa tied up Albasi’s arm again. In the final minute, Albasi postured up and landed harder punches, but Costa fought back with elbows from the bottom. 10-9 Albasi.

Round 3:
Albasi secured a takedown in the final round, but he was unable to land much from the top and the fighters eventually returned to their feet. Albasi landed a massive right hook that sent Costa crashing to the mat and he followed with more punches on the ground that knocked Costa out and ended the fight.

Winner: Amir Albazi by KO (Punches) at 2:13 of round three. He improves to 16-1-0.


Alex “Bruce Leeroy” Caceres vs Julian “Juicy J” Erosa

Round 1:
Caceres struck first with a leg kick and Erosa landed one in response. Erosa continued to attack Caceres’s lead leg with kicks and he landed an overhand right. Caceres threw a spinning back kick and then a side kick to the body. He scored with a lead right uppercut and an overhand left. Erosa landed a body kick, but Caceres sent him crashing to the mat with a head kick. The fight was not immediately stopped, so Caceres landed punches on the ground until the bout was waved off. Erosa tried to get to his feet after the stoppage and collapsed.

Winner: Alex Caceres by KO (Head Kick & Punches) at 3:04 of round one. He improves to 20-13-0, 1 NC.


Drew Dober vs Bobby “King” Green

Round 1:
Green landed a nice left hook early in the fight and he reversed a Dober takedown attempt. Dober got back to his feet and Green tagged him with a one-two. He followed with a body kick and a left cross. The fighters exchanged left hands and Green landed two lead right hooks. He bloodied Dober’s nose, but Dober landed a solid leg kick and an overhand left. Green landed two more right hooks and Dober responded with a left. Green landed two front kicks to the body late in the round. 10-9 Green.

Round 2:
Dober fought through a right hook from Green and landed a combination in the second round. He followed that with a spinning backfist and both men landed lead right hooks. Dober clinched and Green pushed him away almost immediately. He used his jab to set up a left cross, then followed with more jabs. Dober landed a left-right combo as Green backed up against the cage, then shut Green’s lights off with a massive left hook to end the fight.

Winner: Drew Dober by KO (Punch) at 2:45 of round two. He improves to 26-11-0, 1 NC.


Michał “Hussar” Oleksiejczuk vs Cody Brundage

Round 1:
Brundage threw a head kick and quickly took Oleksiejczuk down. Oleksiejczuk got to his feet and Brundage dragged him back down while maintaining back control. Brundage tried to turn over into mount, but he lost the position and Oleksiejczuk wound up on top in Brundage’s guard. Oleksiejczuk was active with elbow strikes and he hurt Brundage with punches. Brundage rolled to his side and Oleksiejczuk finished him off with more punches and hammerfists.

Winner: Michał Oleksiejczuk by TKO (Punches) at 3:16 of round one. He improves to 18-5-0, 1 NC.


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