TAMPA, Fla. – UFC on ESPN+ 19 event takes place at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla. The card streams on ESPN+. Play by Play was provided by Nolan King of mmajunkie.com
Miguel Baeza vs. Hector Aldana
Result: Miguel Baeza def. Hector Aldana via TKO (leg kicks and punches) – Round 2, 2:32
Round 1 – Feeling out process lasts about forty seconds before Baeza throws a looping right that misses. A bit of a staring contest thus far and as a result, the crowd is letting their restless be known. Baeza with a very kick heavy offense – two low, one high. Aldana charges in, but is unable to connect. Another outside low kick from Baeza whacks the leg of Aldana. The two welterweights trade leg kick for leg kick. Aldana begins chasing down Baeza, who calms the situation by circling back to the center. This round is close, but Baeza foot speed is making a small, but important difference. At the sound of the 10 second warning, Baeza shoots for a takedown. He gets it, but the round expires. 10-9 Baeza.
Round 2 – Aldana lands a leg kick. Baeza answers with one of his own. Baeza tries to sneak between Aldana’s guard with a high front kick to the face. Baeza hits a speedy one-two combination. Baeza lands a hard leg kick – and another. It crumples Aldana. He’s hurt and covering up. Baeza landing punches and elbows. That’s it! A successful debut for the “Dana White’s Contender Series” signee Baeza. A nice technical display, which leaves room for improvement.
Mike Davis vs. Thomas Gifford
Result: Mike Davis def. Thomas Gifford via knockout (punch) – Round 3, 4:45
Round 1 – It doesn’t take long for Davis’ fist to find Gifford’s face. A big punch puts Gifford on the retreat. Davis looks calm. Gifford eats a series of knees and punches from Davis, but unfazed, lands a big punch of his own. Gifford’s chin has iron strong thus far, but it’s unlikely he can keep taking such big shots. Both men just standing in the pocket, bit the speed and accuracy difference is becoming evident. Davis is much sharper. Gifford eats an uppercut and hook, but eats it like it’s nothing. Davis goes airborne and lands a flying knee. A heavy right hand put Gifford on his back foot. Davis is unloading. This is getting gruesome. He lands about every strike in the book, but Gifford won’t go down. Davis pushes Gifford to the ground, who shoots up for a submission. With Davis standing above him landing shots, Gifford’s head is bouncing off the canvas. But he’s doing just enough to survive. Defying the odds, a bloody Gifford makes it to the end of the round. That was brutal. 10-8 Davis.
Round 2 – Gifford lands a punch, but it doesn’t have much zip on it. Davis spins Gifford around with an outside leg kick. Gifford attempts an imanari roll, but Davis escapes with ease. Gifford kicks Davis in the cup, but he denies an option for a timeout. Davis attempts another jumping knee, but as we’ve already learned, Gifford is a zombie. A high kick from Gifford is blocked. Davis lands another two-punch combination. In need of a change, Gifford shoots for a takedown. Davis makes him pay with some big punches. Gifford gets up, but Davis takes him down. Gifford is bloody, swollen, and visibly tired. This is pretty brutal to watch. An overhand right snaps Gifford’s head back. Just prior to the bell, Davis lands a lengthy combination – probably over a dozen consecutive strikes. Another 10-8 round puts Davis up 20-16.
Round 3 – According to the broadcast, Gifford has taken almost 120 strikes through two. If this continues, we could (should) see a towel thrown in. Davis lands a two-punch combination to the midsection of Gifford. With whatever energy he has left, Gifford lands a few short shots. Gifford shoots for a takedown and almost lands on the back of Davis, who scoots out. Gifford pulls guard and is attempting to grab the leg of Davis. The two lightweights are back on their feet, but not for long. A thunderous outside leg kick drops Gifford on his back. He gets back up and is dropped by a left. Someone should stop this. Right on cue, Davis does. He lands a right hand that faceplants Gifford unconscious. That fight could go up for beatdown of the year.
Matt Frevola vs. Luis Pena
Result: Matt Frevola def. Luis Pena via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Round 1 – To the thrill of the hometown crowd, Tampa’s Frevola comes charging straight at Pena. After the initial surge, he’s calmed down. Pena is calm, keeping a good range as the longer fighter. Frevola is attempting to get inside, but Pena isn’t leting him. Frevola pressures Pena until “Violent Bob Ross’” back is against the fence. Frevola shoots for a double leg and gets the takedown. Pena gets right up, but meets the same fate. Frevola slams him to the mat. Twisting around, Pena has a strange grip of Frevola’s neck. A modified arm-in guillotine from rubber guard? Let’s roll with that. Pena uses it to get to the feet. The adrenaline might have gotten the best of Frevola. He has slowed greatly. Pena lands a series of calculated combinations and with that, he steals the round. 10-9 Pena.
Round 2 – Frevola eats a shot from Pena and is now bleeding from his left cheek. A huge knee hurts Frevola. He’s on the retreat again. After landing some more shots, Pena attempts to grab a wrist and pull guard for a kimura. Frevola breaks out. They’re back on their feet, but Frevola still doesn’t seem right. Both men exchange hard rights. Referee Dean steps in to allow Frevola a chance reset his mouth piece which was lost somewhere in the fray. Once they reset, Frevola lands a superman punch. Frevola’s cut is getting progressively worst. Pena lands a head kick, but falls on his back. Frevola rushes in, but Pena gets back up. Frevola tries to grab a hold of Pena, who attempts a kimura. He lets go and Frevola is now in guard. Pena attempts another kimura as a ploy to set up a triangle. He shoots his legs up, but isn’t able to lock anything in on Frevola. Pena tries to get up, but Frevola slams him back down. Pena threatens a guillotine. The two fighters roll and Pena lands in mount. The buzzer saves Frevola, before Pena can attempt ground-and-pound. 20-18 Pena.
Round 3 – A much slower start to the third frame. Frevola seems to have rebounded his gas tank. He’s being slightly more aggressive. Pena lands a left high kick which sends Frevola sideways, relatively unfazed. Frevola bullrushes Pena and lands a pair of big overhand rights. Frevola lands another right, which topples Pena over backwards. It looked like he was knocked off balance more than stunned. Pena is back up, attempting to fend off a Frevola takedown attempt against the cage. They break. Pena is stalking Frevola and lands an uppercut. Frevola dodges a Pena right and connects with a counter of his own. as the clock winds down, Pena’s urgency has been upped. He lands a combination, before Frevola shoots for an unsuccessful takedown. Time’s up. That might be the best fight we’ve seen tonight, which is saying something. In a close fight that could go either way, MMA Junkie has it 29-28 Pena.
Niko Price vs. James Vick
Result: Niko Price def. James Vick via knockout (upkick and punches) – Round 1, 1:44
Round 1 – With the crowd firmly behind him, Price is the first to let his hands fly. He connected with Vick, who is already bleeding his nose. Price catches an errant kick from Vick and pushes him to the mat. Price tries to land ground-and-pound, but Vick avoids. Vick threatens with a guillotine and eventually gets to his feet. Vick musters Price to the mat. Vick lands some solid strikes from the standing position. Price throws an upkick. It lands flush. Oh my goodness, Vick is out. Woah. Price lands a few follow up shots, but Vick was unconscious. That was absolutely wild. Add that one to the highlight reel.