UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad Full Fight Results
March 14, 2021
Well, that was something. In the most unusual of fight cards, UFC Fight Night: Edwards vs. Muhammad brought us two no-contests, three first-round knockouts and a pair of controversial split decisions. This card is sure to keep us all talking throughout the week.
In the main event, Leon Edwards went searching for gold inside Belal Muhammad’s right eye and Herb Dean called the fight a no contest after Muhammad was unable to continue after the eye poke. Earlier on the main card, Eryk Anders, who was in clear command of the fight, illegally kneed Darren Stewart, a grounded fighter. Herb Dean also called that one a no-contest.
Also on the main card, Ryan Spann grounded and pounded on Misha Cirkunov for 71 seconds to earn a big paycheck. Dan Ige put Gavin Tucker’s lights out on the first punch and Davey Grant knocked out Jonathan Martinez in the second round. Matheus Nicolau defeated Manel Kape in a controversial split decision to round out the main card.
Craig finished 5-6 in his prediction and Matt finished 6-5. Matt now holds a four-pick advantage 2 1/2 months into the year. Follow along next week for UFC Fight Night: Brunson vs. Holland as Fight Night Picks continues to post predictions and breakdowns, previews and betting guides. Also announced on Saturday was the addition of John Hyon Ko to the Fight Night Picks crew. Follow John on Twitter @JHKMMA.
Matthew Semelsberger (-127) def. Jason Witt by knockout (R1, 0:16)
Props: by knockout (+241); under 1.5 (+166)
Matt’s pick: Witt; Craig’s pick: Witt
One punch is all it takes, sometimes. For Matthew Semelsberger, he took just 16 seconds to throw his first punch, a right hand up the middle. It connected with Jason Witt’s chin and down the Vanilla Gorilla went. Semelsberger is now 2-0 in the UFC.
Jinh Yu Frey (+167) def. Gloria de Paula by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Props: by decision (+213); over 2.5 (-367)
Matt’s pick: de Paula; Craig’s pick: de Paula
After a rough start to her UFC career, the former Invicta champion Jinh Yu Frey got on track with a relatively convincing victory over UFC debutant Gloria de Paula. Frey, a much smaller-framed fighter known for her striking, won the fight on the canvas by earning takedowns and control in rounds 1 and 3. When it went to the scorecards, it was clear Frey was the victor. All 16 media members also scored the fight for Frey, with a trio even insisting it was a 29-27 bout, according to mmadecisions.com.
This decision was much more controversial than the previous fight. Both fighters had their moments, with JJ Aldrich looking better on the ground and Cortney Casey showing off her counter striking attack. Fifteen of 16 media members scored the fight for Casey, according to mmadecisions.com. But the judges sided with Aldrich, who improved to 5-3 in the UFC. Casey dropped to 5-8 in the promotion, and at age 34, could be on the chopping block.
The heavy favorite Nasrat Haqparast had his hands full with late-notice replacement and undefeated Rafa Garcia. The Combate champ just continued to walk forward, as is his trademark, but Haqparast got the better of the striking exchanges as he cruised to a relatively straightforward decision. On a less crazy night, the bout could have earned a Fight of the Night bonus for both fighters.
Rani Yahya (-289) def. Ray Rodriguez by submission (R2, 3:09)
Props: by submission (-110); under 2.5 (-171)
Matt’s pick: Yahya; Craig’s pick: Yahya
Make it 21 submissions in Rani Yahya’s professional MMA career. The UFC veteran showed again why he’s considered among the best grapplers in the sport with a second-round arm triangle victory. It’s his 12th win in the promotion and his first victory since a heel-hook win over Luke Sanders in 2018.
Charles Jourdain (-287) def. Marcelo Rojo by TKO (R3, 4:31)
Props: by knockout (+178); over 2.5 (+110)
Matt’s pick: Jourdain; Craig’s pick: Jourdain
In the dying moments of a razor-close fight, Charles Jourdain took the fight out of the judges’ hands as he landed big shots to UFC debutant Marcelo Rojo’s body before finishing the fight with a left hook. All three judges had it 19-19 entering the final round. Jourdain is now 2-2-1 in the UFC, picking up his first victory since a knockout of Doo Ho Choi in 2019.
Angela Hill (-336) def. Ashley Yoder by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Props: by decision (-186); over 2.5 (-417)
Matt’s pick: Hill; Craig’s pick: Hill
This went exactly as expected. Angela Hill dominated throughout the fight on the feet, continuously putting Ashley Yoder in bad spots. But Yoder is tough as nails and survived the beating, despite never truly posing a threat to Hill, who improves to 8-9 in the promotion. Yoder falls to 3-6 in the UFC and 8-7 overall, all seven losses going to the scorecards.
Darren Stewart (-171) vs. Eryk Anders (+142), No Contest (R1, 4:37; Illegal Knee)
Matt’s pick: Stewart; Craig’s pick: Stewart
Some could argue Herb Dean could have stopped the fight when Eryk Anders had Darren Stewart hurt up against the cage. Anders continued to pound on a dazed Stewart, who tried to throw enough to keep the fight going. Eventually, Anders threw a knee when Stewart’s knee was down, and while Stewart mostly blocked it, he could not continue. The fight was ruled a no contest.
All 22 media members on mmadecisions.com scored this fight for Portugal’s Manel Kape, but it wasn’t as controversial a result as it the scorecards make it seem. Matheus Nicolau won the first round against an again inactive Kape. Kape clearly took the second round as he finally started to let his hands go for the first time in five rounds in the UFC. The third round was very close. Kape landed the bigger punches, but Nicolau had his moments. In the end, Nicolau’s return to the UFC was a successful one and Kape is still winless in the promotion.
Davey Grant (+251) def. Jonathan Martinez by knockout (R2, 3:03)
Props: by knockout (+946); under 2.5 (+146)
Matt’s pick: Martinez; Craig’s pick: Martinez
Davey Grant did it again! For the second straight fight, the Northern Ireland fighter showed his power, this time knocking out Jonathan Martinez with a power left hand. Grant is now 4-3 in the UFC with three straight victories. Martinez falls to 4-3 in the promotion.
Dan Ige (-180) def. Gavin Tucker by knockout (R1, 0:22)
Props: by knockout (+555); under 1.5 (+318)
Matt’s pick: Ige; Craig’s pick: Tucker
This fight didn’t feel like 22 seconds. On the first exchange, Dan Ige earned his nickname with a power right from the depths of hell that turned Gavin Tucker into a plank on the Canvas. It was his seventh UFC victory and first knockout since a TKO victory over Mike Santiago in 2018. Gavin Tucker loses his second-ever fight, ending his three-fight win streak.
Ryan Spann (+111) def. Misha Cirkunov by TKO (R1, 1:11)
Props: by knockout (+199); under 1.5 (-149)
Matt’s pick: Cirkunov; Craig’s pick: Cirkunov
In a span of 71 seconds, Ryan Spann dropped Misha Cirkunov twice before finishing him with a series of hammerfists. It was an impressive performance for the underdog, who improved to 5-1 in the UFC. Cirkunov drops to 6-4 in the promotion.
Leon Edwards (-283) vs. Belal Muhammad (+223), No Contest (R2, 0:18; Eye Poke)
Matt’s pick: Edwards; Craig’s pick: Edwards
Leon Edwards can’t catch a break. After a layoff of more than 18 months due to the pandemic and a series of cancelled fights, including three postponed bouts with Khamzat Chimaev, the Jamaica-born fighter finally entered the Octagon. Then, in the second round, Edwards threw a leg kick and let his open left hand jab toward Belal Muhammad. The thumb went inside Muhammad’s eye socket in one of the nastier eye pokes you’ll ever see. It left Muhammad crying on the canvas and Herb Dean called an end to the fight. It was ruled a no contest. Until that point, Edwards looked comfortable and the clear favorite to win the fight.