Albert Duraev edges Chidi Njokuani on the cards at UFC on ESPN 43
The Ultimate Fighting Championship returned to us tonight, March 25, 2023, for UFC on ESPN 43, going down live from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, where Albert Duraev handed Chidi Njokuani his second-straight defeat.
Headlining the event is a bantamweight showdown between a pair of dangerous finishers in no. 3 ranked Marlon Vera (20-7-1) and no. 5 ranked Cory Sandhagen (15-4).
Co-headlining is also a bantamweight clash, this one coming between former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm (14-6) and former Invicta FC bantamweight champion Yana Santos (14-6, 1 NC).
Opening up the main card tonight was a middleweight affair between former professional kickboxer Chidi Njokuani (22-9, 1 NC) and Albert Duraev (16-4).
Njokuani came into tonight’s bout having lost his latest appearance to Gregory Rodrigues following a four-fight knockout streak, while Duraev came in having lost his most recent bout to Joaquin Buckley following a 10-fight win streak of his own.
Continue reading to see how this 185 lb encounter went down:
Official Result: Albert Duraev def. Chidi Njokuani via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Duraev controls the center of the octagon from the start of the bout and lands a nice right hand about 90 seconds in. He then catches a kick thrown by Njokuani and trips him down to the mat. Duraev traps one of Njokuani’s arms while he’s on top and reigns down some heavy punches from top position.
Njokuani inches his way back up to his feet, though he’s taken down not long thereafter and ends the first on his back with Duraev in his guard.
Njokuani is able to keep the fight on its feet through the second round, and he lands some good punches though the striking totals were close.
Njokuani opens up the third and final round with a pair of nasty body kicks, but is again allowing Duraev to control the center. He’s waiting on Duraev to come into his range so he can counter, but he just isn’t throwing quite enough.
Duraev wasn’t able to secure the lone takedown he attempted in the third, but his striking worked well for him tonight, and after that dominant first round Njokuani just never fully recovered from it.
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I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon Versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I ever saw, and I was immediately hooked. So eventually, I began covering the sport in the fourth quarter of 2018, and have since started writing about animals as well. If you’d like to see those pieces, be sure to check out learnaboutnature.com!