A stacked night of fights for UFC on ESPN+37 takes place on Fight Island, tonight, October 10.
Headlining the 13-bout event is an incredible match up between the No. 1 ranked UFC bantamweight contender Marlon Moraes and the No. 4 ranked UFC bantamweight contender Cory Sandhagen, a bout in which title implications almost certainly apply.
Co-headlining the card is a featherweight bout between Edson Barboza and Makwan Amirkhani, an absolutely stellar match up! Barboza was initially slated against Jeremy Stephens, and then Sodiq Yusuff. It appears three time’s a charm, as Barboza gears up to take on the Finnish grappler.
Right in the middle of the preliminary card came a bantamweight bout between Ali AlQaisi and Tony Kelley.
Each man came into this fight going 0-1 in their promotional debuts, looking to pick up their first W inside the octagon.
Kelley opened up the fight landing a nice leg kick, before being taken down after a failed knee attempt. Kelley wraps AlQaisi up in a triangle choke, but AlQaisi does the right thing and shrugs it off. AlQaisi remained on top in the scramble, and lands numerous knees to Kelley’s body from top turtle position.
Kelley tried to sit through, but got locked up in a very tight guillotine choke. AlQaisi had the choke locked in for a hot second, but was unable to get the tap. The two ended up back on their feet, before AlQaisi secured a beautiful body lock trip takedown.
Kelley wrapped AlQaisi up in a triangle choke, but from the opposite side, and it looked like the fight may have been over right there as well. Once Kelley knew he wouldn’t get the tap from the choke, he kept the triangle, but straightened AlQaisi’s arm out, and this was very close too, but the bell sounded.
Kelley opened up round two with a leg kick, same as in round one, and was taken down with a single leg. Midway through the round, Kelley ended up landing a vicious knee right up the middle to AlQaisi’s face and had him badly hurt.
AlQaisi tried to tie up with Kelley, but only got hit more and hurt worse in the process. He ended up securing another body lock trip, and he was safe for the time being. The majority of the rest of round two was spent with AlQaisi on top of Kelley.
AlQaisi immediately comes out in round three and secures a body lock trip, but Kelley was back to his feet seconds later. Kelley then landed another perfectly timed knee right up the center and had AlQaisi hurt badly yet again.
AlQaisi was able to work his way back to his feet, before securing yet another takedown. Kelley again was straight back up to his feet. AlQaisi landed back-to-back spinning back fists toward the end of the round, and some nice leg kicks, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.
This was such an insanely entertaining fight from start to finish. Both talents were nearly submitted multiple times, and AlQaisi was so close to being knocked out two different times. He’s as tough as they come.
Official Result: Tony Kelley def. Ali AlQaisi via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)