With all eyes on Conor McGregor’s return to the octagon tonight at UFC 229, three fights on the prelim card look to bring early fireworks. The first fight of the night will feature two veterans in the welterweight division in Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin. Both fighters are coming in with victories as well as 3-4 in their last four fights. Interestingly, both fighters picked up victories on the same Fight Night card back in April. LaFlare, 35, won a unanimous decision against Alex Garcia. Similarly, Martin was victorious over Keita Nakamura via unanimous decision.
In the second bout, two more veterans Nik Lentz, 34, looks to get back in the win column against the well conditioned Gray Maynard. Maynard, 39, has split his last four fights and one has to wonder how much longer the skilled veteran will look to compete. Could tonight’s bout be a swan song for Maynard?
The featured bout of the Fight Pass Prelims brings in two skilled bantamweights. No. 12 ranked Lina Lansberg looks to string together wins against Yana Kunitskaya. Kunitskaya is coming off a title loss to Cris Cyborg. Lansberg also has a loss to Cyborg on her record. Can Kunitskaya defeat a top 15 ranked fighter and move herself into position?
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Yana Kunitskaya vs. Lina Lansberg
Kunitskaya gets first takedown in the first minute of round one. Once she established position on the ground, she went for an old school can opener. Halfway through the round and Kunitskaya took Lansberg’s back but allowed Lansberg to get back to the feet.
With one minute left, Kunitskaya scored her 2nd successful takedown. Kunitskaya landed some big elbows at the end of the round.
The second round is very slow moving. Lansberg landed a big shot three minutes in but turned it into nothing beyond that. Lansberg got a choke in at the end of the round but Kunitskaya was able to escape. Lansberg may have gained back some ground after this round.
Round three shows both fighters come out with more strike attempts. Kunitskaya went back to the cage to work Lansberg. Against the cage, Kunitskaya threw several knees to the body of Lansberg. The end of the fight was in the center of the ring and Kunitskaya takes a very dominate performance.
Kunitskaya def. Lansberg via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Nik Lentz vs. Gray Maynard
Lentz comes out early to eye down Maynard with a couple pf power shots. Maynard is struggling in round 1 just to survive. Lentz is controlling Maynard against the cage halfway through the round. Lentz got the goultine choke in at 2 minutes left but Maynard escaped. Lentz absolutely dominated the 1st round. Maynard was lucky to survive.
Lentz came in the early part of the round and accidentally caught Maynard with an eye poke. Quick break in the action to check Maynard’s eye. Maynard set up a quick come back cutting Lentz in the second round, but Lentz ended it with a head kick and a victory.
Lentz def. Maynard via 2nd round TKO (1:19)
Ryan LaFlare vs. Tony Martin
Ryan LaFlare starts out aggressively with back-to-back Superman punches to counter Martin’s distance. Martin got a couple of takedowns against LaFlare in the first round with no follow up to the ground. LaFlare ends the first round with a nice head-body combo then to clinch to end round 1.
Martin comes out in the first minute of round two to counter another LaFlare superman punch a tagged LaFlare with a right to the head. LaFlare was cut while Martin works his jui-jitsu and maintain guard position. Martin is smothering LaFlare mid-round while looking for several submission angles. With one minute left, LaFlare avoided a submission and got up from the ground against the skilled Martin.
Tony Martin came out in the third round and dominated LaFlare. Within the first minute, Martin connected with a head kick to LaFlare. A few seconds later the ground-and-pound finished off LaFlare.
Martin def. LaFlare via 3rd round TKO (1:00)