On Saturday night, the UFC returned to their home base for the culmination of International Fight Week, UFC 239. The event took place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The pay-per-view main card kicked off with a welterweight showdown between Michael Chiesa taking on Diego Sanchez in a battle of TUF season champions.
Chiesa made his debut in the welterweight division, following a long run at 155 pounds, at UFC 232 in December 2018. “Maverick” took on Carlos Condit at year end event, picking up a second-round submission win. Prior to that, the TUF season 15 winner was submitted in back-to-back fights by Kevin Lee and Anthony Pettis before making the decision to quit cutting all of that weight and head to 170-pounds.
Sanchez, a winner in the first ever season of The Ultimate Fighter, has been turning back the clock heading into this event. In his last two fights, “Nightmare” earned a dominant unanimous decision win over Craig White at UFC 228 and then finished Mickey Gall via second-round TKO in March at UFC 235.
Here is how the main card opener went down between Michael Chiesa and Diego Sanchez at UFC 239, including round-by-round scoring.
Catch up on the full results of the event right here.
From the outside looking in, Chiesa looks absolutely phenomenal physically at 170-pounds. Sanchez sprints to the Octagon — as only Diego Sanchez can — with his lone cornerman, Josh Fabia. Sanchez storms the center of the Octagon and were off. Sanchez takes an early shot and Chiesa is on his back, and quickly reverses. Chiesa looked to take Sanchez’s back, but was little too high and Sanchez is on top. Chiesa power his way back to the feet. Chiesa lands a couple of strikes and a knee as they battle against the cage. Knee to the body from Chiesa as Sanchez turns it over. This fight is a grind already as Chiesa forces Sanchez to the ground. Chiesa takes the back and locks in a body triangle. Sanchez looks to get to his feet and is unable. Chiesa looking to lock in a rear naked choke, but Sanchez fights it off and eats a barrage of strikes. Sanchez fights out of the body triangle and takes the back of Chiesa for a moment. He drops for a takedown and gets it briefly. Chiesa powers him over and ends up on top with a minute to go. Chiesa stacks Sanchez and lands some short right hands. Sanchez scrambles and is able to stand up as the horn sounds, eating a Chiesa knee just before.
MyMMANews.com scores it 10-9 for Chiesa
Sanchez lands a quick combination before getting taken down by Chiesa. A clear power and size advantage for the TUF 15 winner. Chiesa lands a series of right hands on the ground and Sanchez tries to stand, and does so successfully. Elbow on the separation from Sanchez. Chiesa lands a combination and takes Sanchez right back down. Elbows landing by Chiesa as Sanchez tries to improve his defensive position. Sanchez has a hold of Chiesa’s left leg, but Chiesa battles out of it and takes the back again. Chiesa flattens him out and is landing a barrage. Sanchez holding on and fights off another rear naked choke attempt. Sanchez gets the back of Chiesa now. Incredible grit. Chiesa is back to his feet as the Vegas crowd chants “Diego”. Chiesa with a beautiful spinning, go-behind to get the fight back to the mat. Under a minute to go as Chiesa lands more elbows and looks for a kimura, then takes Sanchez’s back while having the arm in tact. The round ends in the same position.
Heavy shots landed by Chiesa in round 2! #UFC239
— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019
MyMMANews.com scores it 10-8 for Chiesa
Sanchez lands a right hand to start the round. Chiesa quickly grabs a leg and takes Sanchez to the ground easily. Chiesa has the right arm of Sanchez trapped with his legs and Sanchez is able to adjust — only for a moment. Back to the feet they go and Sanchez has Chiesa against the fence. Chiesa separates, lands a combination and effortlessly gets it right back to the ground. Chiesa takes the back of Sanchez once again and now looking for a triangle from the top. Sanchez is able to stay in the fight and get to his feet. Right back to the ground they go. Chiesa looking to take the back again and does. Chiesa landing right hands, and a pair of right elbows. Right hands land from Chiesa but Sanchez continues to try and fight. Chiesa continues the control on the ground with under 30 seconds left. Chiesa looking for a rear naked choke, but being back against the fence will be tough. Sanchez tries to land elbows to the body as the horn sounds.
MyMMANews.com scores the round 10-8 and the fight 30-25 for Michael Chiesa
Official result: Michael Chiesa def. Diego Sanchez via UD (30-26 x3)
— UFC (@ufc) July 7, 2019