UFC is set to deliver another entertaining card at UFC APEX in Las Vegas, headlined by a bantamweight bout all but guaranteed to deliver action as No. 3 ranked contender Rob Font takes on former champion and No. 4 Cody Garbrandt. Also on the card, top five women’s strawweights collide with title aspirations on the line as No. 3 ranked contender Yan Xiaonan battles former champion and No. 4 Carla Esparza.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT: FONT vs. GARBRANDT will take place Saturday, May 22 from UFC APEX in Las Vegas. All bouts will be available exclusively on ESPN+ in English and Spanish with the main card beginning at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT and the prelims kicking off the action at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT.
Font (18-4, fighting out of Woburn, Mass.) is the newest member of the UFC bantamweight top five following his first round knockout of former title challenger Marlon Moraes. A member of the UFC roster since 2014, he rose up the ranks with a series of impressive stoppage wins, including victories over Thomas Almeida, Matt Schnell and Douglas Silva de Andrade. Font now intends to secure the biggest win over his career by taking out Garbrandt.
Former bantamweight champion Garbrandt (12-3, fighting out of Sacramento, Calif.) plans to continue his journey back to the title by delivering a vintage performance against Font. Among the most dangerous strikers in the division’s history, he showed off his power with statement knockouts over Raphael Assuncao, Thomas Almeida and Marcus Brimage. Garbrandt now aims to put together another long win streak and prove that he is still among the best bantamweights in the world.
Chinese contender Yan (13-1, 1 NC, fighting out of Beijing, China) seeks to maintain her undefeated record in the UFC and add the first former champion to her resume. A Sanda expert with all of her finishes coming by knockout, Xiaonan announced herself as a top prospect in the division with wins over perennial contenders Angela Hill, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadelha. She now looks to cement herself as the next in line for the title with a standout performance.
Esparza (18-6, fighting out of Irvine, Calif.) became the first UFC women’s strawweight champion in history after winning the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Currently on the longest win streak of her UFC career, she fought her way back into the title conversation with wins over Alexa Grasso, Michelle Waterson and Marina Rodriguez. Esparza now plans to earn a chance to regain her belt and repeat her victory over current champion Namajunas.
What time is UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt?
- Main Card: 7pm ET / 4pm PT
- Prelims: 4pm ET / 1pm PT
UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt Results
UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt Prelims
Rafael Alves vs Damir Ismagulov
Damir Ismagulov picked up where he left off in his last bout in 2019, as he extended his UFC winning streak to four with a win over Octagon newcomer Rafael Alves.
Scores were 29-28 across the board, for Ismagulov, now 23-1. Alves falls to 19-10.
Alves expended a lot of energy on his way to the Octagon, and he kept it high when the fight began, as he knocked Ismagulov down and then nearly caught his foe with a guillotine choke. Ismagulov stayed patient and got free, and he went on to work his ground-and-pound attack for the rest of the round.
Ismagulov rocked Alves on the feet just before the midway point of round two, and his striking was sharp into the third frame. Alves was able to bloody his opponent in the final round, though, and he surged in an effort to turn the fight around, having some success before the clock ran out on him.
Official result – Damir Ismagulov def. Rafael Alves via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
David Dvorak vs Juancamilo Ronderos
Flyweight contender David Dvorak didn’t let a late opponent change rattle him, as he submitted UFC newcomer Juancamilo Ronderos in the first round.
Dvorak was in control from the start, avoiding Ronderos’ wild rushes until a right hand staggered the Colombian. Ronderos looked for a takedown to buy some time, but Dvorak controlled the trip to the mat and sunk in the rear naked choke that forced a tap out at 2:18 of the opening round.
The No.11-ranked Dvorak moves to 20-3 with the win. Ronderos, who missed weight for the bout at 128.5 pounds but did take the fight on a day’s notice, replacing Raulian Paiva, falls to 4-1.
Official result – David Dvorak def. Juancamilo Ronderos via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:18 of round one
Josh Culibao vs Shaylian Nuerdanbieke
In featherweight action, Josh Culibao scored a three-round unanimous decision victory over Octagon newcomer Shayilan Nuerdanbieke.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Sydney’s Culibao, now 9-1-1. Beijing’s Nuerdanbieke falls to 19-7.
After a rough start to the bout, as Culibao got swarmed and held against the fence for much of the first four minutes, the Aussie battler got free and landed some hard punches before the end of the opening round. Encouraged by the finish to the round, Culibao continued to control the bout in the second and much of the third, as he spoiled Nuerdanbieke’s UFC debut.
Official result – Josh Culibao def. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Bruno Silva vs Victor Rodriguez
It looks like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Bruno Silva is rapidly turning into a knockout artist, as he scored his second straight win with his fists, stopping Victor Rodriguez in the first round of their flyweight bout.
After a brief feeling-out process, Silva jarred Rodriguez with a knee in the clinch, and moments later, a flush right hand dropped the Alaskan hard to the mat, with referee Chris Tognoni stepping in to stop the fight at 1:00 of the opening stanza.
With the win, Silva moves to 12-5-2 with 1 NC. Rodriguez falls to 7-4.
Official result – Bruno Silva def. Victor Rodriguez via knockout at 1:00 of the first round
Court McGee vs Claudio Silva
Veteran welterweight Court McGee scored his first win since October 2018 and was impressive in doing so as he defeated Claudio Silva via unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-26, 30-26 and 29-27 for McGee, now 21-10. Silva falls to 14-3.
McGee got a takedown in the second minute of the fight, and Silva spent much of the rest of the round trying to even the score. He came up empty, but the Brazilian did tag McGee late.
Silva kept looking for the takedown into round two, and while he got McGee down, the “Crusher” got right back to his feet and then put Silva on the mat, adding to the woes of “Hannibal,” who was soon caught in an arm triangle choke that was only interrupted by the end of the frame.
Down on the scorecards, the game Silva showed a sense of urgency in the final round, but McGee defended well, and with the Brazilian’s gas tank running on empty, the Utah native was able to finish strong and get the victory.
Official result – Court McGee def. Claudio Silva via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)
Ben Rothwell vs Chris Barnett
Heavyweight vet Ben Rothwell got a gutsy effort out of short-notice foe Chris Barnett, but the Wisconsin native still emerged victorious over the newcomer via second-round submission.
Barnett got off to a good start as he implemented a busy striking attack, but after taking some shots from the Spain native, he began landing with his own shots, setting up a takedown midway through the first frame. On the mat, Rothwell was patient before nearly locking in a choke, but Barnett survived and the two slugged it out in the closing seconds of the round.
Barnett’s gas tank was empty as round two began, and Rothwell took advantage, tagging his foe with a series of flush shots before the fight went back to the mat. There, Rothwell locked in the guillotine choke that forced a tap out at the 2:07 mark of the second round.
With the win, Rothwell moves to 39-13. Barnett, who replaced Philipe Lins, falls to 21-7.
Official result – Ben Rothwell def. Chris Barnett via submission (guillotine choke) at 2:07 of round two.
UFC Fight Night: Font vs Garbrandt Main Card
Jack Hermansson vs Edmen Shahbazyan
Middleweight contenders Jack Hermansson and Edmen Shahbazyan opened up the main card, with Hermansson winning a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-27 across the board for the No.7-ranked Hermansson, now 22-6. The No.10-ranked Shahbazyan falls to 11-2.
Shahbazyan had a good opening round, as his sharp striking game allowed him to dominate offensively, and when you throw in solid takedown defense, Hermansson had some work to do if he wanted to get back in the fight.
Hermansson got the takedown to start round two, but the Californian got back to his feet fairly quickly. Hermansson remained locked on to his foe as he looked for a choke, and while Shahbazyan got loose, Hermansson went on to take the fight back to the mat. With a little less than two minutes to go, Shahbazyan reversed position and finished strong with some late ground-and-pound.
A minute into the final round, Hermansson got the takedown and he unleashed a steady barrage of ground strikes on the bloodied Shahbazyan, who wasn’t able to get back to his feet before the end of the dominant frame turned in by “The Joker.”
Official result – Jack Hermansson def. Edmen Shahbazyan via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27)
Ricardo Ramos vs Bill Algeo
In a featherweight bout, Ricardo Ramos won a three-round unanimous decision over Bill Algeo.
The judges saw it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Ramos, now 15-3. Algeo falls to 14-6.
Ramos put Algeo in trouble early with two takedowns that led to a rear naked choke attempt, but the Pennsylvanian got free and was able to start implementing his striking game. And while Algeo was effective for a spell, Ramos used his own strikes that set up another pair of takedowns.
In the second minute of round two, Ramos put the fight back on the mat and then locked in a choke briefly as Algeo got to his feet. Ramos appeared to be slowing down, and Algeo took advantage with an effective standup attack before the Brazilian ended the round with a point-scoring takedown.
The third was another back-and-forth frame, Algeo fighting effectively on the feet, but Ramos throwing in another takedown to add to his own point total from striking.
Official result – Ricardo Ramos def. Bill Algeo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Felicia Spencer vs Norma Dumont Viana
Brazil’s Norma Dumont was impressive in her return to the featherweight division, as she defeated former world title challenger Felicia Spencer via split decision.
Scores were 30-27, 29-28, 28-29 for Dumont, now 6-1. Spencer falls to 8-3.
MORE: Paul Felder Announces Retirement
The first round was close, each fighter having their moments, but while the attacks were busy, neither fighter’s accuracy matched the level of activity. That changed in the second, as Spencer was strong with her kicks, only to be answered by Dumont’s fast punch combinations. In the opening minute of the third, Dumont surprised Spencer with a takedown, but let her back up with three minutes to go after getting in some groundwork. Once standing, Spencer pressed the action, with the fight going back to the mat with a little over a minute left in the bout, but Dumont’s work to that point was enough to get her the nod on the scorecards.
Official result – Norma Dumont def. Felicia Spencer via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)
Justin Tafa vs Jared Vanderaa
Dana White’s Contender Series graduate Jared Vanderaa earned his first UFC victory in his second try, decisioning Justin Tafa over three rounds in a heavyweight bout.
30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Vanderaa, now 12-5. Tafa falls to 4-3.
Vanderaa outworked Tafa in the first round, his striking a step ahead of Tafa’s, and he upped his work rate even more in the second as he landed a series of blows as he pinned his foe to the fence. Tafa was always dangerous, as he took the shots and got in some of his own, but Vanderaa escaped serious danger, even if a cut on his forehead produced a lot of blood in the second frame. The cut remained closed for much of the third round, but in the final minute, it opened up as Tafa made a final push. An inadvertent low blow by Vanderaa brought a late halt to the bout, and when it resumed, Tafa had a little over 30 seconds to turn things around, but it was not to be, as Vanderaa continued to lead the action until the final horn sounded.
Official result – Jared Vanderaa def. Justin Tafa via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Co-Main Event: Yan Xiaonan vs Carla Esparza
It’s been a long road back for former strawweight champion Carla Esparza, but after extending her current win streak to five with a dominant second-round TKO of Yan Xiaonan, the “Cookie Monster” has a strong case for a rematch with current champ Rose Namajunas.
It took Esparza less than 10 seconds to get Yan on the mat, and Esparza opened up with ground strikes as she moved into side control. From there, Esparza did enough to avoid a referee restart, and in the closing seconds, the Californian threatened with a submission before cutting Yan’s forehead with a flush elbow.
Yan scored with a head kick to open the second, but her next attempt resulted in another takedown by Esparza, who went right back to work on the mat, locking up a crucifix that resulted in a series of unanswered strikes that prompted referee Keith Peterson to stop the fight at the 2:58 mark of round two.
The No.4-ranked Esparza moves to 19-6 with the win. The No.3-ranked Yan falls to 13-2, 1 NC
Official result – Carla Esparza def. Yan Xiaonan via TKO (strikes) at 2:58 of the second round
Main Event: Rob Font vs Cody Garbrandt
In his first UFC main event, Rob Font came up big, as he defeated former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt via five-round unanimous decision, guaranteeing that the New Englander will be a prominent name in the 135-pound title conversation.
Scores were 48-47, 50-45 and 50-45 for the No.3-ranked Font, now 19-4. The No.4-ranked Garbrandt falls to 12-4.
Garbrandt focused on his kicking game in the early going, but Font landed the first big shot, as a 1-2 stung the former champ briefly. Garbrandt stayed cool under pressure and scored a takedown with under two minutes to go, and while Font landed a couple hard right hands once the two rose, another takedown from “No Love” scored points in the closing stages of the round.
Opening up the second with a takedown, Garbrandt knew he had an advantage on the mat and he was going to work it. Font looked for a kimura from his back, and while he didn’t get it, he was able to use it to get back to his feet, where he looked to implement his jab. In the second half of the round, Font got into a striking rhythm as Garbrandt went on the defensive.
The exchanges heated up early in round three, with each fighter landing some shots before Font pinned Garbrandt to the fence for a spell. The two separated with a little over two minutes to go, and again it was Font leading the dance. Garbrandt shot for a takedown but Font defended well before getting back to his striking against his bloodied foe.
Font had a dominant effort in the first fourth round of his career, as he kept backing Garbrandt up with little offense coming back at him. Garbrandt did begin the fifth with a sense of urgency and he clipped Font with some solid shots, showing that he was still dangerous and capable of turning the fight around. Font took the blows well, though, and he returned the favor with his own sharp punches. With two minutes left, a right hand from Garbrandt landed flush, but Font shook it off and went back to work with his own right.
Official result – Rob Font def. Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 48-47)