Decisions were the theme of UFC Fight Night 88 Sunday night, as the Octagon set up shop for a special Memorial Day Weekend card in Las Vegas.
After seven consecutive decisions, Cody Garbrandt sent fans home early and happy in the U.S., knocking out Thomas Almeida in a meeting of unbeaten bantamweights.
Garbrandt, who trains out of Team Alpha Male, landed early on the Brazilian and continued to apply pressure. As the first round started to wind down, he again found a home with his right, dropping Almeida to the canvas.
Jeremy Stephens earned his 12th Octagon victory, defeating former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao in Barao’s debut at featherweight. As he always does, Stephens was game throughout, landing with heavy strikes in the second and third rounds to gain the decision.
Veteran Rick Story returned from a 600-plus day layoff to best former Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine. Story, who holds a win over former UFC champion Johny Hendricks, doubled up Saffiedine in total strikes.
Chris Camozzi scored a third consecutive victory, besting Vitor Miranda. Camozzi has gone 3-1 since returning in 2015 to the UFC, falling only to Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza.
Once more, Jorge Masvidal was on the wrong end of a split decision, falling to Lorenz Larkin. Masvidal has now dropped three of his last four, with all three being split decisions. For Larkin, the win was his third in his last four.
Paul Felder began the main card with a decision victory over Josh Burkman. Felder defended several takedowns and controlled the latter stages of the contest, earning his second straight win after tough back-to-back defeats.
Former U.S. Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann likely kept her spot on the roster with a decision win over Jessica Eye. McMann used her wrestling skills to control the action, as Eye attempted just 20 total strikes through the first two rounds.
Abel Trujillo made a lifestyle change, becoming a vegan ahead of his bout with Jordan Rinaldi. It showed, as “Killa” had more energy in the third round and earned a decision win over the debuting Rinaldi, who replaced Carlos Diego Ferreira on short notice.
It was a memorable evening for Jake Collier, as he handed Alberto Uda his first pro loss with a perfectly-timed spinning attack. Collier connected in the second, picking up his 10th win.
Erik Koch earned a submission win in the televised opener, defeating Shane Campbell. Koch locked up a quick rear-naked choke to get the finish in the second round, improving to 15-5 in his career.
In the featured UFC Fight Pass bout, Bryan Caraway handed Aljamain Sterling his first pro loss, earning a split decision. Caraway, with girlfriend and UFC female bantamweight champion Miesha Tate in his corner, stormed back after a tough first round to control the second two and earn the win.
UFC newcomer Adam Milstead kept his finish streak intact, scoring a second round TKO over Chris De La Rocha to begin the night. Milstead improved to 8-1 in his career, with six of them being knockout wins.
Stephens and Barao were named “Fight of the Night,” while Garbrandt and Collier each picked up “Performance of the Night” bonuses. All four earned an additional $50,000.
Attendance inside Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas was announced at 5,193 with a live gate of $359,000.
Complete results can be found below:
Cody Garbrandt def. Thomas Almeida via KO (strike) at 2:53 of Round 1
Jeremy Stephens def. Renan Barao via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Rick Story def. Tarec Saffiedine via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Chris Camozzi def. Vitor Miranda via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Lorenz Larkin def. Jorge Masvidal via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Paul Felder def. Josh Burkman via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Sara McMann def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Abel Trujillo def. Jordan Rinaldi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jake Collier def. Alberto Uda via KO (spinning back-kick) at 1:06 of Round 2
Erik Koch def. Shane Campbell via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:02 of Round 2
Bryan Caraway def. Aljamain Sterling via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Adam Milstead def. Chris De La Rocha via TKO (strikes) at 4:01 of Round 2