Ole! It’s fight night in Mexico City tonight — with ZUFFA making its historic first trip south of the border for UFC 180 in Mexico City, Mexico.

Fittingly, the main event may be a bit of a bullfight, as knockout artist Mark Hunt faces jiu-jitsu standout Fabricio Werdum for the UFC interim UFC heavyweight title. Hunt looks beat the odds to complete what has been called the greatest Cinderella story in fight-sport history, while perennial contender Werdum looks to finally take home the championship gold which has eluded him in both PRIDE FC and UFC competition.

Backing up the main is a bout between two top-ten ranked welterweights, with Jake Ellenberger facing Kevin Gastelum. Also on the card is an interesting pairing from the women’s bantamweight division, as the hard-hitting Leslie Smith and a good all-around technician in Jessica Eye square off.

The rest of the card includes several members of the better-than-usual TUF: Mexico vs. Latin America cast, who will hopefully offer a solid bout or two as well.

The action starts at 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT with preliminary bouts on UFC Fight Pass, then continues with at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT with a two hour segment on Fox Sports 1. The Pay-Per-View main card begins at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT.

Join us for a full play-by-play account of the action beginning at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. Hit refresh often for the latest update. We’ll see you here!!!


Preliminary Card (broadcast on UFC Fight Pass):

Bantamweights: Marco Beltran defeated Marlon Vera by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Bantamweights: Henry Briones defeated Guido Cannetti by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:44 of round two.


Preliminary Card (to be televised on Fox Sports 1):

Featherweights: Gabriel Benitez vs. Humberto Brown

Mexico’s Benitez has spent a good deal of time with ATT and AKA. “Gato Negro” Brown, of Panama, is a former member of their national wrestling team. Benitez is listed as a -300 favorite.

Round One: Benitez looking for leg kicks, Brown shoots in and lifts Benitez. Benitez catches a guillotine mid-air and gets in tight! Brown pulls out after a long struggle. Benitez attacks again with guillotine in guard, but Brown again slips away. Good punch from Brown in Benitez’s guard. Benitez looking for armbar, then triangle. Benitez finally scrambles to his feet and gets a quick flying knee. Brown responds with a low knee, prompting referee Yamasaki to call a halt to the action. Benitez catches another guillotine which Brown slips out of. 10-9, Benitez.

Round Two: Brown lands a right in an exchange, Benitez a body kick-to-leftt hand combo. Benitez staying a little ahead, using his southpaw jab, until another low kick calls a halt to the action again. Yamasaki takes away “un punto” (“one point”). Benitez the much more fluid of the two, landing his jab and leg kicks on the restart. Brown looking for takedown, both fighters end up against the cage for a long sequence which goes nowhere. Yamasaki calls a restart and it’s more of the same until Brown hits a solid right hook. Brown shoots in again, to no avail and we end pressed against the cage with little happening. 10-9 Benitez.

Round Three: Nice kick to the head, then standing guillotine attack from Benitez — Brown falls backward, and Brown is asleep!!! Nice finish for Benitez.

Gabriel Benitez defeated Humberto Brown by technical submission (guillotine choke) at 0:30 of round three.

Some observers see a stain on the back of Brown’s trunks… leading to remarks like this, from BJJ standout Ryan Hall:

Women’s Bantamweights: Jessica Eye vs. Leslie Smith

Smith is 5’9″ to Eye’s 5’6″ and is known for her striking power. Smith is ranked 13th in the UFC, Eye #6. Eye is a -260 favorite, noted for good all around skills. Good match-up here.

Round One: Nice punch/kick combos from Eye, looking quick and fluid. Inside leg kicks are landing at will. Big right by Smith stops the onslaught, but Eye clearly the quicker. Eye with punch/kick combos, out-landing about three-to-one, bouncing in and out nicely. A counter right snaps Eye’s head back. Eye withrepeated leg kick. They exchange glancing hand combo’s, but Eye just a little more active. 1-2-3 combo opens a cut on Smith’s head (ear?). Eye looking better than I’ve ever seen her. Smith bleeding badly now. 10-9 Eye.

Round Three: Bizarre amount of time between rounds, at least two minutes total. Eye keeps letting her hands go and hitting leg kicks to end her combo’s. Smith walking into punches and eating leg kicks. Ear looks split in half now, as if a heard shot could tear it from her head. Ref calls it.

Eye marches around the cage yelling in Spanish, I’m not hurt and I can continue (“No me duele! Puedo continuar!”) with her ear almost off her head. What a bad ass.

Jessica Eye defeats Leslie Smith by TKO (injury stoppage) at 1:30 of round two.

Bantamweights: Alejandro Perez (135) vs. Jose Quinonez (135)

This is the TUF: Mexico vs. Latin America bantamweight final, and both are from Mexico. Perez is fighting out of AKA with his TUF coach Cain Velasquez. Quinonez trains with Alliance (commuting from Tijuana, from the sounds of it). Both are in their mid-20s. Quinonez is a -235 favorite.

Round One: Both guys looking for leg kicks at range. Quinonez reverses a takedown, and they scramble to their feet. Quinonez catches a kick and gets Perez down again, lands a knee to the head during the scramble. Perez lands several leg kicks as Quinonez darts around. Nice left hook from Quinonez. Big right and a leg kick from Perez. Another big right as Quinonez looks for his kick again. Perez out-landing down the stretch after a good start. 10-9 Perez.

Round Two: Nice left-right combo from Perez. Inside leg kicks from Perez. A leg kick drops Quinonez and Perez looks for the clinch. Good body kick from Perez, who really looks in control. Good left hook finally gets through for Quinonez. Inside leg kick from Perez. Perez shrugs off a Quinonez takedown attempt. Quinonez runs after Perez as they disengage. Perez missing haymakers. 10-9 Perez.

Round Three: Both guys bouncing around wildly. Perez gets the back standing and hits a nasty suplex. Perez looks for rear naked choke but no dice. Quinonez escapes an armbar and lands some big knees to the body in side control. Quinonez fails looking for an arm triangle. Quinonez with a flagrant head-butt!!!

John McCarthy deducts two points. Whoa!

On the restart, more of the same wild standup. Perez tries to go for a takedown, Quinonez looks for a guillotine. We run out of time on a weird round. 10-7 Perez.

Alejandro Perez defeats Jose Quinonez by unanimous decision (29-26, 28-27, 29-26).

That’s the bantam TUF: Latin America champion, the featherweights are next:

Featherweights: Yair Rodriguez (145) vs. Leonardo Morales (144)

Both guys are in their early 20’s, the Nicaraguan Morales is 5-0 and Mexico’s Rodriguez is 4-1.

Round One: Morales with a good body kick. They clinch, and Rodriguez with a great throw, right into full mount. Rodriguez takes the back, looking for the choke. Morales spins into his guard, and Rodriguez looks for armbar. Morales escapes and lands a kick to the leg. Rodriguez tries a heel hook. The action is stopped and they’re stood up — Morales grabbing the fence? On the restart, both guys exchange. Rodriguez is caught by a big left. Rodriguez looking for some big kicks. Right hook by Morales. Tough call, but I’ll go Rodriguez. 10-9, Rodriguez.

Round Two: After a quick punching exchange, Rodriguez looking for that throw again but Morales able to stay on his feet. Good double leg brings him down though. It’s a scramble up, and Morales goes down again as Rodriguez pushes forward. Morales in half guard. They scramble up, Rodriguez with a cartwheel kick, and then goes for a heel hook as they tumble backwards. Weird sequences here, Rodriguez keeps looking for submissions. Morales stands and hits a few heavy leg kicks. Rodriguez with an up-kick. 10-9, Rodriguez.

Round Three: Good leg kick from Morales, then a grazing head kick. A Morales kick lands in the groin, and the action is halted. Re-start, and both guys looking for kicks from the outside. Good round kick from Morales lands to the body. Rodriguez hits a groin kick and we stop again. Rodriguez looking for the takedown now, presses Morales to the cage. They disengage and Rodriguez bleeding over the right eye now. (A headbutt?) Morales glances a high kick. Flying knee from Rodriguez. Good hand combo from Morales. 10-9 Morales.

And… judges have it just like me!

Yair Rodriguez defeats Leonardo Morales by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Main Card (PPV):

Welterweights: Edgar Garcia (170) vs. Héctor Urbina (169)

Urbina is Mexico born, but never fought in Mexico; and is making his UFC debut. He holds a win over a young Tim Kennedy on his record. Garcia, born in Mexico but raised in Arizona, is making his UFC return (he fought for UFC in ’09, where he lost two bouts), and has won 7 of his last 8. Garcia is -210 favorite.

Round One: We start slow, just a few missed jabs and a hard leg kick by Urbina in the first minute. Garcia catches a kick and drags Urbina down. Garcia jumps into back mount, lands a few good punches. Garcia looking for the choke. Urbina rolls through to get in Garcia’s guard, then side control. Urbina looking for a guillotine in a scramble, then an Anaconda choke. Garcia rolls him forward and they stand against the cage. Crowd whistling, as this is all happening pretty slowly. Urbina attacks with another guillotine as Garcia looks for the takedown, and this time he gets it!

Héctor Urbina defeats Edgar Garcia by submission (guillotine) at 3:38 of round one.

Welterweights: Augusto Dodger Montano (169) vs. Chris Heatherly (170)

Montano is 30, on a four fight winning streak, and making his UFC debut. He’s a Mexico City native and says it’s his Mom’s birthday too. The American Heatherly is boo’ed on his arrival — he lost his UFC debut earlier this year. Montano, 6’1 to Heatherly’s 5’9″, is a -230 favorite.

Round One: Heatherly with a takedown, but Montano escapes. Montano bull rushes to get Heatherly to the cage, hits big punching combo’s. Heatherly circles away. Heatherly lands a big uppercut off a fake takedown. Heatherly pulls guard. Montano looking for an Anaconda choke off a scramble. Back up, Montano with big knees in the clinch and Heatherly is staggered… ref steps in after unanswered shots.

Augusto Dodger Montano defeated Chris Heatherly by TKO (punch, and knees to head and body) at 4:50 of round one.

Featherweights: Ricardo Lamas (145) vs. Dennis Bermudez (146)

Two guys  in the featherweight top ten. Bermudez (ranked 7th) has won his last seven bouts, and is a -200 favorite. Lamas, ranked fourth, has wins over the likes of Cub Swanson and lost a decision to Jose Aldo.

Round One: Lamas with leg kicks and an uppercut. Bermudez lands a right and looks for the clinch. Against the cage — and they break. Good leg kicks by Bermudez. Lamas push-kicks Bermudez to the mat and gets a headlock in transition. They clinch against the cage and Lamas with a knee to the body. Good right by Bermudez. Shotgun jab drops Bermudez! Lamas jumps in and catches a guillotine as he scrambles — and Bermudez rolls to his back and taps!!!

Ricardo Lamas defeats Dennis Bermudez by submission at 3:18 of round one.

Welterweights: Jake Ellenberger (171) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (170)

Co-Main on the way. Mexican-American Gastelum, the TUF 17 winner, is underdog to Ellenberger, a -165 favorite.

Round One:  Southpaw Gastelum advancing with straight punches, Ellenberger circling. Nice inside leg kick, straight left from Gastelum. Ellenberger with a crisp right. Gastelum glances a Superman punch and eats another right. Double leg takedown by Gastelum. Light punches from Gastelum in Ellenberger’s guard. Ellenberger scrambles up, eats a jab and a body kick. They clinch against the cage. Knees to the body from Gastelum as the pace slows. Ellenberger tries a suplex but Gastelum scrambles, gets his back, and takes a choke quickly — it’s over!!!

Impressive win… but my honest opinion:

Kelvin Gastelum defeats Jake Ellenberger by submission (rear naked choke) at 4:46 of round one.

Main event next:

Heavyweights: Mark Hunt (265) vs. Fabricio Werdum (265)

Round One: Both guys measuring each other at range. Inside leg kick from Hunt. 1-2 drops Werdum! Werdum back up. Hunt in center Octagon, hands low, shooting that jab. Back spin kick from Werdum glances. Werdum looking tentative though. Hunt with a takedown! Werdum in guard, tying Hunt up. Both guys looking for punches. Hunted landed a few as Werdum looks for wrist control. Hunt finally backs away. Werdum misses a high kick. Good solid uppercut from Hunt. Good left from Hunt. They clinch against the cage. Werdum with a high kick as time expires. 10-9, Hunt.

Round Two: Werdum looking a little lost. Hunt drops Werdum with another right! Werdum bounces right back up. Werdum with a body kick. Werdum misses with a spin kick and falls to the mat. Back up, Werdum lands a good jab. Hunt squashes a Werdum takedown. They disengage, and Hunt drops from a big knee to the chin! Whoa! Werdum pounces on Hunt for hammerfists in half guard… and he doesn’t defend! It’s all over!!!

Mark Hunt defeats Fabricio Werdum by TKO (punches) at 2:27 of round two.

Werdum is the UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion. He says he can’t wait to fight Velasquez, in either Brazil or Mexico. Me too.

That’s it for now. Thanks for joining us!!!