Scott Holtzman vs. Darrell Horcher first bout added to UFC Fight Night 123 in Fresno

UFC Fight Night 123 is beginning to take shape with the addition of its first bout: A lightweight contest between Scott Holtzman and Darrell Horcher.

Holtzman (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) both announced the matchup on social media (via Instagram):

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

UFC Fight Night 123 takes place Dec. 9 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. The event airs on FS1 following early prelims on UFC Fight Pass.

Holtzman will attempt to win consecutive fights under the UFC banner for the first time when he competes at UFC Fight Night 123. “Hot Sauce” has alternated wins and losses over his five-fight tenure with the promotion, with his most recent bout being a unanimous decision victory over Michael McBride at UFC Fight Night 108 in April.

Darrell Horcher

Horcher will make his third UFC appearance at the event. His UFC debut took place in April 2016, with “The Saint” accepting a short-notice bout with top lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. He suffered a second-round TKO loss in the fight, but things would get even worse from there, because Horcher was involved in a brutal motorcycle accident which nearly ended his career.

After making a miraculous recovery from his injuries, Horcher returned doc competition in June with a split-decision victory over Devin Powell at UFC Fight Night 112. He will now try to carry that momentum forward against Holtzman.

For more on UFC Fight Night 123, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 salaries: B.J. Penn earns highest purse despite tough loss

B.J. Penn took a loss at UFC Fight Night 112, but he earned the most money of any fighter on the card.

Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) earned $150,000 for his majority-decision defeat to Dennis Siever this past Sunday. Penn knocked down Siever (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC) in the second round and had a chance to come away with the win then and there. It was a close fight that, had it gone the other way, would’ve resulted in another $150,000 for Penn. Siever, fighting for the first time in two years, took home $39,000 for showing and earned another $39,000 for the win.

MMAjunkie today obtained the disclosed payouts from the Oklahoma State Athletic Commission, which oversaw UFC Fight Night 112 on Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla, which aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, Kevin Lee took home $44,000 for showing and another $44,000 for the win over Michael Chiesa. As previously reported, the submission victory also earned Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus, bringing his total earnings to $138,000. Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) earned $36,000 for the fight and lost out on another possible $36,000 thanks to the controversial finish.

Elsewhere on the main card, former champion Johny Hendricks earned $100,000 for showing and stood to earn another $100,000 for the win, which didn’t happen as Tom Boetsch finished him in the first round. Boetch earned $67,000 to show, $67,000 to win and also received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

Felice Herrig earned $25,000 for showing and another $25,000 winning. Her opponent, Justine Kish, took home $14,000 for showing.

For his UFC debut, Dominick Reyes earned $12,000 for showing and $12,000 for his impressive victory in addition to his $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus.

The total disclosed payout for UFC Fight Night 112 was $1,225,000.

The full list of UFC Fight Night 112 salaries included:

Kevin Lee: $88,000 (includes $44,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Chiesa $36,000

Tom Boetsch: $134,000 (includes $67,000 win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks $100,000

Felice Herrig: $50,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
def. Justine Kish $14,000

Dominick Reyes: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Joachim Christensen $16,000

Tim Means: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. Alex Garcia $31,000

Dennis Siever: $78,000 (includes $39,000 win bonus)
def. B.J. Penn: $150,000

Clay Guida: $110,000 (includes $55,000 win bonus)
def. Erik Koch: $24,000

Marvin Vettori: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Vitor Miranda: $18,000

Carla Esparza: $66,000 (includes $33,000 win bonus)
def. Maryna Moroz: $23,000

Darrell Horcher: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Devin Powell: $10,000

Jared Gordon: $20,000 (includes $10,000 win bonus)
def. Michel Quinones: $10,000

Tony Martin: $38,000 (includes $19,000 win bonus)
def. Johnny Case: $23,000

Jeremy Kimball: $24,000 (includes $12,000 win bonus)
def. Josh Stansbury: $12,000

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC-Oklahoma City's 10 memorable moments, with controversy and comebacks, good and bad

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The main event of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 fight card was supposed to set up the victor for a matchup against a top contender in the lightweight division. That could still happen – after all, Kevin Lee did earn a first-round submission win over Michael Chiesa, but the level of controversy surrounding the stoppage, and more precisely the man who made the call, referee Mario Yamasaki, might prevent Lee from getting that immediate jump up in competition.

The co-main event had no such drama. In that bout, Tim Boetsch put Johny Hendricks away with a head kick and punches, earning himself a TKO victory early in the second round.

UFC Fight Night 112 took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Here are 10 memorable moments from the event.

1. You got yourself a situation there, UFC

Before his bout against Chiesa, Lee claimed he was the better fighter in every respect. Controversial stoppage aside, Lee backed up those words at UFC Fight Night 112. Chiesa had opportunities early, missing a takedown and briefly working for a couple of submissions. However, Chiesa failed to stick any of his offense, and when Chiesa (14-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) gave up his back, Lee (16-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) took control, securing a body lock and a rear-naked choke.

Lee appeared to have the choke in deep, and as the clock ticked down, Yamasaki waved off the fight at the 4:37 mark of Round 1. The problem with that was Chiesa had not tapped nor lost consciousness, and Chiesa immediately protested the stoppage.

It was a messy ending to an important lightweight bout. While Lee, an honorable mention in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings before the fight, did get the win, the UFC has some thinking to do about what’s next for him and Chiesa, who was ranked No. 9 before his controversial defeat.

2. Everybody’s talkin’

Chiesa didn’t have much to say regarding Yamasaki during his time on the mic with UFC commentator Jon Anik, but during his backstage chat with the media, Chiesa was less reserved.

“This is the main event – that is JV bull(expletive),” Chiesa said. “That guy (Yamasaki) is too focused on being some kind of playboy in front of the cameras, making his little heart logos. Maybe he should go back and read the (expletive) rule book.”

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UFC President Dana White also got involved, taking to Instagram to let his feelings be known.

Instagram Photo

For his part, Lee didn’t see the issue.

“Mario’s a very experienced ref,” Lee said. “Mario saw it and stopped the fight. If he wouldn’t have, there was still 45 seconds left in the fight. I don’t see what the controversy is about. It wasn’t like I was going to let go.”

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Chiesa, Lee and White weren’t the only ones offering opinions on the stoppage, social media was alive with opinions following the bout.

3. Something has to change

If Hendricks plans to succeed at middleweight, he’s going to need to add to his arsenal – and make weight. After coming in two pounds heavy, the former welterweight champion was largely ineffective against Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC). “The Barbarian” used kicks to prevent Hendricks (18-7 MMA, 13-7 UFC) from setting up and landing his patented overhand left.

Not only did those kicks stop Hendricks from establishing his offense, but they also ended the fight. Early in Round 2, Boetsch stunned Hendricks with a head kick and then swarmed, finishing him with punches against the cage.

The “Performance of the Night”-winning stoppage earned Boetsch his third TKO win in his last four outings. As for Hendricks, not only has he missed weight three times in his last four fights, but he is 1-3 in those contests and 3-6 dating back to November 2013.

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4. Speaking up

Felice Herrig is on the best run of her UFC career. Her unanimous decision win over Justine Kish was her third straight victory and second straight win over a formerly undefeated opponent. Despite her winning streak, Herrig is feeling under-appreciated.

“Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I just feel like I’m not young and beautiful for the UFC to want to promote me,” she said. “It’s sad because I’ve really worked hard to be here. It’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through and just got to the UFC at the right time, and they’re now getting all these opportunities.

“I’ve seen how hard I’ve worked to get here, and it just doesn’t matter because I just feel I’m not pretty enough, and I’m not getting any younger.”

After her last win, Herrig (13-6 MMA, 4-1 UFC) called for a fight against either Michelle Waterson or Paige VanZant. She didn’t call out another fighter after defeating Kish (6-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC), but based on her winning streak, Herrig should get a top 15 strawweight opponent in her next outing.

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5. Remember, a sense of humor is important

Kish was close to being choked out by Herrig in the third round, but Kish fought through the choke, using muscle and force of will more than technique to break free from the submission hold. However, Kish paid a price for her efforts, something she acknowledged on social media following the fight.

6. A good June

Dominick Reyes has had a good month. On June 2, fighting for LFA, he delivered a highlight-reel knockout which earned him a short notice call up from the UFC. In his debut with the promotion, Reyes (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) wrapped things up quickly, blasting Joachim Christensen with a straight left that put Christensen (14-6 MMA, 1-3 UFC) on the mat, forcing the referee to wave off the fight 29 seconds into the first round.

Reyes absorbed just one strike during the light heavyweight fight while landing 13 of the 16 he threw.

As debuts go, things could not have gone much better for Reyes, who earned a “Performance of the Night” bonus for his efforts.

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7. Struggles continue

B.J. Penn almost had his first win since his November 2010 KO of Matt Hughes. Penn dropped Dennis Siver in the second round of their featherweight contest, but he was unable to get the finish, and instead of turning up the heat in the third round, Penn came out flat. Actually, flat might be too kind. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC) looked like he just wanted to survive the final five minutes of the fight, throwing a paltry 27 strikes to Siver’s 117 in the last round. In the end, Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC), fighting for the first time in two years, got the majority decision win, handing Penn his fifth straight defeat.

Before the fight, Penn told MMAjunkie, “We’re going to take this as far as it can go,” which leads to the question, has Penn reached the end of the line?

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8. Back on track

Where Penn struggled at UFC Fight Night 112, another long-tenured UFC combatant showed he has some fight left in him. Clay Guida, competing at lightweight for the first time in five years, earned a unanimous decision victory over Erik Koch.

Guida looked excellent in his return to 155. His cardio was off the charts as usual, and his striking and defense were impressive, but where he excelled was in his pressure and takedown game. Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) forced Koch (14-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) to the cage for a prolonged period in the first round and controlled the fight on the mat for most of the second and third round.

Guida was never close to getting a finish, but he looked good, and he should get a step up in completion in his next outing.

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9. A major comeback

Darrell Horcher’s run in the UFC has spanned 14 eventful months. In April 2016 he was called in on short notice duty to face Khabib Nurmagomedov. Unsurprisingly he lost that fight. One month later he was involved in a motorcycle accident which left him with a cringeworthy list of injuries.

Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) was told he would never fight again, but he did, earning a split decision over Devin Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) in a lightweight contest at UFC Fight Night 112.

“It was so emotional for me to get back,” Horcher told MMAjunkie. “I fought so hard to be here. It was a long year and what I’ve come from, most would people say a year is very short. And if you look at it on paper it is, but for me it was very hard. I pushed myself to do this, to come back, to get a win.”

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10. Give him a call

The one misstep Jared Gordon made in his UFC debut came on the scale, where he missed the featherweight limit by four pounds. Gordon is a well-rounded fighter who was comfortable wherever his fight went against Michel Quinones. On the feet Gordon (11-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was aggressive, using pressure to close distance and not allow Quinones (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) the space he needed to mount any offense. On the ground Gordon was just as good, coupling a heavy top game with effective ground strikes, which earned him the second-round TKO.

After the fight, the former Cage Fury champion, who has struggled with substance abuse issues, let fans know they could reach out to him if need be.

“If you have any problems or anything, you can contact me on Twitter, (or) Instagram and I will take my day to talk to you guys,” Gordon told Anik.

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For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC Fight Night 112, with Johnny Cash, Zeppelin, DMX

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While it take intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters of Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City, Okla., went with as their backing tracks.

* * * *

Kevin Lee def. Michael Chiesa via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 1, 4:37

Kevin Lee: “First Day Out” by Tee Grizzly

Michael Chiesa: “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent

Tim Boetsch def. Johny Hendricks via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:46

Tim Boetsch: “The Man Comes Around” by Johnny Cash

Johny Hendricks: “I’ll Sing About Mine” by Josh Abbott Band

Felice Herrig def. Justine Kish via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-27)

Felice Herrig: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey

Justine Kish: “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin

Dominick Reyes def. Joachim Christensen via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:29

Dominick Reyes: “Congratulations” by Post Malone feat. Quavo

Joachim Christensen: “Holy Moly” by J Mix feat. Hakeem

Tim Means def. Alex Garcia via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Tim Means: “Slipping” by DMX

Alex Garcia: “Banana Boat Song” by Harry Belafonte

Dennis Siver def. B.J. Penn via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-27)

Dennis Siver: “Last Resort” by Papa Roach

B.J. Penn: “Hawaii 78″/”E Ale E” by Israel Kamakawlwo’Ole

Clay Guida def. Erik Koch via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-26, 30-27)

Clay Guida: “Kickstart My Heart” by Motley Crue

Erik Koch: “C’Mon (Catch ‘Em By Surprise)” by Tiesto vs. Diplo

Marvin Vettori def. Vitor Miranda via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)

Marvin Vettori: “Falling Away From Me” by Marvin Vettori

Vitor Miranda: “Save Me” by Remy Zero

Carla Esparza def. Maryna Moroz via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)

Carla Esparza: “Bodies” by Drowning Pool

Maryna Moroz: “BomBom” by Macklemore & Ryan lewis feat. The Teaching

Darrell Horcher def. Devin Powell via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Darrell Horcher: “Miracle” by Nonpoint

Devin Powell: “We’re Alive” by Eyenine

Jared Gordon def. Michel Quinones via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:24

Jared Gordon: “Flash” by Queen

Michel Quinones: “Keep It Thoro” by Prodigy

Tony Martin def. Johnny Case via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Tony Martin: “The Last Breath” by Future

Johnny Case: “Soul to Squeeze” by Red Hot Chili Peppers

Jeremy Kimball def Josh Stansbury via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:21

Jeremy Kimball: “You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo

Josh Stansbury: “Many Men” by 50 Cent

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 winner Darrell Horcher discusses emotional comeback after near-death

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Darrell Horcher successfully returned to competition just 13 months after a gruesome motorcycle accident, defeating Devin Powell at UFC Fight Night 112.

Despite being thrown more than 100 feet and sustaining broken bones, ligament tears and internal injuries, Horcher’s (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) seemingly miraculous return to the octagon was an achievement in and of itself. The fight he capped it off – a the split decision win over Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) – was the icing on the cake.

At first doctor’s told Horcher he would never fight again. He proved them wrong, though, by beating Powell at Sunday’s event, which took place at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla.

“It was so emotional for me to get back,” Horcher told MMAjunkie. “I fought so hard to be here. It was a long year and what I’ve come from, most would people say a year is very short. And if you look at it on paper it is, but for me it was very hard. I pushed myself to do this, to come back, to get a win.”

Just one month before the accident, Horcher made his UFC debut. He stepped in on short notice against Khabib Nurmagomedov, the No. 2-ranked lightweight in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, and lost by second-round TKO.

Horcher was already overmatched, and the circumstances made his odds even worse. He had much more time to prepare ahead of UFC Fight Night 112, and he said the fact he came out on top was a redeeming moment.

“My goal was to get back here, to step in that octagon and get a W,” Horcher said. “I came up short in my debut, and, you know, you fight the No. 1 (contender) in the division on eight days’ notice, I lost 25 pounds in seven days. I came off the couch, I hadn’t trained in months. This was my real debut.”

After his career was nearly over and he was forced to sit on the sidelines for more than a year, it would come as no surprise if Horcher wanted a quick turnaround to make up for lost time. He said that’s not the case, though.

“I don’t feel like I have to fight quick, but I do want to fight before the end of the year,” Horcher said. “It was a stepping stone for me, a stepping stone to see how my body would react. My body did fine; I held up fine. Nerves killed my cardio a little bit. I have better cardio than I showed. I’ll heal up a little bit, and I’ll get back into training, and I just keep getting better. I’ve only been fighting for seven years.”

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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UFC Fight Night 112 Athlete Outfitting pay: Program payout total passes $13 million

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Fighters from Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 event took home UFC Athlete Outfitting pay, a program that launched after the UFC’s deal with Reebok, totaling $182,500.

UFC Fight Night 112 took place at Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. The main card aired on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

The third highest non-PPV event payout of the year saw four fighters earn a maximum non-title payout. Veterans Tim Boetsch (21-11 MMA, 12-10 UFC), Dennis Siver (23-11 MMA, 12-8 UFC), B.J. Penn (16-12-2 MMA, 12-11-2 UFC), and Clay Guida (33-17 MMA, 13-11 UFC) each took home $20,000 for making 21 or more appearances under the program structure.

The full UFC Fight Night 112 UFC Athlete Outfitting payouts included:

Kevin Lee: $10,000
def. Michael Chiesa: $5,000

Tim Boetsch: $20,000
def. Johny Hendricks: $15,000

Felice Herrig: $2,500
def. Justine Kish: $2,500

Dominick Reyes: $2,500
def. Joachim Christensen: $2,500

Tim Means: $10,000
def. Alex Garcia: $5,000

Dennis Siver: $20,000
def. B.J. Penn: $20,000

Clay Guida: $20,000
def. Erik Koch: $10,000

Marvin Vettori: $2,500
def. Vitor Miranda: $5,000

Carla Esparza: $2,500
def. Maryna Moroz: $2,500

Darrell Horcher: $2,500
def. Devin Powell: $2,500

Jared Gordon: $2,500
def. Michel Quinones: $2,500

Tony Martin: $5,000
def. Johnny Case: $5,000

Jeremy Kimball: $2,500
def. Josh Stansbury: $2,500

Under the UFC Athlete Outfitting program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-5 bouts receive $2,500 per appearance; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2017 UFC-Reebok sponsorship payouts:

Year-to-date total: $2,807,500
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $13,130,500

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

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Source: MMA Junkie

UFC Fight Night 112 results: Darrell Horcher earns first UFC win with decision vs. Devin Powell

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With a desperate choke attempt on Darrell Horcher in the waning minutes, Devin Powell nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

But the moment Horcher popped his head out of Powell’s grasp to complete a final takedown, the matter was effectively settled. Horcher would last until the final horn, and his reward was a split-decision victory that wasn’t as close as it looked on the scorecards.

The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 112 event at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Okla. It aired on FS2 following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FS1.

Horcher (13-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) took control of this fight early, thanks to the combination of his left hand when the fight stayed standing and his top control when it hit the mat. Despite giving up some range to the taller Powell (8-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC), he managed to mitigate the size difference by countering Powell’s lanky kicks with hard left hands, then smothering him from the top when the fight became more of a grappling match.

That was good enough to keep Horcher in control for much of the first two rounds, but Powell managed to make it close down the stretch. A Horcher takedown attempt in the third left his neck exposed just long enough for Powell to snatch a guillotine choke that he used to transition into an anaconda, forcing Horcher to roll to his back to defend.

With one last opportunity as the men scrambled to their feet, Powell put everything he had into one final standing guillotine choke as the clock wound down. But Horcher stayed calm and defended well, finishing a takedown and pulling his head free in the final minute.

That allowed Horcher to ride out the finish and put his faith in the judges, two of whom gave him the fight with scores of 29-28, resulting in the split-decision victory, despite one dissenting opinion that had it 29-28 for Powell.

The win is Horcher’s first in the UFC, giving him his first victory since a TKO loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov last April. Powell has now lost his only two fights in the UFC.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 112 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan contributed to this report on site in Oklahoma City.)

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Source: MMA Junkie

10 reasons to watch UFC Fight Night 112, with a main event that matters in the rankings

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If fans were looking for a little something to push Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 main event bout between Michael Chiesa and Kevin Lee into the red, the two fighters delivered at the UFC Summer Kickoff press conference in mid-May.

Lee, looking like he had raided Russell Westbrook’s closet and had his findings tailored on the way to the event, was in full trash-talk mode from the start. For the most part, Chiesa seemed amused by Lee’s antics, but that changed when Lee said he knew Chiesa’s mother had tickets to the event.

“Don’t you ever talk about my (expletive) mom, or I’m going to smack the (expletive) out of you right now,” Chiesa said before charging Lee.

The two met behind the podium with Lee throwing a right hand before the fighters could be separated and removed from the event by security. The only casualty during the confrontation was Lee’s $3,000 glasses.

As for the rest of the card, there’s a bit to get reacquainted with as several of the fighters, including Chiesa, are competing for the first time in more than a year.

UFC Fight Night 112 takes place Sunday at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City. The main card airs on FS1 following prelims on FS2 and UFC Fight Pass.

Here are 10 reasons to watch the event.

1. Time to make the jump

The top of the lightweight division features names like McGregor, Nurmagomedov, Ferguson, and Alvarez, but not too far beneath those combatants lurk the two fighters competing in the main event of UFC Fight Night 112. Chiesa (14-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) currently sits at No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA lightweight rankings, while Lee (15-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is a rankings honorable mention. A win here and the victor could join the aforementioned group at the top of the weight class.

Chiesa is currently on a three-fight winning streak, earning fight night bonuses in each of his last two outings, both submission wins. Lee’s winning streak is at four straight, three by stoppage, with one fight night bonus to his name during that stretch.

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2. The future is now

Former welterweight champion Johny Hendricks was in the doldrums. After twice missing weight and losing three straight fights, Hendricks was contemplating retirement before his middleweight debut against Hector Lombard in February.

A decision win over Lombard changed Hendricks’ attitude, and now he sounds downright giddy at his middleweight prospects.

What’s in store for Hendricks (18-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC) is Tim Boetsch (20-11 MMA, 11-10 UFC), a man who fought at light heavyweight as recently as January 2016 and whose last fight was a submission loss to Ronaldo Souza.

The Lombard bout felt like a test run for Hendricks. Now that he has a gauge on his cardio and striking in a heavier division, it’s time to see if he can up his game.

3. Feeling overlooked

Felice Herrig earned the biggest win of her UFC career in her last bout, earning an upset decision over previously unbeaten Alexa Grasso, who was the No. 6 ranked strawweight at the time. After the fight, Herrig said she hoped the “UFC would do the right thing” and give her the chance to fight Paige VanZant or Michelle Waterson.

Herrig didn’t get either of those fights. Instead, she faces another unbeaten opponent in Justine Kish, who is coming off a decision win over Ashley Yoder in December.

If Herrig (12-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC) can extend her winning streak to three straight by handing Kish (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) her first loss, expect Herrig to speak up about what she wants next.

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4. Hard act to follow

When Azamat Murzakanov was forced from his bout with Joachim Christensen (14-5 MMA, 1-2 UFC, the UFC gave Dominick Reyes (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) a call to step in as a late replacement.

You might not recognize Reyes’ name, but if you’re a fan of highlight-reel finishes, you saw the head-kick knockout he delivered at LFA 13 earlier this month. That knockout is going to be a hard act to follow.

Christensen enters the fight coming off a submission loss to Gadzhimurad Antigulov at UFC 211.

5. Making up for lost time

Things haven’t been easy for Tim Means. In February 2016 he was set to headline UFC Fight Night 83 vs. Donald Cerrone, but Means was pulled from the event due to a failed USADA drug test, which earned him a six-month suspension thanks to a tainted supplement. Since then, means has a TKO win, a no-contest vs. Alex Oliveira thanks to illegal knees and was submitted in their rematch.

Means (26-8-1 MMA, 8-5 UFC) looks to get back on track against Alex Garcia (14-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC), who is coming off a “Performance of the Night” bonus-winning knockout of Mike Pyle in December. This matchup has bonus-winning potential written all over it.

6. A legend tries again

It’s been more than six years since B.J. Penn’s hand was raised in victory. In his last four fights, Penn has been soundly defeated, losing two bouts by decision and two via TKO while being outstruck 597 to 227. Penn is on the kind of skid that would get almost any other fighter released from the UFC roster. The promotion is giving the former two-division champion at least one more chance to land in the win column, matching him up against Dennis Siver who has not fought since a June 2015 loss to Tatsuya Kawajiri.

With his struggles, it feels like Penn (16-11-2 MMA, 12-10-2 UFC) is looking to go out on a win. If he does manage to get the best of Siver (22-11 MMA, 11-8 UFC), it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him retire. On the other hand, with the resurgence of Hawaiian fighters in the UFC, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see Penn call for a fight in his home state.

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7. Giving lightweight another try

Not that long ago, Erik Koch was a top contender in the featherweight division. In 2012 the UFC attempted to book Koch against then-champion Jose Aldo, but injuries prevented either of those fights from taking place. Since then Koch has gone 2-3 and continued to struggle staying healthy. Koch last fought in May 2016, defeating Shane Campbell via second-round submission.

While Koch (14-4 MMA, 4-3 UFC) has been at lightweight for three fights now, his opponent, Clay Guida (32-17 MMA, 12-11 UFC), has not fought at that weight since dropping decisions to Benson Henderson in 2011 and Gray Maynard in 2012. Guida returns to 155 following a 3-4 run at featherweight.

8. Staying alive

In December 2014 Carla Esparza was on top of the strawweight division as the inaugural champion following a submission win over Rose Namajunas, and her future looked bright. She lost the title in her first defense, falling to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Since then, Esparza has had a rough go due to injury and facing tough financial times while she healed and waited for a fight. Esparza is 1-1 since her loss to Jedrzejczyk, most recently dropping a split decision to Randa Markos in February.

Esparza (11-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC), now ranked No. 5 in the division, faces No. 11 Maryna Moroz (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC). Moroz is coming off a split-decision win over Danielle Taylor last August. The winner of this fight will still be a long way away from a title shot, but they will remain in the mix, and that’s the important thing.

9. That wasn’t even fair

Darrell Horcher made his UFC debut on very short notice, facing No. 2 ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov in a catchweight contest. Not surprisingly, Nurmagomedov ran over Horcher, stopping him via TKO in the second round.

Horcher (12-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a former Cage Fury lightweight champion, who was on a five-fight winning streak before facing Nurmagomedov, gets another chance in the UFC, facing Devin Powell (8-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC), who is coming off a decision loss to Drakkar Klose in January.

Needless to say, this is a much better matchup for Horcher.

10. Four years in the making

Tony Martin has been pining for his chance to fight Johnny Case for the past four years and finally gets that chance.

“I just don’t like him,” Martin told MMAjunkie. “There’s nothing that I like about him. I’ve been trying to fight him for the last four years, and every single time there’s an excuse. He’s known that I’ve wanted to fight him.”

Martin is on the first two-fight winning streak of his UFC career, most recently defeating Alex White by decision in January. If Martin (11-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) can get a win over Case (22-5 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who saw a 12-fight winning streak come to a close after a March 2016 submission loss to Jake Matthews, he expects a big jump in competition later in 2017.

For more on UFC Fight Night 112, check out the UFC Rumorssection of the site.

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