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Tim Means simply had more weapons at his disposal.
The former King of the Cage champion leaned on experience, superior cage craft and opportunistic standup techniques in capturing a unanimous decision from Laureano Staropoli in the featured UFC Fight Night 174 prelim on Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28, all for Means (30-12-1, 12-9 UFC).
Staropoli (9-3, 2-2 UFC) enjoyed success in spurts—he landed a few spinning elbows and a glancing wheel kick—but drifted off course in the second round. There, Means dropped him with a head kick, moved in for possible submission and then reset on the feet, the tide effectively turned. He engaged Staropoli at close range in Round 3 and steered clear of the obvious threats the Argentinian posed from a distance.
Surging Holland Snipes Buckley
Kevin Holland cut down Bellator MMA veteran Joaquin Buckley with a chopping right hand in the third round of their preliminary middleweight scrap. Unsuccessful in his Octagon debut, Buckley (10-3, 0-1 UFC) bowed out 32 seconds into Round 3.
Holland (18-5, 5-2 UFC) weathered a continuous stream of power punches, many of them to the body, and dragged the UFC rookie into deeper water. He floored Buckley in the first round, worked behind an effective jab in the second and clocked out in the third. There, Holland caught his counterpart leaning and uncorked a devastating right hand that put him on the canvas, sent his mouthpiece flying and prompted referee Mark Smith to intervene.
The 27-year-old Holland has posted a 5-1 record since he lost a unanimous decision to Thiago Santos in his UFC debut back in 2018.
Haqparast Handles Unbeaten Munoz
Crisp boxing and near-perfect takedown defense carried Tristar Gym export Nasrat Haqparast to a unanimous decision over the previously unbeaten Alex Munoz in a three-round undercard encounter at 155 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 30-27 for Haqparast (12-3, 4-2 UFC), who rebounded from his Jan. 18 knockout loss to Drew Dober.
Munoz (6-1, 0-1 UFC) delivered his only takedown inside the first 30 seconds. Haqparast returned to his feet, pressured the Californian with punches and wobbled him with a stiff right hand. Across the second and third rounds, the 24-year-old unleashed surgical punching combinations and penetrating jabs, all while sprawling out of attempted takedowns from Munoz, the gulf between them growing by the minute.
Haqparast has recorded four wins in his last five appearances.
Tristar’s Sanchez KOs Turman
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 23 winner Andrew Sanchez knocked out Wellington Turman with punches in the first round of their preliminary middleweight tilt. Turman (16-4, 1-2 UFC) met his end 4:14 into Round 1, and it was brutal.
Sanchez (12-5, 5-3 UFC) ate a few punches and a front kick to the face but remained composed, countered effectively and probed for openings. He leveled Turman with a jab-cross combination and separated the Brazilian from his senses with a burst of unabated hammerfists before referee Herb Dean could arrive on the scene.
The finish was the first for Sanchez in nearly five years.
Tucker Choke Submits Jaynes
Former Extreme Cage Combat champion Gavin Tucker submitted Justin Jaynes with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their undercard scrap at 145 pounds. Jaynes (16-5, 1-1 UFC) capitulated 1:43 into Round 3, his run of consecutive victories having concluded at five.
Tucker (12-1, 3-1 UFC) withstood significant adversity. Jaynes dropped him with a right uppercut in the first round, followed with punches and nearly finished it with a tight guillotine choke. Tucker seized control over the final 10 minutes, where he drowned the increasingly weary Xtreme Couture rep with volume. Punches, body kicks and standing elbows all connected. He staggered Jaynes with a knee strike in the third round, sprawled out of a takedown and scrambled to the back, where he secured his position with a body triangle and cinched the choke.
The 34-year-old Tucker has posted back-to-back wins, both by submission.
Ascending Zalal Dominates Barrett
Factory X prospect Youssef Zalal outstruck, outgrappled and outclassed Peter Barrett, as he laid claim to a one-sided unanimous decision over the Team Sityodtong product in a preliminary featherweight affair. A short-notice substitution for Steve Garcia, Zalal (10-2, 3-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 marks from the judges.
Barrett (11-4, 0-1 UFC) struggled in every phase. Zalal floored him with a spinning back kick to the face in the first round, followed up with punches and never looked back. The 23-year-old Moroccan turned to takedowns in the second and third rounds, moved to dominant positions—he advanced to the back on multiple occasions—and made more than one pass at a rear-naked choke.
Zalal has won four fights in a row.
Rivera Edges Newcomer AlQaisi
Former Titan Fighting Championships titleholder Irwin Rivera won for the fourth time in five outings, as he eked out a split decision over promotional newcomer Ali AlQaisi in a three-round undercard pairing at 135 pounds. All three judges scored it 29-28: Eric Colon and Junichiro Kamijo for Rivera, Dave Hagen for AlQaisi.
Rivera (10-5, 1-1 UFC) bloodied the Jordanian’s nose with repeated jabs, stonewalled the majority of his takedown attempts and remained composed when threatened with front chokes. The Sanford MMA rep stepped up his aggression in the third round, where he connected with double jabs, executed a takedown off a level change and cut AlQaisi (8-4, 0-1 UFC) near the right eye with a knee off the break.
The loss snapped AlQaisi’s five-fight winning streak.
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