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UFC 257 live blog: Makhmud Muradov vs. Andrew Sanchez

UFC 257 Poirier v McGregor: Weigh-Ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

This is the UFC 257 live blog for Makhmud Muradov vs. Andrew Sanchez, a middleweight main card bout on Saturday’s fight card at Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.

Sanchez most recently appeared in the octagon in August at UFC Vegas 6, where he knocked out Wellington Turman to rebound from a decision loss to Marvin Vettori at UFC Tampa in October 2019. Muradov returns after a spate of cancelled bouts during the coronavirus pandemic; he most recently appeared in December 2019 when he stopped Trevor Smith in the third round for his second UFC win.

Check out the UFC 257 live blog below.

Round 1: Jason Herzog is the third man in the cage for this middleweight bout. Muradov takes the center of the cage early and both men are feinting a lot to start. Now Sanchez is the one coming forward but no one is landing much. After a minute in, Sanchez finally goes for a takedown but Muradov sees it coming and defends well.

Muradov now feeling a little more confident and throwing more volume and Sanchez isn’t shying away from trading hands. Still though, neither man has landed much other than some low kicks from Muradov. Now Muradov surges forward behind some heavy strikes and clinches Sanchez against the fence. Shoulder strikes from Muradov but he backs out and Sanchez is coming forward again.

Muradov has now started to land the lead calf kick more often and that’s the best weapon of the fight by far. Sanchez is working behind a jab but he’s still not landing anything substantial and Muradov is occasionally landing some decent strikes. Sanchez lands a good right as Muradov steps in but Muradov eats it well. Now Muradov grabs a snatch single and drives Sanchez back but abandons it quickly. Back in space and Sanchez lands a good counter as Muradov steps in that stops Muradov in his tracks. Another single-leg from Muradov and again he bails on it quickly but he’s giving Sanchez something to think about.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Muradov

Round 2: Round 2 starts with Sanchez once again in pursuit and Muradov on his bike. Sanchez is able to back Muradov to the fence and lands a good right hand. When he can make this fight ugly, that’s when Sanchez is scoring. Meanwhile Muradov is mixing his targets up well. A low blow lands from Sanchez though and causes a break in the action.

After a minute of respite, we’re back and Sanchez is much more confident in pressuring this round. He’s got Muradov against the fence and Sanchez shoots a double. Muradov defends and now Sanchez is just in a clinch and Muradov quickly pivots out and back to space. Sanchez still in pursuit though and he’s landing his jab much better this round. Muradov may be sensing Sanchez’s confidence growing because now he’s moving forward. Muradov is missing with a lot of big shots and it’s possible that’s tiring him out. His pace has certailny slowed this round and he’s gotten away from the calf kicks.

Sanchez once again pressuring and now he’s throwing in combination a little more. Muradov lands a good left-right combo that is his best effort of the round. This is a competitive fight. Sanchez just outworking Muradov right now as Muradov narrowly misses a high kick. And still the jab is pumping from Sanchez. With 10 seconds left in the round, Muradov goes for a flying knee the misses but lands a stinging right hand behind it. Sanchez felt that one and backs up and eats another shot for his trouble.

MMAFighting scores the round 10-9 Sanchez, 19-19 overall.

Round 3: Sanchez opens Round 3 with a high kick that gets blocked. Muradov is rejuvenated right now though and he’s coming out with a fervor. Muradov lands a right hand that seems to hurt Sanchez and he’s coming forward now. Sanchez moves away and he’s still got clear eyes. Now Sanchez is on the offensive but Muradov is looking to counter and work the body. Big uppercut lands for Muradov and a body shot.

Sanchez isn’t cowed though and he lands a good right of his own while marching forward. A lot more trading in this round than in the previous two and Muradov lands a good right hand at the end of a combo. For Muradov it’s been the right hook and for Sanchez is;t been the straight right.

Muradov lands a huge right hook! He’s been throwing it all night and Sanchez isn’t able to evade this one. Sanchez is in retreat and on skates! Muradov throws a flying knee that lands as well! Sanchez is backed up to the fence and Muradov is unloading on him! Herzog is taking a close look and stops it with Sanchez standing!

OFFICIAL DECISON: Makhmud Muradov stops Andrew Sanchez with punches 2:59 of Round 3.

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