With UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman in his corner, Dobson matched crazy right hands in a headliner against Hashem Arkhagha, who had four knockouts to his three heading into the Tuesday night event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. Arkhagha, who missed weight for the bout, left that first frenzied exchange backpedaling after taking a hard shot, and it wasn’t the last time he hit the canvas on a punch. With a flurry of ground and pound, Dobson didn’t even need hooks in to secure a rear-naked choke at the 4:21 mark of the opening round.
Morales breaks Veretennikov in second, now 11-0
After a big takedown in the second round, Michael Morales came alive, and Nikolay Veretennikov faded. Unanimous scorecards for Morales of 29-28 twice and 30-27 extended the Ecuadorean’s unbeaten record to 11-0.
Veretennikov spent the latter part of the middle frame on his back, and when he managed to get up, he ate punch after heavy punch. A desperation shot put him in top position, but only for a moment when Morales reversed position and pounded away with heavy shots.
In the final frame, Morales threw punches without much concern for the repercussions. Even when Veretennikov got a takedown off a brief lapse in defense from his opponent, he was unable to capitalize and again gave up the position. Morales, a martial artist with a judo background, executed one final slam of his opponent and made a solid argument for his UFC contract as a betting underdog.
Nguyen outclasses overmatched Rlayang
Steven Nguyen shrugged off the doldrums of a knockout loss in his first DWCS fight and outclassed Theo Rlayang over three rounds. A point deduction to Rlayang, who repeatedly flouted the rules by extending his fingers forward, extended Nguyen’s lead in 29-27, 29-27 and 30-26 scores.
The pattern of the fight was established early for Nguyen, whose disciplined striking repeatedly paid dividends against the wild-swinging Rlayang. Save for persistent leg kicks, Rlayang never overcame a sizable height and reach advantage and spent a lot of time at the end of Nguyen’s punches.
In the grappling department, things were more evenly matched, with Rlayang putting his opponent on the canvas. But Nguyen erased that setback in the third with his own shot and quick advance to mount position before closing things out.
Rodrigues explodes past Curatolo
The unpredictable, high-velocity attacks of Kleydson Rodrigues froze Santo Curatolo, leaving him unable to employ the boxing and wrestling that gave him the best chance to win.
If the martial arts weren’t mixed, Curatolo would have had better luck. When he locked his arms around Rodrigues in the second, he took his opponent for a ride. When he got in close, he landed heavy hooks. But at distance, it was all Rodrigues as the Brazilian battered Curatolo with all manner of kicks.
By the third round, Curatolo had been hobbled by inside leg kicks, and the final seconds of the fight were almost one-way traffic for Rodrigues, whose jump guillotine fail didn’t keep him from getting up and throttling his opponent against the fence. Unanimous 30-27 scorecards were a forgone conclusion.
Martinez rallies in three-round slugfest
As two-time DWCS vet Jacob Rosales faded courtesy of an obviously injured right arm, Victor Martinez surged with superior output and accuracy.
In a high punch-count fight, Martinez won unanimous 29-28 scorecards for a strong finish. Although he gave up takedowns early and was knocked down in the waning seconds of the first by a well-placed one-two, his left hook and persistent oblique kick were problems for Rosales. To punctuate his dominance, he nabbed a takedown late in the third after landing the harder punches in the final frame.
DWCS Season 5, Week 4 results:
AJ Dobson def. Hashem Arkhagha via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 1, 4:21
Michael Morales def. Nikolay Veretennikov via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Steven Nguyen def. Theo Rlayang via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)
Kleydson Rodrigues def. Santo Curatolo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Victor Martinez def. Jacob Rosales via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)