Vannata (9-2-1 MMA, 1-2-1 UFC) had a point taken away in the first round when he threw an illegal knee against Green (23-8-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC). Each fighter took a 29-27 score, and a third judge scored the fight 28-28. Absent the point deduction for the illgal knee, Vannata would have walked away with a split decision win.
The lightweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC 216 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. It aired on FX following additional prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of a main card on pay-per-view.RelatedUFC 216 play-by-play and live results
Vannata pushed Green back early, then ducked under a Green left hand. The two tied up briefly, and when they broke it was Vannata who landed two heavy leg kicks, the second of which nearly took Green off his feet. After a brief clinch on the fence, where Green landed a solid elbow, Vannata landed a head kick.
Green survived it, but seconds later Vannata stunned Green and put him on the canvas. He went after him and landed ground-and-pound, but when Green tried to get up, with one of his kenes still grounded, Vannata threw a big knee. He knew immediately it was illegal and referee Herb Dean stopped the fight.
Although the replays showed the knee didn’t land flush, it still was an illegal strike, and Dean took a point. On the restart, Vannata went after a guillotine choke, but Green fought out of it and with 75 seconds left they went back to work in the center of the cage. Vannata attacked Green’s lead leg down the stretch, then got a late takedown. But the point deduction turned a 10-9 round for Vannata into a 9-9.
Green landed a good left hand early in the second, but it was Vannata who made it look a little easier finding homes for his strikes. Green stayed in the fight with counters, but Vannata’s right was more effective. Even though it didn’t seem Green was landing heavy shots, Vannata was wearing the damage on his face from Green’s jabs. Midway through, Green pushed Vannata to the fence, but Vannata shrugged him off and dropped him to the canvas. Green got up quickly, but a scramble moments later had Vannata ready to take advantage.
Back on the feet, Vannata landed a huge right hand, then stsarted pouring it on with Green’s hands down. With a minute left, they started slugging. Vannata landed a leg kick. Green landed a knee to the body. And they both were feeling the effects late in the frame.
The two kept trading in the third, and a takedown attempt from Vannata wasn’t there a minute in. Green made sure the cuts on Vannata’s face kept the blood flowing, touching him up just enough. Green caught Vannata a few more times midway through. But Vannata kept the offense flowing, as well. They slugged it out down the stretch, and it was Green who landed several huge combinations just before the horn. Vannata walked away still standing, but with the blood gushing.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 216 results include:
- Bobby Green vs. Lando Vannata declared split draw (29-27, 27-29, 28-28)
- Poliana Botelho def. Pearl Gonzalez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Matt Schnell def. Marco Beltran via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- John Moraga def. Magomed Bibulatov via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 1:38
- Brad Tavares def. Thales Leites via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
(MMAjunkie’s John Morgan and Simon Samano contributed to this report on site in Las Vegas.)
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