Movsar Evloev remains undefeated after a highly-contested decision over Arnold Allen at UFC 297. The two top-ranked featherweights put it all on the line, showcasing some truly special grappling abilities.
Evloev won by a hairline, hurting Allen late in the first round to steal the opening show, he then decisively took the second round before a rejuvenated Allen took the third. “Almighty” was stifled in the third round when he had Evloev shaken with knees to the top of the head, which referee Marc Goddard deemed illegal and paused the action.
Evloev extends his perfect run in the UFC, with eight victories and eight decisions. The Russian force looks forward to Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria at UFC 298, hoping to challenge the winner.
Allen won the striking exchanges in round one, sticking and moving with his long jab. “Almighty” stayed light on his feet, darting in and out of range to frustrate his Russian foe. Allen would narrowly escape some grappling exchanges but found himself on the wrong end of several throws from Evloev in the closing seconds of round one. Evloev impressed by keeping hold of Allen even after the Brit hit a Granby roll three times in a row.
“He’s trying to take his head off,” Daniel Cormier remarks as Allen narrowly misses a sweeping head kick. Seven minutes down in the fight and Evloev looks weathered, possibly reserving energy for his grappling — yes — Evloev secures a single-leg on Allen. Allen scrambles to the cage and Evloev applies his pressure. Allen escapes again but he’s starting to dip hard into Evloev’s takedown feints. The Russian tickles Allen’s chin with a flying knee after feinting a takedown. Evloev rocks Allen badly with a step-in jab, cutting his adversary on the cheekbone. A wounded Allen loses round two in the closing seconds.
Allen desperately swings hard in round three, connecting a 1-2-1 on Evloev’s chin. Both fighters are cautious, knowing this round could decide the fight. Evloev attempts a takedown and Allen holds him in a modified front headlock, launching knees into the top of his head. The referee intervenes, although the knees were completely by the book. Evloev is bleeding badly, but he’s getting the rest he needs in this break. Allen gets a hard warning. The fight resumes.
A rejuvenated Allen hunts the finish. Allen denies a takedown… and another. Allen narrowly avoids another jumping knee. Evloev eats a hard body shot but remains unphased. Evloev tries to snatch a single leg but Allen puts him in a tight ninja choke. The Russian is too savvy, rolling out. They scramble, and Evloev takes Allen’s back. Allen frustratingly launches elbows over his side, cracking Evloev hard. The two break as the final clacker sounds, Allen closes the final round out strong. Both fighters are bloodied, it’s a close one.
Movsar Evloev wins by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mathew is a UK-based combat sports journalist. He currently works for MMA Knockout, part of the Sports Illustrated FanNation network. The Fight Fanatic is Mathew’s one-man operation. His past bylines include Heavy on UFC, Sportskeeda, and MMA UK.
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