UFC 220 kicks off on Fight Pass with a pair of contests that will hopefully set the stage for the rest of the night.
Before Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic settle who is the baddest man on the planet in the main event of UFC 220, lightweight and featherweight action will take place on Fight Pass.
Islam Makhachev will welcome Gleison Tibau back to the Octagon after the latter served a USADA suspension. In the featured Fight Pass prelim, Matt Bessette gets a shot at the UFC after his loss on the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series was overturned. He’ll be met by TUF Latin America winner Enrique Barzola.
Matt Bessette is filling in for Arnold Allen, who had visa issues that kept him from arriving in Boston. Bessette had a very solid run in Bellator, owning a 7-2 record in their cage with a win over UFC veteran Diego Nunes. Bessette was on a seven-fight win streak when he was invited to the Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series, and was also the owner of the CES MMA featherweight title. Bessette was knocked out quickly, but his opponent was found to have rehydrated with an IV, overturning the loss.
Enrique Barzola was dominant on TUF: Latin America 2, going 2-0 with a first-round submission. Barzola improved his record to 11-2-1 by winning the TUF title for that season, but could not follow it up, losing a very controversial decision to Kyle Bochniak. Since then, Barzola is 2-0.
Islam Makhachev was dominant on the Russian circuit, going 11-0 with five submissions. Makhachev made a big splash in the Octagon with a dominant performance and submission over Leo Kuntz. After dropping his next fight, Makhachev has established a two-fight win streak, most recently defeating Nik Lentz.
Gleison Tibau has been around the block, stepping into the Octagon 26 times in his career. He last fought in 2015, defeating Abel Trujillo by submission but then having his win overturned after testing positive for a banned substance. Tibau has served his sentence and looks to get back to his winning ways at UFC 220.
Gleison Tibau vs. Islam Makhachev
Islam Makhachev started things off with a front kick that was just short. Makhachev was flaring kicks, then Makhachev landed a beautiful left hand over the top that knocked down the veteran Tibau. Makhachev followed him down and landed another big shot that ended the contest.
Islam Makhachev def. Gleison Tibau by KO (Punch) in Round 1 (0:57)
Matt Bessette vs. Enrique Barzola
Matt Bessette took control of the center of the Octagon and began throwing many feints. Barzola got a bit comfortable on the backfoot, and landed a body kick and a few leg kicks.
Bessette connected with a head kick but Barzola had his arm in place to cushion the blow. Barzola went high with a kick and followed up with a few punches but nothing came of it. Bessette landed a body kick and Barzola was stopped in his tracks. Bessette landed a few punches on the pursuit.
Barzola broke free and both fighters took turns landing high kick combinations. With about a minute left, Barzola finally imposed his will and slammed Bessette to the canvas. Solid ground and pound followed, but Bessette threatened with leg locks, forcing Barzola to stand. Barzola failed with his second takedown attempt and the fighters exchanged some strikes, with Bessette landing a right hand in the process, to end the round.
Matt Bessette put Barzola on the backfoot to start the round. Bessette landed a combination that forced Barzola to get away from the cage. A big leg kick landed for Barzola that stumbled Bessette. Bessette was not slowed, as he pushed forward and landed more combinations.
Barzola tried to change his fate with a takedown, but Bessette stayed on his feet. Barzola did not give up, clinching with Bessette again and landing another takedown. Barzola landed some solid ground and pound, but Bessette forced him up with some leg lock attempts. Barzola was able to land two more takedowns to close out the second round.
Like clockwork, Barzola was forced backward to start the round. Barzola quickly changed the momentum and began pushing forward himself, landing solid combinations. A takedown from Barzola secured the final round in all likelihood. Bessette used his rubber guard to stand up and went for it, but could not put anything significant together.
Enrique Barzola def. Matt Bessette by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)