The Chartway Arena played host to UFC Norfolk on Saturday, a Fight Night event topped by a title scrap featuring Joseph Benavidez and Deiveson Figueiredo. On the opposite end of the card, opening up the affair were welterweights Ismail Naurdiev and Sean Brady. Austria’s Naurdiev was looking to make it two wins in a row inside the octagon, while Brady was a perfect 11-0 to start the night, having won his promotional debut against Court McGee back in October.
A strong Brady chant kicked off the card-opener, even as the arena was still filling up. Brady opened with a kick that came up short; Naurdiev pulled up on one, before they both traded leg kicks. Feints, circling, and kicks dotted the opening minute, before the Brady chants became even louder. Brady, opting to get his back off the cage for a moment, had a kick caught, but later caught one of his own. Neither man could land a takedown, but some dirty boxing in the clinch ensued before they opened up again. Brady would then snap off a kick that landed to the body; Naurdiev answered back in kind. The Austrian then moved in with a knee, and things picked up a little in the second half of the round. Naurdiev mixed up his kicks, low then high. Brady had his back on the fence again, circling. Another knee attempt by Naurdiev; some of his more grandiose attacks were coming close. Brady opted to hunt for a takedown, but wound up reversed against the cage in the closing seconds of the round.
While a Brady chant again greeted the welterweight pair to open round two, it was Naurdiev raising his arms to encourage the crowd. He connected with a front kick early; Brady fired back with a leg kick. Naurdiev flashed an uppercut and connected with a hook, only to eat a punch from Brady in response that certainly got the Austrian’s attention. Brady would change levels for a takedown along the fence, then take the back, putting his weight on his opponent and firing knees to the thigh. He finally forced Naurdiev down into a kneeling position, and try to sweep a leg out from under his opponent, who remaining planted in a three-point stance for a bit. This was looking to be a much better round for Sean Brady, who briefly had Naurdeiv in a front choke. Naurdiev managed to power his way up, however — only to be planted back down with a big double-leg takedown.
Brady moved to half-guard, working the body and head with punches while looking to pass. He’d finish the round in that position, and they’d head to a third.
Pace is picking up in the second 💥 #UFCNorfolk
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— UFC (@ufc) February 29, 2020
Round three started with Brady going after it on the feet. He’d add a few leg kicks, before connecting with his jab and cross in a quick combo. Naurdiev, going back to the well, came in with a knee once again, getting some air on it. But the end result was that he ended up on the ground, with Sean Brady on his back. Another takedown, at the midway point of the third, likely sealed the deal for Brady. A clearly tiring, frustrated Ismail Naurdiev was warned for grabbing the fence. The USA chants erupted, Brady worked to control his opponent’s back, and while he didn’t get the finish, it wasn’t for lack of effort. A late guillotine looked tight, but the bell would sound before the tap came.
Official Result: Sean Brady def. Ismail Naurdiev by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)