Flyweight Cody Durden was paired up with “Mongolian Murderer” Qileng Aori on the UFC Vegas 43 preliminary card on Saturday.
Both fighters were looking to secure their first win inside the octagon, after stumbling out of the gate to start their run with the promotion. Durden has seen two fights end without a victory, with a draw in his debut and a tough submission loss to Jimmy Flick. Aori, meanwhile, lost his lone fight to Jeff Molina.
These flyweights came out swing, both with big heavy leg kicks. Durden commanded the middle of the octagon. After about a minute, Durden countered a little bit of Aori’s aggression with a takedown. He worked to his feet fast, but was retuned right to the mat. On the second effort, Durden settled in a bit better. With half the first round left, Aori got back up and immediately went to a flying knee. Another relentless takedown attempt briefly returned Aori to his seat. With both fighters looking fatigued from the grappling exchanges, they swung wildly to end the round.
Aori looked much more aggressive with his striking early and was immediately finding a home for some rights. Durden was also finding a home for his jab, but was paying for some naked leg kicks as well. Aori pinned the American to the cage and looked for a takedown of his own, but it appeared to be mostly perfunctory. A slip on a kick attempt from Durden put Aori on top for a moment, but Durden’s sweep attempts made him abandon any effort there. The swinging got wild again at the end and Aori seemed to be the beneficiary of the chaos.
More early success on the feet dotted the third for Aori. Durden did appear to find a second wind during the early parts of the third. Durden got in on at takedown about a minute and a half in. As he attempted to finish it, Jason Herzog had to swat Aori’s hand out of the cage a half dozen times. Durden still managed to get him down and worked from guard. Aori made his way back up to the feet, but then a body lock trip sent it right back to the mat. With about 90 seconds left, things work back to the feet. Aori briefly hits a throw, but Durden is right back up. They throw in exhausted fashion until 30 seconds are left and then Durden presses him against the cage for the end of the round.
Official Result: Cody Durden defeats Qileng Aori by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)