UFC 241 Prelims: Replacement Khama Worthy Upsets Former Training Partner Devonte Smith

By Brian Knapp Aug 17, 2019

The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 241 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.

The moment was not too big for Khama Worthy.

A short-notice substitution for Clay Collard, Worthy sprang a massive upset in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut, as he wiped out former training partner Devonte Smith with punches in the first round of their featured UFC 241 prelim on Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. As high as a -1200 favorite with some sportsbooks, Smith (10-2, 2-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:15 into Round 1.

The two lightweights circled each other for most of the match, seemingly tentative to engage. Worthy (15-6, 1-0 UFC) caught the Factory X representative moving forward, dropped him with a counter left hook behind the ear and pounded away with punches until referee Jason Herzog had seen enough.

Worthy, 32, will carry a six-fight winning streak into his next assignment.

Surging Sandhagen Outworks Assuncao

Elevation Fight Team standout Cory Sandhagen maintained his upward trajectory at 135 pounds, as he took a unanimous decision from Raphael Assuncao in a three-round bantamweight encounter. Sandhagen (12-1, 5-0 UFC) drew 30-27, 29-28 and 29-28 scores from the judges.

Assuncao (27-7, 11-4 UFC) had his moments but too often played into his opponent’s hands. Sandhagen threw more punches, incorporated kicks and landed with more regularity, all while holding his own in the grappling exchanges with a seasoned Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Assuncao made a final push at turning the tide late in Round 3 but failed to consolidate a slam takedown with anything of consequence.

Sandhagen, 27, has won seven fights in a row.

Klose Subdues Fatigued Giagos

Fight Ready export Drakkar Klose extended his run of consecutive victories to three with a unanimous decision over former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Christos Giagos in a three-round lightweight scrap. All three cageside judges arrived at the same verdict: 29-28 for Klose (11-1, 5-1 UFC).

Giagos (17-8, 3-4 UFC) capitalized on a slow start from his counterpart, staggered him with a left hook in the first round and nearly cinched a rear-naked choke in the second. However, his output zapped his energy and left him compromised in the latter stages of the fight. Klose stepped on the gas, wobbled the Californian with an uppercut in the middle stanza, tripped him to the floor and sent repeated hammerfists crashing into his face. He increased the pressure on Giagos down the stretch, executed a slam takedown and fired away with more punches from top position in the third round.

The loss closed the book on Giagos’ two-fight winning streak.

Related » UFC 241 Round-by-Round Scoring

Kenney Sinks Unbeaten Bermudez

Timely takedowns, well-executed positional advances and airtight submission defense carried former Tachi Palace Fights and Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Casey Kenney to a unanimous decision over Manny Bermudez in a three-round catchweight clash at 140 pounds. Kenney (13-1-1, 2-0 UFC) swept the scorecards with 29-28 marks across the board.

Bermudez (14-1, 3-1 UFC) seemed a step slow in the grappling and striking exchanges, often surrendering advantageous positions in favor of low-percentage submission attempts. He did his best work in the third round, where he paired power punches with forward pressure, executed a sweep off the fence after being taken down and threatened with a guillotine choke before climbing to full mount. Kenney kept fatigue at bay in the waning moments and rode the lead he built across the first 10 minutes to victory.

The 28-year-old Kenney has rattled off six straight wins.

Cifers Handles Reeling Esquibel

Titan Fighting Championships alum Hannah Cifers strengthened her foothold in the women’s strawweight division with a unanimous verdict over Jodie Esquibel in a three-round confrontation at 115 pounds. Scores were 30-28, 30-27 and 30-27, all for Cifers (10-3, 2-1 UFC) -- a winner in seven of her last eight outings.

Esquibel (6-6, 0-4 UFC) had too much swing and miss in her standup. Cifers pecked away leg and body kicks, right hands on the break and a few close-quarters knee strikes. More importantly, she stymied many of Esquibel’s takedown attempts, won the scrambles and occasionally threw up submissions. Cifers put her stamp on the victory with a surge late in the third round, as she connected with a body kick, punched in combination and delivered a series of knees to the body.

The 33-year-old Esquibel remains winless in four starts inside the Octagon.

Resilient Kang Edges Davis

Onetime Road Fighting Championship titleholder Kyung Ho Kong won for the fifth time in six appearances, as he eked out a split decision over Brandon Davis in a three-round battle at 135 pounds. All three judges scored it 29-28: Derek Cleary and Ron McCarthy for Kang, Luis Cobian for Davis.

Kang (16-8, 5-2 UFC) leaned on a sharp jab and the occasional overhand right, one of which floored the Dana White’s Contender Series graduate in the first round. Davis (10-7, 2-4 UFC) turned up the heat in the middle stanza, as he continued to tear into the Korean’s damaged lower lead leg with kicks, cut loose with punching combinations and pushed an aggressive pace. However, he squandered the momentum across the final five minutes, where Kang struck for multiple takedowns and applied a heavy top game to salt away a close decision.

Davis, 29, has dropped three of his last four fights.

Mazo Steamrolls Overmatched Dobson

Former Legacy Fighting Alliance champion Sabina Mazo rebounded from her first professional defeat, as she laid claim to a lopsided unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 26 alum Shana Dobson in a three-round women’s flyweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it for Mazo (7-1, 1-1 UFC): 30-24, 30-25 and 30-25.

Dobson (3-3, 1-2 UFC) could only survive. Mazo doubled over the Lloyd Irvin protégé with body blows in the first and third rounds, battered her in the clinch, executed opportunistic takedowns and piled up points with steady ground-and-pound. She achieved full mount inside the first minutes and appeared to be on the verge of a late stoppage in Round 3, where she buried repeated knees into Dobson’s knees, body and legs.

The 30-year-old Dobson has lost back-to-back bouts. Advertisement


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