UFC 266 Prelim Highlights: Merab Dvalishvili and Marlon Moraes Engage In Round Of The Year

The excellent UFC 266 prelim card delivered on the promise it showed on paper with multiple highlight reel finishes, and a round of the year contender in the main event. Check out those highlights and more after the jump.

Merab Dvalishvili def. Marlon Moraes via TKO (Ground and Pound) (Rd. 2 4:26)

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In an absolutely insane encounter, Marlon Moraes, and Merab Dvalishvili threw down and had the round of the year in the first round of their bout. Moraes rocked Dvalishvili numerous times around the mid-point of the first round, but Dvalishvili refused to go down, and it seems Moraes empied his gas tank looking for the finish. From then on, Dvalishvili controlled what remained of the fight from top position, and rained down an ungodly number of strikes before the finish was finally called. On the broadcast it was reported as 170 unanswered blows, before the fight was finally called. An utterly insane bout, that is an absolute must-see.

Dan Hooker def. Nasrat Haqperast via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)

In a fight that was threatened by travel concerns on both sides, Dan Hooker put on an absolute clinic against Nasrat Haqperast. Hooker started the fight out with consistent aggression and a variety striking approach that had him in a fairly comfortable lead, but the development of his wrestling game was the real revelation. Hooker showed off beautiful timing to secure takedowns and control the back half of the fight from top position. A fantastic performance from "The Hangman". In the post-fight interview, Hooker made a point of calling out Beneil Dariush.

Chris Daukaus def. Shamil Abdurakhimov via TKO (Punches) (Rd. 2 1:23)

Chris Daukaus put on a show knocking out Shamil Abdurakhimov not once but twice, and announcing himself as a rising contender in the heavyweight division. After a fairly slow start to the fight, Daukaus turned it up at the end of the first round, stunning (and seemingly putting out) Abdurakhimov only for him to be saved by the bell by the follow up ground and pound. In the second round, it was more of the same as Daukaus knocked down Abdurakhimov with a nearly identical left hook, and this time the follow up was too much. A great performance by Daukaus, who moves to 4-0 inside the octagon with only knockouts, he seems like a force to be reckoned with.

Talia Santos def. Roxanne Modaferri via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

In a one-sided beatdown, Talia Santos utilized a massive physical advantage to dispose of Womens MMA veteran Roxanne Modaferri. Santos looked incredibly powerful on her feet, and staid safe, and dealt heavy damage whenever the fight went to the ground. A very good performance by Santos, but the usual display of heart we've come to expect any time Modaferri gets in the ring. With this fight, the ultimate MMA underdog in Modaferri set the record for the most fights by a woman in MMA history, so at least she has that to hang her hat on, despite not getting the win.

Jalin Turner def. Uroš Medić via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) (Rd. 1 4:01)

In one of the highlight bouts on the undercard, two lanky southpaw lightweights met, and Jalin Turner looked incredible running over Serbia's Uroš Medić. Turner blitzed early on, repeatedly hurting Medić, and coming close to stopping the fight with strikes earlier in the round. However, late in the round with Medić attempting to survive on his back, Turner followed him down and easily secured the choke to get his second consecutive submission win. Turner is a name on the rise, and one to watch for the future.

Nick Maximov def. Cody Brundage via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

In a grinding, wrestling heavy fight, Nick Maximov controlled Cody Brundage on the ground for long stretches through a complex series of grappling maneuvers. Maximov's wrestling game looks to be incredibly legitimate, but the rest of his game is very raw and ugly, and will need to be developed if he hopes to move forward.

Matthew Semelsberger def. Martin Sano Jr. via Knockout (Punch) (Rd. 1 0:15)

Don't blink! Matthew Semelsberger scored the 25th quickest knockout in UFC history by putting Martin Sano to sleep with the second punch of the fight. Semelsberger set up the punch with a jab to the body, and shut out Sano's lights with a piston-like straight right hand down the pipe. Enjoy your 50 Gs, Mr. Semelsberger.

Jonathan Pearce def. Omar Morales via Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) (Rd. 2 3:31)

Jonathan Pearce struggled in the opening minutes with Omar Morales' counter-punching and footwork, getting hit with many clean shots. However, at the mid-point of the first round, he turned up the intensity and unleashed his wrestling game to change the fight. From that point forward, Pearce proceeded to ragdoll Morales for the remainder of the fight, scoring numerous rinse-and-repeat takedowns, and eventually finding the rear-naked choke to get the finish.

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