On Saturday, May 31, the UFC hosted UFC Fight Night 41: Munoz vs. Mousasi from the O2 World Arena in Berlin, Germany.

In the night’s main event, former NCAA wrestling champion Mark Munoz locked horns with former Strikeforce title holder Gegard Mousasi in a five-round, middleweight affair. Munoz looked to rebound from a devastating knockout loss to former UFC champion Lyoto Machida at UFC Fight Night 30 last October. Like Munoz, Mousasi was also coming off a defeat to Machida. However, Mousasi’s defeat came on the scorecards after five, hard-fought rounds at UFC Fight Night 36 in February.

Also on the main card, more 185-pound fighters were in action as France’s Francis Carmont clashed with Ultimate Fighter alum C.B. Dollaway, and another TUF product, Luke Barnatt, looked to remain undefeated as he took on fellow unbeaten Sean Strickland.

Rounding out the main card was a featherweight contest between Swedish newcomer Niklas Backstrom and Finland’s Tom Niinimaki.

The 10-fight event kicked off Saturday at 12 p.m. ET with six preliminary card bouts streaming live on UFC Fight Pass. The four-fight main card followed at 3 p.m. ET, also streaming on UFC Fight Pass.

Main Card

Gegard Mousasi found his form by completely dominating Mark Munoz and submitting him late in the first round. Mousasi started his stance crouched to avoid the wrestling of Munoz. Munoz got in and did elevate and slam Mousasi, but Mousasi was able to bounce back up. Munoz continued to shoot in for takedowns, but Mousasi met him with strikes every time. In one scramble Mousasi was able to advance to the mount. Munoz ended up giving his back and it was just a matter of time before Mousasi locked in the rear-naked choke and the bloodied Munoz tapped out.

C.B. Dollaway continued the best run of his career with a hard-fought decision victory over Francis Carmont. Early on it was the battle of leg kicks against body kicks. Dollaway landed some stiff low kicks and Carmont fired back with some hard shots to the body. The fight really turned in Dollaway’s favor when he dropped Carmont with a left hook. Dollaway followed up and stayed heavy on top. Carmont came back firing in the second with more kicks, but Dollaway was able to take down the larger man again. Dollaway wasn’t able to do much damage though as Carmont held on to a kimura grip for multiple minutes. In the third Dollaway went back to smothering his opponent. He held back control and peppered the TriStar product with punches until the final bell.

Sean Strickland stayed undefeated by squeaking out a somewhat controversial split decision victory over Luke Barnatt. Neither fighter seemed to really get their feet under them in this middleweight bout. Barnatt seemed to be the more aggressive fighter throughout, but he was never really able to land anything big on Strickland who used good movement. With Strickland getting the decision, it seemed the judges favored his counter striking and takedown to Barnatt’s aggression.

Sweden’s Niklas Backstrom made a flashy UFC debut, kicking off the main card by submitting Tom Niinimaki late in the first round. Niinimaki seemed determined to close the distance against the much taller fighter early. Niinimaki scored a takedown early in the fight. He controlled for a bit, but the Swede was able to get back to his feet. When he did, he landed an vicious knee that nearly put the native of Finland on dream street. It wasn’t long after that that Backstrom locked up a choke from a side headlock position and Niinimaki was forced to tap.

Preliminary Card

Nick Hein and Drew Dober put on a fight in the preliminary “main event” that was certainly worthy of that title. Both fighters came out winging power shots early and Dober was cut over the right eye from a Hein left hook. Not to be outdone, Dober made the German take notice by landing a flush left hook of his own. Hein showed his judo prowess in round one as well with two body-lock takedowns. In the second, Dober was aware of Hein’s power, but decided he was going to take the pressure to him. Dober was the aggressor throughout the second and even took Hein down and landed numerous elbows. Dober attempted the same game plan in the final round, but he didn’t find the same success. Hein opened up that cut once again and it seemed to have an effect on the accuracy of Dober’s strikes. Hein continued to be more accurate and powerful and he picked up a big win in front of his home country.

Iuri Alcantara continued his rise up the bantamweight ranks by barely even breaking a sweat against Vaughan Lee. Lee came out aggressive, but he was caught by an overhand left hook by the Brazilian. Alcantara pounced and the fight was over in less than thirty seconds.

Magnus Cedenbland pulled a buzzer-beating submission win over Krzysztof Jotko. The Swede took down Jotko twice in the opening round and used smothering top control to go up on the scorecards. Jotko certainly had much more success in the second round. He began to pick apart Cedenbland on the feet by closing the distance and landing powerful shots. Cedenbland was able to get it to the ground, but he was reversed going for an arm-triangle choke. Jotko was able to mount Cedenbland. Cedenbland gave up his back and just as it looked like Jotko might have a choke locked up, he reversed and ended up on top. With about ten seconds left Cedenbland decided to go all in on a guillotine choke. It looked like Jotko might survive, but he tapped right before the final bell sounded.

Peter Sobotta showcased his entire MMA game to get a win in his return to the UFC. Sobotta used improved striking to win the first round over newcomer, Pawel Pawlak. In the second and third he went to his bread and butter and took Pawlak to the ground and controlled the action. With the win Sobotta improved his unbeaten streak to seven since leaving the UFC four years ago.

Maximo Blanco and Andy Ogle kept the back-and-forth action going in the second fight of the night with Blanco ultimately earning the unanimous decision. Blanco started the fight off with a bang when he came out running and nailed Ogle with a jumping front kick. The kick dropped and bloodied up the mouth of Ogle. Ogle showed to be tough as nails and took Blanco’s back late in the round and got back control again for the majority of the second round, but he was never able to sneak an arm under the chin for a choke. The fight was up for grabs in the third and Blanco was the one who stepped up. He stayed composed and dominated the striking game while defending Ogle’s takedowns to lock up the “w” and likely salvage his UFC career.

The UFC finally infused some young talent into their heavyweight division in the “curtain jerker” of the night. Fans were certainly not disappointed by Ruslan Magomedov’s unanimous decision victory over Viktor Pesta. It was a back-and-forth contest throughout between the two UFC newcomers. Magomedov looked like he had Pesta on wobbly legs in the latter half of the first round, but he was met by a hard knee and taken down where he was nearly finished himself. Magomedov survived to get to the second round though. Magomedov seemed to improve as the fight went on and he used great kicks to the body and head with his lead leg to keep Pesta on his heels. The third was Magomedov’s best round and he prevented Pesta from bringing the fight to the ground entirely and secured the win.

FULL RESULTS
Gegard Mousasi def. Mark Munoz by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 3:57
C.B. Dollaway def. Francis Carmont by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Sean Strickland def. Luke Barnatt by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Niklas Backstrom def. Tom Niinimaki by submission (rear-naked choke). Round 1, 4:15
Nick Hein def. Drew Dober by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Magnus Cedenblad def. Krzysztof Jotko by submission (guillotine choke). Round 2, 4:59
Iuri Alcantara def. Vaughan Lee by TKO (punches). Round 1, 0:25
Peter Sobotta def. Pawel Pawlak by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Maximo Blanco def. Andy Ogle by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Ruslan Magomedov def. Viktor Pesta by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.