UFC Fight Night Raleigh went down on Saturday night, and the main event saw a new heavyweight title contender emerge as Curtis Blaydes of Elevation Fight Team finished the former heavyweight champion, Junior dos Santos, in the second round with a TKO finish from strikes. 

With the win, Blaydes picked up the 10th KO of his career and his 13th pro victory. The No. 3 ranked heavyweight in the UFC going into the bout, Blaydes made an impressive argument for a title shot in his next fight. Keep an eye out for what’s next from Curtis Blaydes.

On the prelims portion of the card Blaydes’ Elevation teammate, Darko Stosic lost a tough unanimous decision to the undefeated Jamahal Hill. With the loss, Stosic is now 1-3 in the UFC and 13-4 overall. 

Over on the Western Slope, King Of The Cage and Cage Wars hosted an event in Grand Junction. In the main event UFC veteran, Gina Mazany, defeated the hometown fighter, Val Barney, by first-round submission with a rear-naked choke. 

And in the co-main event, Josh Richardson defeated Devin Oldman with a 1st round submission by rear-naked choke after an early knockdown from a brutal head kick. 

Other notable wins on the night included:

Angelo Trujillo winning by first-round rear-naked choke, and Koa Rodriguez winning by first-round TKO.

Additionally, Myles Cumpston won by first-round rear-naked choke, Angel Diaz picked up a unanimous decision victory, Derek Rubalcaba won by first-round TKO, and Levi Garrick won by unanimous decision.

Sparta 79 also took place on Saturday night, and the main event provided us with an early Knock-Out and Fight Of The Year candidate.

Josh Atkinson of Trials MMA and Joey Garcia of Train Fight Win put on a show in the main event. Both men were ready for war, and the fight lived up to the main event billing in a back and forth scrap. Despite facing adversity early in the match, Atkinson was able to overcome the pressure from Garcia and finish the fight with a highlight reel head kick KO. With the win, Atkinson earned the Sparta amateur lightweight championship belt. 

In other notable performances on the night:

Mario Rodriguez of AFA boxing defeated Paul Mendoza of Fort Morgan Gladiators by rear-naked choke after knocking him down with strikes and engaging in a brief scramble. An impressive finish from Mario Rodriguez at 135 lbs.

Additionally, Ben Lugo of Top Notch MMA won his fight over Saber by rear-naked choke after a Saber takedown and back and forth grappling on the mat. 

Other results from the night include:

Timothy Salas won by 2nd round arm triangle submission, Namir Singleton of Victory MMA won by split decision, Colton Ingram of Top Notch MMA won by unanimous decision, Rasheed Smith of Trials MMA won by unanimous decision, William Martinez won a kickboxing match by split decision and Jack Losowicki of Victory MMA won his kickboxing match by 2nd round KO.

Locally, Anthony “LionHeart” Smith will get back to UFC action as the headlining main event in UFC Lincoln when he takes on Glover Texeria in a heavyweight clash in Nebraska on April 25th. 

Claire Guthrie of Elevation Fight Team will fight on the King Of Sparta lightweight card when she takes on Byelka “BamBam” Soto at 135lbs of February 28th.

In other fight news, Ian Heinisch of Factory X Muay Thai is spending time training in Thailand along with Nate Marquardt at Tiger Muay Thai, investing in his skills and career.

Byline: Colorado MMA News is your home for Colorado Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai, & Kickboxing news. Follow us on Instagram @ColoradoMMANews for fresh content daily and stay up to date with the local fight action.