UFC on ESPN+ 10 rookie report: Grading the newcomers in Rochester

Fighters from around the globe dream of the day they’ll step into the UFC octagon for the first time. For five athletes, Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 10 event marked that special moment in their career.

Check out this week’s rookie report to see what kind of first impression those fighters made on the sport’s biggest stage from Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.

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Michel Pereira

Michel Pereira and Danny Roberts

Division: Welterweight
Result: Michel Pereira def. Danny Roberts via knockout (flying knee, punch) – Round 1, 1:47
Record: (23-9 MMA, 1-0 UFC)
Grade: A+

Talk about a first impression.

Michel Pereira made an impact before he ever set foot in the cage, fighting back tears in one of the more emotional walks you’ll ever witness. Moments later, Pereira was showing off a few breakdancing moves while he as introduced by Joe Martinez. Of course, there was still the small matter of a fight.

Pereira impressed there, as well.

In less than two minutes of cage time, Pereira showed off the flash that has become his hallmark. Rolling thunder? Check. Bit of capoeira dancing? Check. Jumping off the cage? Did that twice, bro.

But it wasn’t just the flash that impressed, it was the substance of the finish that ultimately ended up winning Pereira a “Performance of the Night” bonus. A leaping knee landed clean, and then Pereira fired a devastating straight right to finish off his wounded prey. It was jaw-dropping, even without anything that had happened up that moment. It was, in a word, spectacular. Pay attention when this man steps in the cage.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay: dos Anjos doubles up on Lee

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Fighters from Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 10 event took home event took home UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance pay totaling $194,000.

The program, a comprehensive plan that includes outfitting requirements, media obligations and other items under the fighter code of conduct, replaces the previous payments made under the UFC Athlete Outfitting Policy.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 took place at Blue Cross Arena. The entire card streamed on ESPN+.

The full UFC on ESPN+ 10 UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance payouts included:

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Rafael dos Anjos: $20,000
def. Kevin Lee: $10,000

Ian Heinisch: $3,500
def. Antonio Carlos Junior: $10,000

Felicia Spencer: $3,500
def. Megan Anderson: $3,500

Vicente Luque: $10,000
def. Derrick Krantz: $3,500

Charles Oliveira: $20,000
def. Nik Lentz: $20,000

Davi Ramos: $4,000
def. Austin Hubbard: $3,500

Aspen Ladd: $3,500
def. Sijara Eubanks: $3,500

Desmond Green: $5,000
def. Charles Jourdain: $3,500

Michel Pereira: $3,500
def. Danny Roberts: $5,000

Grant Dawson: $3,500
def. Mike Trizano: $3,500

Ed Herman: $20,000
def. Patrick Cummins: $10,000

Zak Cummings: $10,000
def. Trevin Giles: $3,500

Julio Arce: $4,000
def. Julian Erosa: $4,000

Under the UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance program’s payout tiers, which appropriate the money generated by Reebok’s multi-year sponsorship with the UFC, fighters are paid based on their total number of UFC bouts, as well as Zuffa-era WEC fights (January 2007 and later) and Zuffa-era Strikeforce bouts (April 2011 and later). Fighters with 1-3 bouts receive $3,500 per appearance; 4-5 bouts get $4,000; 6-10 bouts get $5,000; 11-15 bouts earn $10,000; 16-20 bouts pocket $15,000; and 21 bouts and more get $20,000. Additionally, champions earn $40,000 while title challengers get $30,000.

In addition to experience-based pay, UFC fighters will receive in perpetuity royalty payments amounting to 20-30 percent of any UFC merchandise sold that bears their likeness, according to officials.

Full 2019 UFC Promotional Guidelines Compliance payouts:

Year-to-date total: $2,836,000
2018 total: $6,901,000
2017 total: $6,295,000
2016 total: $7,138,000
2015 total: $3,185,000
Program-to-date total: $26,470,000

For complete coverage of UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Events section of the site.

Fight Tracks: The walkout songs of UFC on ESPN+ 10, with much love for hurricane songs

While it takes intense training, world-class skills and maybe even a bit of luck to register a UFC win, picking the right song to accompany you to the cage is a key talent, as well.

See what the fighters from UFC on ESPN+ 10 went with as their backing tracks in Rochester, N.Y.

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8 burning questions heading into UFC on ESPN+ 10

The UFC is in Rochester, N.Y. for the first time in promotional history for Saturday’s UFC on ESPN+ 10 card.

In the headlining bout, former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, who made the move up to welterweight in 2017, welcomes former interim lightweight title challenger Kevin Lee to the 170-pound division. And in the co-headliner, Ian Heinisch, who has just one UFC bout to his name, looks to make a big jump up in the middleweight division against dangerous submission artist Antonio Carlos Junior.

The event also features a matchup of former Invicta FC champions, as well as a rare non-title trilogy bout.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 takes place at Blue Cross Arena. The card streams entirely on ESPN+. Here are eight burning questions heading into it.

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1. Will Kevin Lee be able to reboot at welterweight?

Lee has long been a proponent of the UFC adding a 165-pound weight class. However, with UFC president Dana White saying that won’t happen, Lee is moving up to 170 to fight dos Anjos after a history of struggling to make 155. That includes missing weight before an April 2018 win over Edson Barboza.

For Lee (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), this is the kind of fight that could reboot his career. At 26, he’s still young enough to make a run (or two) at the 170-pound title. The first step toward that goal is to get by Dos Anjos, who’s ranked No. 9 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie welterweight rankings.

Lee needs to approach this matchup against his 34-year-old opponent like it’s his UFC debut. Without the dehydration related to his past weight cuts, Lee should be able to gauge his cardio better and also think more clearly inside the cage. If he does emerge victorious, he instantly becomes a player at 170.

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Charles Jourdain hopes to use Desmond Green’s hometown status against him

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Charles Jourdain comes into his UFC debut with finishes in all nine of his pro MMA victories.

His opponent Saturday night at UFC on ESPN+ 10, Desmond Green, has 16 career decision wins, and only one stoppage victory in the UFC: his TKO of Ross Pearson on March 30.

So that implies Green, a former collegiate wrestler, might try to take Jourdain down and impose his will that way.

But Jourdain has a hunch that’s not how it will go down.

Green, after all, is fighting in front of his hometown fans at UFC on ESPN+ 10, and he hopes the adrenaline – and the pressure to put on a show – will compel Green to enter the type of firefight which Jourdain prefers in their lightweight matchup.

“I think going the distance, he can outscore me because of the takedowns, because the way he’s fighting, he hits you, and then backs up, and when you get frustrated or you’re trying to get him, he’s taking you down then holding you,” Jourdain said. “His only finish was against Ross Pearson, and that’s great because I think it’s going to give him some fire to try to finish me.”

“He’s in his backyard. He’s going to have some pressure to put on show, so I don’t think it’s going to be like a ‘take you down, hold you down, win the round, get back and do the same’ thing. I think he’s going to try to finish me.”

And if that occurs, Jourdain believes he’ll be ready to show the rest of the world what fans in his hometown of Montreal already know: He’s a guy who likes to finish fights. 

“If he tries to put on a show too much, I can show him why I have nine finishes,” Jourdain said.”

For more from Charles Jourdain, check out the video above.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 takes place at Blue Cross Arena. The card streams on ESPN+.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

Don’t bug Charles Jourdain during ‘Game of Thrones’ … unless you’re offering a UFC fight

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Charles Jourdain was trying to ignore his phone. “Game of Thrones” was on, after all.

But it was his manager, Stephan Patry, and he wouldn’t stop calling and texting. So, an annoyed Jourdain (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) finally answered, and he found out Patry was calling during Jourdain’s favorite show for a very good reason.

“I was watching ‘Game of Thrones’ and Stephan Patry texted me and said, ‘Pick up your phone’ and I said, ‘Dude I’m watching Game of Thrones,’” The Montreal native told MMA Junkie on Wednesday. “So I answered and he said, ‘Do you want to fight in the UFC against Desmond Green at 155? I know it’s not your weight class, but that’s your shot, that’s your opportunity. Do you want it?”

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For that opportunity, Jourdain wasn’t about to say no. He had become a champ-champ of sorts, winning the featherweight and interim featherweight titles in the TKO promotion, and not even the prospect of facing Green (22-8 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in the latter’s hometown was going to keep him out of the fight.

“This is going to be my 11th fight in three years,” the 23-year-old Jourdain said. “So I’m a very active person, I’m not going to do this sport all my life. I know there are a few guys who went too long. I don’t want to be this type of guy, so I want to take as much fight as I can, felt healthy, keep it simple, and there you go.”

Jourdain has fought most of his bouts at featherweight and weighed 153 pounds when he got the call, but he insists a potential size differential won’t be an issue.

“When I heard the news I was fighting Desmond, I weighed 153,” Jourdain said. “I’m a small guy, I like to keep it simply, I don’t like to be overweight. I like to stay in shape, not a lot of fat, a lot of muscle mass. This fight, of course, I’m going to be very small.”

UFC on ESPN+ 10 takes place Saturday at Blue Cross Arena. The card streams on ESPN+.

For more from Jourdain, click on the video above.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC on ESPN+ 10 pre-event facts: Charles Oliveira, Nik Lentz meet in rare non-title trilogy

The UFC makes its debut in another New York city on Saturday with UFC on ESPN+ 10, which goes down at Blue Cross Arena in Rochester and streams on ESPN+.

In the main event, former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos (28-11 MMA, 17-9 UFC) looks to snap a two-fight losing skid and make a new run toward the welterweight title when he takes on Kevin Lee (17-4 MMA, 10-4 UFC), who moves up from the lightweight division to 170 pounds for the first time in his career.

Aside from the headliner, there are number of another compelling matchups on the card including several fighters who are on a roll. For more behind the numbers, check below for 65 pre-event facts about UFC on ESPN+ 10.

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Main event

Dos Anjos is the only Brazilian lightweight champion in UFC history.

Dos Anjos is 3-2 since he moved up to the UFC welterweight division in June 2017.

Dos Anjos enters the event on the third two-fight losing skid of his career. He has never lost three consecutive bouts.

Dos Anjos’ average fight time of 18:45 in UFC welterweight competition is the longest in divisional history.

Dos Anjos’ 17 UFC victories are tied for ninth most in company history. Donald Cerrone holds the all-time record with 23.

Dos Anjos lands 55.9 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC welterweight competition, the second best rate in divisional history behind Vicente Luque (57.3 percent).

Dos Anjos became just the second fighter in history to challenge for a UFC title and win a 50-45 decision on all three judges’ scorecards when he beat Anthony Pettis at UFC 185. Randy Couture also accomplished the feat against Tim Sylvia at UFC 68.

Dos Anjos’ 66-second victory over Cerrone at UFC on FOX 17 marked the fastest stoppage in UFC lightweight title-fight history.

Lee competes in his fifth consecutive UFC headliner. He’s 2-2 in previous main events.

Lee moves up to the welterweight division for the first time in his career.

Lee has alternated wins and losses over his past four fights. He lost to Al Iaquinta in his most recent fight at UFC on FOX 31 in December.

Lee’s 10 UFC victories since 2014 in lightweight competition are tied with Tony Ferguson, Beneil Dariush and Francisco Trinaldo for most in the division.

Lee has completed at least one takedown in 13 of his 14 UFC fights.

Lee’s 35 takedowns landed since 2014 in UFC lightweight competition are most in the division.

Lee’s 257 significant ground strikes landed in UFC lightweight competition are second most in divisional history behind Khabib Nurmagomedov (297).

Lee’s 96 significant ground strikes landed at UFC Fight Night 128 are the second most in a single UFC fight behind Neil Magny’s 100 landed at UFC Fight Night 85.

Co-main event

Antonio Carlos Junior (10-2 MMA, 7-2 UFC) returns to competition for the first time since Apr. 14, 2018. The 395-day layoff is the longest of his nearly six-year career.

Carlos Junior is 6-1 (with one no-contest) since he dropped to the UFC middleweight division in June 2015.

Carlos Junior’s five-fight UFC winning streak in middleweight competition is the third longest active streak in the division behind champ Robert Whittaker (seven) and interim champ Israel Adesanya (six).

Carlos Junior’s five submission victories in UFC middleweight competition are tied for most in divisional history.

Carlos Junior’s five rear-naked-choke wins in UFC competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Demian Maia (eight) and Kenny Florian (seven).

Carlos Junior absorbs just 1.47 significant strikes per minute in UFC middleweight competition, the best rate among active fights in the weight class.

Remaining main card

Vicente Luque (15-6-1 MMA, 8-2 UFC) has earned 14 of his 15 career victories by stoppage. That includes all eight of his UFC wins.

Luque’s eight stoppage victories since 2015 in UFC welterweight competition are most in the division during that span.

Luque is one of nine fighters in UFC history to earn their first eight victories with the promotion by stoppage. Francis Ngannou, Andrei Arlovski, Vitor Belfort, Don Frye, Gabriel Gonzaga, Royce Gracie, Joe Lauzon and Anderson Silva also accomplished the feat.

Luque lands 57.3 percent of his significant strike attempts in UFC welterweight competition, the best rate in divisional history.

Luque and Bryan Barberena combined for 332 significant strikes at UFC on ESPN 1, the second most for a three-round fight in UFC history behind Nate Diaz vs. Donald Cerrone (334) at UFC 141 in December 2011. It is also tied for fourth overall for any fight in company history behind Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega (400) at UFC 231, Diaz vs. Cerrone and Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier (359) at UFC 236.

Luque’s two D’Arce choke victories in UFC competition are tied with Dustin Poirier for second most in company history behind Ferguson (three).

Luque is one of 15 fighters in UFC history to earn a submission victory by anaconda choke. He accomplished the feat at UFC on FOX 17.

Megan Anderson (9-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC), who is 6-foot, is the tallest fighter in the UFC women’s featherweight division.

Anderson competes in her third UFC women’s featherweight bout, tied with Holly Holm for he second most appearances in divisional history behind Cris Cyborg (four).

Charles Oliveira (26-8 MMA, 14-8 UFC) is 5-1 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division April 2017. He’s 7-3 (with one no-contest) in the organization at 155 pounds.

Oliveira’s average fight time of 4:56 in UFC lightweight competition is the second shortest in divisional history behind Manny Gamburyan (4:45).

Oliveira’s four-fight UFC stoppage streak is tied for the second longest active streak in the company behind Gregor Gillespie (five).

Oliveira’s 13 stoppage victories in UFC competition are tied with Matt Hughes and Frank Mir for fourth most in company history behind Cerrone (16), A. Silva (14) and Vitor Belfort (14).

Oliveira’s 13 submission victories in UFC competition are most in company history.

Oliveira’s six submission victories in UFC featherweight competition are the most in divisional history.

Oliveira’s four guillotine-choke victories in UFC competition are tied with Diaz for most in company history.

Oliveira is one of two fighters in UFC history with multiple submission victories via anaconda choke. Phil Davis also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira is one of two fighters in UFC history to earn submission victories with six different techniques. Mir also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira is one of two fighters in UFC history to earn a calf-slicer submission victory. Brett Johns also accomplished the feat.

Oliveira has been awarded 14 fight-night bonuses for UFC bouts, the fourth most in company history behind Cerrone (17), Diaz (15) and Lauzon (15).

Oliveira has been awarded eight “Performance of the Night” bonuses, the most in company history.

Oliveira is the only fighter in UFC history to be awarded five or more fight-night bonuses in two separate divisions.

Nik Lentz (30-9-2 MMA, 14-6-1 UFC) is 5-2 since he returned to the UFC lightweight division in December 2015.

Lentz has earned nine of his 14 UFC victories by decision.

Lentz’s 66 takedowns landed in UFC competition are fifth most in company history.

Lentz’s 20 guillotine choke attempts in UFC competition are the most in company history.

Lentz meets Oliveira in a trilogy fight after the first fight ended in a no-contest at UFC on VERSUS 5 in June 2011 and Oliveira won the rematch by submission at UFC Fight Night 29 in May 2015.

Lentz and Oliveira are just the third set of fighter in UFC history to have a trilogy where all three fights were not for a title. Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz and Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher also accomplished the feat.

Davi Ramos (9-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has earned eight of his nine career victories by stoppage. He’s finished all three of his UFC wins by submission.

Ramos’ three-fight submission streak in UFC competition is tied with Carlos Junior for the second longest among active fighters in the company behind Oliveira (four).

Preliminary card

Aspen Ladd’s (7-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) two-fight UFC winning streak in women’s bantamweight competition is fourth for the fourth longest active streak in the division behind Amanda Nunes (seven), Ketlen Vieira (four), Germaine de Randamie (three) and Irene Aldana (three).

Ladd has earned six of her seven career victories by stoppage.

Ladd’s two knockout victories in UFC women’s bantamweight competition are tied for third most in divisional history behind Nunes (five) and Ronda Rousey (three).

Sijara Eubanks (4-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) moves up to the UFC women’s bantamweight division after spending her previous octagon appearances at flyweight.

Desmond Green (21-8 MMA, 2-3 UFC) makes his second UFC appearance in a 49-day span. He defeated Ross Pearson at UFC on ESPN 2 in March.

Green defends 70.6 percent of all opponent significant strike attempts in UFC lightweight competition, the second highest rate among active fighters in the weight class behind John Makdessi (71.2 percent).

Charles Jourdain (9-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), 23, is the youngest of the 26 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Jourdain, who makes his UFC debut, makes a 37-day turnaround after earning a fifth-round TKO at a regional event in April.

Jourdain has earned all of his career victories by stoppage.

Mike Trizano (8-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who won “The Ultimate Fighter 27” at lightweight, drops down to the featherweight division.

Patrick Cummins (10-6 MMA, 6-6 UFC) competes in his 13th UFC light-heavyweight bout since 2014, tied with Corey Anderson for the second most appearances of any fighter in the division behind Ovince Saint Preux (16).

Cummins is 3-5 in his past eight UFC appearances dating back to April 2015.

Cummins landed 10 takedowns against Kyle Kingsbury at UFC on FOX 12, the third most in a UFC light-heavyweight bout. Corey Anderson holds the record with 12 takedowns at UFC Fight Night 128.

Ed Herman (23-14 MMA, 10-10 UFC), 38, is the oldest of the 26 fighters scheduled to compete at the event.

Herman is 1-3 since he returned to the light heavyweight division in January 2016.

Trevin Giles (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) returns to competition for the first time since Dec. 9, 2017. The 525-day layoff is the longest of his more than five-year career.

Julian Erosa (22-7 MMA, 1-3 UFC) is 0-2 since he returned to the UFC for a second stint in November.

For more on UFC on ESPN+ 10, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

UFC research analyst and live statistics producer Michael Carroll contributed to this story. Follow him on Twitter @MJCflipdascript.