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UFC on ESPN+ 45 live results: Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad

Welcome to F4WOnline.com's live coverage of UFC On ESPN+ 45: Edwards vs. Muhammad, emanating from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The Octagon remains in Las Vegas as the UFC presents their second event in a busy month of March, this one headlined by a returning welterweight looking to get a title shot against a hungry and rising contender.

Leon Edwards makes his long-awaited return as he takes on Belal Muhammad in a welterweight five-round main event. Edwards is fighting for the first time since July 2019, as COVID, travel issues and all sorts of things have kept him out of action. He is eager to return and prove he's next in line for a title shot as he puts his eight-fight win streak on the line. Muhammad takes his first main event on short notice, replacing Khamzat Chimaev, and he enters this riding a four-fight win streak, capped off with a win just last month at UFC 258.

In the co-main event, light heavyweights Misha Cirkunov and Ryan Spann square off in an exciting match-up. Also on the main card is a featherweight fight pitting Dan Ige against Gavin Tucker, a flyweight fight between exciting prospects Manel Kape and Matheus Nicolau, and middleweights Eryk Anders and Darren Stewart both looking to get back into the win column when they open the main card.

Follow along with our live coverage of the event beginning at 5 p.m. Eastern time with preliminary action all the way through the main card.

ESPN+ PRELIMS | 5 PM ET/2 PM PT

> Matthew Semelsberger (7-2, 1-0 UFC) vs. Jason Witt (18-6, 1-1 UFC)
Welterweights

Witt lands a punch combo to start but Semelsberger drops him flat on his back with one punch and it's over. 

Official result - Matthew Semelsberger (19-6) by KO (punch) at 16 seconds

> Gloria de Paula (5-2, 0-0 UFC) vs. Jinh Yu Frey (9-6, 0-2 UFC)
Women's Strawweights

Frey gets a takedown 15 seconds in. Frey working for a head and arm choke right away. de Paula defends that and trying to tie her up witha body lock from her back. de Paula throwing elbows and Frey stands up. de Paula landing up kicks. Frey back on the ground and takes her back 2 minutes in. de Paula works her back to half guard. de Paula gets her back to full guard and again with the body lock from her back. Ref warns them to work with 2 minutes left. Frey landing punches to the body but not really trying to advance position. Frey lands hard punches to the head and then stands up and lands kicks to the leg. de Paula with some upkicks to Frey goes back into her guard. de Paula trying to get the body lock as the round ends but can't do it. 10-9 Frey

Frey's corner told her to work harder for a finish but that she did win the round. de Paula throwing kicks and punches early in the 2nd. Great punch exchange 1 minute in with Frey landing the hader shot. Frey with a nice punch/kick combo at 1:15. de Paula lands a nice kick to the upper body that hurts Frey. Frey drops de Paula with a kick but lets her up. Frey cut on the bridge of her nose from the earlier punch exchange. Frey backs up de Paula with a punch combo. They clinch on the cage and de Paula lands some knees to the body and they separate quickly. de Paula lands a nice punch combo. de Paula with a 20-8 advantage in significant strikes landed in round 2 with 1 minute left. Frey grabs a leg on a kick attempt and tries a takedown but de Paula stays on her feet. 10-9 de Paula, 19-19 overall

Frey's corner tells her round 2 was close, which it wasn't. But Frey does get a takedown 30 seconds into the final round. de Paula working for a Kimura from her back. Frey defending it well but the ref warns them to work as they are in a stalemate. Frey lands punches to the body and then moves into mount as she escapes the Kimura. Frey takes the back midway through the round and secures a rear naked choke. Frey lets it goes but establishes a body lock. Frey again with the rear naked choke attempt but de Paula defending, which is all she's really doing. de Paula throwing weak punches behind her head but they're not really having much effect. Frey tightens up the body lock and again with the choke attempt. de Paula defends it but it looked close. 10-8 Frey, 29-27 overall

Official result - Jinh Yu Frey (10-6) by unanimous decision (29-28 x 3)

> Cortney Casey (9-8, 5-7 UFC) vs. JJ Aldrich (8-4, 4-3 UFC)
Women's Flyweights

Casey lands a high kick as Aldrich is landing a punch to the head that rocks her very early on. Casey throwing a lot of kicks. Aldrich pushing the pace and gets her up against the cage in a clinch 45 seconds in. Casey breaks free 90 seconds in and lands a punch combo. More leg kicks from Casey. Great punch exchange results in a clinch midway through the round. Casey breaks free as Aldrich was trying to get it back up against the cage. Casey with a great punch combo with 2 minutes left but Aldrich takes her down. Casey throws up a triangle, forcing Aldrich to stand. Casey tightens it and lands punches to the head. Aldrich manages to break free and stands up again. Casey back up as well. Casey with a punch/kick combo with 45 seconds left. Aldrich gets a takedown with 20 seconds left but Casey working for a Kimura from her back. Clsoe round, 10-9 Casey

Aldrich looks really tired between rounds and her corner tells her she needs to increase the pace. Casey opens with a punch combo. Aldrich again pushing the pace. Casey backs up Aldrich with a series of punches and then jumps up and tries to take the back of Aldrich but Aldrich lands on top. Casey working for an Oma Plata from her back. Aldrich manages to maneuver out of that. Aldrich moves into half guard but not really doing any damage. Aldrich landing punches to the body and head for her first sustained offence of the fight. Casey again looking for the Kimura. Casey gets to her feet wtih 1:45 left but Aldrich still controlling the body. Casey breaks free with 90 seconds left. Casey lands a nice punch combo. Aldrich doing almost nothing on the feet but she probably did enough to win the round on the ground. Aldrich with a takedown 20 seconds in that will probably seal it. 10-9 Aldrich, 19-19 overall

Aldrich lands a nice punch combo 20 seconds in. Aldrich controlling the pace. Aldrich answers with a nice combo of her own. Casey with over a hundred strikes landed to 28 for Aldrich. Significant strike count is 45-18 for Casey. Casey backs up Aldrich with a nice punch combo 2 minutes in. Aldrick with a good punch combo with 2 minutes left. Casey lands a bunch in a nice exchange. Aldrich gets a takedown with 90 seconds left. Casey gets to her feet right away without taking damage. Aldrich still controlling her body. Casey breaks free with a minute left and pushing the action. This will be a tricky round because Casey has landed more on the feet but Aldrich had the takedown. Casey lands a nice uppercut in a good exchange. Aldrich lands a low blow with 5 seconds left and the ref stops it. Aldrich lands a combo on the restart. 10-9 Casey, 29-28 overall

Official result - JJ Aldrich (9-4) by split decision (28-29, 29-28 x 2)

> Nasrat Haqparast (12-3, 4-2 UFC) vs. Rafa Garcia (12-0, 0-0 UFC)
Lightweights

Garcia with early Octagon control. Garcia landing leg kicks early. Both guys land in a nice punch exchange a minute in. Naqparast backs him up with a punch combo. Garcia lands a nice combo of his own. Haqparast landing shots from distance. Garcia throws a combo that misses and then eats a hard counter. Garcia gets a nice shot through that rocks Haqparast. Haqparast with a nice punch combo to the body and head. Haqparast targetting the body with a punches with a minute left. Naqparast with a 25-12 advantage in significant strikes landed with 30 seconds left. Garcia stuffed on a takedown attempt. 10-9 Haqparast

Garcia trying to establish Octaon control in the 2nd but Naqparast landing punches from distance. Garcia lands a nice kick to the body. Naqparast continuing to land counter shots. Great punch exchange with both guys landing some nice shots. Garcia backing down Naqparast with punches in his most impressive run of the fight 2 minutes in. Haqparast with a nice punch/kick combo. Nice punch combo from Haqparast including some good body shots. Garcia with a takedown attempt but uses it to land shots to the body. Haqparast knocks down Garcia but let him back up. Garcia lands a punch combo with 90 seconds left. Naqparast really starting to land punches in bunches but Garcia continuing to move forward and landing hard when he does. Naqparast throws Garcia down but lets him back up with 40 seconds left. Haqparast mixing in punches and kicks really well in the last minute and has a significant strike advantage of 66-36. 10-9 Naqparast, 20-18 overall

Garcia opens with a nice punch combo. Naqparast answers with one of his own. Naqparast looks very confident and Garcia looking a little desperate. Garcia again pushing the pace but Naqparast landing a lot while backing up. Naqparast punctuates another combo with a beautiful uppercut and then lands a combo to the body. Naqparast really starting to take over but Garcia just won't go down despite eating a lot of punches. Garcia backs up Naqparast with a nice punch combo. Naqparast punches out of it with another uppercut. Naqparast also starting to mix in some elbows. Garcia bleeding from a cut under his right eye. Naqparast lands a nice punch/kick combo with 90 seconds left. Naqparast starting to push the pace now. Garcia lands a nice kick to the body. Naqparast continuing to land nice counters. Significant strike count now 109-56 for Naqparast. 10-9 Naqparast, 30-27 overall

Official result - Nasrat Haqparast (13-3) by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)

> Rani Yahya (26-10-1 1 NC, 11-4-1 1 NC UFC) vs. Ray Rodriguez (16-7, 0-1 UFC)
Bantamweights

Yahya opens with a nice punch combo and immediately moves in for a takedown. Yahya controlling a cage clinch. Yahya gets him down 50 seconds in. Yahya in half guard and smothering Rodriguez. Yahya looking like he's trying to set up an arm triangle. Yahya not doing much damage from the top but completely controlling Rodriguez. With 30 seconds left, Rodriguez finally gets in position for the choke. Rodriguez fights him off but that's all he did. 10-9 Yahya

Rodriguez opens with a body kick and a rapid fire punch combo. Yahya gets a takedown 90 seconds in and again seems to be working for the arm triangle. Yahya moves into half guard and it's basically a repeat of hte first round. Yahya secures the arm triangle and Rodriguez taps quickly. 

Official result - Rani Yahya (27-10-1) by submission (head and arm choke) at 3:09 of the 2nd round 

> Charles Jourdain (10-3-1, 1-2-1 UFC) vs. Marcelo Rojo (16-6, 0-0 UFC)
Featherweights

Both open with hard leg kicks. Jourdain throwing a lot of high kicks as well as Rojo establishes Octagon control. Jourdain clinches up and lands some body shots. Rojo gets a takedown but Jourdain right up. Rojo lands a nice punch/knee combo. Nice punch exchange 2 minutes in with both guys landing hard shots. Jourdain continuing to land body kicks. Some are being blocked by Rojo but he's taking damage to the arm in the process. Rojo backs up Jourdain with punches with 2 minutes left. Jourdain briefly knocked down after an exchange but gets right up. Nicie kick/punch combo from Rojo with just over a minute left. Rojo targetting the body with punches. Jourdain lands a nice punch combo and then lands a series of body punches. Jourdain controlling the clinch in the corner and landing more body punches. They separate with 20 seconds left. Very close round. 10-9 Jourdain

Rojo with early Octagon control in the 2nd. Rojo landing punch combos. Significant strike count after 1 was 27-27. Rojo landing body kicks. Rojo also landing punches to the head and body. Jourdain accidentally pokes Rojo in the eye. Rojo seemed hesitant to start fighting again but does after a very short break. Both guys landing a lot of punches on the restart. Rojo backs Jourdain up with punches. Jourdain continuing to throw a lot of kicks but not many of them landing. Rojo all over Jourdain with punches and he's reeling. Rojo moves in for a takedown attempt but Jourdain defends. Rojo takes the back standing. Jourdain landing his jab a lot in the 2nd half of the round. Rojo starting to slow down a bit but probably did enough early to take the round. Jourdain lands a flying knee and a punch combo with 20 seconds left. Jourdain with a bunch of body punches right before the buzzer. 10-9 Rojo, 19-19

Both rounds were close, could be 20-18 either way or tied up and both corners told their guys they have no idea who's winning. Jourdain seems more aggressive to start the 3rd. Jourdain lands a nice punch combo. Jourdain has taken damage with leg kicks and is limping a bit. Jourdain has landed more kicks but Rojo''s have had more effect. Jourdain with an 88-69 advantage in strikes landed coming into the 3rd. Rojo definitely seems to have slowed a bit. Jourdain knocks Rojo down with a punch and landing a ton of punches on the ground. Jourdain stands up and lands hammer firsts from his feet. Rojo not even trying to get up. Jourdain goes back into his briefly and then to his feet and lands a flying punch before going back into the guard. Jourdain again stands up and landing a ton of punches from his feet. Rojo threatening with upkicks. Jourdain moves into half guard but then back to his feet and landing hard punches. Rojo throwing punches from his back that are missing badly. Jourdain takes the back and landing hard punches to the head. Jourdain backs off and lets Rojo up. Both guys throwing bombos. Rojo's face is all bloodied up. Jourdain with a ton of punches to the body and then lands a flying knee. Jourdain controlling him in the corner. Jourdain with a 52-10 advantage in strikes in round 3. Jourdain knocks him down with another exchange and Rojo is flat on his back and the ref stops it. It was going to be a 10-8 anyways. 

Official result - Charles Jourdain (11-3-1) by TKO (strikes) at 4:31 of the third round

> Angela Hill (#12, 12-9, 7-9 UFC) vs. Ashley Yoder (8-6, 3-5 UFC)
Women's Strawweights

Hill with early Octagon control. Hill backs up Yoder with a punch combo 1:15 in. Hll lands some punches as Yoder tries to advance and keeps control. Hill backs her up to the cage and lands some knees to the body. More knees to the body from Hill. Hill with elbows to the head as she maintains control. Yoder breaks free with 1:45 left. Hill with a nice punch combo that backs up Yoder again. Another punch combo from Hill rocks Yoder. Hill mixing in leg kicks as well. Hill with a knee up the middle and a series of punches to the head and then she clinches up on the cage. Hill gets a takedown with 20 seconds left. Hill landing a ton of punches on the ground as the round ends. 10-9 Hill

Hill against establishes Octagon control right away. Hill with a great punch combo at the 1:15 mark. Hill backs up Yoder with a series of jabs. Hill clinches up and lands knees to the body before letting Yoder go. Both throwing leg kicks in the middle of the round. Hill backs her her up with punches to the body and head. Hill with knees to the body when they're up against the cage. Yoder missing on most of her punches. Hill rocks Yoder with a hard knee to hte body and then follows up with a ton of punches. Yoder gets a desperation takedown. Hill landing a bunch of punches to the head from her back and looks to be setting up a submission. Yoder just trying to hang on. Hill landing elbows to the head as the round ends. 10-8 Hill, 20-17 overall

Yoder comes out firing but Hill quickly clinches up against the cage. Hill landing knees to the body. More knees to the body from Hill as Yoder is just trying to hang on. Hill with elbows to the head and punches to the body as she maintains control of the clinch. They separate 2 minutes in. Yoder looking very tired. Both throwing kicks from distance. Hill clinches up again midway through the round. Hill up to 100 strikes landed with over 2 minutes left. Hill with a series of knees to the body and Yoder takes her down. Hill working for a Kimura from her back. Yoder landing punches to the body and head. Yoder moves into half guard as Hill backs up to the cage to try and get to her feet. Yoder with punches to the head. Hill to her feet with 30 seconds left and lands hard knees to the body. 10-9 Hill, 30-26 overall

Official result - Angela Hill (13-9) by unanimous decision (30-27 x 3)

 

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> Eryk Anders (13-5, 5-5 UFC) vs. Darren Stewart (12-6 1 NC, 5-5 1 NC UFC)
Middleweights

Stewart with early Octagon control. Stewart lands a punch combo while Anders was moving in, maybe for a takedown. Stewart does the same again and Anders is definitely trying to get it to the ground. Anders clinches up on the cage 90 seconds in. Anders with a punch to the body but eats a hard knee from Stewart. Anders moves him away from the cage to try and trip him down but Stewart stays up. Anders maintains clinch control. Anders against tries to pull him away from the cage for the takedown but they end up back on the cage. They separate with 2 minutes left and Anders lands a nice punch combo and then takes Stewart down briefly . Stewart right up but Anders in control and landing knees to the legs. Anders gets him down and on the back. Stewart up but eating punches and knees  from Anders. Anders is busted open but Stewart is the one taking all the punishment. Anders knocks him down. Stewart eating a ton of punches and cowering up. Ref warns him to fight back but Stewart is relentless. Stewart goes down on all fours and Anders nails him with an illegal knee. Similar to what happened in the Yan/Sterling fight last week. Stewart says he wants to continue. The doctor stops the fight, claiming that Anders can't walk, even though he clearly looked like he could. 

Official result - no contest at 4:37

> Manel Kape (15-5, 0-1 UFC) vs. Matheus Nicolau (15-2-1, 3-1 UFC)
Flyweights

Nicolau lands a nice leg kick to open. Both guys keeping their distance for the first minute. Kap[e controlling the Octagon. Nicolau lands another hard leg kick. Nicolau gets a takedown 2 minutes in. Nicolau with a guillotine and Kape stands up and powers out of it. Kape lands some punches to gain separation. 2 minutes left and Kape is controlling the pace again. Nicolau landing more hard leg kicks and then gets another takedown. Kape looking for a submission from his back but not really close to anything. Nicolau landing elbows and punches to the body as he maintains top position. 10-9 Nicolau

Kape establishes Octagon control to start the 2nd. Kape rocks Nicolau with an uppercut and he's reeling. Kape evades a takedown attempt and lands a great punch combo. Kape seems to be teeing Nicolau up. Kape rocks Nicolau with a solid left that backs him up halfway across the cage. Nicolau with his back to the cage and just trying to stay out of the way. He does land a nice combo but he's cut over his right eye. Kape lands a great combo including a hard body punch and Nicolau is favoring that portion of his body. Kape just crushing Nicolau with hard shots but Nicolau staying on his feet. Nicolau gets a flash takedown with 2 minutes left but Kape up right away. Kape peppers Nicolau with jabs after landing some leg kicks. Kape with a 30-9 advantage in significant strikes landed in the 2nd. Nicolau falls after landing a leg kick but Kape lets him up. Nicolau lands his best combo of hte round with 20 seconds left but too little too late. 10-9 Kape, 19-19 after 2

Kape landing leg kicks to open the 3rd and also controlling the Octagon. Kape evading the leg kicks of Nicolau but eats a hard left cross. Both guys landing hard jabs from distance 90 seconds in. Kape sprawls out of a takedown attempt and ends up on top. Nicolau stays on his back and Kape landing kicks to his legs. Nicolau daring him to come to the ground but Kape backs up, forcing him up. Nicolau briefly drops Kape with a leg kick but he's right up. Nicolau lands a nice punch combo with 2 minutes left. Kape lands a nice punch combo with 40 seconds left and then sprawls out of a takedown attempt. Significant strike count is 25-24 for Kape. Kape lands a hard knee to the body. Nicolau tries to clinch up but Kape breaks free. Very close round. 10-9 Kape, 29-28 overall

Official result - Mateus Nicolau (16-5) by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

> Jonathan Martinez (13-3, 4-2 UFC) vs. Davey Grant (12-4, 3-3 UFC)
Bantamweights

Grant moving around a lot at the beginning. Grant pushing the action but Martinez landing occasional punches whle backing up. Grant throwing kicks from distance. Grant's leg kicks are starting to show effects. Martinez landing hard leg kicks as well. Grant lands a nice kick combo with 2 minutes left. Martinez warned for extending his fingers. Grant lands a nice punch combo. Grant backs him up with kicks with 45 seconds left. Martinez with a 17-15 advantage in significant strikes landed. Martinez drops Grant with a left and then a couple of follow up shots on the ground to steal a close round. 10-9 Martinez

Grant backs up Martinez with punches. Grant with a takedown attempt stuffed. Grant with a nice punch combo a minute in. Grant completely controlling the action through the first 2 minutes. Grant rocks Martinez with a punch combo. Martinez starting to land more in the second half of the round but he's trailing 18-8 in significant strikes landed with 2 minutes left. Grant drops Martinez with a punch combo and finishes it on the ground. 

Official result - Davey Grant (13-4) by KO (punch) at 3:03 of the 2nd round

> Dan Ige (#9, 14-3, 6-2 UFC) vs. Gavin Tucker (13-1, 4-1 UFC)
Featherweights

Ige KO's tucker with one shot as he's moving in seconds into the fight. 

Official result - Dan Ige (15-3) by KO (punch) in 22 seconds

> Misha Cirkunov (#11, 15-5, 6-3 UFC) vs. Ryan Spann (#13, 18-6, 4-1 UFC)
Light Heavyweights

Cirkunov lands a couple punches and tries to clinch but Spann shoves him off. Spann hit with a low blow, casuing a break. Spann drops Cirkunov with a counter shot and peppering him with shots on the ground. He stands up and forces Cirkunov up. Spann drops him again and finishes him with punches on the ground. 

Official result - Ryan Spann (19-6) by TKO (punches)  at 1:11

> Leon Edwards (#3, 18-3, 10-2 UFC) vs. Belal Muhammad (#13, 18-3, 9-3 UFC)
Welterweights

Edwards establishes Octagon control early. Edwards throwing high kicks. Muhammad landing straight jabs from distance. Edwards back him up with a punch combo and moves in for a takedown. They end up in a cage clinch with Edwards in control. Muhammad spins out after landing an elbow to the head. Muhammad lands some nice body shots. Edwards rocks Muhammad with a head kick and follows up with punches against the cage. Edwards with another takedown attempt and they end up on the cage. Muhammad takes control. They separate after about 30 seconds. Muhammad has some bleeding behind his right ear. Might be from the head kick. Edwards lands a nice punch combo with 40 seconds left. 10-9 Edwards

Edwards poked Muhmmad in the eye early in the 2nd and he drops like he's been shot. He's crying as if he knows he's not going to be able to continue. He had been warned for extending the fingers in the first, so at the very least, Edwards will be docked a point. The ref is calling the fight off. 

Official result - no contest