Weekly Recap post UFC Vegas 34

While the UFC card Saturday was not viewed as one of the most stacked, the fights certainly delivered! Several prospects broke through with big wins including Ramiz Brahimaj, Ignacio Bahamondes and Josiane Nunes. We also saw Alexandre Pantoja and Jared Cannonier walk away with big victories that get them much closer to a shot at undisputed gold. Following is a short recap of each bout

  • Ramiz Brahimaj defeats Sasha Palatnikov via Rear Naked Choke at 2:33 of Round 1- Ramiz Brahimaj made a dominant return to the octagon in this card’s first bout. It took him half a round to quickly ground Palatnikov, improve position and ultimately choke him unconscious. All nine of Brahimaj’s professional wins have come by way of submission. He is certainly a fighter to watch out for at welterweight as his striking continues to improve
  • Ignacio Bahamondes defeats Roosevelt Roberts via Wheel Kick at 4:55 of Round 3– The night’s best performance came from 23 year old Ignacio Bahamondes who dominated Roosevelt Roberts. While Roberts found some success early with his jab here, the pace of Bahamondes quickly became too much for him. After landing 104 significant strikes and stuffing twelve  takedowns, Bahamondes finished the fight with a perfect wheel kick that sent his opponent astral traveling. The knockout came with just a few seconds left and certainly is a contender for KO of the year. Ignacio Bahamondes was awarded a $50,000 performance bonus for his stoppage win
  • William Knight defeats Fabio Cherant via Counter Left Hook at 3:58 of Round 1– The light heavyweight tilt between these two was fun while it lasted. William Knight bounced back in a big way this fight, getting things done in the feet. He stood his ground and ate several power shots from Cherant that he seemed to shake off without issue. It was a very patient approach from Knight that ended up paying off dividends. Cherant became frustrated and eventually rushed Knight only to be flattened by a quick left hook. The punch barely clipped the chin of Cherant but was enough to finish him nonetheless. William Knight was awarded a $50,000 performance bonus for his stoppage win
  • Josiane Nunes defeats Bea Malecki via Overhand Left at 4:54 of Round 1 The card’s fourth consecutive finish came in this scrap between bantamweight prospects. Many expected the size advantage for Bea Malecki would be enough to secure her a win, but Nunes had other ideas. The Brazilian continued to press forward and stalk Malecki despite eating numerous shots in the process. As the volume added up, Malecki began to fade quickly and defend shots with far less urgency. She had no escape route in the round’s final minute and was knocked out soon thereafter by a powerful overhand left. Josiane Nunes was awarded a $50,000 performance bonus for her stoppage win
  • Brian Kelleher defeats Domingo Pilarte via Unanimous Decision– We saw a dominant performance from Brian Kelleher, but not a very exciting one. All it took was one takedown per round to completely smother Pilarte. He landed a whopping 236 strikes, but only 28 were scored significant. He totaled nearly thirteen minutes of control time
  • Austin Lingo defeats Luis Saldana via Unanimous Decision– The featured prelim was very competitive as Austin Lingo got the better of Luis Saldana. The beginning of the fight was all Saldana, landing beautiful kicks and cutting up the face of Lingo. Unfortunately, it seemed a foot injury was sustained by Saldana as he landed on Lingo’s elbow early. His movement was clearly compromised and Lingo quickly began to outscore him. While Saldana kept things close, a body shot knocked him down in the third round and ultimately secured the victory for Austin Lingo
  • Alexandre Pantoja defeats Brandon Royval via Rear Naked Choke at 1:46 of Round 2– Perhaps the best performance of the night came in this bout as Pantoja defeated an always dangerous Brandon Royval. While Pantoja can get it done anywhere, it was surprising to see him so quickly engage in the grappling with a submission threat of Royval’s caliber. We saw Royval threaten with a leg and ankle lock early in round one, and the two traded positions for the remainder of the round. It appeared the pace of Royval was starting to affect Pantoja but in the early second we saw Pantoja get much better position on the back. He rushed to sink in a rear naked choke on Royval and his strength was enough to lock up this massive victory. This very well could have been declared Fight of the Night for the back and forth action. Alexandre Pantoja was awarded a $50,000 performance bonus for his stoppage win
  • Vinc Pichel defeats Austin Hubbard via Unanimous Decision– Vinc Pichel won his third straight fight here after a battle with Austin Hubbard. Both fighters had their moments on the feet and while grappling, but Pichel was a few steps ahead for the majority of this one. He landed the bigger strikes, was more powerful in general and did not accept bottom position for a second. Fighting a prospect with exceptional cardio like Hubbard made it even more impressive when Pichel produced his best round in the third. The 38 year old has been victorious in seven of his last eight, with the only loss coming to an undefeated Gregor Gillespie in 2018
  • Saidyokub Kakhramonov defeats Trevin Jones via Guillotine Choke at 4:39 of Round 3– Kakhramonov earned a huge win here on just four days notice. Making his promotional debut against a dangerous finisher like Jones was a tall task but the Uzbekistani stayed composed and took over as the seconds ticked away. Jones utilized clinch control against the cage in an attempt to tire his opponent, but only ended up gassing himself out. Kakhramonov stayed ahead on the striking numbers and pulled away in the third round as Jones’ cardio failed. A desperation takedown with one minute remaining saw Jones’ neck snatched up and he was shortly after choked unconscious
  • Parker Porter defeats Chase Sherman via Unanimous Decision– This heavyweight scrap delivered constant action, something many fans likely did not expect. Chase Sherman looked good early in this bout but faded much more quickly than his adversary. Porter beat up the legs of Sherman and implemented a pace that quickly tired him out. A whopping 149 significant strikes were landed by Porter, with his most active round being the third for the second consecutive fight. While he likely cannot hang with this division’s top fifteen, the pace Porter implements will continue to cause problems for the roster’s lower level heavyweights
  • Mark O. Madsen defeats Clay Guida via Split Decision– After many trials and tribulations away from the octagon, Mark O. Madsen came back in a big way here in the co-main event. It was a stand up war with Clay Guida which was a bit surprising given The Olympian’s wrestling credentials. The experience striking will do good for Madsen’s long term development but he should probably look to wrestle a bit more in future fights. It was a solid gameplan to conserve energy against a cardio king like Guida, but I do not see a bright future for Madsen without implementing his Greco-Roman style more often
  • Jared Cannonier defeats Kelvin Gastelum via Unanimous Decision– It was a fun, competitive main event between two very high level middleweights here. Both Cannonier and Gastelum had a lot of good moments in this bout but the better performance was turned in by The Killa Gorilla. After two extremely close rounds to open things, Cannonier landed the fight’s only knockdown in round three with a vicious right hand. Gastelum’s granite chin kept him in the bout but fighting from behind. There is a case to be made for either fighter in rounds 1, 2 and 5, but the third and fourth were clearly Cannonier’s. He was awarded the win by unanimous 48-47 scorecards

MMA fans also got to enjoy Bellator 265 and another PFL card this weekend. A few of the best bouts are discussed below, highlighting the noteworthy performances.

  • Kayla Harrison defeats Genah Fabian via Ground and Pound at 4:01 of Round 1– The undefeated Harrison improved her record to 11-0 with yet another dominant performance. I do not think anybody in the PFL has what it takes to stop the judoka, and perhaps another promotion will be offering her a contract at the conclusion of this season. After grounding Fabian we saw Harrison patiently improve position and eventually pound her adversary into the canvas. She moves on to the women’s lightweight final for a shot at another one million dollar prize
  • Cheick Kongo defeats Sergei Kharitonov via Rear Naked Choke at 4:59 of Round 2– The 46 year old Kongo certainly still has some fight left in him. In a very grueling bout we once again saw Kongo weather and early storm and come back to rip victory from the jaws of defeat. He was knocked down late in the first round. Both Kongo and Kharitonov were exhausted as the end of round two approached. Kongo landed some clean strikes and two takedowns late in the second on a gassed Kharitonov. He sunk in a rear naked choke in the final seconds and got the tap just before the horn

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