UFC: Vettori Dominates Holland, & Allen Shines In Vegas
By Harry Jensen
Marvin Vettori earned a unanimous decision win against Kevin Holland last night, with all three scorecards being 50-44.
The story of this fight was much like Holland’s last outing: his striking nullified by effective wrestling. Vettori’s game plan resulted in a cumulative ground time of 20 minutes in the 25 minute fight. Holland’s tendency to face his feet toward Vettori whilst against the cage coupled with him wrapping his arms around Vettori’s body rather than stuffing his head during a takedown only helped the Italian’s takedown attempts.
Holland connected with strong punches at two points in the fight, but this was never enough to win any rounds. Ultimately, you can’t learn UFC-level takedown defence in a month, and Holland shouldn’t be berated for saving the card’s main event on 10 days notice. But his recent losses have highlighted a gaping hole in his mixed martial arts ability.
This gives Vettori his 5th straight win in a competitive middleweight division, and Holland has now lost twice in the space of 21 days.
The co-main event fatured two young featherweight prospects, Arnold Allen from Ipswich, England, and Sodiq Yusuf a Nigerian-American.
This fight showcased both of their skills to the fullest, with Allen proving his power and blistering speed by securing a knockdown and landing many fast jabs in the first round.
The second round had Yusuf pushing the pace a bit more, but ‘Super’ Sodiq suffered another knockdown from a well-placed head kick from Allen. This round was a weird one to score with Yusuf’s pressure going against Allen’s knockout, but I had it 20-18 going into round 3. Round 3 slowed down massively, seeing both fighters clinch for the majority of the round.
Neither fighters stock decreased with this fight, as they both proved to be solid technically and to not shy away from a scrap as evidenced in the first round. Allen and Yusuf are both 27 years old, so it will be exciting to see where both of their careers will take them.
Allen now has the longest active win streak in the featherweight division, and he will need to secure himself a high-profile top ten fight, preferably before the end of 2021, if he wants to propel himself further into UFC title consideration.
Julian Marquez’s win over Sam Alvey won Fight of the Night honours, with the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ landing a sweet submission in round 2.
Both fighters started as they meant to go on, as they swung for the fences from the get-go. Ultimately, Marquez landed more often and harder, despite both men being hurt at points. The thirty second break between rounds did nothing to slow down the pace, with the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’ getting a knockdown quickly. Marquez then managed to secure a very unorthodox submission: a rear naked choke, whilst crouching down, with no leg hooks.
Mackenzie Dern got it done early in round one, with an armbar submission win over Nina Nunes (formerly Ansaroff).
Dern blitzed towards Nunes to instigate a clinch, where she used an inside trip to get the takedown and quickly transitioned into full mount and into an arm bar. Dern now has 7 wins by submission, and after beating the #5 ranked strawweight, she is set up nicely in a very stacked division. Her impressive submission was also enough to win ‘Performance of the Night’.
Mike ‘Platinum’ Perry and Daniel ‘D-Rod’ Rodriguez opened the main card in a welterweight slugfest, Rodriguez’s biggest fight to date. He decisively beat Perry with a unanimous decision win with the judges giving him all three rounds, one judge even giving him a 10-8.
‘D-Rod’ had Perry stumbling with a stiff jab early in the first round, but Perry secured a slam takedown to coast out the last minute and a half of the round. Round 2 was looking to be a mirror image of the first, with effective jabbing countered by a Perry takedown, but ‘D-Rod’ got up using the fence and continued peppering Perry’s face with the jab. Rodriguez landed heavy 1-2s, and mixed it up effectively with calf kicks to get Perry thinking of all sorts of angles.
Round 3 was yet again a showcase of impressive boxing from Rodriguez, who would use a southpaw lead straight accompanied with strong jabs, which left Perry with a bloodied face and Rodriguez with a 4-1 record in the UFC.
The featured prelim was between UFC veteran Jim Miller and Joe Solecki, with Miller looking to improve his record of most wins in the UFC lightweight division from 19 to 20. Solecki put a dampen to this, as he won a unanimous decision with just shy of 10 minutes of control time.
Polish-representing Mateusz Gamrot stopped Scott Holtzman in round two with a nice knockout, giving him his first win in the UFC and joined ‘Performance of the Night’ honours with Mackenzie Dern.
John Makdessi beat the 23-year-old, 6ft 3 Chilean UFC debutant Ignacio Bahamondes with a split decision. Despite the questionable score cards, the 35-year-old rolled back the years in an impressive striking clinic to give him a nice win against a hungry prospect.
The sole heavyweight fight on the card lasted precisely 3 minutes and 2 seconds as Jarjis Danho knocked out Yorgan De Castro in sensational fashion. ‘Man Mountain’ landed a sweet cross to fold De Castro in the first round to give him his first win in 7 years, since May 2015.
Welshman Jack Shore won a split decision against Hunter Azure, moving up to 14-0 and 3-0 in the UFC. He mixed slick striking with an impressive display of wrestling defence, stuffing 7/7 takedowns from Azure and earning two 30-27 scorecards from the judges.
It wouldn’t be a UFC card without some controversy, as Luis Saldana beat Jordan Griffin 29-28 on all three scorecards, despite popular opinion being that Griffin did enough in the first two rounds to snatch a win.
Da-Un Jung of South Korea put the hurt on William Knight in the light heavyweight division, as he dominated him all three rounds, with two judges scoring the fight 30-26.
Impa Kasanganay impressed in the only early prelim of the card, with a second round rear naked choke of Sasha Palatnikov in his debut at Welterweight. This was Kasanganay’s first fight since that knockout loss against Joaquin Buckley last year.
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