Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight giants Jame Vick and Francisco Trinaldo battled last night (Feb. 18, 2018) at UFC Fight Night 126 inside Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas.
The fighters entered the bout in very similar situations last night, having gone on extended win streaks, but losing one pivotal match up. Plus, they’re perhaps the two biggest Lightweights on the roster. The separation is more obvious when looking at their skill sets, as Vick is a long range mix of Muay Thai and boxing with a nasty guillotine, whereas Trinaldo is a bullying Southpaw who likes to chuck opponents on their head.
The fighters exchanged kicks early, with Vick scoring some hard shots and preventing his foe from closing range. Trinaldo answered by powering into the clinch, but he was unable to control the Texan along the fence.
Vick built upon his early kicking success by finding his range with his hands. He soon landed a hard right hand that dropped Trinaldo and attempted to follow up with a guillotine, but he gave up top position. Trinaldo controlled for a moment before attempting a tight guillotine choke of his own. Vick gutted it out, however, and the two returned to trading for the final minute of the round.
Both men scored some heavy shots, but Vick clearly was the more effective fighter in the opening round.
Trinaldo stalked to open the second, looking to find a home for his overhand left. He wasn’t quite able to land it, but Trinaldo did manage to work into the clinch and score a heavy — if brief — slam takedown. Unfortunately for him, Vick returned to favor moments later, but again neither man could really establish top control.
The pace slowed a bit as the round wore on, and Vick’s range really frustrated “Massaranduba.” Vick was able to sting Trinaldo with side kicks and power kicks largely at will, whereas it took a lot of effort for Trinaldo to connect with his own strikes.
The Brazilian needed something big in the third round.
Vick continued to circle and land lead leg kicks in the third round, giving Trinaldo few opportunities to punch. Trinaldo pursued and fired often, but outside of the occasional power shot that slipped through, he wasn’t able to land that frequently. Trinaldo did land a few nice body kicks and right hooks, but he was not able to build from those strikes or keep Vick trapped on the fence. All the while, Vick continued to pick at his opponent with kicks but was unwilling to take many risks, resulting in a rather uneventful round.
Nevertheless, Vick’s hand was raised.
This was pretty classic James Vick. He made full use of his range in his own awkward way, circling and switching stances to fire lots of kicks and jump knees at his opponent. When his opponent tried to punch him, Vick was either too far away to be touched or ready to counter. Vick’s counters were not quite as potent as usual, but perhaps that was simply due to his respect for Trinaldo’s heavy left overhand.
Aside from his range control on the feet, Vick continues to be a difficult man to grapple. “Massaranduba” was able to secure good position and land takedowns a couple of times, but he was never able to hold Vick down. Vick forced a constant scramble, which resulted in him returning to his feet quickly or even gaining top position.
Following the bout, Vick continued to call out anyone in the top 10. He really deserves a high-level match up, and someone like Kevin Lee would definitely fit the bill.
In terms of skill, Trinaldo was not out-matched anywhere. Vick was just too damn long for him, and he stuck to his game plan the entire fight. Trinaldo made a couple small adjustments, but it wasn’t enough to catch up to the Texan. Trinaldo just spent too much time swinging at air to win the decision.
Trinaldo found an answer in the third round somewhat, targeting the body more often with hard kicks and punches. It was too late by that point, but perhaps Trinaldo could’ve found more consistent success if he began the body attack early on.
Last night, James Vick continued his climb in the Lightweight division with another strong win. What’s next for Vick?
For complete UFC Fight Night 126: “Cerrone vs. Medeiros” results and play-by-play, click HERE!