Originally scheduled to headline UFC 234’s “Prelims” undercard on Fight Pass, the Lightweight fight between Lando Vannata and Marcos Mariano was promoted to the pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event after Robert Whittaker’s untimely injury (details). The likely reason behind the decision: Vannata is a crowd-pleasing action fighter who always brings it (despite a 1-3-2 record inside the Octagon).
Indeed, Vannata is a “Performance of the Night”-winning machine ... and he might get another one after submitting Mariano with a kimura in the first round.
The size difference between the two was apparent from the jump — Mariano was the much taller man. Mariano was very active with his feet early, but little more than one minute into the match, Vannata closed the distance and slammed him to the canvas. Vannata tried to get a little separation while in top position to land a short elbow, but Mariano did a great job of keeping him close. He landed some nice elbows from the bottom, compelling Vannata to posture up to try and nail him with punches. Mariano’s long limbs made that difficult, but a few did squirt threw, especially a few clean elbows. Mariano tried to escape the onslaught, ending up in north-south position. From there, Vannata just sat on Mariano’s face, locked in a kimura and wrenched his arm until Mariano had no choice but to tap.
It was a clean, clinical performance from Vannata, who has been somewhat snakebit since his near upset of Tony Ferguson a few years ago.
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