For one final time before a five-week visit to Fight Island, UFC continued its stay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the UFC APEX last night (Sat., Sept. 19, 2020) for UFC Vegas 11. In general, the last few events have been on the weaker side, but last night’s card showcased a full night’s worth of talent and was topped with an intriguing headliner. There were real implications on the line, so Let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances:
Colby Covington dominated Tyron Woodley in depressingly predictable fashion. Woodley offered little resistance to being backed into the fence, and it yet again cost him any chance at victory.
My complete thoughts on the bout can be found HERE, but man, the book is really written on “T-Wood.” On the flip side, Covington is back in the title mix, and he looked as good as ever.
What’s there to say? Khamzat Chimaev showed very little regard for Gerald Meerschaert from the opening bell, walking him down from the first bell. “GM3” did not really look to be reacting well, as if he were not fully awaked or failed to warm up enough. Whatever the case, he barely reacted when “Borz” stepped forward and dropped a right hand into his jaw, one which sent Meerschaert to sleep immediately.
Did we learn anything? It seems that Chimaev has plenty of pop in his punches, though it’s worrying that the historically iron jawline of Meerschaert has now been cracked early twice in a row. Either way, Chimaev is certainly more than just hype!
Light Heavyweight’s Glass Cannon
It has now become remarkably apparent that Johnny Walker is a bit chinny.
Pretty much any time his opponent connects, the chicken dance begins. I’m not trying to insult the Brazilian slugger; that’s just the reality at hand. He was looking sharp early last night, but the first time Ryan Spann’s right hand found his jaw, he was immediately dancing across the canvas, soon trapped in mount.
Credit to Walker, however, as he’s no quitter. He eventually escaped out the back door and went to work, still showcasing his excellent timing at picking power shots, even while in trouble. Spann tried to force wrestling exchanges, but that’s hardly his game. As a result, Spann exposed his chin in the process, allowing Walker to release a major stream of hammer fists and side elbows while defending the shot.
Spann slumped over, unconscious.
Walker’s defense and durability problems may prevent him from ever really building momentum towards the top, but he’s still an excellent offensive opportunist, and he’ll always be worth-watching.
What Happened To Mirsad Bektic?
First and foremost, allow me to compliment Damon Jackson. On just three day’s notice, he stepped up from the regional scene and won! He may have driven his coach mildly insane by repeatedly trying for guillotines and kimuras from his back, but hell, can you blame him? Bektic was scoring takedowns nearly at will, but at least Jackson was making him work with constant attempts to submit his opponent.
In the third round, the guillotine landed!
The case of Bektic is a strange one, as it seems the dominant wrestler has lost confidence in himself. He’s no longer patient or composed in the Octagon — he positively sprinted towards his first takedown of the fight, looking slightly desperate. Why? Jackson is not a knockout artist. There was no reason to start so wildly.
Bektic fights very physically, and while he is certainly in great shape, it’s becoming clear that opponents who can endure his ground strikes and force him to keep working have a chance. By the third, Bektic’s own pace exhausted him, but his aggression remained, landing him in that submission hold.
Bektic was once one of the division’s brightest prospects, widely seen as a future champion. Now, he must return to the drawing board and change up something if he’s to ever live up to his potential.
When Jessica-Rose Clark first debuted on short-notice opposite Bec Rawlings, I was impressed with her skill set. The Aussie put together combinations well, could strike from both stances, and seemed to navigate distance better than many of her peers. Hell, she even landed a takedown or two!
At one point, she was on the fast route to a title shot at 125 lbs.
Instead, struggles with her weight cut sent her back to Bantamweight and a new camp, and she lost consecutive match ups in this transition process. She lost a lot of momentum and at times looked lost, but this was more than a return to form.
It was her best showing yet.
Against a Southpaw wrestler in Sarah Alpar, Clark really fought smartly. Her right hand and right kick were accurate early, as she pressed her opponent toward the fence. When this predictably drew out takedown attempts from Alpar, Clark defended the shot quite well. As Alpar tried to transition, Clark not only kept up with her defense, but she found small opportunities to land brutal elbows and knees.
There was some funkiness with the referee in the final frame, but it didn’t ultimately matter. Clark pulverized her opponent, looking at home in the Octagon for the first time in years.
- Mackenzie Dern defeats Randa Markos via first-round armbar: Immediately after cracking her opponent with a clean right hand counter, Markos made the absolutely baffling decision to follow her opponent to the mat. Dern is more than world-class in the world of jiu-jitsu, and she immediately displayed why! Dern transitioned beautifully from a leg lock entry into a triangle, eventually using that choke to sweep her opponent. Dern quickly advanced into mount and snaked her shin across the face, falling into a very painful armbar position. Markos tried to fight legs and scramble, but Dern patiently adjusted and continued to apply pressure, adapting perfectly to secure the finish.
- Mayra Bueno Silva defeats Maria Romero Borella via first-round armbar: I wish there was something interesting to break down here, but ... not really. Borella was in control, landing well and before scoring a takedown into full guard. When Silva started climbing her legs up high on the back, Borella just didn’t really react. The Brazilian found a triangle choke first, but she switched to the armbar to score a relatively undefended submission.
- Darrick Minner defeats TJ Laramie via first-round guillotine choke: This is one of the most classic examples of a prospect loss you will find. Laramie is a talented young up-and-comer, but he willingly risked his neck early to pursue the takedown against a real veteran. Minner already had 21 submission wins previous and 10 of those were guillotine chokes — you can now add one more to both of those totals. It’s a great win for Minner, his first in the Octagon, while it’s surely a lesson-learned for the 22-year-old Canadian.
- Randy Costa defeats Journey Newsom via first-round knockout: Man, this knockout was a thing of beauty. There’s nothing complicated about how Costa produced the finish — from Southpaw against an Orthodox opponent, Costa fired a left cross and followed it with the high kick. That’s as fundamental as it gets, but Costa executed both strikes quite well, committing enough to the cross to convince Newsom to slip directly into the kick. Well-executed fundamentals still win fights!
- Tyson Nam defeats Jerome Rivera via second-round knockout: Tyson Nam is deep into his professional career, and his fights typically go one of two ways. He either is out-pointed by his opponent, or he lands a perfect counter on the jaw for the knockout win. That’s a risky gamble at 125 lbs. in particular, but it paid off in a big way last night! Rivera managed to score the opening five minutes with his range kicks and volume, but it hardly mattered when Nam dropped him hard just moments into the second.
For complete UFC Vegas 11: “Woodley vs. Covington” results and play-by-play, click HERE!