Last night (Sat., Oct. 2, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 38. While last night’s card could not hold a candle to the pay-per-view (PPV) event that came before it, each of the bouts on the main card seemingly guaranteed action. From top-to-bottom, action fights were the apparent theme of the night ... even if the undercard ultimately outperformed the high-profile fights.
Let’s take a step back and relive the best performances and techniques:
Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker was not the thrilling, balls-to-the-walls battle the vast majority of us anticipated and expected.
Since moving to Light Heavyweight, Santos has alternated between extreme aggression and more tactical patience, sometimes choosing the wrong path for the challenge. Still, “Marreta” is a proven action fighter, and a single stinker vs. Aleksandr Rakic wasn’t enough to ruin that reputation.
Walker, meanwhile, rarely gets out of the first round! He’s the weirdo who throws jump knees more than jabs and hurts himself celebrating. No previous Walker fight has been boring, win or lose.
This one sucked.
Walker’s mix of frantic feints and digging low kicks saw him take the opening round. However, Santos soon realized that many of those feints were fairly empty threats, and that if the two were to trade big swings or power kicks, he would likely win the exchange. Sadly, Santos was content to win on small margins, a single liver kick or overhand connection would secure him the round ... and that was that.
It would have been nice to see Santos press his advantages further, but at a certain point, the onus is on the fighter who is losing to really force the action.
A No Contest For The Ages
Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus was looking like a very interesting fight prior to the head clash that ultimately ended the contest. Holland’s takedown defense looked improved, but Daukaus was holding his own on the feet and finding good entrances to the hips.
After the clash of heads, the situation promptly grew to become a complete s—tshow! Read my full recap on that strange, conflict of interest-y mess HERE!
Return Of The Great
Alexander Hernandez rose a bit too fast.
A massive victory in his short-notice debut vs. Beneil Dariush saw Hernandez skyrocket up the rankings, and he soon faced a reckoning. Leading up to this fight, Hernandez had lost three of his last five bouts, erasing the 29-year-old’s previous momentum.
It’s important to remember that each of those losses came to tough competition, however. Last night, Hernandez found the tables turned as he faced a short-notice replacement in Mike Breeden, and he wasn’t about to suffer the same fate he dropped on Dariush. Right from the first bell, Hernandez was noticeably quicker than his opponent, and he used that speed to drop some hellacious bombs for an early one-punch knockout.
Hernandez proved that while he may not be ready for the Top 15 talent just yet, “The Great” is still a very skilled prospect with great physical gifts.
- Casey O’Neil defeats Antonina Shevchenko via second-round knockout: At this point, we are all well-aware that Antonina Shevchenko is not her sister, but she’s still a ranked Flyweight with a great background in Muay Thai. O’Neil navigated the standup waters well, timing her takedowns beneath punches or off caught kicks to gain top position. The first round was close, but in the second frame, O’Neil was able to advance passed the guard. Once in dominant positions like mount and back mount, Shevchenko’s attempts to scramble were met with brutal elbows and hammerfists, eventually ending the contest.
- Jamie Mullarkey defeats Devonte Smith via second-round knockout: Mullarkey began his UFC career with an 0-2 start, but the Australian has righted the ship in style! He scored his second knockout win inside the Octagon last night, but it wasn’t easy. Early on, Smith was displaying his speed and power, but Mullarkey just managed to eat the shots ... somehow. All the while, Mullarkey was digging low kicks and firing back, and the former began to add up in the second. In general, Mullarkey just fought a really grueling fight, attacking his foe’s legs, mid-section, and repeatedly forcing Smith into exhausting clinch exchanges. Add in relentless pressure, and it’s not a huge shock that Smith crumbled in the second.
- Douglas Silva de Andrade defeats Gaetano Pirello via first-round knockout: Andrade may not fight that often, and he may not win all that consistently, but the Brazilian is always worth watching. Against non-elite competition, there’s always a very real chance of a tremendous knockout, and that’s precisely what happened when Pirello opted to step directly into the pocket with a switch kick without any setup.
- Alejandro Perez defeats Johnny Eduardo via second-round scarf-hold arm lock: A rare submission on the undercard, sweet! The pair of Bantamweights both returned from long layoffs, but it was Perez who shined in the second once able to secure top position. From side control, Perez sat to his hip, sliding underneath his opponent’s shoulder in the sit-out style of top control. When Eduardo failed to keep his elbow on the mat — Perez’s hip slid beneath it — the Mexican athlete was able to attack that joint by pressing the wrist between his legs. When Perez applied hip pressure, Eduardo’s shoulder took all the torque!
- Stephanie Egger defeats Shana Young via second-round knockout: The big question leading up to this fight was whether or not Egger would find success with her takedown game inside of the Octagon. As it turns out, any concerns were misguided, as Egger pretty quickly found her way to top position and went to work with ground strikes. In the second, a big elbow prompted a weird reaction from Young, and the referee called the bout. Early stoppage or injury? Young certainly did not protest.
For complete UFC Vegas 38: “Santos vs. Walker” results and play-by-play, click HERE!