Barring familial relations to one of its combatants, UFC Vegas 43 is not a card anyone will remember.
Out of the 12 planned contests on fight day, one ended via COVID-19 cancellation, and another stopped via rear naked choke. The remaining 10 contests — or 90.9% of the bouts that actually happened — required the assistance of the ringside judges. That’s not to say every fight that goes to a decision sucks, but well, none of the fights were quite Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez.
There were some highlights. Taila Santos’ bludgeoning and subsequent strangulation of Joanne Wood was sweet and potentially determined the next Flyweight title contender ... for whatever good that means while Valentina Shevchenko rules the division. Sean Brady vs. Michael Chiesa was a fun contest. Adrian Yanez’s composure pitted against Davey Grant’s sheer madness was rad.
The rest just sort of happened. One fighter consistently dominated the other on the mat, or a fighter did well early only to gas late. I don’t have access to such statistics, but this event likely ranked highly on total amount of time spent in the body triangle. Taking backs is my personal jam, but even I know it doesn’t make for the best viewing.
The main event was the tart cherry on top. The best case scenario was a 25-minute wrestling slog. The worst case, the one we experienced, was two talented grapplers largely trying to stand and bang. When the most interesting aspect of a five round fight is all the weirdo stances Miesha Tate was experimenting with, it’s just not the best night. Hell, the fight was so repetitive and uninteresting that the commentary crew invented a narrative to keep themselves entertained.
Normally, I’d rip into them, but nine decisions in, I kind of understand why they were zoning out.
For anyone keeping count, last night was the 13th UFC weekend in a row. Next weekend — almost surely thanks to Thanksgiving! — will be the first fight-less break since August 14. The payoff for a single Saturday of rest is an excellent Fight Night main event in Rob Font vs. Jose Aldo, followed by the tremendous UFC 269 pay-per-view (PPV) card.
Last night’s card demonstrated why the occasional break is not only necessary but beneficial. Given 13 days to wait for an actually quality main event, fans will be more than excited for some Bantamweight violence.
Perhaps it will even be worth remembering in a few months.
For complete UFC Vegas 43: “Tate vs. Vieira” results and play-by-play, click HERE!