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Here’s everything that happened at UFC Vegas 19 last night

UFC Fight Night: Blaydes v Lewis Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Last night (Sat., Feb. 20, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained in UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 19. UFC planned ahead for this one, booking an absurd 15 fights to fill up the card. When three bouts were cancelled in the final 24 hours — or literal final minutes in one case! — we were left with a far more reasonable number of fights, which proved consistently entertaining and very much worth-watching!

Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and techniques:

The Smallest Margin Of Error

In his second main event in a row, Curtis Blaydes seemed ready to put on a highlight performance.

His timing was off in the opening minute, sure, but once Blaydes settled into the fight and found his rhythm, he picked Derrick Lewis apart. Not only that, Blaydes kicked his ass! He made full use of his 80 inch reach, sticking Lewis’ face with sharp jabs and digging repeatedly into his lead leg. Lewis didn’t land much, and when he tried, Blaydes actually found success in countering the fearsome knockout artist.

Then, Lewis put him to sleep with a single punch in the second round, masterfully timing a takedown attempt with an uppercut. Blaydes didn’t just stumble; he actually went down, suffering the first full knockout of his career.

Admittedly, it was a sloppy shot, but that’s not the way the best performance of a fighter’s young career typically plays out. That’s the nature of the Heavyweight division, where experience is often more valuable than skill, and power trumps all else.

Oleinik Bites The Dust

Aleksei Oleinik has been fighting for a long, long time, but his time appears to be coming to an end. The older Russian has become painful slow, and while there’s still power in his swings, he visibly has to line them up in order to throw.

Prior to the loss, he was No. 10 in the world, which is unrealistic given the new wave of Heavyweight talent. Speaking of, Chris Daukaus is a legitimate, dangerous young up-and-comer, and he absolutely blew Oleinik out of the water. A counter right hand began the finishing sequence, but for a sustained period of time, Daukaus just hammered the veteran submission fighter.

Perhaps change has finally come.

Aspinall Strangles Arlovski

Tom Aspinall may just be a problem for his fellow big men.

The Englishman is fast. He was happy to trade strikes with Arlovski, who even two decades deep into his career, is still a fairly quick puncher. When Aspinall actually let his combinations fly, however, the difference in hand speed was striking. A right hand stunned Arlovski, and two dozen further lightning punches along the fence nearly sealed the deal.

Ever the veteran, Arlovski survived, and it seemed like momentum might just swing into his corner as Aspinall recovered from his attempted sprint to the finish. Instead, Aspinall noticed his foe getting a bit predictable with his low kicks, switching it up with a serious blast double. Arlovski tried to turn his back to stand, only to fall into an instant rear naked choke.

Boxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu — not bad for 27 year old Heavyweight with just a dozen fights.

A Sub-Minute FOTN

There was no way Julian Erosa vs. Nate Landwehr was not going to deliver.

Neither man knows how to do anything but search for the finish. Erosa likes to stalk forward with awkward timing and crafty tricks, whereas Landwehr is more straight forward in his attempts to brawl. Both men are far better on offense than defense, and just 30 seconds into the round, the wildness really kicked off.

Erosa landed first with a hard cross that stunned Landwehr, but that isn’t going to deter “The Train,” who fired right back in the clinch to briefly put Erosa to a knee! Erosa did not turn defensive, however, firing back a series of rights that backed Landwehr into the fence ... and a flying knee!

Erosa has now scored his second UFC win in a row. Given just how much he struggled in his first two UFC stretches, it’s awesome to see “Juicy J” score a pair of entertaining finishes over fairly well-regarded opponents. I don’t predict a title run or anything so dramatic, but hopefully this pair of entertaining wins do add up to a bit of job security for the veteran.

Additional Thoughts

  • John Castaneda defeats Eddie Wineland via first-round knockout: It pains me as a longtime World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) fan to admit, but Wineland appears to be rather done. The former WEC champ and UFC title challenger has always relied on athleticism to make his flowing, right hand-heavy style of striking work. In his day, Wineland was hard to hit despite his low hand position! Nowadays, Wineland was a step behind his younger foe, and though he landed a couple good right hand digs, he was constantly walked into counters by the kicker man. Castaneda set up lots of left kicks smartly, but the finishing sequence began when he shifted direction between a right hand, and Wineland stepped straight into the strike. From there, a flurry was all it took.
  • Casey O’Neill defeats Shana Dobson via second-round TKO: As with the opening bout of the night, this was a clear example of one fighter having a simply insurmountable grappling advantage. Newcomer O’Neill found a takedown within a couple minutes of the first round, and once in top position, she didn’t have much trouble keeping her opponent pinned, advancing position, and landing shots. Over time, her dominant positions equaled a large number of unanswered blows, resulting in the stoppage. “King” Casey is definitely one to watch at 125 pounds!
  • Aiemann Zahabi defeats Drako Rodriguez via first-round knockout: Zahabi entered this contest on the heels off consecutive losses, putting some real pressure on the brother of famed coach Firas Zahabi to perform. Fortunately, he found a very punchable foe in Rodriguez, who loaded up way too wide on his rear hand uppercut. The rear hand uppercut is better designated as a counter for a reason, as the opponent’s right hand will far more often than not beat the strike to the chin. That’s exactly what happened here, as a Zahabi right hand cracked Rodriguez direct on the jaw, awarding the Canadian talent his much-needed win.
  • Sergey Spivac defeats Jared Vanderaa via second-round knockout: Stuck beneath a 250-pound “Polar Bear” is not the place to be. Vanderaa found out the hard way, as his defensive wrestling could not hold up to Spivac’s shots, and Spivac exploited that advantage ruthlessly. By the end of the second round, Spivac was simply mauling Vanderaa, and by the time the referee stepped in, “The Mountain” was covered in blood.

For complete UFC Vegas 19: “Lewis vs. Blaydes” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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