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Here’s everything that happened at UFC Vegas 18 last night

UFC Fight Night: Overeem v Volkov Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC

Last night (Sat., Feb. 6, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 18. Even with a couple late COVID-19 related changes, the main card stayed very strong, featuring many compelling match ups between veterans and up-and-coming talents. In the main event, Alistair Overeem attempted to make his final run at the belt, whereas Alexander Volkov tried to move one step forward from his status as a dark horse contender.

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

Drago Breaks His Foe

Alexander Volkov really had his way with Alistair Overeem.

None of Overeem’s usual tricks worked. He switched stances, attempted to jam the leg, tried to time overhands, ducked into clinches — none of it worked. Volkov continued advancing, undeterred, and stuck his foe with powerful straight shots over and over.

Overeem didn’t really know what else to try. He was forced to shell up and take strikes between attempts to find an answer, but that strategy was never going to last forever. Volkov stunned his foe with his lead hand three times, and the final left put him down for good.

Overeem’s final title run was a fun idea, but “Drago” brutally showed how unrealistic it all was.

28 Seconds

Cory Sandhagen destroyed Frankie Edgar with a brilliant jump knee less than 30 seconds into their co-main event contest.

Let’s be clear right away: Edgar is still really good (he did just beat Pedro Munhoz!), but Sandhagen seems a future champion at just 28 years old. He was able to read Edgar’s movement and timing so quickly; that’s not easy even with a decade plus of tape available on “The Answer.”

This game is brutal.

Vintage Carpentry

Clay Guida wore down Michael Johnson last night.

Early on, he did so with a touch more finesse than usual. Guida was looking to throw hard overhands, pull counters out of Johnson, and land with his left hook. Whenever Johnson got too cozy in his stance, Guida dug the calf and kept the pace high. In general, Guida’s overhand has never looked better!

Of course, it did not take terribly long for the fight to devolve to the type of grinding wrestling affair Guida excels in. He took some shots in the process, but Guida wore them well, and he simply kept after Johnson. His pressure likely won him the first two rounds, but if there was any doubt, Guida added a cherry to the sundae by taking the back and very nearly finishing a rear naked choke in the final frame!

Given all the wars he’s participated in over the years, there’s really no way Guida should be able to fight like this. It’s genuinely remarkable!

Pressure The Pressure Fighter

Diego Ferreira’s career turnaround and six-fight win streak came as a result of switching up his whole style. Rather than being the slick BJJ guy who likes to brawl, Ferreira grew more methodical, employing a pressure fighter strategy that saw him land more punches in combination and score takedowns along the fence.

It worked really well!

Beneil Dariush flipped the script. He immediately stepped to the Brazilian with heavy left hands, and the second Ferreira raised his arms, the takedowns came. Despite Ferreira growing to become a much better wrestler in the last seven years, Dariush still grounded him out like it was 2014 all over again.

That’s the value of a smart game plan.

Dariush did slow a bit by the third, but it was far too late for Ferreira to stage any comeback. Instead, Dariush extends his own win streak to six, and he deserves a highly-ranked, name foe next.

Additional Thoughts

  • Danilo Marques defeats Mike Rodriguez via second-round rear naked choke: Light Heavyweight grappling matches are rarely pretty, but this one was especially ugly. Both men looked tired quickly, and Rodriguez simply didn’t have an answer for his opponent’s grappling advantage ... at least Marques took the back and ended it early.
  • Devonte Smith defeats Justin Jaynes via second-round knockout: Smith may have suffered one of the more significant statistical upsets ever in his last bout, but that doesn’t mean the young knockout artist is washed. In the first, both men landed well at distance, but Smith’s range advantage and quickness saw him landing the better shots. The most definitive strikes of the round came as Smith defended a single leg, frantically — but effectively! — slapping his foe up. The takedown backfired in the second for Jaynes as well, this time when Smith scored a slick foot sweep counter. More punches landed from top position, and that damage added up when the doctor called the fight due to Jaynes’ busted orbital bone.
  • Ode Osbourne defeats Jerome Rivera via first-round knockout: Yeah, there isn’t a ton to breakdown here. Rivera threw up a range-finder high kick early in the bout, and it got a bit stuck on Osbourne’s shoulder. As he hurried to retract his leg, Osbourne cracked him with a clean cross and ended the contest. That’s a hell of a rebound for the “Contenders Series” product!

For complete UFC Vegas 18: “Overeem vs. Volkov” results and play-by-play, click HERE!

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