Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to action last night (Sat., Feb. 6, 2021) with UFC Vegas 18 inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, which saw Alexander Volkov knockout Alistair Overeem in the Heavyweight headlining act (see it). In the co-main event, Cory Sandhagen knocked out Frankie Edgar with a perfect flying knee to solidify himself as the next title contender at 135 pounds (highlights).
Biggest Winner: Cory Sandhagen
“The Sandman” once again proved just how legit he is by sleeping another long-time veteran and former champion, stunning Edgar with a devastating flying knee to put him out for the count in just 28 seconds. In his fight prior, Sandhagen did the same to Marlon Moraes via skinning wheel kick. Sandhagen now improves to 7-1 inside the Octagon with his lone loss coming against Aljamain Sterling, who will fight Bantamweight champion Petr Yan at UFC 259. Speaking of which, Sandhagen secured his championship fight against the winner after his electric knockout. This man is the real deal, ladies and gentleman.
Runner Up: Alexander Volkov
“Drago” ruined Alistair Overeem’s UFC championship dreams once and for all by dominating him before scoring a second round technical knockout (TKO) win. Volkov has now won two in a row — both via knockout — and will climb the 265-pound rankings and get closer to a shot at the title, which will be on the line at UFC 260 when Heavyweight king, Stipe Miocic, takes on Francis Ngannou. “Drago” has racked up an impressive 7-2 record inside the Octagon, with his two losses coming at the hands of Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes, two if the division’s best. All he has to do now is sit and weight to see how the division unfolds in the coming months to see where he fits in the title picture.
Biggest Loser: Michael Johnson
While most of you were expecting Overeem to take this spot (and rightfully so) after getting stopped by Volkov, “The Reem” will at least live to fight another day inside the Octagon. Plus, we will discuss his defeat and fighting future in our “Monday Morning Hangover” piece. As for Johnson, his fighting future is another story. “The Menace” was at one point considered a legit threat to fight for a UFC title coming out of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), but things have taken a turn for the worse in the last two years, losing four in a row, with his latest defeat coming last night against Clay Guida, who dominated Johnson for 15 minutes. When you look at Johnson’s record, he hasn’t done too well since 2015 because he is just 3-9 in the past five years, which includes multiple three-losing streaks. There is no telling where he goes from here, but he is on thin ice when it comes to his UFC career.
Biggest Loser: Frankie Edgar
We are going to stray from tradition here and put another big loser from the event, because we have to discuss Edgar’s stunning defeat at the hands of Sandhagen. “The Answer” was hoping for a new lease on his combat life by dropping down to Bantamweight, but it has been anything but a picnic for him. While he did defeat Pedro Munhoz in his debut at 135 pounds, many felt the fight should have gone the other way. In his sophomore effort in his new weight class, Sandhagen sent him picking in less than 30 seconds, handing him his third loss in last four outings. Where Edgar goes from here is anyone’s guess, but I don’t want to hear anything more about him fighting for a UFC title or even a title eliminator fight, much like the buzz was going into this bout despite going 1-2 before last night. His legacy is already set as a former champion and one of the grittiest fighters to ever step foot inside the Octagon, but the last two years have been brutal for “The Answer.” That’s why if he ever wants to come close to sniffing another shot at the UFC strap, he will have to secure at the very least three straight wins. And that’s a tough task to say the least given his recent track record.
For complete UFC Vegas 18 results and coverage click here.