Last night (Sat., May 1, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 25. Leading into the card, action was all but guaranteed ... until the fights actually started! Fortunately, the remarkably slow start gave way to some excellent brawls and incredible finishes.
Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and techniques:
The Czech Destroyer
Jiri Prochazka would not be denied last night.
It was, frankly, unfathomable to watch him walk through so many stiff left hands from Reyes, who we know to hit as hard as just about anyone in the division. A couple of them wobbled Prochazka, sure, which does help prove him human, but his mentality is unbelievable. It takes a special athlete to walk through potential knockout blows and refuse to make any adjustment.
Prochazka simply kept coming. No matter how hard Reyes punched him in the face or kicked him in the liver, Prochazka continued to fire power punches back at him. Reyes deserves a ton of credit for biting down and firing back himself until the bitter end, but wow ... that was an otherworldly performance from the former Rizin kingpin.
It’s time for a title shot.
Giga Chikadze is so confident in his left kick that he named it after himself. That’s one of the most common and powerful weapons in kickboxing/Muay Thai/MMA, and Chikadze is basically claiming it!
Well, Chikadze made a solid argument for his “Giga Kick” last night. Setting the body kick up by first going high, Chikadze ripped his left foot (specifically, his toes!) directly into Swanson’s liver. It was the first left kick actually landed, but that was all it took: Swanson had no choice but to crumble to the mat.
After six-straight wins inside the Octagon, Chikadze is ready for another big step up in competition.
The Rebirth Of Sean Strickland
Sean Strickland was not this good at 170 lbs. — nowhere close!
Last night, Strickland secured his third win in the last six months, all three of them coming in the Middleweight division. At Welterweight, Strickland was known as a talented prospect, but his credentials and excellent record never equated to much actual momentum. In hindsight, he only lost to pretty quality competition, but all the same, his actual performances have improved tenfold.
Against Krzysztof Jotko, Strickland picked apart the former ranked Middleweight. While marching forward, Strickland’s lead hand was exceptionally accurate, and it controlled the flow of exchanges. As the fight wore on and Strickland grew more confident, he began to line up his right hand more often and open up with kicks. Strickland really ripped into the leg and did big damage, but Jotko showed his toughness and experience to make it to the final bell.
There was little wasted movement; Strickland was accurate and dangerous. Now 30 years of age, “Tarzan” looks ready to finally make his run at the top of the division after seven years on the roster.
- Luana Pinheiro defeats Randa Markos via disqualification: Well, this is an odd one. Pinheiro was largely kicking Markos’ ass, throwing her all over the Octagon with really slick Judo throws. Markos did land some solid bursts of punches herself, and it was generally shaping up to be a very entertaining fight ... until Markos landed an illegal upkick and found herself on the wrong side of a DQ. I’ll be honest, the reaction looked a rather over-the-top to me, but then, I didn’t get kicked in the face!
- TJ Brown defeats Kai Kamaka via split decision: The first four fights of the next were largely one-sided and/or uninspiring, which made this battle a real breath of fresh air. Brown was the man leading the dance, feinting and showcasing a smart lead hand. However, Kamara showed off really good counter punching, which made for a tremendously even contest. In the second round, the two both rocked each other badly in the second, still leaving it very up in the air with five minutes remaining. The fight didn’t slow down though, as Kamaka worked for top position while defending submission attempts. Competitive striking and grappling for 15 high-paced minutes — that’s what’s up! The decision was controversial (I personally thought Kamaka deserved the nod), but that doesn’t take away from the fight itself.
For complete UFC Vegas 25: “Reyes vs. Prochazka” results and play-by-play, click HERE!