UFC Vegas 26 went down last night (Sat., May 8, 2021) inside UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring a back-and-forth Flyweight fight that saw Marina Rodriguez defeat Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision (highlights here). In the co-headlining act, Alex Morono picked up a big win, knocking out Donald Cerrone in the first round (see it here).
Biggest Winner: Marina Rodriguez
Rodriguez just keeps on chugging along and building her name in mixed martial arts (MMA), this time as a Flyweight. In her debut in the division, she took out a long-time veteran in “Karate Hottie,” giving the “Contender Series” alum a notable win while improving her UFC record to 4-1-2. Rodriguez’ lone loss of her combat career was a razor-thin split decision to former 115-pound champion, Carla Esparza, which many felt should have gone the other way. Ranked No. 6 as a Strawweight, Rodriguez came into the fight eying a shot at the division strap — currently held by Rosa Namajunas — with a win. While I don’t think that will happen just yet, she could be in line for big fight next, perhaps against surging contender Mackenzie Dern. For now, Rodriguez can enjoy her big win a bit more knowing she’s put the rest of the top contenders on notice.
Runner Up: Alex Morono
When opportunity knocked for Morono after Diego Sanchez was yanked from his fight against Donald Cerrone, “The Great White” answered the door. And it proved to be a great decision after he earned a first round knockout win over “Cowboy,” stopping him via strikes a few seconds before the first round came to an end. It was perhaps the biggest win of his career so far, and it came at a good time since he was last seen losing to Anthony Pettis in Dec. 2020. Will it raise his stock a ton? Probably not. But it’s still a great victory to have under his belt which he could use as momentum to go on a run and make some noise in the extremely stacked Welterweight division. He also went home with an extra $50,000 in post-fight bonus cash, so all in all it was a great night for Morono.
Biggest Loser: Donald Cerrone
It’s been a rough two years for “Cowboy,” having lost five of his last six fight — four of them via knockout — in the span of two years. Sure, four of those defeats came against the cream of the crop in the form of Tony Ferguson, Conor McGregor, Anthony Pettis and Justin Gaethje, but at the end of the day that many losses will likely prompt UFC matchmakers to take a good hard look at Cerrone’s performances over the last 24 months to decided just how they want to handle his career moving forward. It’s always tough to see long-time veterans and legends struggle in what seems to be the tail-end of their careers, as was the case with Anderson Silva and Junior dos Santos and many more before Cerrone. But fighter’s fight, and “Cowboy” is one of those combatants that will go out on his shield. Still, he will have a lot to think about in the coming weeks and months regarding his fighting future.
For complete UFC Vegas 26 results and coverage click here.