Last night (Sat., June 5, 2021), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained in UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 28. Following a weekend free of fights, UFC aimed to return with a bang, stacking the top of the card of heavy-handed big men. And true to form, 26 fighters made the walk to the Octagon, guaranteeing at least a few fun scraps.
Let’s take a closer look at the best performances and techniques:
It Doesn’t Take Much
Jairzinho Rozenstruik barely threw any strikes en route to viciously stopping Augusto Sakai.
To his credit, there was some improvement from his recent loss to Ciryl Gane. Rozenstruik fired back a few counter combinations, seemed to commit to his low kicks a bit more, and actually threw punches when Sakai backed toward the fence. Still, as the round came to a close, many watching were at least a little concerned we were about to watch another slow-paced, 25-minute Heavyweight main event.
Fortunately, “Bigi Boy” doesn’t need to become a Diaz brother. It only takes one punch — a glancing one, even — for him to sleep a durable, highly ranked man like Sakai. Rozenstruik touched the body to start his combination before sending two punches to the jawline. Neither shot landed perfectly, but Sakai still hit the mat hard.
It’s a step in the right direction for Rozenstruik, and a great reminder that Rozenstruik doesn’t have to be perfect to put people to sleep.
Proving one’s toughness is rarely the goal of an MMA fight, but it happens. Such is the case for Marcin Tybura, who — for the second time in a row — got his butt kicked prior to turning the tables.
Harris was far too explosive early on for Tybura to keep up. “The Big Ticket” landed his left hand nearly at will, and when Tybura backed up, Harris flurried and tried to force the finish. He definitely had Tybura on the ropes, but the Polish veteran has been looking more and more comfortable in that very position. When Tybura ducked beneath one big swing and found entry on the hips, the fight changed rapidly.
Harris was tired from chasing the finish, while Tybura was fresh enough, if a bit shaken up. Either way, it didn’t take long for Tybura to advance into back mount, flatten his foe out, and secure the first-round stoppage.
Not the easiest way to get a quick win, but it counts!
Fight Of The Year (So Far)
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs. Miguel Baeza was a pretty incredible contest from a technical standpoint, but what really impressed was the toughness of both athletes.
Ponzinibbio won this bout in large part because he refused to accept defeat. It was purely mental toughness. By all rights, he should have lost when his leg was kicked to pieces midway through the first round. Ponzinibbio just couldn’t get going, as each of his attempted jabs saw the damage to his leg build. By the second round, Ponzinibbio was limping and getting lit up by right hands.
Somehow, he dug deep and fired back. I don’t know how he managed it exactly; maybe his leg went numb. Either way, he was suddenly sticking jabs in Baeza’s face and swarming with combinations, ignoring the shin still digging into his calf.
Baeza started incredibly well, but he did not fade either when the going got tough. Somehow, he kicked through half-a-dozen checks that would have hobbled a lesser fighter. Then, when Ponzinibbio fire back with low kicks, and Baeza was trading with a more experienced puncher, he still bit down and fired back.
The end result was a tremendous contest. Both men put forth their best effort, but Ponzinibbio scored the nod.
Eye Pokes On Eye Pokes
Eye pokes ravaged the undercard.
Mason Jones was beating the hell out of Alan Patrick. He seemingly scored a 10-8 round in the first and was likely en route to a stoppage win ... before a frame to the face intended to stuff a shot resulted in an eye poke and “No Contest.” Francisco Trinaldo nearly blinded Muslim Salikhov in the third round of a fun scrap. Then, Tanner Boser’s right knuckle grazed Ilir Latifi’s eyeball from a closed fist, making it a legal (if unfortunate) blow that nearly ended his Swedish foe’s night.
Winners and losers alike attacked eye sockets, which really reinforces the randomness of it all. Fighting is chaos, and fouls do happen unintentionally. How should they be policed? I don’t have the answer — some type of case-by-case basis appears unfortunately necessary to this writer/fighter — but fixing gloves in the interim seems vital.
- Montana De La Rosa defeats Ariane Lipski via second-round technical knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): The bout was not going all that well for De La Rosa on her feet, but fortunately, a deep body lock saw her gain top position midway through the first round. From her back, Lipski didn’t do all that much but cling to her opponent, and De La Rosa still managed to carve her up with elbows. Lipski’s situation didn’t improve in the second when she charged directly into a double leg takedown. This time around, De La Rosa managed to advance into mount, where Lipski was fully trapped beneath a surge of punishment.
- Manon Fiorot defeats Tabatha Ricci via second-round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): Tabatha Ricci accepted this fight on short-notice, and well, it looked like it! Fiorot was considerably bigger, which allowed her to bully Ricci around the Octagon with little respect for what was coming back at it. By the second round, Fiorot was straight up mugging her opponent, running after her and yelling with every punch — the finish came soon afterward.
For complete UFC Vegas 28 results and coverage click here.