Last night (Sat., Nov. 5, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained inside UFC Apex and Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 64. The main event highlighted a collision of top-notch Strawweight strikers Marina Rodriguez and Amanda Lemos in a bout that held major title implications. Otherwise, the night was kind of a mess, as a disastrous weigh-ins and fight day cancelation illustrated that this wasn’t the absolute best card of the year on paper.
Fortunately, the fights that did happen were fun, and there’s always few interesting things to talk about! Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Hesitancy Makes Sense
Rodriguez was nervous to engage opposite Lemos last night. The Muay Thai fighter is usually willing to walk into the pocket and brawl, crash forward and sling knees, or trade elbows at the break of clinches. She’s brave and aggressive, but Lemos’ own power punching kept her at bay.
Ten minutes in, the fight was up in the air. Neither woman had really pulled into control at all. Rodriguez’s corner encouraged her to get after it ... and she listened. She came out swinging in the third round, and Lemos nailed her with a right hand in the opening minute. Moments later, the referee was waving off the fight (watch highlights), and it seems that Rodriguez’s instinct to hang back and stay cautious was wise indeed.
The Winningest Welterweight
Neil Magny scored his twentieth victory as a UFC Welterweight last evening, battling passed Daniel Rodriguez to earn a slick submission win (watch it). That’s more wins than 170-pound legends such as Georges St-Pierre, Kamaru Usman and Matt Hughes ... and every other Welterweight great.
He may not be better than those men, but he’s a special fighter anyway. For a full article on the topic, check out my thoughts HERE!
5’10” Flyweight = Bad Idea
Flyweight is a tempting prospect for Bantamweights. The 135-pound division is ridiculously stacked with talent, making it so hard to achieve forward progress. Meanwhile, UFC remains only sort of invested at the Flyweight level, so a three-fight win streak could produce a title shot.
It’s tempting, which is the reason so many men slightly too large for Flyweight make the cut ... or try to.
Nate Maness succeeded on the scale, but looked unwell doing so. Then, he stepped into the cage with an expert in combat Sambo. Is it any shock that a Russian grappling master strangled a diminished foe? Tagir Ulanbekov did what he was supposed to do and showed Maness that the Flyweight road may be shorter, but that doesn’t guarantee it’s easier.
Out-wrestling The Olympian
Wrestling accomplishments are great. There is very arguably no more grueling of a sport. It’s a brutal world where incredible athletes with iron wills are forged, and that’s why so many excellent wrestlers emerge from the high school, collegiate and international scene to dominate inside the Octagon.
All the same, credentials don’t mean s—t in the cage. Mark O. Madsen is an Olympic silver medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling. Grant Dawson was a pretty good high school wrestler. Yet, when the cage door shut, Dawson repeatedly threw Madsen around, because he committed to shots below the waist and used the cage to great advantage.
Madsen was so worn down by the third round. He fought hard through the first 10 minutes to avoid the submission, and he was spent. Dawson wisely kicked his leg to pieces, dropped him, then strangled his wounded foe to likely secure a spot in the Lightweight Top 15.
Bautista Makes A Statement
Mario Bautista turned a corner in 2022.
Prior to this year, he founded mixed success inside the Octagon, splitting four fights evenly. Last night, he picked up his third straight win, stopping Benito Lopez with a nifty triangle armbar.
Really, Bautista looked like quite a physical force from the first bell. He looked nearly his lanky opponent’s height and reach, but he was rippling with muscle. Then, the duo started kickboxing, and Bautista looked SHARP! Lopez is a quality kickboxer, but Bautista traded range strikes with him without issue. Before long, he was closing distance and letting beautiful combinations fly, showing great boxing, too.
Finally, he transitioned to the canvas with a lovely double-leg takedown and was immediately on the offensive. He quickly found mount and set up a trap, transitioning to a reverse triangle when Lopez attempted to escape out the back door. A few moments of cranking on the shoulder joint later, and Bautista’s hand was raised in a pretty flawless performance (watch highlights).
Entering last night’s contest, Polyana Viana was 30 years old and seven fights into her UFC career. It really felt like we knew what the Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighter had to offer. She’s a fun grappler and submission threat, but the rest of her game has never been particularly inspiring nor consistent enough to really build momentum at 115 pounds.
Her battle versus Jinh Yu Frey seemed to offer few surprises on paper, too, a classic grappler vs. striker match up. Then, Viana cracked Frey with a perfect intercepting knee to the gut. It froze Frey in place, allowing Viana to snap her jaw with a counter. Frey was stunned, and the Brazilian flurried to score her first UFC knockout in just 45 seconds (watch it).
That’s a helluva way to buck expectations.
- Jake Hadley defeats Carlos Candelario via second-round triangle choke: This was a great scrap! Hadley debuted earlier this year with a bit of momentum behind him, only for Allan Nascimento to quickly humble “White Kong” in a clear-cut decision win. Fortunately, the prospect rebounded well here. The submission ace willing scrapped with Candelario for the entire first round and beginning of the second, getting the better of the competitive exchanges. When Candelario opted to attempt to switch it up via wrestling, that proved a fatal mistake. Hadley was almost immediately attacking a triangle, smartly pummeling away with elbows until the opportunity to secure a strong angle emerged.
- Tamires Vidal defeats Ramona Pascual via first-round knockout: It’s hard to read too much into his one. On one hand, Vidal showed some real power and speed for a Bantamweight. At the same time, Pascual’s UFC record dropped to 0-3 as a result of the loss — she has yet to look UFC caliber and is likely done inside the Octagon. So, it’s not a huge win for Vidal, but a jump knee to the gut is a unique finish and makes for a successful UFC debut than the 24 year old.
For complete UFC Vegas 64: “Rodriguez vs. Lemos” results and play-by-play, click HERE.