Last night (Sat., Feb. 19, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Las Vegas, Nevada and the UFC Apex for UFC Vegas 48. For a “Fight Night” event that lost its main event a week from showtime, last night’s card still had a lot of quality moments. Of course, the main event Light Heavyweight clash between Johnny Walker and Jamahal Hill was the clear-cut most important fight of the evening, but when the Detroit Urban Survival guy is in the building, it’s a must-see event!
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Jamahal Hill Is A Contender
Lots of “Contenders Series” products come and go, but Hill just punched his ticket into the Top 10.
There is something really refreshing about Hill’s approach to combat. He doesn’t do anything overly dramatic, just walks his opponents down and tries to put knuckles on chins. It’s good fundamental violence combined with excellent physicaly gifts, and the results have been outstanding.
Hill was not lacking in confidence vs. Johnny Walker. Walker moved and struck well early, picking his shots and landing some hard kicks. None of that deterred Hill, who seemed to fully believe that the second he connected with a punch, Walker was going to hit the canvas.
Believe, conceive, achieve and all that. Hill walked his man down and put him to sleep, violently, and it took him less than a round. That’s a definitive entrance into the Top 10, and Hill’s ceiling is looking very high.
For my thoughts on Walker’s struggles and a possible explanation, check out my full article HERE!
Kyle Daukaus has shown skill in each of his UFC performances. Since his short-notice debut vs. Brendan Allen, he’s fought like a quality member of the UFC roster. Unfortunately, his career still began in a rough patch, as Daukaus won just one of his first four bouts.
Still, this co-main event slot vs. Jamie Pickett demonstrated that the promotion still holds some confidence in him, and Daukaus proved the belief justified. He pretty much ran through Pickett, scoring takedowns consistently and with relative ease. He continually attacked the neck, which finally resulted in a solid d’arce attempt.
With 10 seconds left to the bell, Daukaus fully committed himself to the squeeze. Pickett tapped just a half-second before the bell, earning Daukaus the first finish of his UFC career and a bit of hard-earned job security.
Jim Miller Forever
Jim Miller is, quite simply, the man.
His longevity is astounding, only possible due to a fair amount of luck and a ridiculous amount of effort. Against a dangerous young striker in Nikolas Motta, Miller didn’t just set the record for UFC appearances, but he tied Donald Cerrone for the all-time wins record to boot!
Unlike “Cowboy,” Miller seems primed to keep winning, too. At this stage of the game, we know that the 38-year-old veteran will struggle in a 15-minute grinding wrestling match. Against opponents who are not expert grinders, however, Miller is a potent enough jiu-jitsu and striking threat to finish at any moment.
Miller has also been a technical enough kickboxer — in something of a throwback style, where he attacks in quick bursts — but the power is new. When has Miller sparked opponents with one punch previously? The numbers back it up too, as Miller has scored 33% of his career knockout wins in his last two fights!
Clearly, the vet is doing something right.
A Happy Sendoff
Pleasant endings to combat sports careers are rare, so let’s savor this one.
Chas Skelly made it known prior to his match vs. Mark Striegl that this bout would be his last, one way or another. Fortunately, that additional pressure didn’t seem to bother Skelly, who was pretty quickly able to have his way with Striegl in the clinch and on the mat. Skelly took the first frame on the strength of his control, though he landed some nice shots in the process.
Skelly continued to wrestle into the second, but the finish unexpectedly came when Striegl scrambled back to his feet. As his opponent punched, Skelly timed a slick upwards elbow that split the guard and stunned his foe. While Striegl tried to back off, Skelly grabbed his neck and fed him a brutal knee.
It was just the fourth knockout win of his pro career.
- David Onama defeats Gabriel Benitez via first-round knockout: Onama showed a lot of potential in his short-notice debut loss to Mason Jones up at Lightweight, but it’s not always easy turning potential into UFC victories. His Featherweight debut vs. Benitez started off poorly too, as the powerful kicker ripped into his legs and stung him with straight punches down the middle. Despite the adversity, Onama marched forward, and when he managed to clip Benitez in response to a kick, “The Silent Assassin” unleashed a massive combination of brutal power punches that left his foe senseless — THAT is how you rally!
- Stephanie Egger defeats Jessica-Rose Clark via first-round armbar: It’s a risky tactic to engage a Judoka in the clinch, and it backfired badly here. Clark was flipped to the mat, wrestled back to her feet, and then flipped again! The second time, Egger was able to establish top control, advance into a dominant position, and then snatch up the arm. There were slight shades of Ronda Rousey in how Egger rotated around her opponent to land in perfect position and attack the joint, which was a pretty fun throwback for the women’s Bantamweight division.
- Chad Anheliger defeats Jesse Strader via third-round knockout: You can always count on undercard Bantamweights to deliver the goods. This was a back-and-forth scrap that saw each man land heavy shots, leaving the final frame the likely decider. Instead, Anheliger took the judges out of the equation, landing a crushing counter hook that toppled Strader to the canvas. Strader fell face-first and tried to survive, but Anheliger forced the stoppage and earned his first UFC win in style.
For complete UFC Vegas 48: “Walker vs. Hill” results and play-by-play, click HERE!