Last night (Sat., Feb. 26, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the UFC Apex for UFC Vegas 49. For the second time in as many weeks, an unplanned main event headlined the night, as Bobby Green filled in at the last-second opposite Islam Makhachev. Fortunately, that still made for an intriguing match up, and there were at least a couple other full value match ups throughout the night.
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Title Shot Earned
Makhachev ran through Green, who moved well and offered up good defense to the initial clinch takedown attempts, but ultimately, I don’t know that he landed a significant blow before getting dragged to the canvas.
Once on top, Makhachev was too good, too far beyond his opponent. He advanced passed the guard methodically, prevented Green from scrambling up, and put him in a checkmate position. He did so easily, and that kind of thing doesn’t really happen to Bobby Green.
Give that man his title shot.
A Middleweight Grappling Match
Misha Cirkunov vs. Wellington Turman was an odd fight.
Turman started strong, scoring a takedown and immediately jumping the back. Unfortunately, he gassed his legs and arms out hanging off Cirkunov’s back, nearly finishing the strangle. When he fell off, man was tired, and Cirkunov punished him with heavy shots and a near submission of his own.
Heading into the second, Turman still seemed fatigued, and Cirkunov appeared in control when he landed a sneaky foot trip. Then, in a move that offered no foreshadowing, Turman threw up a quick armbar that produced an instant tap. That’s a lot of momentum shifts inside just about seven minutes!
At any rate, credit for Turman for executing a swift armbar while falling behind in the fight.
Arman Tsarukyan is 25 years old, and he just competed for the sixth time inside the Octagon. From his first fight — a short-notice wrestling match vs. Makhachev — he’s appeared an incredible prospect.
Every fight since has confirmed that fact.
Last night, Tsarukyan faced a hugely dangerous opponent in Joel Alvarez. Highly experienced and dangerous on the feet and mat alike, Alvarez is not at all an easy task, but Tsarukyan handled him from the first bell. Tsarukyan dragged him down to the canvas quickly, and though it took him a couple minutes to really let his ground strikes loose, they immediately took effect.
A massive elbow split Alvarez open near the end of the round, and it seemed likely the fight would be stopped between rounds. When that didn’t happen, Tsarukyan refused to let his foe off the hook, putting him back on the mat and continued to drop brutal elbows and punches.
He forced the finish, and he’s ready for any Lightweight in the world.
Robocop Vs. Superman
Gregory Rodrigues vs. Armen Petrosyan was awesome.
Perhaps to his detriment, Rodrigues largely abandoned his wrestling and jiu-jitsu advantage to bang with the Russian striker. From the first bell, it was a battle of puncher vs. kicker, as Rodrigues pressed and headhunted, whereas Petrosyan danced around the outside and was hugely active with his kicks.
For 15 minutes, the fight was extremely competitive, and both men ate heavy shots. It all seemed to come down to the third, which Rodrigues began by nearly knocking his foe out with a head kick ... only to get nearly knocked out by a high kick himself in the closing seconds of the round!
It was a perfect slugfest, and Petrosyan was named the winner via split-decision.
Bahamondes On The Rise
Ignacio Bahamondes doesn’t immediately jump off the page as a top prospect. His record is solid, but not exceptional. Prior to last night’s victory over Zhu Rong, his UFC record was just 1-1. On paper, he looks like plenty of other “Contenders Series” products.
In the cage, he’s special.
Standing at 6’3,” Bahamondes is the rare combination of a rangy kickboxer who 1) knows how to strike well at distance, 2) throws with power, and 3) maintains an absurd pace. He’s a really difficult man to strike with, and showed off his kickboxing talent in the first round, really carving up Rong on the feet.
Credit to the Chinese athlete, he adjusted and made the fight more competitive. Even so, Bahamondes was putting serious volume on his foe’s face, torso and legs. Rong tried to mix it up with takedowns, but Bahamondes showed surprisingly strong jiu-jitsu in sweeping and later submitting his opponent.
At 24 years of age, Bahamondes is absolutely one to watch.
Terrance McKinney began his UFC career with a seven second knockout, and though it lasted a couple minutes longer, his sophomore performance was similarly wild.
McKinney began the fight with a slip! Fares Ziam capitalized by jumping onto the turtle position, only for McKinney to immediately arm roll and scramble into top position. It was a frantic exchange, one that showed off the prospect’s athleticism. Once on top, McKinney looked really heavy, putting all his weight on Ziam and working to pass guard. The second Ziam attempted to scramble, McKinney aggressively jumped his back. He nearly fell off in the process, but moments later, Ziam was flattened out and getting strangled.
It remains to be seen just how far McKinney can climb with his combination of athleticism and aggressiveness, but it will surely be a lot of fun to watch!
- Ramiz Brahimaj defeats Michael Gilmore via first round rear-naked choke: Brahimaj improved his UFC record to 2-2 on the strength of his jiu-jitsu. In both of his victories, he was able to quickly drag his foes down and secure the back, whereas each defeat saw him struggle with his opponents’ kickboxing. As such, the Welterweight prospect still has to areas to improve, but this was a nice victory to remind fight fans of his strengths.
For complete UFC Vegas 49: “Makhachev vs. Green” results and play-by-play, click HERE!