Last night (Sat., Feb. 5, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 47. Two years into the pandemic and UFC Apex era, we all know the drill, right? Last night’s show was a fun event that prioritized action-heavy match ups above all else, and for the most part, it paid off! In particular, the Middleweight division was highlighted, most notably in the main event clash between Sean Strickland and Jack Hermansson.
It was a full night of combat sports, so let’s take another look at the best performances and techniques:
Middleweight’s Defensive Slugger
Defense, as the saying goes, wins championships.
The gold belt has yet to materialize around Sean Strickland’s waist, but so far, he’s on the right track. Last night, Strickland put forth a very measured performance to take a clear-cut victory (that one judge still managed to screw up), largely working his jab across five rounds to remain in control.
The jab was great, and its worthy of discussion and praise, but more impressive was Strickland’s ability to completely shut down Hermansson’s offense. Outside of the low kick — which produced some bruises, but no noticeable effect on his performance — Strickland absorbed very few strikes.
Hermansson didn’t just miss with his punches upstairs, he missed badly. Yet, that wasn’t because Strickland was running or pulling away wildly. He took small steps and deflected punches with his arms and shoulders, remaining in position to poke Hermansson directly on the nose after making his punches go astray.
Strickland’s takedown defense was similarly excellent — he shut down each and every one of the Swede’s shots down rather easily. Hermansson is one of the better wrestlers and top control specialists in the division, so this is no simple feat!
It may not have been the most thrilling fight of all time, but Strickland’s defense was nevertheless very impressive.
The Best Fighter On The Card
Shavkat Rakhmonov was the clear highlight of the night, and I wrote a full article on his performance and potential HERE!
Blue Collar Brawl
Julian Erosa vs. Steven Peterson was everything it was supposed to be.
Neither of these Featherweights are going to contend, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth watching! The two veterans absolutely went after it, largely forgoing their grappling skills to pummel one another. It wasn’t textbook technical, but each man dug into his bag of tricks to land sneaky shots.
There were lots of momentum shifts in this dogfight. Both men were stunned numerous times, and it seemed like either could score the finish in an instant. Random spinning shit galore!
Neither man is exceptionally fast or powerful, but they’re tough as hell and have a serious desire to win. This is the good stuff, a primary pillar of UFC Apex events!
For us viewers, does it even matter who won?
A Hard-Earned Debut
Chidi Njokuani has been fighting known names on the regional scene for well over a decade.
A pro since 2007, Njokuani has fought for everyone, including Tachi Palace, LFA, and Bellator. He’s beaten quality opponents, but historically, Njokuani’s grappling deficiences have always cost him just as he was about to build major momentum. Still, he’s been worthy of a spot on the UFC roster for some time, and it’s odd that the knockout artist has been passed over for so long.
Not anymore. A win last year on “Contenders Series” — which should not have been required, given his resume — earned him a contract, setting up his debut last night vs. Marc-Andre Barriault. In the opening exchange, Njokuani sent a jab down the middle and followed it with an overhand.
Both landed flush. Njokuani’s debut officially lasted just 16 seconds, but it’s worth recognizing just how long he worked for that moment.
Denys Bondar’s UFC debut ended in absolutely miserable fashion.
Malcolm Gordon stung him with a nice right hand early, prompting Bondar to change levels and land a takedown. From his back, however, Gordon was able to throw up a tight armbar. Bondar escaped, but as we quickly found out, the damage was done.
Not long afterward, the two were scrambling along the fence. Bondar attempted to simple post his hand on the mat and push off to stand up, but the pressure proved too much for his elbow joint, which visibly broke. Bondar let out an unpleasant scream, and the fight was quickly called off.
2021 was a year of gory limb breaks, and 2022 may just follow in similar fashion.
- Brendan Allen defeats Sam Alvey via second-round rear naked choke: This one went about as expected. Alvey managed to ding Allen early with a couple check hooks, but once the younger man found his range, that was all she wrote. Allen put Alvey to the canvas at the end of round one, and he continued to do big damage with short punching combinations into the second. When Alvey hit the mat a second time, Allen jumped straight to the choke and sealed the deal.
- John Castenada defeats Miles Johns via third-round arm triangle choke: Former Combate Global champ Castenada very much looked the part of a future contender last night. Against a fellow formidable Bantamweight prospect, Castenada’s pressure and kickboxing skill really took over. The first round was competitive, but Castenada’s ability to put together varied combinations constantly really wore on his foe physically and mentally. Johns was given no time to rest or think, and the end result was overwhelming. En route to the strangle, Castenada dropped his foe twice, showing off a complete skill set in a hugely impressive performance.
- Jailton Almeida defeats Danilo Marques via first-round knockout: Brazil with an impressive Light Heavyweight debut! Almeida scored a big double leg takedown almost immediately, and he immediately forced Marques into defensive dilemmas. Almeida passed guard quickly, eventually moving into mount, where he repeatedly landed big shots and threatened the rear naked choke, really giving Marques nowhere to go en route to a pretty smooth win.
- Phillip Rowe defeats Jason Witt via second-round knockout: Witt started this bout strong, using his wrestling to clearly take the first frame. He found continued success with takedowns in the second, as Rowe routinely backed himself into the fence. When Rowe managed to work back up and separate, however, he made it a point to stalk his foe. With Witt on the back foot, Rowe was able to line up a big trio of punches that sent Witt to the canvas, devoid of his senses.
For complete UFC Vegas 47: “Strickland vs. Hermansson” resulsts and play-by-play, click HERE!