Last night (Sat., March 12, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 50. One of the better “Fight Night” events in recent memory, action was promised in most of the high-profile bouts. Knockout artist vs. knockout artist seemed to be the theme of the night, as heavy hitters like Thiago Santos, Song Yadong, Alex Pereira and plenty more made their mark on the card. The preliminary portion of the card was a bit more lackluster in terms of name value, but the actually fights delivered in a big way!
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Whole Lot Of Nothing
The whole card was stellar ... except the main event.
It was a painful point fight. Both men respected the other’s power, and neither was really willing to take big chances. Ankalaev pressured and was a touch more active, so he was winning, which made it all the more frustrating when Santos refused to turn it up and really chase the victory.
Ultimately, a win’s a win, but that’s not the type of performance that is likely to earn Ankalaev a title shot.
Song Yadong absolutely smoked Marlon Moraes last night.
He didn’t rush, but he immediately looked to overwhelm Moraes with his speed and power punches. “The Magician” hasn’t faced many men faster than him, but Yadong had a clear-cut edge in quickness. As a result, his right hand was connecting with major consistency, which is a major problem considering his punching power.
Perhaps more impressive was how intelligently Yadong attacked. He wasn’t one-note or sloppy. Instead, he targeted the body and cut off the cage well. Then, he switched his right hand to an uppercut, landed perfectly, and put Moraes to sleep.
Welcome to the Top 10!
Rountree Unleashes The Animal
Khalil Rountree Jr. can be a frustrating fight to watch.
The man is an incredible athlete. Arguably, no one at 205 lbs. hits harder, and he has excellent technique behind his kicks and punches. Sometimes, for seemingly no real reason, Rountree will nevertheless let his opponent dictate the pace and range.
Against Karl Roberson, the fight kind of started that way. The two traded single kicks and occasional power shots. No one really took initiative. Fortunately, that began to change in the second half of the opening round. Rountree started countering kicks really effectively and generally bullying his foe along the fence.
In the second, a switch clicked. Rountree stunned his foe with a hook and then went off, firing punches in bunches. It was beautifully violent, as Rountree put together an incredible finishing sequence that included a gnarly body kick to a downed opponent.
If Rountree could consistently tap into that level of aggressive precision, he’d be a real threat.
All or Nothing
By and large, Terrance McKinney wins fast or not at all. His performance last night was the perfect explanation of that pattern.
McKinney attacked Drew Dober immediately. Showing no respect for his opponent’s power, experience, or durability, McKinney started dropping absolute hammers. Dober hit the canvas, and McKinney poured it on in search of the finish.
That’s all well and good, but the finish didn’t happen. Dober kept his guard up, hung tough, and his a jaw like a brick. McKinney just kept trying to force the stoppage, getting sloppier as the minutes ticked by.
Suddenly, McKinney looked a bit tired, and the first round was nowhere near over. Dober sent him to the mat with a knee to the gut, and McKinney was too fatigued to do more than cover up.
It’s an important lesson for prospects everywhere: UFC veterans aren’t easy to bulldoze.
Damon Jackson’s first stint in the UFC ended poorly. In three trips to the Octagon, he didn’t pick up a single win, so “The Leech” returned to the regional scene.
Six years later, he returned, much better prepared for the level of competition. He’s since picked up the best wins of his career, stopping Mirsad Bektic in his first bout to make it clear Jackson was in a better place. Perhaps the biggest difference is physicality. In wrestling and striking exchanges, Jackson just seems to land with a bigger impact and hold his own more effectively.
Kamuela Kirk showed off some slick kickboxing early, but Jackson wasn’t deterred in the least. He kept the pressure on and landed some quality shots, causing his opponent to slowly begin to fade. That fatigue proved an opening for the takedown, at which point Jackson’s jiu-jitsu skills forced the finish.
He’s now won three of his last four, firmly establishing himself as a valuable member of the Featherweight roster.
Fine At 42
Guido Cannetti made history last night as the oldest man to score a UFC Bantamweight victory by beating the brakes off Kris Moutinho.
I’m not going to pretend it’s a terribly important win that will propel Cannetti to new heights inside the Octagon, but it is a majorly badass accomplishment. After his debut, we all knew Moutinho was game, and his durability seemed to spell problems for the older man’s gas tank. Rather than worry about the long game, Cannetti emptied the tank with left hands to the jawline and brutal knees to the gut.
Moutinho kept his footing, but mentally he was long gone. The standing stoppage snaps a three-fight losing streak for the Argentinian, who demonstrated the old combat sports adage: power is last to go.
- Miranda Maverick defeats Sabina Mazo via second-round rear naked choke: Maverick took this fight on very short-notice, but that was a safe enough bet considering she’s the much better fight. She really appeared a class above Mazo, who was unable to accomplish much outside of a decent armbar attempt in the first. Otherwise, it was one way traffic, with Maverick really dominating the wrestling to lock up a strangle.
- Cody Brundage defeats Dalcha Lungiambula via first-round guillotine: This was an incredible come-from-behind win, but it is slightly hampered by its predictability. Lungiambula is known for mismanaging his gas tank, and he did just that here by relentlessly pursuing the first round finish after stuffing a takedown. Lungiambula definitely landed some heavy shots, but Brundage did well to cover up and keep his wits about him. When he managed to wrangle Lungiambula’s neck amidst the chaos, he jumped guard and sealed the victory in his favor.
- Azamat Murzakanov defeats Tafon Nchukwi via third-round knockout: This Light Heavyweight scrap really had it all. Both men were landing hard shots early, but Nchukwi’s shots seemed to be taking the greater impact. In particular, his ripping body kicks were sapping Marzakanov’s energy levels in a significant way. Heading into the third, Murzakanov looked plenty exhausted, but he apparently still had enough left in the tank to stun Nchukwi with a left. As the Cameroonian athlete backed off, Marzakanov leapt into a perfect jump knee that put his foe to sleep. THAT’S how you make a debut!
For complete UFC Vegas 50: “Santos vs. Ankalaev” results and play-by-play, click HERE!