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Here’s everything that happened at UFC Vegas 51 last night

Your one-stop shop for all the action from the opening “Prelims” bell to the final moments of the main event of UFC Vegas 51.

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Last night (Sat., April 16, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 51. No one will point to last night’s card — lackluster on paper and a bit odd in execution — as an all-time great, but there were bright points. Vicente Luque vs. Belal Muhammad was a quality main event in a red-hot division, and there were some other quality prospects like Pat Sabatini putting in work as well.

Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:

An Assassin Defused

Vicente Luque is one of the most dangerous finishers in the sport. Brutally powerful, technically skilled, and always opportunistic, there’s a reason Luque knocks out or strangles opponents far more often than everyone else.

Muhammad had to navigate those waters, and he did so brilliantly. Outside of maybe a couple moments in the third round, was Muhammad ever really hurt? He was never in bad danger, largely due to the effectiveness of his footwork and timing of his takedowns. Muhammad was always in good position and always forcing Luque to reset, which made it difficult for him to string together power shots or deny takedowns.

Brilliant work from “Remember The Name.”

An Unfortunate Ending

In the second technical decision of the evening, Caio Borralho scored the win over Gadzhi Omargadzhiev. An illegal knee in the third round muddied the situation, but I’d prefer to focus on the performance itself.

Against a combat Sambo champion, Borralho fought really well! He routinely managed to out-scramble the ground specialist, finding his way to top position. On the feet, Borralho showed some interesting looks, landing heavy kicks, some good counter punches, and one perfect jump knee. Omargadzhiev showed off his own skills, but Borralho remained a step ahead all the while.

The Brazilian has strong conditioning and good skills — he’s one to watch moving forward.

Fialho Makes a Statement

Andre Fialho was given a difficult draw on his short-notice debut. It’s not easy to look good against Michel Pereira, after all, as the Brazilian is giant for the division and does a whole lot of weird stuff. Even so, Fialho was game and put forth a good effort in defeat.

His subsequent booking wasn’t much of a step back, as Miguel Baeza is a really solid kickboxer and quite a talented fighter. Early on, it was Baeza landing the crisper punches and heavier calf kicks, though both men were getting their licks in. What ultimately ended the fight, however, was Fialho’s ability to stand his ground, slip punches, and immediately return fire.

In the boxing ring, that’s a common — if not outright mandatory — skill. MMA, however, is the world of punches, knees, kicks, elbows, takedowns, clinch work, spinning strikes, and a whole bunch more ... it’s not so easy! Fialho showed true comfort in the pocket that only comes with a lot of experience, and it enabled him to stun Baeza badly.

Once Fialho hurt his foe, he swarmed like a true knockout artist. That’s an impressive first UFC win!

Another Featherweight Grinder

Pat Sabatini is looking very much like the real deal.

Now perfect (4-0) inside the Octagon, Sabatini faced a surprisingly real challenge in TJ Laramie, who underwhelmed in his UFC debut two years ago. Laramie came out firing in this one, however, keeping up with Sabatini in the wrestling exchanges and generally doing well in the first round.

We learned just how good Sabatini’s conditioning is in the process. After that competitive start, Sabatini quickly took over, keeping up his high pace and dragging Laramie into deep waters. Once Sabatini gains a dominant position, he tends to really lock it down and keep his opponent trapped in place.

It might be time for a ranked opponent.

Klose Returns Victorious

Times have been pretty sh—ty for Drakkar Klose.

Klose was last in the Octagon in March 2020, coming up short in a wild exchange vs. top-ranked Beneil Dariush. Then, the infamous push incident vs. Jeremy Stephens happened, and he’s been sidelined ever since. Frankly, Klose’s personality can be a bit abrasive — see his aggressive post-fight callout of Mark Madsen, a fight that makes sense to me! — but he’s still very obviously the victim in that situation.

Last night had to feel so good for the MMA Lab-trained product. He spent about six minutes beating the crap out of Brandon Jenkins, who is ultra tough but was out-classed. Klose landed his right hand literally dozens of times, smacking his opponent around the cage en route to the eventual finish.

It’s about as good of a bounce back performance as one could hope for, as well as a quality reminder that Klose is really damn good for an unranked Lightweight.

Additional Thoughts

  • Devin Clark defeats William Knight via third-round knockout: This was at once a classic Heavyweight fight (between Light Heavyweights) and also a rather odd affair. For example, the first round was largely spent in the standing guillotine. Weird! Over time, however, Clark’s superior wrestling skill overcame Knight’s strength, wearing him down and granting Clark top position ... which made Knight even more fatigued. We seemed to be on our way to a slow-paced decision win for “Brown Bear,” but he unexpectedly let loose a big right elbow-left hook combination that rattled Knight! He followed up with some heavy swings, and Clark secured his first UFC knockout win.
  • Rafa Garcia defeats Jesse Ronson via second-round rear naked choke: Garcia was firmly the better wrestler in this match up. Ronson tried to counter that advantage with pressure striking, but the actual outcome was easy entries to his hips. In the second, Garcia landed a knee while his opponent was moving out of the kneeling position, timing it ever so slightly wrong so that it remained an illegal shot. He lost a point as a result, but Garcia responded really well, upping the urgency when in top position and finding the strangle as a result! He’s now won two in a row.
  • Alatengheili defeats Kevin Croom via first-round knockout: There’s not to much to analyze here, seeing as the fight lasted a mere 47 seconds! Croom came out looking to hang back at distance and kick, which seemed to be working well enough. Then, Alatengheili absolutely walloped him with the classic shorter man combo in MMA: jab high, jab low, overhand! Croom was stunned, and the Chinese athlete followed up with a few more bombs to seal the deal.

For complete UFC Vegas 51: “Muhammad vs. Luque” results and play-by-play, click HERE!