Last night (Sat., April 30, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 53. Last night was a classic example of an excellent Apex event. It wasn’t the most stacked on paper, but the performances were consistently fun, and there were plenty of finishes throughout the evening.
Nights like that can go by quickly, so let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Vera Surges Into The Top Five
Rob Font did so much correct last night. He pressured the kicker heavily, threw beautiful combinations, angled his right hard around the guard, targeted the body — really, just great work. He threw an insane amount of punches, an unreachable number for 90% of the UFC roster.
Unfortunately, none of it mattered.
For the second time in a row for Font, there was a clear difference in power and durability. It must be a frustrating situation for Font, particularly since he does hit quite hard. Nevertheless, Vera wore all his shots with issue, and whenever Vera did connect on a stiff jab or check hook, it was clear that Font couldn’t just walk through those shots.
Once Vera started finding his rhythm, he was in control. Even while “losing” exchanges, Vera was unbothered, confident that he’d hurt Font when he did land. Sure enough, Vera knocked down or at least badly hurt Font in every round after the first. He did so creatively, landing big kicks from unexpected angles as well as heavy counter shots.
Vera really put his efficacy on display, as well as his usual ability to build momentum as fights wear on.
Joanderson Brito’s UFC debut didn’t go as planned, but he more than made up for it in his sophomore performance vs. Andre Fili. Admittedly, there’s not a ton to break down here. The two traded jabs early, and then Brito connected on an overhand with the windup of a fastball. Fili hit the canvas, and Brito jumped on him immediately to force the referee’s stoppage.
Still, what a display of speed and power, as well as a tremendous first UFC victory for the Brazilian.
Grant Dawson struggled a bit last time out vs. Rick Glenn. Against the experienced veteran, Dawson pretty clearly won two rounds, got tired, and then was saved by the final bell after getting mauled in the third. As a result, a draw stalled his momentum up the Lightweight ladder.
Jared Gordon presented a similar challenge to Glenn. In fact, he seemed really well-prepared for Dawson, making smart decisions with his strike selection and shutting down a lot of Dawson’s shot entries. However, when Dawson did take the back, he showed his mastery by immediately locking down the position. He picked up the second round in similar fashion, but again, Gordon was doing damage and making him work.
The recipe for a similarly disastrous third round was there, but Dawson instead showed his improvements. In the chaotic brawl, Dawson held his own and picked his shots, namely sharp jabs and jump knees. He wasn’t winning the stand up, but he wasn’t being dominant, and he found another momentum to time a takedown and jump the back.
Moments later, he strangled Gordon and forced the finish.
The Biggest Favorite In UFC History
Alexander Romanov entered his bout vs. short-notice replacement Chase Sherman as a 22-1 favorite, and well, he looked the part. I don’t believe “Vanilla Gorilla” landed a single shot!
Right away, Romanov was in on a double and completed it. Twice, Sherman worked hard to scramble back to his feet, and twice, he was returned to the floor with authority. The final time, Romanov was able to move into mount, and he just looked masterful in his control. He patiently moved Sherman into the fence then stayed tremendously heavy while dropping mean punches.
Sherman tried to buck and scramble, but there was nowhere to go. Mercifully, Romanov switched off to an Americana submission, a rare way to finish an MMA fight. “King Kong” is now 5-0 inside the Octagon, undefeated as a pro, and seems ready for a Top 10 opponent.
- Francisco Figueiredo defeats Daniel da Silva via first-round kneebar: Two kneebars in a week! Figueiredo locked this one up similarly quick to Claudio Puelles, though his setup was different. As Figuiredo attempted to throw up a high guard, da Silva moved to pass guard. Da Silva attempted to do what’s called stapling the leg, meaning his ankle traps Figueiredo’s thigh on one side and his knee weights the other, pinning the leg in place. His staple failed, however, when his ankle popped off his opponents leg, allowing Figueiredo to roll underneath and yank his way into a kneebar. Slick!
- Gabe Green defeats Yohan Lainesse via second-round knockout: Man, this victory took some real guts from Green. Lainesse was the far sharper puncher at distance, and he repeatedly clipped Green with straight punches. One such right hand seemed to knock Green out completely, taking his legs from him. When Green hit the mat, however, he was able to scramble and stay in the fight. It’s demoralizing to hit an opponent with your best shot and have him keep coming, and Green’s grit seemed to really throw off Lainesse. Green started forcing his way into the pocket and digging body shots, and his opponent crumbled in a really impressive comeback win.
- Shanna Young defeats Gina Mazany via second-round knockout: This bout served as a solid reminder for fighters to stick with what’s working. Mazany was doing nice work on her feet and in the clinch, which seemingly won her the first round. In the second, however, a failed takedown attempt from Mazany granted Young top position. Right away, the fight changed, and Young advanced into a dominant position. Mazany was stuck, and a flurry of punches ended the bout.
For complete UFC Vegas 53: “Font vs. Vera” results and play-by-play, click HERE!