Last night (Sat., May 21, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained in Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 55. In the main event, former champion Holly Holm returned to action after a lengthy layoff versus top young Bantamweight Ketlen Vieira in a fight that had major title implications. Elsewhere on the card, bouts like Michel Pereira vs. Santiago Ponzinibbio and Eryk Anders vs. Jun Yong Park promised action.
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Damage Is Queen
Vieira vs. Holm was not a good fight. Holm did her best to hold the Brazilian along the fence, occasionally landing an elbow but mostly doing her best to simply contain Vieira. When the two did break apart, it was Vieira who routinely bludgeoned her opponent with heavy right hand counters — far and away the most damaging strikes of the fight.
It was up in the air when the scorecards were being read. Vieira clearly landed the best blows of the fight, but Holm racked up control time, landed lots of kicks along the way, and did rally well to clearly take the final frame.
Fortunately, the judges did what they’re supposed to do. Two of the three believed that Vieira’s damaging blows were the most important, most telling part of the fight, and she deservedly had her hand raised as a result.
The fight itself was awful, but at least the judges prioritized the correct criteria for once.
Pereira Breaks Into The Rankings
By defeating No. 14-ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio to extend his win streak to five, Michel Pereira seemingly earned a spot in the Top 15 last night.
That’s a pretty incredible rebound from his upset loss to Tristan Connelly, which, let’s be honest, was an embarrassing performance. Since then, Pereira has been less absurdly fun but far more effective. He’s a punishing Welterweight, a man who uses his size to really break down opponents.
There were two real developments on display from Pereira last night. First and foremost, his boxing definitely improved. The commentary team mentioned that as a point of focus in this camp, and it showed! He was setting up his right hand with the jab well, hooking to the body off the jab, and showing off his head movement often.
The next development was internal. When the going got rough late in the fight, both men were bloody and tired. Pereira didn’t run from that situation, however, embracing the fatigue and continuing to push hard. The Brazilian didn’t waver or break in the least, and he earned a hard-fought win over an excellent scrapper as a result.
Gone In 64 Seconds
“Ugly Man” Joseph Holmes didn’t live up to expectations in his UFC debut, but his sophomore performance couldn’t have been written up any smoother. Early in the round, Holmes circled the cage vs. Alen Amedovski, taking less than one minute to land a perfect jump knee to the jawline.
Amedovski fell to the mat, largely unconscious. Herb Dean sprinted forward, waved his arms wildly, danced the twist, then didn’t actually call the stoppage. Instead, Amedovski sort of came to just in time to get strangled by a rear naked choke.
That’s how you rebound.
A Big Man To Watch
Jailton Almeida ran through Parker Porter last night. Porter is a very solid mid-tier Heavyweight, and he’s only ever been dominated like this by Chris Daukaus, so that’s some quality company for the Brazilian prospect.
Almeida entered UFC riding an extended win streak, but all of those wins took place at 205 pounds. Nevertheless, he didn’t look small opposite Porter! Starting the fight with a snappy front kick proved the perfect entry for a double leg shot, and once in top position, Almeida methodically worked his way to mount. He offered Porter very little space to breathe, eventually snatching the neck as Porter tried to bridge and buck “Malhadinho” off him.
Regardless of whether Almeida settles at 205 pounds or Heavyweight, he’s a serious prospect.
Chase Hooper Progresses
On the whole, Hooper’s UFC career hasn’t gone terribly well yet. The 22-year-old entered last night’s bout with a 2-2 record, getting pretty soundly beaten in both defeats and being forced to survive rough spots even in his wins. Any UFC experience is an accomplishment for an athlete that young, but due to his mixed results, the expectations around Hooper lately haven’t been all that high.
Hopefully, his third-round stoppage over Felipe Colares reignites some hype! Hooper genuinely looked better than ever. His stand up was considerably more threatening, and he was able to consistently force an experienced opponent to engage him in the grappling. When on top, Hooper also did a better job of landing strikes throughout transitions and between submission attempts.
There’s still room for improvement, but it was much better work from the prospect.
- Uros Medic defeats Omar Morales via second round knockout: This was a quality kickboxing match! Both men were moving well and looking to establish their range strikes, but it was Medic who found his distance first. Given that small advantage, he really started putting out a lot of volume, giving Morales a lot to think about and keeping him on the reactive. Then, in the second, Medic landed a trio of left hands straight down the middle, each of which landed with a sickening thud. Morales somehow kept his feet for the first two, but the final blow finally put him down and ended the bout. Medic scores his first UFC win in style!
- Sam Hughes defeats Elise Reed via third-round knockout: Reed showed some nice right hands in the first two minutes of this fight, but once Hughes closed the distance, the edge in physicality and wrestling was clear. Hughes wore her opponent’s defenses down against the cage and in top position, leaving Reed exhausted heading into the third round. When Hughes managed to work into mount, it was all over, securing her upset victory via ground strikes.
For complete UFC Vegas 55: “Holm vs. Vieira” results and play-by-play, click HERE.