Last night (Sat., June 18, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) traveled to Moody Center in Austin, Texas. UFC Austin provided the scraps! From the first “Prelim” bout all the way up to the main event, fistfights and violence were the theme of the night. Frequent finishes made the 13-fight card move quickly, and all in all, it was one of the best “Fight Night” cards of the year.
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
The Next Featherweight Contender
Last night, Josh Emmett picked up his fifth win in a row in the form of a hard-fought decision win over Calvin Kattar, who was ranked No. 4 heading into this main event contest. Emmett has been put on the slow-burner for some time, but this might finally be the win that earns him an extra bit of recognition and the title shot.
Currently, the champion Volkanovski is set to battle Max Holloway (No. 1) for the third time. No. 2 and No. 3 are Brian Ortega and Yair Rodriguez, who have previous losses to the men mentioned above. Emmett is clear-cut as the next contender in line, and with his power, he’s a viable threat to any Featherweight.
Holland Chokes The Chicken
Kevin Holland scored his second win at Welterweight last night, and this performance was a clear improvement.
Opposite Alex Oliveira, Holland seemed to struggle with his opponent’s speed, dropping the first round and taking some hard shots. Though he rebounded, that struggle raised some questions about whether or not Holland made the right decision in dropping down. After all, speed was a big part of his success at Middleweight!
“Trailblazer” shut down any such concerns opposite Tim Means — that man looked FAST! Holland repeatedly beat Means to the punch, stringing together some really vicious combinations in the pocket. Means is durable and crafty, but he was getting stung in nearly every exchange, so the eventual finish wasn’t much of a surprise by the time it happened.
After this win, I’m far more optimistic about Holland’s future and ceiling at Welterweight. It’s time for a ranked opponent!
Buckley Batters Duraev
Joaquin Buckley made a very legitimate Middleweight look pretty bad last night.
From the first bell, he was the quicker, more powerful striker. He nearly ended this one inside a minute, but Duraev can apparently absorb high kicks without issue. Duraev held his own in the stand up for a bit afterward, but on the whole, he was always a step behind the knockout artist.
In the second, Duraev switched up his approach and started trying to wrestle. This is where I thought the larger man would find success, but Buckley never seemed bothered. He interrupted several of Duraev’s attempted takedowns with huge connections, and even when Duraev did get him to the ground, Buckley popped up.
Repeated heavy lands completely shut Duraev’s eye, and the doctor called the fight in what currently stands as the best performance of Buckley’s career.
Damir Ismagulov vs. Guram Kutateladze is a perfect example of why dedicated fight fans love the 155-pound division. Sure, neither man is ranked, but that was a championship-level display of technique, pace, and intensity. Both men have excellent resumes, and frankly, they’d give several fighters currently ranked inside the Top 10 absolute hell.
Ismagulov’s jab and counter punches are so sharp. Kutateladze kicks like a damn mule and has incredible physicality. The two met in the middle and traded, a perfect mix of rugged scrapping and technical exchanges.
To the final bell, it was competitive, and everything was up in the air until the scorecards were read. Ismagulov got the nod, but the stocks of both athletes rose (and not due to mere inflation!).
Robocop Runs Through Marquez
Durability and toughness can only take a fighter so far. Marquez is a man known for his ability to rally late in fights, but when you’re fighting a man with major knockout power like Gregory Rodrigues, the focus has to shift from durability to defense.
Marquez was just getting hit too much, too early. Marquez fell behind in the punching exchanges off the bat, and Rodrigues just kept putting combinations together at his expense. “Robocop” had serious power as a Light Heavyweight, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that at 185-pounds, he’s putting fighters down.
Marquez is comfortable in a brawl, but in this match up, that skill set left him nowhere to go.
The Rise Of Yanez Continues
Adrian Yanez has already proven himself a highly talented prospect, and his performance vs. Tony Kelley did nothing to take away from that concept.
From a technical standpoint, Yanez won this fight by repeatedly countered Kelley’s left kick. Kelley fought almost entirely as a Southpaw vs. the Orthodox boxer Yanez, which helped mitigate Yanez’s jab. However, whenever Kelley tried to fire his left round kick — a huge weapon in the open stance exchange — Yanez used one arm to block and the other to pass the kick by. Gaining an excellent angle in the process, Yanez crashed forward, initially with clean left hooks then with powerful combinations starting with the hook.
Kelley was quickly shaken up by Yanez’s power. The prospect mixed his punches to the body and varied the angle on his offense, continually finding holes in his opponent’s guard. Kelley is tough, but he was straight up battered by the Texan’s boxing and crumbled by his power.
From a star-making perspective, damn. Kelley proved the perfect foil for the typically respectful and humble Yanez, who brought an extra bit of venom to this performance as a result of the bad blood.
Long story short: Yanez is the real deal, and he’s going to be a fan favorite for years to come — at a minimum!
One Kick ... 10,000 Times
Don’t sleep on Ricardo Ramos’ spinning elbow.
The Brazilian now holds two of the five spinning elbow knockouts in UFC history. He’s dinged a few other fighters with it, too! Ramos has a clear affection for flashy strikes, but the spinning elbow is his best weapon. His set up last night — using a pawing jab to close distance and line up the spin — was really brilliant.
Ramos has suffered some losses in his UFC career, but he’s only been defeated by top-notch opposition. At 26 years old, Ramos is already quite experienced and dangerous, so there’s potential for him to climb far higher still.
Goodbye, Eddie Wineland
Cody Stamann stormed out of the gate to brawl with Wineland, approaching this fight like he was John Lineker! Against his 37-year-old foe, it proved a wise strategy, as Stamann overwhelmed Wineland inside a minute.
Good for Stamann for ending his losing streak, but let’s focus on the former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion. Wineland is a pioneer, a professional since 2003. As Bantamweight developed into arguably the sport’s most talented division, Wineland held his own for quite some time, picking up quality wins as late as 2016. He even challenged for the UFC title in 2013, though he ran into Renan Barao at his peak.
Respect to Wineland for his unique style and excellent longevity.
- Jeremiah Wells defeats Court McGee via first round knockout: McGee is fairly famous for being durable, but that strategy becomes less viable as fighters age. Against a younger and far more explosive athlete in Wells, McGee was a sitting duck in the first round. Wells exploded about a minute into the round, catching “Crusher” with a huge left hook that sent him to sleep.
- Phil Hawes defeats Deron Winn via second-round knockout: Hawes beat the s—t out of Winn. Capitalizing on his significant height and reach advantage, Hawes stung Winn with heavy jabs and straights from the first bell. Winn proved his toughness, but the shorter wrestler wasn’t able to accomplish much else, absorbing tons of damage. In the second, Winn unleashed a flurry of elbows that sliced up his opponent and wobbles his knees, forcing the referee to finally intervene.
- Roman Dolidze defeats Kyle Daukaus via first-round knockout: Man, I didn’t see this one coming! Ahead of the match up, it was clear that Dolidze was the stronger man, but his avenue to using that strength wasn’t obvious. He had a better idea: Dolidze drove right into the clinch and went to work with heavy knees. He dropped Daukaus twice en route to the quick finish, a stellar stylistic shift from his previous grinding decision win.
For complete UFC Austin: “Emmett vs. Kattar” results and play-by-play, click HERE.