Last night (Sat., Sept. 17, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained inside UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC Vegas 60. Ever with a couple cancellations in the final weeks prior to the event, UFC Vegas 60 filled the night with 13 bouts. Most of them featured products of “Contenders Series,” but fortunately, the Bantamweight main event between Cory Sandhagen and Song Yadong carried significant title implications and kept the stakes high.
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Sandhagen Shows His Craft
Yadong is not an easy man to kickbox. He’s incredibly fast, hits stupid hard, and never seems bothered by his opponent’s offense. Does anyone remember Kyler Phillips’ shin bouncing off his skull to quite literally zero effect? The man is a juggernaut, and that’s a problem if you’re a slick kickboxer like Sandhagen, who couldn’t hope to slow Yadong’s advance with punches alone.
Sandhagen’s counter elbows were a really elegant solution. Yadong had to pressure, seeing as Sandhagen was kicking his legs, touching him with jabs, and holding him along the fence. Plus, that’s his style anyway; it’s how Yadong likes to fight, especially when faced with a tough opponent.
Sandhagen didn’t try to avoid Yadong’s pressure entirely, nor did he try to meet him head on. Instead, Sandhagen frustrated Yadong just enough to make him a touch more predictable, then he split him up with a perfect up elbow. That cut eventually ended the fight, but really, it changed the tide far earlier. Prior to the cut, Yadong was landing often and arguably winning rounds, but it turns out it’s far more difficult to fight without eyesight.
Brilliant work from Cory Sandhagen, who remains one of the most talented men on the roster. Yadong proved his skill in defeat, but the night belonged to “The Sandman.”
The New Most Exciting Man On The Roster?
Let’s be honest, times have been a little tough for our most proven scrappers. For example, Thiago Santos lost his knee ligaments, and thus his explosive brand of violence and job. Justin Gaethje won a decision then lost a title fight. Tony Ferguson looks unfortunately slow regardless of what he tells Daniel Cormier.
Gregory Rodrigues is awesome. Everyone should be a fan of this man. He’s a genuine prospect, a former LFA champion with a 4-1 UFC record and still just 30 years old. He might just climb into the rankings and title mix at 185 lbs.
Much more importantly, his fights are consistently amazing. “Robocop” knows no other way to fight than to scrap, and last night was no exception. The opening exchange of the fight granted him the most hideous cut I’ve seen all year, and yet Rodrigues kept marching forward and throwing his right hand. His sheer force of will broke Njokuani, who started so strong only to end up exhausted and battered in the second.
One more time: everyone should be a “Robocop” fan.
Pyfer Lives Up To The Hype
“Contenders Series” products are a dime a dozen, especially on this card. Most of them debut with little hype and are off the roster within a couple years. Pyfer is an exception, a striker whose display on “Contenders Series” actually hyped up the general public a good bit.
He lived up to those expectations in his UFC debut against Alen Amedovski. I’m not pretending Amedovski is a world-beater, but he throws heat and is a reasonable challenge for a debuting prospect. Pyfer ran through like him like a knife through butter, walking the Macedonian towards the fence then letting loose heavy combinations.
Pyfer overwhelmed Amedovski with his boxing and raw athleticism — those attributes alone will take him a long way. At just 26 years old, “Bodybagz” looks to have an exciting future at 185 lbs.
The Fluffy Massacre
There’s no other way to say it: Anthony Hernandez beat the s—t out of Marc-Andre Barriault.
Respect to the Canadian for his toughness in absorbing the onslaught, but really, nothing went his way last night. Hernandez was on point from the first bell, finding his timing immediately with his hands and pressing forward. At the first opportunity, Hernandez flurried into a takedown attempt and started chain wrestling. It didn’t take terribly long for Hernandez to plant his foe on the canvas, and from then on, Barriault was stuck inside a vicious cycle.
On the canvas, Hernandez was flowing around positionally and landing shots. When Barriault worked up — which is exhausting — Hernandez would start ripping elbows and knees, then duck right back into another takedown! He never let Barriault rest, continually building attritional damage and fatigue.
By the end of the fight, Barriault was slammed on his head, suffered a broken rib, and was choked unconscious. It was a hell of a statement from “Fluffy,” who has earned a ranked opponent next.
A Brutal, Violent Feel Good Moment
I can’t imagine Damon Jackson’s state of mind heading into UFC Vegas 60. As the UFC broadcast pointed out several times, Jackson’s brother died very recently in the lead up to the event, but “The Leech” opted to fight anyway, which turned out to be the correct decision.
Right off the bat, a Jackson front kick crashed into the jaw of Pat Sabatini. The top prospect, who had won four straight inside the Octagon prior to this fight, stumbled forward into a series of uppercuts and wound up on bottom. Jackson moved into mount fluidly, forcing the finish with a nasty series of punches from top position.
Even aside from the personal struggles of this week, it’s a great moment for Jackson. His first UFC run from 2014-2016 didn’t produce a single win for Jackson, and most fighters don’t return to the promotion after washing out. Jackson found his opening during COVID-19 shutdowns and jumped on a short-notice opportunity, and since then, he’s won five of six fights inside the Octagon.
Like Julian Erosa last week, it’s great to see a fighter succeed inside the UFC after struggling at first.
- Gillian Robertson defeats Mariya Agapova via second-round rear naked choke: Agapova is just way too focused on her own offense. When Robert shot in early in the first, Agapova did great work in scoring elbows, but she stopped defending the takedown in the process! Eventually, Robertson was able to craftily pull deep half guard and transition into a back take — lovely. In the second round, Agapova’s conditioning really failed her, as a much easier takedown from Robertson quickly landed her back mount and the rear naked choke.
- Nikolas Motta defeats Cameron VanCamp via first-round knockout: Early on, VanCamp was doing well in managing distance, avoiding the big swings of Motta. However, Motta slowly started inching forward with his hooks, and his left hand began to connect. Once he found his range, Motta showed a right hand and loaded up the left side, absolutely planting VanCamp when his wide hook connected. After picking up his first UFC win, Motta gave a solid speech about the struggles of the fight game, making the most of his screen time.
For complete UFC Vegas 60: “Sandhagen vs. Song” results and play-by-play, click HERE!