Last night (Sat., Feb. 18, 2023), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to Las Vegas, Nevada, for UFC Vegas 69. Nobody will point to this card as the best or most memorable evening of the year, as it was a pretty standard Apex fare of Contenders Series prospects and unranked talent. Still, there were enough finishes to make the undercard worthwhile, and the last-minute addition of a former champion in Jessica Andrade bolstered the main event at least.
Let’s take a look at UFC Vegas 69’s best performances and techniques:
A New Flyweight Contender
Erin Blanchfield is the real deal.
Last night’s main event only lasted a bit less than seven minutes, but Blanchfield proved so much in that time. She stood toe-to-toe with one of the sport’s most fearsome female strikers, and she acquainted herself well. Really, her distance was so far improved compared to previous showings, as Blanchfield repeatedly touched Andrade, pulled to avoid counters, then stuck her with hard one-two combinations.
When Blanchfield did eat a shot, she wore it well. She continually worked for takedowns without getting desperate, and when her inside trip finally landed, she immediately capitalized with a slick submission. She proved herself a complete talent, as well as perhaps the greatest threat to Valentina Shevchenko’s throne.
As for Andrade, it has to be said that she fought pretty sloppy. From the first bell, her swings were unruly and unmeasured — more so than usual! She looked mildly tired and generally just off from the start, and on the ground, she immediately gave up her neck. It was simply a bad showing from the former champion, which can be true even while giving Blanchfield full credit for her improvement.
Perhaps taking a fight less than one month after her most recent performance took its toll. Either way, Andrade remains better suited for the Strawweight division.
I tried to Babe Ruth my prediction of Marcin Prachnio vs. William Knight, calling for a Prachnio win via left body kick. That didn’t materialize, but Prachnio did kick the bejesus out of Knight. I wrote an entire piece about just how weird that fight turned out to be, so check that out HERE!
A Throwback Finisher
It did not at all surprise me to read that Mayra Bueno Silva represents the famous Chute Boxe team. Her overall game is such a throwback, violent Muay Thai combined with really opportunistic jiu-jitsu skills. Sure, she targets the calf more than anyone did back in 2004, but otherwise, her game is really ripped straight out of PRIDE.
That’s no insult either! Silva chewed Lina Lansberg up with low kicks, heavy punches, and clinch knees. Lansberg was severally notches slower on the feet, forcing her to pursue the clinch ... which eventually granted Silva the ground fight she wanted anyway! Lansberg did manage to gain top position, but almost immediately, Silva inverted and scored a fight-finishing kneebar.
It was consistently punishing work, and her dominance surely made that kneebar transition a bit easier. Silva has earned a shot at the women’s Bantamweight Top 10, as she now rides a three-fight win streak.
The End Of OSP?
Philipe Lins steamrolled Ovince Saint Preux last night. He stormed out of the gate with a big left hand that hurt the veteran, then he chased Saint Preux around the cage to finalize a knockout win in less than a minute. Lins is now 2-0 since dropping to Light Heavyweight, but “OSP” feels like the bigger story.
The former title challenger has now lost three of his last four, the sole win being a split-decision against late-career Mauricio Rua. Each of those losses came via knockout, and Saint Preux is just over a month away from his 40th birthday.
It just feels like this may be the end for Saint Preux. He’s always been a fighter who succeeded more because of athletic talent and tricky skills than a consistent game, and without that x-factor of dynamic strength, he’s there to be hit. If his UFC career is coming to an end, he’s certainly worth remembering as a uniquely dangerous submission fighter who could also turn off the lights with oddly angled shots at any given time.
- Nazim Sadykhov defeats Evan Elder via third round doctor stoppage (cut): A slightly disappointing finish is the only thing marring this excellent battle between debutants. Sadykhov was the faster man, and his clean distance kicks and sharp punching seemed like it would lead to an early finish. Instead, Elder’s combination work slowly found its target, and he worked the body really effectively. Both men showed off great toughness, pace, and quality head movement, as well as really solid wrestling form on both sides. It was neck-and-neck heading into the third, but a glancing knee from Sadykhov opened a massive cut on Elder’s face and forced the ending abruptly. Both men should walk away proud, though, as it was a great fight and display of Lightweight’s young talent.
- A.J. Fletcher defeats Themba Takura Gorimbo via second round guillotine choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Coming into this fight with an 0-2 UFC record, Fletcher’s back was definitely to the wall. Fortunately, “The Ghost” performed here, really changing the flow of the fight after gaining top position. He dropped some nasty elbows, which really served to set up the submission finish — a choke tight enough to survive a questionable half tap!
- Clayton Carpenter defeats Juancamilo Ronderos via first round rear-naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Backpacking remains a hugely effective strategy at 125 lbs! Ronderos looked solid on his feet early and landed some decent shots, but the fight changed quickly on the canvas. Carpenter used some slick guard work to threaten both the triangle and armbar, reversing Ronderos to gain mount. When Ronderos tried to scramble, Carpenter smoothly took the back and looked up the choke soon afterward. His jiu-jitsu attack looked very textbook, and the 26 year old is an interesting addition to the Flyweight division.
For complete UFC Vegas 69: “Andrade Vs. Blanchfield” results and play-by-play, click HERE.