clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Here’s everything that happened at UFC San Antonio last night | Sandhagen vs. Vera

MMA: MAR 25 UFC on ESPN 43 Photo by Louis Grasse/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Last night (Sat., March 25, 2023), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) traveled to AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, for UFC San Antonio. Outside of the universally loved main event match between Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Vera, feelings were mixed ahead of this fight card. A Holly Holm co-main event in 2023? There were reasons to be hesitant, and unfortunately, three fights were canceled in the lead up to the event itself. The remaining bouts didn’t provide a ton of finishes, resulting in more competitive, slow burn-type fights than anything else.

Still, let’s take a look at UFC San Antonio’s standout performances and techniques:

UFC Fight Night: Vera v Sandhagen Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Sandhagen Stymies Vera

Cory Sandhagen’s last two fights have really proved him one of the best strategists at 135 pounds. Of course, it helps that he has an excellent and well-rounded skill set, enabling him to make use of a diverse set of tactics.

Last night, Sandhagen masterfully outplayed the ultra dangerous Marlon Vera. He took advantage of the known Vera flaws, his inability to start quickly and habits of playing from his back. In the first two rounds, Sandhagen stepped right to Vera, standing tall and attacking aggressively with low kicks, body shots, and shifting combinations. Whenever Vera neared the fence, Sandhagen would rasie his guard with a combo then wrestle effectively.

He didn’t win the first two rounds, he dominated them. Vera typically heats up in the third, and that’s when Sandhagen completely shifted tactics, completely nullifying whatever reads Vera had picked up. His entire posture was different, and he focused much more on shifting stances to land jabs from both sides. The final three rounds were closer, but Sandhagen remained ahead for all of them except perhaps the fifth, a round in which Vera was only able to stand back up because he cheated a bunch on bottom.

Sandhagen vs. Merab Dvalisvhili appears to be next, and I’m real curious how the threat of the flying knee affects Dvalisvhili’s willingness to wrestle.

UFC Fight Night: Holm v Santos Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Holm Gets It Done

There was no way that Holm vs. Yana Santos was going to be anything other than the clinchiest clinchfest imaginable. For the first four minutes, the two traded positions to-and-fro along the fence. Then, Santos’ gas tank started to give out. Holm may be 41 years of age, but she still shows up in remarkable shape.

Once Santos wasn’t able to push the pedal to the floor, Holm took over. She started landing heavy elbows and takedowns, and Santos didn’t have anything for her on the canvas. The finish didn’t materialize, but Holm dominated a Top 10 Bantamweight.

If she keeps winning like this, another title shot will materialize whether hardcore fight fans want it to or not.

UFC Fight Night: Landwehr v Lingo Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

‘The Train’ Keeps Rolling

Nate Landwehr is a really fun fighter.

Personally, I don’t really have any expectations for “The Train” to make an impact on the Featherweight title mix. He doesn’t appear to be quite exceptional enough technically in any one area to break into the Top 10. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem like an obstacle to becoming something of a star, because Landwehr has still managed to make himself must-watch Featherweight action.

Make no mistake though: Landwehr is a damn good fighter. Against Austin Lingo, he proved his talent and fighting instincts. Lingo’s boxing presented some early issues for Landwehr, but the Tennessee-native was nevertheless able to work around those skills and implement his own offense. Instead of punching with the boxer, he landed damaging kicks on the break of clinches or interrupted pocket exchanges by crashing forward with elbows.

The takedown directly into wrist control straight to a no hooks rear naked choke? Beautiful. Landwehr has a great sense of opportunism, one of the most exciting traits an athlete can have.

UFC Fight Night: Pineda v Lutz Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

A Vicious Texan

Daniel Pineda deserves some credit.

The 37-year-old scrapper has never gone on a major UFC win streak. He’s not a title contender. In fact, he’s bounced in-and-out of the UFC, competing for other promotions like PFL and Bellator in the interim. He’s not the most consistent fighter overall, as he’s known for slowing down as fights wear on.

What makes Pineda special is his finishing instinct and ability: 28 wins, 28 finishes. Those are Heavyweight stats, but Pineda fights at 145 lbs. “The Pit” has a unique ability to explode from the very first bell without getting any reads on his opponent. It catches them off-guard time and time again, because Pineda is able to rip counter overhands and calf kicks with full power in literally the first exchange of the fight.

Pineda’s aggression was actually more measured than usual last night. He stunned Tucker Lutz with a knee and overhand, but both times, he was patient in his follow up. Once he gained top position, however, Pineda showed his craft and veteran experience by wrapping up the neck and finishing beautifully.

The man can be counted on to deliver the action.

UFC Fight Night: Vergara v Lacerda Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Additional Thoughts

  • C.J. Vergara defeats Daniel Lacerda via second round knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): This will be remembered in nine months as one of the best comeback wins of 2023, and it’s also another great demonstration of the value of conditioning. Lacerda had Vergara dead to rights, sprinting away from his offense in pure desperation. He dropped the Texan multiple times, but Vergara kept moving and clinching, doing just enough to survive to the second. By that point, Lacerda’s gas tank fully hit empty, allowing Vergara to get on top and drop hammers until his opponent’s body just couldn’t respond.

For complete UFC San Antonio: “Sandhagen vs. Vera” results and play-by-play, click HERE.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania