Sanabul Fight News: UFC Vegas 57
UFC Vegas 57 was being looked at publicly as a pretty lack-luster card, due to the low rankings of the main event, but I thought the card was filled with fun and exciting fights! With names like Neil Magny, Brian Kelleher, Umar Nurmagomedov, and Thiago Moises, the fans got some exciting prospects and some big names to watch on Saturday night.
Mario Bautista and Cody Durden both helped kick off the card with some first round finishers over some impressive opponents. Bautista was matched up with “Boom” Kelleher at bantamweight, and looked extremely explosive early on, he ended up taking Brian’s back early on and finishing him with a first round Rear-Naked Choke. JP Buys was coming into this fight on Saturday night likely with the risk of being cut from the roster with a loss, matched up with Cody Durden, this was no easy task. Cody ended up taking advantage of a slow start from JP, and earning himself a first round finish to move his record up to 13-4 and push JP further down the roster.
Sergey Morozov and Sha Yilan followed up these wins with some decision wins of their own, in the bantamweight and featherweight divisions. Morozov was matched up with skilled bantamweight Raulian Paiva, each of these men with some very impressive records. The fight ended up going the distance, with many fans being 50/50 about who they believe should have taken it on the judges scorecards, but the judges ended up pointing in the favor of Sergey Morozov to give him his 18th professional win. Sha Yilan and TJ Brown had a very close contest as well, with the majority of it being grappling, Sha Yilan ended up edging out the positions on the judges scorecards and notching his 38th professional MMA win in his career.
Carlos Ulberg, teammate of Israel Adesanya at City Kickboxing, and Tafon Nchukwi were matched up to finish off the prelims at light heavyweight, in a fight many were expecting to contain fireworks. Ulberg landed a very stiff jab early on which put Tafon on his back foot, Carlos followed up with a barrage of punches and finished Tafon in the first round. Ulberg is now on a two-fight win streak in the division, and with the team around him I would expect him to continue to climb up the ranks at 205.
Chris Curtis earned a decision win over decorated grappler and black belt Rodolfo Vieira to start off the main card. Rodolfo was actually looking like he improved a lot in terms of his conditioning and his striking IQ, but Curtis seemed to have the speed and power advantage as the fight continued, and some very intelligent pressure and volume which seemed to be similar to his corner-man, Sean Strickland. The pressure was dominant and Curtis stuffed a total of 20/20 of Vieira’s takedowns, earning him a decision victory at Middleweight.
Nathan Maness was thrown to the sharks on Saturday night, matched up against (14-0) Umar Nurmagomedov. Umar has some incredible grappling skills (of course), but his standup is relatively underestimated as well, proving that on Saturday night. Umar dominated over three rounds, only being hit with two significant strikes over the 15 minute fight, he landed 74 of his own, as well as three takedowns which ended in dominant position. The commentary team seemed to want some more urgency from Umar to finish the fight rather than to just dominate over three rounds, but he did what he had to do to move his record up to 15-0, and 3-0 in the UFC.
Thiago Moises and Josh Parisian each earned some finishes to start closing out the main card, with Josh being a betting underdog in the matchup. Thiago has been fighting in the UFC since 2018, and was coming off of two losses on Saturday night, hoping to earn himself a win to get back on the good side of the column. Thiago was matched up with Christos Giagos, and made quick work of the fight with a first round submission, proving once again how high level the Brazilians grappling really is. Parisian was matched up against fellow heavyweight Alan Baudot, and the fight was a brawl from start to finish, with Alan gassing first. Josh took advantage of this and won via referee stoppage after landing a barrage of ground strikes to finish off the fight.
Neil Magny and Shavkhat Rakhmonov was a very anticipated welterweight matchup against the surging Kazakhstanian and the veteran who hadn’t been finished since 2018. Shavkhat is being looked at as one of the most dominant prospects in the division, with three finishes in three UFC fights so far. Magny was supposed to be his first big test in the UFC, but Shavkhat made relatively light work of the wily-veteran with a guillotine-choke late in the second round, after dominating for almost 10-minutes. I would expect Shavkhat to get a top-6 fight next, potentially against another veteran like Vicente Luque or Belal Muhammad who aren’t currently booked.
The Main Event was being underlooked by the majority of fans, since the names of the two lightweights (and rankings) weren’t very known by most people. Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot are both Top-5 caliber when it comes to skill and athleticism, and it seems like in the Top-10 of the Lightweight division, you won’t be able to make a fight that is boring or very one-sided. This fight was an absolute war, with extremely fun scrambles, lots of powerful strikes, and neither of the men seeming to edge out the victory, many thought this fight could have gone either way on the judges scorecards. The judges ended up scoring the fight for Mateusz Gamrot, which will likely put him in the top-10, with many fun fights to be made in a very stacked division.