Sanabul Fight News: Week 5

With 8 finishes in 14 fights, UFC Vegas 50 delivered in a great way with a card that honestly went relatively under the radar when it came to media coverage. With some big up and coming names on the main card, as well as some important divisional matchups, Saturday night looked like a career ender for some, and a spark in the careers of others.

The prelims on Saturday night were honestly surprisingly entertaining for such an under-the-radar card, with Kris Moutinho sparking off the excitement as a relatively big name (due to our own Sean O’Malley), it doesn’t look like Kris will be fighting again in the UFC until he earns his contract again in another promotion. Kris looked like a deer in headlights against 40-year old Guido Cannetti (9-7), in a fight that seemed as though it was supposed to be a layup for Kris to get his feet wet in the UFC with an easy win. It is rumored that Kris only signed a two-fight contract with the UFC, and will likely need to fight his way back to another spot on the roster.

Cody Brundage, Miranda Maverick, and Damon Jackson all had submission wins later on in the prelims, with each showing that they are here to stay. Miranda had a tough task ahead of her with an extremely tall Sabina Mazo, who she didn’t have much trouble putting away in the second round. Damon Jackson had a great fight with Kamuela Kirk, and considering this was the last fight on Damons’ contract, it won’t hurt that he got a late second round finish against a dangerous striker in the division.

In the featured prelims, we were given a free episode of Teen Wolf, with Matthew Semelsberger being blinded by his own hair half of the fight. Despite the curtains covering his eyes throughout the bout, Matthew was able to get a decision win in a very tight battle with a teammate of Dustin Poiriers, AJ Fletcher. With Dustin in his corner, AJ put up a great fight, racking up 87 total strikes (to Matts’ 54) and four takedowns (to Matts’ one takedown), it was a decision that could have gone either way. We expect to see both AJ and Matthew taking a step ahead in the Welterweight division after both displayed good skill sets on the feet and on the canvas.

In the fight that many viewers were most excited to see, we got to see Alex Pereira with his first big challenge in the UFC, in Bruno Silva. In the first two rounds, it was a relatively tight fight, with each of the men landing on each other consistently, and Alex defending multiple takedowns (or standing back up immediately), it was clear to see this fight would be playing out on the feet. Alex displayed very technical and drilled takedown defense and get-ups, and showed that he is just as comfortable in the octagon as he was in the cage. In the third round we were treated to a standup battle as Pereira started to lay it on in the last few minutes, there were multiple moments were Bruno looked to be out on his feet, but Alex played it safe and didn’t rush in for the kill, taking a safe decision win against an experienced veteran in Bruno Silva.

In quite possibly the best round of the year, Terrance McKinney and Drew Dober went to war in the first, with Terrance McKinney being seconds away from a 20-second finish in most definitely his biggest test so far. Terrance was so close, but his gas tank wore out due to inexperience, and Drew took advantage of this as the (by far) more experienced fighter. Drew has been in fights with Islam Makhachev, Alex Hernandez, Brad Riddell, and many more UFC vets, at this point in his career he is ready for anything. With Terrance showing the striking skills and power he possesses, and Drew showing the willpower and experience during this matchup, I think both men gained a lot from a fight like this, and for Terrance this may be a lot more valuable to his career than a 20 second win.

One of the most exciting points of the night was from Khalil Rountree, as a large underdog against Karl Roberson, Khalil showcased (once again) his newfound power and technique, and the motivation behind it during his post-fight interview. Khalil made it clear that his main interest at this point in his career was to become an inspiration for those without a dream, without a path in life, and without motivation to better themselves in any way. He became very emotional, and touched the hearts of most fight fans watching, especially after such an incredible display of technique, passion, power, and explosiveness that makes anyone ranked in the division weary of signing the dotted line if they are offered a bout with him in the near future. 

It’s tough to watch Marlon Moraes fight at this point in his career. Being finished in five of his last six outings, it is only normal to consider what this is doing to his brain and his body, as well as his mental health with the media attention he must be receiving from having such disappointing performances. To be fair, the last seven opponents he has been matched up with are all world-breakers; Song Yadong, Merab Dvalishvili, Cory Sandhagen, Rob Font, Raphael Assuncao, Henry Cejudo, and Jose Aldo. If Marlon plans on fighting again, he should likely play the role of a gatekeeper testing out the up and coming prospects, with a chance at winning due to his experience and the skill disparity from his last few opponents. 

Song Yadong may be one of the best under-25 year old fighters in the UFC at the moment. At 24-years old, Yadong is extremely impressive and displays some striking technique and discipline that takes some men their entire careers to develop. With a mixture of powerful striking, speed, explosion, discipline, and youth, Song Yadong is a dark horse in the bantamweight division after a first round finish against a hardened vet like Marlon Moraes.

To end off the night, I was personally a little disappointed at how the main event played out. With both Thaigo Santos and Magomed Ankalaev being such powerful and dangerous strikers, it was either going to be a fight of carefulness from both men, or an absolute war ending with an early finish, sadly we got the weaker option. There were some moments and spurts of aggression from each of the two men, and with Thiago beginning to slow down and start looking at the clock in the third round, it was looking as though Magomed was going to start taking the rounds more clearly at that point. Magomed looked good, he had Thiago possibly hurt at some points, but didn’t capitalize, he fought a very smart fight, and got the win he was looking for to move up in the rankings.

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