Well ladies and gentleman, we just finished up UFC Vegas 18 and it definitely did not disappoint. A couple of big knockouts, some crazy scrambling, and much much more. So let’s dig right into the action of the main card with Boston’s own Mike Rodriguez taking on betting underdog Danilo Marques coming in at 10-2.
One side note is UFC legend Joe Louzon was the main trainer for Rodriguez. In this fight we saw absolute domination from Danilo with beautiful Greco Roman wrestling controlling the whole fight until the very end of the second round. Whilst on the ground Danilo took Rodriguez back and locked in a rear naked choke, tapping him out at 4:52 of round number two. Danilo Marques is now on a four fight win streak in the Light Heavyweight division.
The next fight was a rematch between two lightweights that are moving up the ranks of the already action packed lightweight division. Coming in on a six fight win streak, #10 ranked Diego Ferreira against #13 ranked Beneil Dariush who is on a five fight win streak. This fight did not disappoint, three rounds of absolute entertainment. Dariush came in with a big knee to the body, hurting Diego. The first and second rounds were non stop pressure from Dariush, securing takedowns and beautiful scrambles by both men. Not to mention when Ferreira would get back to his feet both men would land heavy punches on one another. The third round started off with a giant kick to the nuts by Dariush, unintentional of course. Then Ferreira changed up his gameplan, sticking and moving, not giving Dariush the opportunity for the takedown until about 45 seconds left when Dariush secured one more takedown. This was a high paced fight, with both men constantly moving, punching, and scrambling on the ground. Baneil Dariush won by split decision, moving on to six wins in a row. In the post fight Dariush would say that he wasn’t happy with UFC brass for pitting the two men together, instead of giving each man a top ten opponent in order to move up the ranks. So a lot of respect shown by both men, and a very entertaining fight.
Next fight was between two Flyweights, #5 ranked “The Cannibal” Alexandre Pantoja taking on UFC newcomer “Starboy” Manel Kape. The story of this fight was Pantoja connecting more with strikes, although Kape was extremely active, moving around and landing a few punches here and there. Kape did finally land a takedown in a fight that had been standing the whole fight previous, and I can only guess that Kape thought this was enough to win him the fight. Because when Pantoja got the decision, Kape acted like a giant asshole thinking that he should have won. Either way Alexandre Pantoja was way more accurate in his striking and the busier man. After the fight he said that he was interested in fighting for the belt, given that he has already beaten #1 ranked Brandon Moreno.
The next fight was my pick for fight of the night when I saw that it was announced, a battle of legends of the lightweight division. Clay Guida fighting Michael Johnson to me had fireworks written all over it. This was Guida’s 30th fight in the UFC and Johnson’s 24th fight in the UFC. These men leave everything in the Octagon every time they fight, and they never disappoint, so when this fight was put on this card I was pumped. The fight started with Guida landing a giant right hand and hurting Johnson’s eye. The whole fight was Guida’s constant pressure with the wrestling, and grinding Johnson against the cage, and dirty boxing. Johnson is an accomplished wrestler as well so I don’t understand why Johnson had so much trouble adjusting. Either way Johnson couldn’t do anything to shake off Giuda’s constant pressure, ending the fight with Guida taking Johnson’s back and going for a rear naked choke. Clay Guida got the Unanimous decision and this puts Michael Johnson at four losses in a row. He’s got to be concerned now with Dana White making all these cuts to the roster that he could very well be next. Personally I think Johnson still has a lot of miles on him and still puts on entertaining fights, so we can only hope for the best.
The co-main event, the one I had been waiting on all night, your favorite fighter’s favorite fighter, Frankie “The Answer” Edgar taking on up and coming Corey “The Sandman” Sandhagen. This is Frankie’s second fight in the Bantamweight division, coming off of a win over Pedro Munhoz, and coming into this fight he’s ranked 4th in the division. Sandhagen is coming off a highlight reel knockout of Marlon Moreas with a beautiful spinning wheel kick and is ranked #2 in the division. Not very much to say about the actual fight, within thirty seconds Sandhagen caught Edgar changing levels with a giant knee right on the jaw, putting him out on his feet, falling stiff on the canvas. So in so many words “The Sandman” put everybody’s favorite completely out cold with a knee to the jaw. Sandhagen said in the post fight interview that he is ready for that title shot, whoever wins between Sterling and Yan, he wants them in June. As for Frankie, no one knows what his next move is, but for me it’s pretty obvious, a legends fight with Dominic Cruz, but either way we can only hope for the best for “the Answer.”
To the main event of the evening, #5 ranked Alistair Overeem faced his “Biggest” challenge to date fighting #6 ranked Alexander “Drago” Volkov. Coming into this fight Volkov had finished 15 fighters in the very first round, and finished 24 out of 32 fighters with 21 knockouts. In the first round both men exchanged punches but it appeared to me that Overeem was trying to pull the old “rope a dope” covering up against the cage. But it didn’t appear to work as Volkov’s punches made their way through his guard. The story of this fight was Volkov’s 1-2 punch combo that busted up Overeem badly and eventually knocked him out at 2:06 of the second round. Overeem was never really in this fight from the beginning, and Volkov put the Heavyweight division on notice by easily beating an all time legend in Alistair Overeem.
This was a tremendous card from the start to finish, with exciting preliminary card fights as well – this show did not disappoint. Let me hear your thought on how I covered the UFC Vegas 18 show!