UFC VEGAS 8 just wrapped up at the UFC APEX facility in Las Vegas, NV. Headlining the action was a light heavyweight bout between former title challenger Anthony Smith and Aleksandar Rakic. And it was the Austrian who got his hand raised after this one with a dominating, yet underwhelming, performance that left his American opponent baffled and ultimately disappointed.
Rakic took the fight on the scorecards (30-26, 30-27 and 30-27), giving him the biggest win of his career. The victory helps erase the memories of his close split decision loss to Volkan Oezdemir last time out and gives him an outside shot at a title fight in the near future.
Also on the card Neil Magny thoroughly outclassed former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler to score a unanimous decision victory. The win gave Magny 17 wins in the division—just two shy of a record set by G.O.A.T candidate Georges St-Pierre.
The card got off to a banging start with four straight submission finishes. Then the pace slowed down with a number of decisions, albeit via exciting fights. Despite the flurry of earlier finishes and the handful of dominating performances, there could only be a few who were graced with the $50,000 bonus check.
Performance of the Night: Mallory Martin and Sean Brady
There was a lot of competition for these bonuses. Magny’s win over Lawler was technically impressive, although a little dull and all four of the submissions were very impressive.
However, the big money this time around is going to two fighter whose purses would be nowhere near $50,000—and that’s great.
Mallory Martin and Hannah Cifers opened the event and at first it looked like Martin, who was making only her second UFC appearance, wouldn’t last long in there. She was dropped in the first round and ate a lot of punishment while she struggled to regain her composure. A different referee may have stepped in and called it in the first, but Martin was able to make it to the second. In the second round she rumbled forwards, dragged down Cifers and then delivered vicious ground and pound that bloodied her opponent. Her sharp elbows forced Cifers to turn her back and when she did Martin pounced on her neck. A quick tap to an RNC followed. What followed that was a banshee scream from Martin. She was incredibly emotional to get her first win inside the Octagon; I can only imagine how elated she must be to get her first POTN bonus, too.
Like Martin, Sean Brady earned his win—and bonus—with a second round choke. However, in Brady’s case there would be no tap. He choked Christian Aguilera out cold with a guillotine. From the second Brady latched onto Aguilera’s neck commentator Paul Felder said it was over. Felder’s claim seemed early, but—thanks to personal experience it seems—the Irish Dragon was exactly right. Aguilera did his best to buck, turn and wriggle out of the hold, but Brady rode along with him, tightening his grip while being rolled onto his back and then back into top position. When Aguilera went limp, Brady improved to a perfect 3-0 in his young UFC career.
Fight of the night: Ricardo Lamas vs. Bill Algeo
Ricardo Lamas vs. Bill Algeo didn’t have too much competition for this award. Impa Kasanganay vs Maki Pitolo was certainly a fun bout, but it didn’t have the momentum swings seen here.
Algeo came into the fight with Lamas, a former UFC featherweight title challenger, on about a week’s notice—replacing Ryan Hall. Algeo was making his official promotional debut (he did have a loss on the Contender Series last year) and he did exactly what a short notice debutante should do: show no fear and swing for the fences.
In the first round Algeo seemed to catch Lamas off guard, harrying him with creative kicks that utilized his length and reach advantage over the stocky Lamas. Despite that offense from Algeo, Lamas did find a way to make an impression on the replacement fighter, through calf kicks that eventually buckled the UFC rookie.
In the second Algeo rocked Lamas’ world with a perfectly timed knee straight up the middle. Lamas was stunned and, for a second, it looked like the fight might be over. But Lamas proved too tough for that. He was majorly wobbled, but eventually was able to find his feet and intelligently defend against a swarming Algeo. The veteran grappled his way out of danger and was able to survive to hear the second round bell.
In the third Algeo came out swinging hoping to finish off Lamas. But Lamas was smart in taking Algeo to the ground. In the third Algeo looked a little tired and Lamas used that to secure a takedown and top position. From up top Lamas landed heavy ground and pound, which came close to ending the fight. However, Algeo was able to gut it out and force the judges’ into a decision.
That last round was so dominant for Lamas that he was able to earn 10-8 scores, leading to a unanimous decision win in what might be the Cuban-Mexican-American’s final fight. Though he was the loser tonight Algeo earned plenty of fans and will most likely by back in a UFC Octagon sometime soon.
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