The UFC Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great night of fights at UFC Vegas 17:Thompson vs. Neal. The card saw two (T)KOs, one submission, and nine decisions.
The prelims started off with late replacement Cristos Giagos battling his way to an easy unanimous decision against Carlton Minus. That was followed up by Jimmy Flick landing a sensational flying triangle in the first round over Cody Durden after taking so much damage from Durden that I thought he was going to be finished, himself. Tafon Nchukwi outclassed Jamie Pickett by a huge margin (30-25 x2, 30-26)…not bad for a guy with just four professional fights coming into this contest. Well done, sir. Taila Santos said she was going to beat Gillian Robertson with her blue belt and she did. She beat her at her own game and made it look easy. Excellent performance. Deron Winn managed to beat Antonio Arroyo via unanimous decision in a fight that happened. Sijara Eubanks started out strong in the first round, but the bigger, stronger Pannie Kianzad took over in rounds two and three, taking the unanimous decision. Anthony Pettis did what he was supposed to do for a fighter of his caliber, he beat Alex Morono. Morono had his moments, but wasn’t able to keep Pettis off him or from launching head kicks that staggered him. Classic performance from Pettis.
The main card opened with Greg Hardy doing fairly well in round one, tagging Tybura with several hard shots, but round two would be a whole different can of worms, as Marcin dumps him to the canvas and gets around in half guard and starts landing hammers. Hardy turtles up and Tybura continues raining down punches. Greg Hardy does nothing, the ref intervenes, and Tybura is the hero of the night. Rob Font was a man on a mission tonight, and after some tense moments of Moraes popping off hard shots and landing a quick takedown, Font responds with a bomb of his own that staggered Marlon. One more and “Magic” is down and Font is all over him. Moraes got pounded out and Rob Font notches his highest profile win, a first round TKO. Michel Pereira defeated Khaos Williams via unanimous decision in a very fun fight that had all sorts of Pereira wild moves (including a donkey kick). Jose Aldo looked fantastic in his three-round battle with “Chito” Vera. Vera did his best and ended up taking a round, but Aldo grinded out the unanimous decision win.
The main event was a showcase performance from Wonderboy. He controlled the pace and range from start to finish. Neal just couldn’t figure out how to fight the ever-changing angles, pot-shotting from the outside and those leg kicks. A clash of heads early in the fight caused a cut for both men, but it didn’t really affect either man much. Neal finally found purchase late in the fourth and again in the fifth, but not nearly enough to earn a round with the judges. It was an absolute masterclass by Thompson.
Performance of the Night: Jimmy Flick, Rob Font, Marcin Tybura, Stephen Thompson
Jimmy Flick (flying triangle choke at 3:18 of round 1), Marcin Tybura (TKO (strikes), 4:31 of round 2), and Rob Font (TKO (strikes), 3:47 of round 1) all finished their fights before the final horn, but it would be Jimmy Flick, Marcin Tybura, Rob Font, and Stephen Thompson that would take the night’s performance bonuses.
Fight of the Night: NONE
Christos Giagos (30-26, 29-27, 29-28), Tafon Nchukwi (30-25, 30-25, 30-26), Pannie Kianzad (29-28 x3), Taila Santos (30-26, 30-26, 29-28), Deron Winn (29-28 x3), Anthony Pettis (29-28 x3), Michel Pereira (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Jose Aldo (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), and Stephen Thompson (50-45 x3) all went the distance in their respective fights but none would warrant FOTN honors.
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