To the surprise of no one, there was limited action in the heavyweight main event between Jairzinho Rozerstruik and Ciryl Gane at UFC VEGAS 20. After all, Rozenstruik’s game is to wait for an opening and Gane was reluctant to give him one. Not that anyone can blame Gane… Rozenstruik hits like a truck! Nonetheless, Gane was easily the more active striker, landing some jabs, some kicks to the quads, hitting the occasional takedown. It wasn’t much fun.
Given the lack of flash with the win, Gane doesn’t get much of a boost. Sure, it eliminates Rozenstruik as a potential roadblock and that’s a hell of a name. Hell, doing what he did to such a powerhouse over five rounds in Gane’s eighth pro fight is beyond impressive. Unfortunately, it does nothing to titillate the UFC fanbase. He’ll get a step up in competition and a boost in the rankings, but he’s not going to get a big promotional push. Obviously, it hurts Rozenstruik, but everyone knows that’s his fight. His fight with Alistair Overeem should have been a wake up call he needed to make adjustments if he wants to get to the top. It wasn’t. This damn well better be.
As for the rest of the card….
- For some reason, a large swath of people expected Magomed Ankalaev to walk all over Nikita Krylov. After a strong opening round that went to Krylov, many were forced to rethink their position. Ankalaev found his range and used his wrestling over the final two rounds to secure a close decision, but Krylov showed better than most expected.
- Nobody is ever happy with a draw. However, there’s times where it is the most appropriate conclusion. Pretty much everyone felt that way with Montana De la Rosa and Mayra Bueno Silva. Silva easily did more damage, but she also was deducted a point for a blatant fence grab and De la Rosa, in addition to some nice moments on the feet for herself, threatened with submissions and ground work.
- Pedro Munhoz and Jimmie Rivera put on a hell of a show, justifying my desire to see the two bang it out for five rounds as opposed to three. Rivera’s boxing was on point, but Munhoz handicapped him early by chopping away at his legs to erode his base. Rivera was game, but Munhoz’s mobility gave him the edge he needed to outwork Rivera and avenge his earlier loss to him.
- Typically, an Alex Caceres fight is kind of weird. His win over Kevin Croom was no exception. Croom was the one pushing the action, looking for takedowns and looking to find a favorable position. Instead, it was Caceres’ counters on the feet and ability to catch Croom off-guard with potential submissions. But why the hell did Caceres relinquish a triangle that looked tight? Typical Caceres fight….
- While a reasonable case could have been made Alexander Hernandez won the first two rounds, most agreed Thiago Moises took every round, the third with authority. Moises had an answer for everything Hernandez threw, usually returning with a bit more oomph and accuracy, taking a close decision.
- Alexis Davis isn’t finished yet. Well, she might be finished cutting to 125, but she has plenty of fight left in her. Recognizing Sabina Mazo was superior on the feet, Davis wisely picked her spots to secure takedowns while supplementing the rest of her offense with low kicks, emerging victorious in her return to the women’s bantamweight division.
- It’s amazing you can do when you have a deep gas tank. Ronnie Lawrence jumped all over a game Vince Cachero from the opening bell and never let up until the referee pulled him off halfway through the third round. Most memorable were the series of suplexes the newcomer landed on his way to the W.
- Things were looking bleak for Dustin Jacoby after a slow opening round, allowing Maxim Grishin to take the initiative. It took a little while into the second before Jacoby woke up, but he eventually did and snuck out a contentious decision.
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