Name recognition might have been low, but the action and talent level were both amazingly high in the main event of Saturday’s UFC Vegas 57 fight card. In that bout, Mateusz Gamrot scored a decision win over Arman Tsarukyan in an action-packed and thrilling 25-minute lightweight scrap.
While the judging seemed to be the major topic of discussion in the immediate aftermath of the contest, the fact is that these two competitors gave it their all in what was a pivotal contest in the division. And while Gamrot got the nod from the judges, it’s difficult to see Tsarukyan as a loser in any way other than the results of the fight. Which is to say, the stock of both men should rise significantly in the wake of their phenomenal showings on Saturday at the UFC Apex.
Speaking of exceptional efforts, Shavkat Rakhmonov, who broke into the welterweight top-15 with his knockout win over Carlston Harris in February, should find himself near — or in — the top-10 next week following his dismantling of Neil Magny in the evening’s co-main event.
Read on for the winners and losers from UFC Vegas 57.
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Mateusz Gamrot: The main event of UFC Vegas 57 was an incredible battle. It was the kind of fight where, if one had no rooting interest, there was a feeling of sorrow that one fighter had to lose. In this case, that feeling was amplified by the agony that came through during Michael Bisping’s post-fight interview with a brokenhearted Arman Tsarukyan, who was on the wrong side of the judges scorecards.
The good thing, if there is a good thing about a loss, is that Tsarukyan, who entered the bout as the No. 11 fighter in the official UFC lightweight rankings, should not lose any momentum or standing with the UFC brass. He fought a spectacular 25 minutes in his first five-round outing and judging from his reaction after the bout, the 25-year-old will come out of this event as a better and more complete fighter.
The 31-year-old Gamrot will move up the rankings when they are updated. How far? That’s an interesting question considering the No. 9 ranked Tony Ferguson doesn’t have a win since 2019 and the No. 8 ranked Conor McGregor hasn’t won at 155-pounds since 2016. Whatever the rankings say when they get updated, Gamrot deserves to fight an opponent inside the top 10 and his callout of Justin Gaethje, while ambitious, does not seem totally out of line.
Again, this was an extraordinary fight and one that we may get to see again, because both fighters are still on their way up.
The unanimous decision goes to @Gamer_MMA #UFCVegas57 pic.twitter.com/GxcOuMlGmJ
— UFC (@ufc) June 26, 2022
Shavkat Rakhmonov: The undefeated Kazakh rising star passed the Neil Magny test with flying colors. Rakhmonov moved to 16-0 with 16 finishes when he submitted Magny in the waning seconds of Round 2 of their welterweight contest.
Rakhmonov’s patience and composure were noteworthy throughout the fight. He didn’t put himself in dangerous positions via carelessness and he seemed to know that any mistake he made would provide Magny with an opening to mount offense. Rakhmonov did an excellent job of slowing things down and not forcing openings, but waiting for them to happen.
Rakhmonov is ready for an opponent inside the UFC welterweight top-10, however, finding that opponent might be difficult for the UFC matchmakers.
WITH JUST SECONDS LEFT – @RAKHMONOV1994 IS THE REAL DEAL #UFCVegas57 pic.twitter.com/1rtXknnrdb
— UFC (@ufc) June 26, 2022
Josh Parisian: Josh Parisian showed a lot of toughness in getting a comeback win over Alan Baudot in their heavyweight matchup, and got a performance bonus too.
Thiago Moises: Thiago Moises got back in the win column following two straight losses. Moises, who has tried mixing his striking with his grappling with mixed success, went back to his grappling to secure the first-round submission win over Christos Giagos. After the fight, Moises said he enjoys brawling, but that he might start using his takedowns and jiu-jitsu as well. The 27-year-old would likely be well served to concentrate on using his base as he did at UFC Vegas 57.
Umar Nurmagomedov: Back at bantamweight after a one-fight foray at featherweight, Umar Nurmagomedov kept his unbeaten record intact with a dominant win at UFC Vegas 57. Nurmagomedov racked up 10:49 of control time while going three-for-four in takedowns and landing 74 percent of his significant strikes.
The only fault, the UFC commentators could find in Nurmagomedov’s performance was that they would have liked to see more aggression on the mat. I can understand that to a point, but once could also say that Nurmagomedov was busy enough and did enough damage to keep the fight where he wanted it to be while not opening himself up to danger.
At 26, Nurmagomedov is still very young, but he seems to be ready for a step in competition against someone who has strong defensive wrestling skills.
Carlos Ulberg: Carlos Ulberg moved to 2-1 in the UFC and got the first knockout of his run with the promotion in impressive fashion. Ulberg is a good offensive striker, something he showed by setting up his KO over Tafon Nchukwi via a jab and then swarming him with powerful followups.
With that being said, Ulberg only has six pro MMA fights to his name. With that, the UFC matchmakers should move him along slowly. After all, his defense was not great in losing to Kennedy Nzechukwu in his UFC debut,
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke vs. T.J. Brown: This was an enjoyable scrap that combined no defense striking with some nice grappling and ground exchanges. In the end, Shayilan Nuerdanbieke got the nod and moved to 2-1 in the UFC.
Sergey Morozov: Sergey Morozov got back in the win column following a submission loss in a “Fight of the Night” bonus-winning contest with a decision win over Raulian Paiva via his wrestling and his opponents inability to defend strikes consistently.
Cody Durden: Cody Durden fought like he had something to prove and in stopping JP Buys via aggressive striking, Durden succeeded. The win was a big bounce back for Durden, who lost to Muhammad Mokaev via submission in under a minute in March.
Mario Bautista: Woah! Mario Bautista was incredibly impressive in earning his first submission win under the UFC banner. Bautista was extremely aggressive with his striking to open his contest opposite Brian Kelleher. When the two went to the clinch, Bautista used a nifty trip to get the fight to the mat, from there, he was exceptionally slick in taking full mount, which led to Kelleher giving up his back and opening the door for Bautista to sneak in a rear-naked choke.
Bautista picked up a unanimous decision win in January after more than a year from the octagon. His win over a veteran like Kelleher should help Bautista get a step up in competition in his next outing.
Paul Felder and Michael Bisping: During the first fight of the night, UFC commentators Michael Bisping and Paul Felder did a marvelous job of speaking about the scoring criteria. While mentioning control time, Felder remarked how control time without damage is not useful in scoring an MMA fight, while Bisping said that the commentary team had a refresher course on scoring criteria before the card. Hopefully, that refresher course becomes the norm, because it will improve the conversation on the scoring criteria. With that being said, the refresher without an open mind will be useless.
City Kickboxing: With members of the City Kickboxing team sitting cageside, Carlos Ulberg scored a first-round knockout win in the final fight on the prelims. That team is represented in a big way at next week’s UFC 276. It was nice to see them sitting at the UFC Apex and supporting their teammate. And if momentum is a thing, Ulberg provided some of that heading into next Saturday’s big fight card.
Carlos Ulberg’s first-round finish at #UFCVegas57 had his City Kickboxing teammates hyped pic.twitter.com/qGB95LHXOV
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) June 26, 2022
Mateusz Gamrot: It was disheartening to hear Mateusz Gamrot refer to American Top Team owner Dan Lambert as his “boss.” MMA fighters should never think that they work for gym owners or managers, because they don’t. If a fighter is paying a person, that person works for them.
Alan Baudot: Alan Baudot showed a lot of striking power. He also showed zero defensive skills on the mat. It’s unlikely he’ll remain on the UFC roster with no wins over his four fights.
Raulian Paiva: Raulian Paiva needs to work on his striking. He has power, but his defense is lacking when he tries to lead the dance when it comes to striking. Paiva has some decent counters, but when his opponent is patient and forces him to come forward, he struggles.
Mark Smith: Referee Mark Smith allowed JP Buys to take a lot of undefended strikes before he waved off the Buys vs. Durden scrap. Once Buys was rocked, his defense was not good.
UFC rankings: There’s no reason to have Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor in the top-10 in the lightweight division in 2022. It feels like the rankings panel is giving these two far too much credit for past accomplishments and that’s not what the rankings should be about.
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