UFC Vegas 61 on Saturday was a fine offering. The strawweight headliner was quite a scrap, and the welterweight co-headliner was a hard-fought affair.
The preliminary portion of the card had Guido Cannetti get things started with a 64-second win over Randy Costa. The ‘Ninja’ took the ‘Zohan’ down, got to his back and secured the rear-naked choke (with no hooks!). Very impressive for the 42-year-old. Chelsea Chandler demolished Julija Stoliarenko for a first-round TKO. The UFC newcomer had to fend off some takedown and submission attempts, but the tide turned and she pummeled her opponent from full mount until the referee stepped in. The Cesar Gracie jiu-jitsu representative told Paul Felder she would prefer to stay at featherweight, where she hoped to share the Octagon with either Norma Dumont or ‘that chick that was twerking’ (better known as Ailin Perez). Brendan Allen continued the streak of first-round finishes with a rear-naked choke of Krzysztof Jotko. Now on a three-fight win streak, ‘All In’ used his time on the microphone to challenge André Muniz at UFC 283, the upcoming pay-per-view event in Brazil. That would be a lot of fun to watch, right? Joaquim Silva stunned Jesse Ronson with a well-timed flying knee and finished him off with punches on the ground. ‘Netto BJJ’ earned his first UFC win in nearly four years. Ilir Latifi outmuscled Aleksei Oleinik over three rounds for a unanimous decision. The ‘Sledgehammer’ alluded to retiring, as this was the final fight on his UFC contract and he was turning 40 soon, but would not say it outright. Guess we have to wait and see what he decides to do next. Daniel Santos rallied from being nearly being finished by John Castañeda to score a second-round TKO. The ‘Willycat’ pressured ’Sexi Mexi,’ unleashing a barrage of punches up against the cage before uncorking a brutal knee that sent him to the canvas. What a win!
The main portion of the card saw Mike Davis return to the win column with a unanimous decision over Viacheslav Borshchev. ‘Beast Boy’ had not fought in more than a year, but there was no sign of ring rust as he outgrappled ’Slava Claus’ for most of the fight. He left the Octagon with a potentially broken orbital (courtesy of a straight left from Borshchev) but still ‘felt pretty good’ all things considered. Sodiq Yusuff was a man on a mission, getting Don Shainis out of there in 30 seconds. Both men targeted the body — Yusuff with his knees and Shainis with his hands — but ‘Super’ was getting the better of the exchange. With the body softened up, Yusuff wrapped up a guillotine and fell to the canvas, where ‘Shameless’ was forced to tap. As for who he would want next, Yusuff set his sights on Chan Sung Jung, or ‘The Korean Zombie.’ Raoni Barcelos dominated Trevin Jones en route to a unanimous decision. Barcelos outstruck and outgrappled Jones, who offered little to no offense. Like Allen, the Brazilian also expressed interest in fighting on UFC 283 in early 2023. Randy Brown admitted he had a ‘hell of test’ against Francisco Trinaldo, but ‘Rudeboy’ got it done by decision.
Yan Xiaonan defeated Mackenzie Dern by majority decision to close out the show. This one went as expected, with Xiaonan finding success in the striking and Dern in the grappling. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace had a few moments on the ground, but the Team Alpha Male product showed off her much improved defense, as she survived several submission attempts from Dern. Two of three judges saw the fight in favor of Xiaonan, while the other ruled it a draw. The Chinese fighter snapped a two-fight skid and solidified herself as one to pay attention to (if you weren’t already) in the strawweight division.
Performance of the Night: Guido Cannetti, Chelsea Chandler, Brendan Allen and Joaquim Silva
Guido Cannetti def. Randy Costa by submission (rear-naked choke) at 1:04 of Round 1
Chelsea Chandler def. Julija Stoliarenko by TKO (punches) at 4:15 of Round 1
Brendan Allen def. Krzysztof Jotko by submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:17 of Round 1
Joaquim Silva def. Jesse Ronson by TKO (flying knee and punches) at 3:08 of Round 2
Daniel Santos def. John Castañeda by KO (strikes) at 4:28 of Round 2
Sodiq Yusuff def. Don Shainis by submission (guillotine choke) at 0:30 of Round 1
Fight of the Night: John Castañeda vs. Daniel Santos
Ilir Latifi def. Aleksei Oleinik by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Mike Davis def. Viacheslav Borshchev by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-26, 30-26)
Raoni Barcelos def. Trevin Jones by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-27, 30-27)
Randy Brown def. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Yan Xiaonan def. Mackenzie Dern by majority decision (48-47, 48-47, 47-47)
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