The UFC returned to action and gave us a great event in UFC Vegas 62 this Saturday. The flyweight headliner was fun, and the bantamweight co-headliner ended by rare leg kick TKO.
The preliminary portion of the card began with Pete Rodriguez sending Mike Jackson to the shadow realm with a well-timed knee to the jaw in the first round. ‘Dead Game’ realized the ‘Truth’ was dropping his head low to avoid his flurries, so he responded with the fight-ending knee and follow-up punches before the referee stepped in to end the fight. That is the first UFC win for Rodriguez, who was unsuccessful in his debut earlier this year. Tatsuro Taira improved to 12-0 as a professional with a second-round armbar of C.J. Vergara. The 22-year-old prospect was successful on the ground, where he transitioned from a rear-naked choke to the armbar that forced Vergara to tap. Keep an eye on Taira! Piera Rodriguez got her second UFC win with a unanimous decision over Sam Hughes. The takedowns of ‘La Fiera’ appeared to secure the win over ’Sampage’ on the judges’ scorecards. Joanderson Brito bullied Lucas Alexander, slamming the short-notice replacement on the ground and working his way up to the standing rear-naked choke. The Brazilian used his time on the microphone with Paul Felder to call out Dan Ige for UFC 283 next year. It sounds like a good fight, so keep your fingers crossed it happens! Jacob Malkoun dealt with some early adversity in his fight against Nick Maximov, but the ‘Mamba’ survived and wrestled his way to a win over a badly compromised opponent. Mana Martinez and Brandon Davis turned in a scrap, but it was ‘Manaboi’ who did enough to eke out the split decision.
The main portion of the card saw Alonzo Menifield destroy Misha Cirkunov in less than 90 seconds. ‘Atomic’ stung Cirkunov with a left hand and turned him around with a right hand before he delivered follow-up punches that put him to sleep. That was another vicious KO for Menifield, who is now on a two-fight win streak. Raphael Assunção snapped a four-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Victor Henry. The Brazilian admitted his time in the Octagon was winding down, but he may stick around for a while longer after this performance. Duško Todorović wore down Jordan Wright for a second-round TKO in quite a back-and-forth affair. The first round saw ‘Thunder’ go for several leg locks, but the ‘Beverly Hills Ninja’ made him pay for them and blasted him with punches on the ground. Whatever was told to Todorović in his corner seemed to get him going as he moved forward and started unloading on Wright. Once it got to the ground again, he finished Wright with ground-and-pound. Jonathan Martinez earned the biggest win of his professional career thus far, stopping Cub Swanson with leg kicks (!) in the second round of their fight. The ‘Dragon’ had Swanson hurt several times, but it was a series of leg kicks that sealed the deal for him. During his post-fight interview, Martinez asked for Dominick Cruz (who was on commentary duties tonight) in his next appearance.
Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araújo delivered in the headliner! Most of the fight was spent on the feet, as Grasso and Araújo were fine with standing in the center of the Octagon and exchanging. The Brazilian mixed in some takedowns here and there but abandoned them as the fight continued. In the end, Grasso swept the judges’ scorecards for the unanimous decision.
Performance of the Night: Tatsuro Taira and Jonathan Martinez
Pete Rodriguez def. Mike Jackson by KO at 1:33 of Round 1
Tatsuro Taira def. C.J. Vergara by submission (armbar) at 4:19 of Round 2
Joanderson Brito def Lucas Alexander by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:02 of Round 1
Alonzo Menifield def. Misha Cirkunov by KO at 1:28 of Round 1
Duško Todorović def. Jordan Wright by TKO at 3:12 of Round 2
Jonathan Martinez def. Cub Swanson by TKO at 4:19 of Round 2
Fight of the Night: Duško Todorović vs. Jordan Wright
Piera Rodriguez def. Sam Hughes by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Jacob Malkoun def. Nick Maximov by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Mana Martinez def. Brandon Davis by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Raphael Assuncao def. Victor Henry by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Alexa Grasso def. Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
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