UFC Vegas 66 is in the books. The middleweight headliner was a technical delight, and the lightweight co-headliner was a showcase between two of the division’s brightest stars.
The preliminary portion of the card began with Sergey Morozov defeating Journey Newsom by unanimous decision. The former M-1 Global bantamweight champion found success with his wrestling, using it to control Newsom up against the cage and on the ground throughout 15 minutes. Manel Kape returned and earned a unanimous decision over David Dvořák. ’Starboy’ was thisclose to a few finishes — one of which was a kimura that we still have no idea how Dvořák survived — but he still left the Octagon with a win. Rinat Fakhretdinov continued to show why he is one of the scariest up-and-comers in the welterweight division. The ‘Gladiator’ mauled his short-notice replacement Bryan Battle for a clean sweep of the judges’ scorecards. Rafa García and Hayisaer Maheshate turned in one of the bloodiest fights in 2022! In the toughest test of his UFC career, the Chinese fighter suffered a loss to ‘Gifted,’ who got the better of Maheshate in the striking and grappling departments. Said Nurmagomedov delivered our first finish of the night, a second-round guillotine choke of Saidyokub Kakhramonov. For most of the fight, Kakhramonov dominated Nurmagomedov, but he stayed in it with his submission attempts. The final one — a guillotine choke — forced Kakhramonov to tap. Matthew Semelsberger halted any momentum Jake Matthews had ahead of UFC Vegas 66, dropping the ‘Celtic Kid’ three (!) times en route to a unanimous decision. Spoiler alert: ’Semi the Jedi’ hits hard. Like, really hard. Cory McKenna closed out the prelims with a unanimous decision over Cheyanna Vlismas.
The main portion of the card got off to a violent start as Michał Oleksiejczuk finished Cody Brundage with ground-and-pound in the first round. Though he was taken down by Brundage early, ‘Hussar’ reversed position and unloaded heavy punches until the referee stepped in and stopped the fight. Drew Dober and Bobby Green gave us a ‘Fight of the Night’ contender that came to a brutal end, courtesy of a left hand from Dober! WOW! Not only was that the third consecutive (T)KO for Dober, but he also tied Dustin Poirier for the most KO wins (8) in UFC lightweight history. And his post-fight call-out of Jalin Turner? Excellent. Alex Caceres added Julian Erosa to his highlight reel with a stunning head kick TKO! ‘Bruce Leeroy’ found a home for the kick that sent ‘Juicy J’ to the canvas, where he followed up with the fight-ending punches. That was Caceres’ first (T)KO since 2010! Amir Albazi hit a well-timed uppercut on Alessandro Costa, stinging the Brazilian in the third and final round for the KO win. He improved to 4-0 under the UFC banner. Arman Tsarukyan outwrestled Damir Ismagulov over three rounds for a unanimous decision. The lightweight contender told UFC commentator Paul Felder that was ready for a name in the top five of the division, including a rematch with reigning champion Islam Makhachev, who he dropped his UFC debut to over three years ago.
Jared Cannonier took a split decision over Sean Strickland in our headliner. The ‘Killa Gorilla’ caused a lot of the damage, connecting with some heavy punches and bloodying ‘Tarzan,’ but this was a razor-thin fight.
Performance of the Night: Alex Caceres and Michał Oleksiejczuk
Said Nurmagomedov def. Saidyokub Kakhramonov by submission (guillotine choke) at 3:50 of Round 2
Michał Oleksiejczuk def. Cody Brundage by TKO (punches) at 3:16 of Round 1
Drew Dober def. Bobby Green by knockout (punch) at 2:45 of Round 2
Alex Caceres def. Julian Erosa by TKO (head kick) at 3:04 of Round 1
Amir Albazi def. Alessandro Costa by knockout (uppercut) at 2:13 of Round 3
Fight of the Night: Drew Dober vs. Bobby Green
Sergey Morozov def. Journey Newson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Manel Kape def. David Dvořák by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Rinat Fakhretdinov def. Bryan Battle by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-27)
Rafa García def. Hayisaer Maheshate by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Matthew Semelsberger def. Jake Matthews by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Cory McKenna def. Cheyanne Vlismas by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Arman Tsarukyan def. Damir Ismagulov by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jared Cannonier def. Sean Strickland by split decision (49-46, 46-49, 49-46)
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