UFC Vegas 67 was our first event of 2023! The light heavyweight headliner was okay, and the featherweight co-headliner gave us a highlight-reel finish.
The preliminary portion of the card saw Charles Johnson get the first UFC finish of 2023 with a first-round TKO of Jimmy Flick. ‘InnerG’ beat the ‘Brick’ from pillar to post before finishing him with some elbows and ground-and-pound. Dan Argueta gave Nick Aguirre his first loss as a professional. Using his wrestling, ’Determined’ grounded Aguirre over three rounds and earned a unanimous decision. That was his first UFC win! Allan Nascimento delivered a perfect performance against Carlos Hernandez. The Brazilian got Hernandez down, went for a choke and body lock, readjusted when his opponent stood up and sunk in the standing rear-naked. For us avid Mortal Kombat players, we call that a ‘Flawless Victory’. Mateusz Rębecki threw everything at Nick Fiore! ‘Rebeasti’ was on point with his striking and wrestling tonight, which saw him awarded a unanimous decision. He waited patiently for it, but Abdul Razak Alhassan got a KO of Claudio Ribeiro. ‘Judo Thunder’ showed off a new wrinkle in his game and slowed Ribeiro down with some clinch work in the first round. And then Alhassan went off in the second round, cracking Ribeiro with right hands over and over again until the referee stepped in. Javid Basharat won a unanimous decision over Mateus Mendonça. For his next fight, the ‘Snow Leopard’ challenged Chris Gutierrez, who sent Frankie Edgar into retirement with a brutal flying knee in November.
The main portion of the card began with Umar Nurmagomedov starching Raoni Barcelos. WHAT?! Nurmagomedov went for a knee up the middle and followed with a left hand that sent Barcelos to the canvas. Raquel Pennington extended her win streak to five with a split decision against Ketlen Vieira. Beating the No. 2 contender in the division could get ‘Rocky’ the second championship opportunity she has asked for, so perhaps a rematch between her and Amanda Nunes could happen this year. Roman Kopylov brutalized Punahele Soriano with body shots that led to a second-round TKO. A spinning back kick to the body from Kopylov was the beginning of the end for Soriano, who took a few more kicks until he was hunching over. Kopylov went to the head, swarmed ‘Puna’ and that was it. Dan Ige returned to the win column with a sick KO of Damon Jackson. ‘50K’ should definitely get a $50k bonus for that one.
Sean Strickland snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Nassourdine Imavov, who he met on six days’ notice. ‘Tarzan’ kept the pressure on Imavov and outboxed him from start to finish, and swept the judges’ scorecards. He also made a little history, as he became the 16th fighter in UFC history to earn a win in three different weight classes (welterweight, middleweight and light heavyweight).
Performance of the Night: Allan Nascimento, Umar Nurmagomedov, Roman Kopylov and Dan Ige
Charles Johnson def. Jimmy Flick by TKO (punches) at 4:33 of Round 1
Allan Nascimento def. Carlos Hernandez by submission (standing rear-naked choke) at 3:16 of Round 1
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Claudio Ribeiro by KO (punches) at 0:28 of Round 2
Umar Nurmagomedov def. Raoni Barcelos by knockout (punch) at 4:40 of Round 1
Roman Kopylov def. Punahele Soriano by TKO (body kicks and punches) at 3:19 of Round 2
Dan Ige def. Damon Jackson by KO (punch) at 4:13 of Round 2
Fight of the Night: No FOTN
Dan Argueta def. Nick Aguirre by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Mateusz Rębecki def. Nick Fiore by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
Javid Basharat def. Mateus Mendonça by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Raquel Pennington def. Ketlen Vieira by split decision (29-28, 28-28, 29-28)
Sean Strickland def. Nassourdine Imavov by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47)
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