Last Updated on 21 Nov 2021 4:39 am (UK Time)
Over the past year, UFC Fight Night has become an important Saturday ritual. Being a fan of American football, Monday nights during the NFL’s season have always been dedicated to Monday Night Football. It’s a tradition I share with Squid, Muscle and Breeze; they’re always in my living room during the games, eating up all my snacks and drinking up all of my beverages. Fight Night at the Apex Center in Las Vegas is beginning to become just as important, in part because there is no off-season and partly because it’s always at the same venue. The organization has accidentally stumbled upon gold. For fans of combat sports, this show is now a staple of our diets. There are a lot of key takeaways from this week’s bouts; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Vieira vs. Tate
Ketlen Vieira and Miesha Tate engaged in a back and forth brawl that was evenly matched and difficult to score. Sometimes, when each fighter seems to be successfully executing their strategies, the only way to judge a fight is with the eye test. That means, judges should stop counting the number of significant strikes and takedowns. Which fighters offense made more of a visual impact when their opponent was not able to counter their attack? The fighter who was able to do this should be crowned the winner.
In round one, both fighters were tentative and hesitant. The best action of the round came when Vieira tried to take Tate to the mat. She was able to defend against it and stand her ground, even scoring a couple significant strikes in the process. In round two, Vieira got her revenge. Although Tate had her moments, it was Vieira who was able to do visible damage to her opponent.
In rounds three, four and five, Vieira stuck to the advice of her corner; abandon takedowns and make Tate engage in a boxing match. Coming into the fight, everyone knew Tate was the superior grappler and Vieira was the superior striker. Keeping the fight on her feet was the smartest thing Vieira could do. Over the course of the last three rounds, Vieira was able to cause significant bleeding from Tate’s face and cause her left eye to be swollen shut. Although she did not get a stoppage, she did enough to be awarded a unanimous decision victory by the judges. This was huge for Vieira’s career; Tate may have had an extended layoff but she is still one of the biggest names in the women’s bantamweight division.
Chiesa vs. Brady
There was a lot of excitement surrounding the bout between Michael Chiesa and Sean Brady. Round one, however, was anticlimactic. Chiesa poked Brady in the eye twice, causing two stoppages to the action that interrupted the flow of the fight. Once fighting resumed, Brady was able to take Chiesa to the mat and establish ground control. Chiesa is known as one of the best grapplers in the welterweight division. Witnessing Brady out maneuver him was truly impressive.
The stern warning the referee gave Chiesa after the second eye poke of round one may have affected him psychologically. Brady again took Chiesa to the mat and again establish ground control time. Chiesa seemed hesitant to strike and did not approach the round with the same level of aggression that he exhibited in round one.
In round three, Chiesa seemed aware that he needed a stoppage in order to win the fight. He started the round with a flying knee, followed by a barrage of strikes. He was able to send Brady to the mat with an overhand right, but that backfired on him. Brady is a clever grappler, and he used Chiesa’s momentum to wrap him up in a grappling exchange one last time. The judges acknowledged Brady’s incredible grappling skills by granting him a unanimous decision victory.
Calderwood vs. Santos
Joanne Calderwood appeared to be outmatched against Taila Santos tonight. The first three and a half minutes of the fight were uneventful, with neither flyweight able to establish a clear advantage. In the last minute and a half of the round, Santos changed the momentum, scoring two knockdowns. After the second knockdown, she was able to secure a rear naked chokehold, which caused Calderwood to tap out with fifteen seconds left in the round. It was an impressive victory that should catapult Santos into the top ten in the division when the rankings are released.
Yahya vs. Kyung-ho
Rani Yahya made his intentions against Kang Kyung-ho apparent early in the first round. He was going to score as many takedowns as possible and win the fight with superior grappling and ground control time. Yahya showed why he has the reputation of being the best grappler in the bantamweight division; Kyung-ho looked helpless at times as the two of them struggled on the mat together.
After Yahya dominated rounds one and two with grappling, Kyung-ho was determined to get a stoppage at the beginning of round three. He began the round with a great striking attack that sent his opponent crashing to the mat. However, when he tried to capitalize on this maneuver with a ground and pound attack, Yahya used his grappling skills to put Kyung-ho in a half-guard hold and keep him there for the remainder of the round. For his efforts, Yahya was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
Grant vs. Yanez
In round one, Davey Grant put his martial arts background on full display. Not only did the bantamweight from London attempt an impressive amount of calf-kicks, he also utilized spinning kicks to the body as well. Some of them landed, some of them didn’t, but the strategy seemed to catch Adrian Yanez off-guard. In round two, an eye poke by Grant, caused a stoppage in the action with three minutes to go in the round. When fighting resumed, Grant attempted a takedown but Yanez was able to defend against it. Yanez increased his striking and Grant was bleeding profusely by the end of the round.
Going into the final round, it was clear that this fight was very close and difficult to score. Grant started the round by landing a few impressive strikes. However, Yanez cleverly turned himself into a counterpuncher for the remainder of the round; whenever Grant would load up for a wild swing, Yanez slipped in with a well-timed jab and landed a scoring blow. These strikes did not possess knockout power, but the frequency with which they landed was enough to sway the judges scorecard. Yanez was awarded a split decision victory. I can’t help but think that his strategic approach to round three is what ultimately landed him in the winner’s circle tonight.
Tonight’s major takeaway comes in the form of a quote. These are the words of Rani Yahya in the octagon during the post-fight interview:
Whoever wins the first round has better technique. Whoever wins the second round has better cardio. Whoever wins the third round has more heart.
– Rani Yahya
Agreed. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
UFC Fight Night will take a one-week hiatus next weekend. The event will return on December 4th, from the Apex Center, when bantamweight contender Rob Font takes on José Aldo. As always, we’ll have all the latest updates about the outcomes of the fights, as well as in depth analysis available right here at World In Sport!