UFC Vegas 64 ended with some weird events. Lots of finishes, some quality action, but the serious feeling is that the event lacks real stakes, even with a potential strawweight title. That said, after a few tepid rounds, Amanda Lemos made a strong statement in the Main Event. Niermani fought back from adversity to close the welterweight door for Daniel Rodriguez. Grant Dawson showed his UFC standings with his dominance over Mark Madsen.
So is there any reason why Lemos didn’t get his next break in the strawweight gold medal? Would Gilbert Burns ever want anything to do with Nirmaney? Will the Nevada State Commission focus on Darek Minner’s loss to Shaylan Nurdambek?
To answer these questions – and not many others – I’m going to use the classic Silva/Shelby fight booking method from the UFC of the past few years. That means competition between winners and winners, losers and losers, and similar lifelong talent. Hopefully by following the model some of these round ideas will actually take it off the page and into the octagon. Now, let’s start fighting!
In a division that needs a new title challenger, Amanda Lemos looks like a bona fide article. Marina Rodriguez may not be invincible in the Octagon, but until this fight, she’s been unstoppable. Lemos doesn’t push the action too much, but is patient in her power-fighting style. The moment Rodriguez gave her the chance to touch down, she had countless shots on goal. Obviously, the worst thing that could happen to her is Weili Zhang defeating Carla Esparza. Not because Esparza might have an immediate rematch, but because Zhang’s multiple losses to Rose Namajunas would give the Whitman-trained talent a clear angle to steal another quick chance for a gold medal. Still,
No matter who wins on November 13, Lemos is a fresh fight and the title should be hers. Knockout with Namajunas or Esparza/Zhang losers will also be the main fight if that happens.
It’s hard to blame Marina Rodriguez for the way Amanda fought Lemons. After all, once she started actually pressing the action and temporarily stopped the fight, Lemos hit her so hard that the referee felt he had to stop the fight. Is Rodriguez really hurt so badly that she can’t continue? It’s debatable, but there’s no doubt she’s in a bad situation, and if the fight goes on, it’s only going to get worse.
The Brazilian’s rise and hope for top contender status has been a tough one. Considering the number of top 10 fighters she’s already faced, that puts her in a bind in the near future as well. Would Ross Namajunas be interested in a Rodriguez game? If Zhang Weili didn’t beat Carla Esparza, would she get a reservation? If Emily Ducot beat Angela Hill, it wouldn’t be a terrible fight either. Given that Namajunas is the woman who doesn’t book right now, that’s the route I’m going to take, but it’s probably the kind of fight Lemos gets. Marina Rodriguez vs. Rose Namajunas is one of the few reasonable bookings currently available at Rodriguez.
Neil McNee A back-and-forth thriller that sees both have a lot of success, but in the long run Look, Marney’s stifling title win and top fight earned him another UFC win. Rodriguez had great success pushing Magny forward and looking to hurt him with a bigger shot in an equal exchange, but he was often caught by the taller and apparently started hitting his gas tank. When Magni was knocked down in the third quarter, he forced Rodriguez to his 20th UFC win.
After the bout, Magni asks for a fight with Gilbert Burns. If Burns doesn’t go against Jorge Mas Vidal, I have no problem with that, but Mane’s recent loss to Rakhmonov has really hampered his hopes of a back-to-back title run. Maybe against Sean Brady or Vicente Luke? Damn, he could even fight Belal Muhammad as both seem to have to fight the last welterweight on earth before they see gold. Just because I don’t think the Burns fight is going to happen, I’d say the Brady vs Maney fight is going to be. Good wrestlers and fighters have long been a poison to Magny, so much so that he couldn’t jump over everyone else in the top 15. Brady vs. Magny feels like a test gold that Magny still has to pass.
battle After the end, Tagil Ulanbekov gave a special thanks. Notably, a shoutout to teammate Umar Nurmagomedov — who recently beat Nate Maness — and Ulanbekov credited with devising the game plan he needed to win. It was also a hellish game plan, with the former Sambo champion hitting a quick one-leg and grabbing a very brutal guillotine as Manes tried to climb back on his feet. Dagestani bounced back after losing to Tim Elliott in a fantastic win.
This should set him up well for another test at the lower end of the flyweight top 15 Prepare. The winner of David Dvorak, Sumdarji, Manel Kape, or Jimmy Flick against Jeff Molina would all be very strong. Of these, the fight against Capet seemed to be the most interesting test, given the Angola-born fighter’s incredible top-level athleticism and rather slow pace. Can Ulanbekov compete with one of the best athletes in the division? Can Capet create enough offense to stop Ulanbekov from stealing the ball? Ulanbekov vs. Kape is the right battle to determine if AKA talent is ready for the elite.
as As expected, Mark Madsen’s strength gave him a big early advantage against Grant Dawson. Unfortunately for the Olympian, his lack of nuanced fighting games quickly became a bigger advantage for his opponents. Once Dawson found a way to chase Madsen to the mat, he was able to scramble to counter-attack, or even simply control the top lane for long periods of time, leaving Madsen very tired in the process. The result was that “KGD” won on a late bench and was eliminated after a bout by former interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson’s latest jump to welterweight, even if he doesn’t, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to See that fight. A bout with Gregor Gillespie (if he’s not just retired now), Jalin Turner, Mateusz Gamrot or Arman Tsarukyan vs Damir Ismagulov’s underdog all seem like more interesting ideas to me. Of these, the Turner fight feels the wisest right now, and it’s a real test for Turner and a step forward for Dawson. Dawson vs Turner is a great way to see if Dawson can keep his featherweight run.
MILAN Da Mavericks
It wasn’t the most thrilling fight of Miranda Maverick’s career, but she did what she should have done over an opponent she should have had a major advantage over. Shanna Young’s wrestling and fighting games have been a major hole in her skill set for some time. Once Maverick found her way, she easily dragged “Shaanimal” onto the mat and taught her to ring the final bell. After winning, Maverick called for a bout with Molly McCann. A battle she longed for. Unfortunately for her, McCann was already booked, and that fight against Erin Blanchfield didn’t feel like a match she had a good chance of winning. That doesn’t mean the UFC still can’t match McCann vs. Maverick as a winner/loser, but it doesn’t feel like a necessary fight.
Too bad Casey O’Neal is still recovering because that would be a great fight . Conversely, how about a reservation for Priscila Cachoeira. The Brazilian struggled early in her career but has made great strides recently as a formidable power fighter. Maverick has a good chance to focus on her compelling defense, and “Zombie Girl” has a chance to show if she’s made any improvements to her fight. Cachoeira vs. Maverick seems like a great way for the two women to continue their efforts to make the top 15.
Absolutely one-sided mischief by Mario Bautista, who began to haunt Benito Lopez with a low kick and a body dash straight out of the gate before submitting in the first round Easy knockdown in service and total domination on the mat. He’s had a few rough setbacks in his UFC career so far, but Bautista really looks like he’s turning a corner. His hits are layered and targeted, and his fighting game looks very fluid. Matches against Adrian Yanez, Heili Alateng, Taylor Lapilus or Raoni Barcelos are good options. In fact, Bautista would be interesting against anyone below the fringes of the top 15. I would go on to say that the UFC should book him against Adrian Yanes. Considering his past games and a well-rounded game, that’s an improvement for Yanes. Yanez vs Bautista will be fun no matter how long it goes on.
Polyana Viana’s life at the UFC wasn’t easy. She’s an aggressive, high-action fighter who loves to cause chaos at any time. When it works, she’s an exciting fight finisher. If not, she’s usually the one to finish. I’m not sure her fight with Jinh Yu Frey has given us any new insight into this dynamic, but it definitely reinforces that the right fight makes her look very interesting. So let’s pit her against another interesting fighter who likes to pick up the pace. That could mean a fight with Jessica Penne or Piera Rodriguez. I would also love to see her against Elise Reed or Loma Lookboonmee, but they have just been booked. So, of the remaining options, I would choose Jessica Penne. Penne’s guard fighting skills and upright stalking strike game make this a mirror match. Is Viana skilled enough to beat the former Invicta champion at her own game? Can Penne still be with the 115-year-old young talent? Penne vs. Viana seems guaranteed to be done.
Other rounds: Daniel Rodriguez vs. Max Griffin, Shailan Nurdanbek vs. Louis Saldana, Darrick Minner vs. Chase Hooper, Nate Manes vs. Odd Osborn , Mark Madsen vs. Joel Alvarez Shanna Young vs. Hannah Goldie , Benito Lopez vs. John Card Staneda,
Jinh Yu Frey vs. Diana Belbita ,Johnny Munoz vs Mana Martinez,Liudvik Sholinian vs. Joshua Weems, Jack Hadley vs. Victor Altamirano, Carlos Candelario vs. Carlos Motta, Tamirez Vidal vs. Chelsea Chandler, La Mona Pascual and Julia Stowe Liarenko