Now that UFC Vegas 8 is in the books, we can look back at it as quite a backwards fight card. The main event and Co-main event were fights that were mediocre excitement wise. Looking at every single other fight on the card, almost every one of them could have gotten a performance of the night award, with Llamas vs Algeo being an absolute technical beauty on the stand-up and grappling game, and Maki Pitolo vs. Impa Kasanganay being an absolute stand and bang war.
Let’s look at 5 takeaways from UFC Vegas 8
The Real Deal
While it may have not been the most exciting fight, Aleksander “Rocket” Rakic put down Anthony Smith with ease. He chopped at Smith’s legs until he couldn’t stand anymore and once he was on the ground, there was no getting him off the top. With Smith being a BJJ black belt, you’d expect him to threaten a few more submissions but Rakic was quick to scope out anything Smith had in mind and just kept him on his back for almost 3 full rounds. The inability for Smith to check the leg kicks is the main reason he ended up on his back and he seemed content lying there taking ground and pound. With this win, Rakic seems to be set up with a path to the title. With Thiago Santos facing off with Glover Teixeira in about two weeks, the winner will probably end up getting a title shot. The loser of that fight will most likely fight Rakic, and with that, we could be looking at our next Light Heavyweight Contender.
What’s Left in the Tank?
This weekend we saw the breakdown of 2 of UFC’s veteran staples. Smith showed almost nothing in this entire fight, after getting pummeled in his last fight vs Texiera. That begs the question of what does he have left in him? In his postfight comments, Smith flirted with the idea of dropping back down to 185 in hopes of rejuvenating his career. While this may be a good move for him, that division is filled with killers and won’t be a cakewalk even if he does have a size advantage going in. Smith would have to work his way back up and would be a great matchup for star prospect Edmen Shahbazyan to prove that he still has the makings of a ranked fighter.
No Longer Ruthless
Robbie Lawler was the second veteran that got dominated at UFC Vegas 8. He was matched up with a lengthy Neil Magny and showed a complete inability to get past the reach into his face. Lawler was kept at bay with Magny’s jab and when Lawler got into the clinch, he did nothing offensively. Robbie didn’t seem to have the explosiveness that we’ve come to know, nor did we see much heart. For Robbie, this seems like the end of the line for him at UFC. He’s won titles, had multiple fight of the year awards and has become a crowd favorite. But at this point of his career, it seems he needs a step down in competition to remain relevant. Maybe at the end of his contract, a move to Bellator would be smart, unless he’s content sitting out of the rankings,while fighting up and comers until he retires.
With a Performance of the Night award, undefeated Sean Brady seems to have all the makings of a ranked fighter and potential contender in the Welterweight division. He showed excellent distance management, heavy hands, as shown by busting open Aguilera in the first round, excellent pace without overextending, and to top it off he finished with impressive takedowns into a guillotine choke that left Aguilera squirming for breath until he passed out. At 13-0 and an impressive victory, Brady deserves to have a ranked opponent next to propel him to the next tier of contenders. A match with submission specialist Damien Maia or maybe a big name like Robbie Lawler just to get some name value would serve well for him.
Sean Brady (-415 ML) puts Christian Aguilera to sleep with the guillotine choke to improve to 13-0 pic.twitter.com/BKZTVzHksC
— Barstool Bets (@barstoolbets) August 29, 2020
Perserverance Shines Through
The comeback win of the night goes to Mallory Martin. After getting knocked down in the first round and absorbing over 50 shots, most of which to the head, she was able to recompose herself and get the Performance of the night win. She was out COLD in the first round after Cifers overhand right landed on the button and the ensuing hammer fist . Her legs go totally limp and by the time the second punch ends up on her face, she seems to wake up and is able to slightly recover. After about 30 more punches to the face, mercifully, the round ends. In the second round she seemed like a completely different fighter. She goes straight into the clinch and is able to take down Cifers into half guard. From here she’s able to get effective ground and pound to the point where Cifers turtles up and gives up her back. At this point it’s all academic as Mallory takes her neck and submits her via Rear Naked Choke. Amazing comeback by Martin and this win could propel her into getting a shot at someone either in or near the rankings of the strawweight division. At only 26 years old, she has lots of room to grow and can be groomed as a future contender if she stays on this path.
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