The Apex Center in Las Vegas hosted a big contingent of American football players from the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker presented an interesting evening as always at UFC Fight Night. Let’s get started without further ado!
Santos vs. Walker
Both Thiago Santos and Johnny Walker are Brazilian southpaws. It’s unusual for two combatants in the main event to have so much in common, but the two light heavyweights were chosen for more than just that. Both men are noted for having tremendous knockout power. Nobody is betting on the bout going the distance. Everyone was mistaken.
This was a reasonably even battle, but it lacked the type of excitement that would make a rematch worthwhile. Although a rematch between these two guys is not ruled out, the bout will not be in high demand. Both men had such a high regard for the other’s might that it made each warrior cautious, if not plain afraid.
Walker won the first round by being the more active of the two competitors. In the entire round, neither guy attempted a closed fist strike, but Walker made sure to score on a slew of calf kicks.
Santos became the aggressor in rounds two and three. He had a fantastic sequence where he executed a left kick followed by a closed fist left hook. He also used calf kicks to control the middle of the octagon.
Walker leveled the contest in the fourth round. A side left body kick with his left leg, followed by a lefthanded overhand strike, was his best moment of the night. Round five was reasonably even; neither man displayed the typical desperation associated with an even fight’s final round. With a booming overhand left that elicited oohs and ahhs from the audience, Santos dominated the biggest moment of the round. Santos was declared the winner by a unanimous vote of the judges. I can’t help but believe that his overhand left in round five was the deciding factor.
Holland vs. Daukaus
Kevin Holland entered the octagon with a level of arrogance that is dangerous in a fighter. A fighter should never dismiss their opponent, no matter how confident they are. In the world of combat sports, any man can inflict harm on his opponent. Kevin Holland learned his lesson the hard way.
Coming into the fight, Kyle Daukaus was all business. He was the aggressor from the start, attempting a takedown. Kevin Holland was compelled to enter the cage from behind. Holland began publicly speaking with Daniel Cormier, the ESPN ringside announcer, in an attempt to downplay Daukaus’ efforts. The fight against the cage eventually became useless, and the referee separated the two guys.
Then karma decided to make an appearance. There was a clash of heads as both men attempted to strike. Holland took the brunt of it, becoming dizzy and collapsing face first onto the canvas. Daukaus took advantage of the situation by putting Holland in a rear chokehold and forcing him to tap out.
The fight was declared a no contest after an exhaustive review session. The judgment was predicated on Holland becoming dazed as a result of the head contact, which led to the chokehold and subsequent tap out. Normally, I would not object to such a decision because it follows the rules.
Holland’s interaction with the ringside announcer, on the other hand, irritated me. If your opponent has you pinned to the cage, your concentration should be on getting free of his clutches, not on sending a subliminal message that he isn’t harming you. Holland had his butt whooped tonight, in my opinion, and he deserved it. It makes no difference to me what the official scorecard says.
Oliveira vs. Price
Alex Oliveira is known for smiling as he enters the octagon and laughing with his teammates before fights. As he walked from the locker room tonight, tears streamed down his face, and he appeared solemn.
In the first round, Niko Price scored a takedown. He pinned Oliveira to the mat and remained in dominant position throughout the round, throwing in timely strikes. Alex Oliveira retaliated by making the second round a full reversal of the first. After securing an early takedown, he remained in command for the remainder of the round, despite Price’s best efforts to break free.
Both combatants appeared tired in the third round. Price and Oliveira both attempted crazy swings that were unsuccessful. Price scored a powerful takedown with 20 seconds left in the round. At the end of the fight, he was declared the winner by unanimous decision. In the end, it was his takedown in the third round that secured him the victory.
Cirkunov vs. Jotko
Misha Cirkunov and Krzysztof Jotko both took a cautious approach to the first round. Despite an early takedown by Cirkunov, Jotko was able to fight back to his feet and escape being dominated on the mat. Later in the round, Jotko was able to land a number of calf kicks. Cirkunov’s attempt at a takedown was also foiled by him.
Cirkunov tried many takedowns in the second round but was unsuccessful. Jotko continued to pull together combinations, this time scoring points with both his hands and feet. Jotko continued to put pressure in the third round. Cirkunov was able to stop the onslaught with a takedown, but Jotko was able to free himself eventually. Cirkunov had been poked in the eye, and the round was stopped with approximately a minute and a half left. Jotko remained aggressive when the battle resumed, even scoring a takedown of his own.
Jotko was victorious in a split decision. The only question I have is who voted for Cirkunov and what bout they were watching at the time.
Hernandez vs. Breeden
Mike Breeden weighed in at 158 1/2 pounds, over the 156 pound weight limit for lightweights. Regardless, Alexander Hernandez’s team agreed to take the fight.
Hernandez didn’t waste any time getting to work. He began the first round with a left hook, then a straight right hand, a left uppercut, and an overhand right. Breeden was knocked out cold by the overhand right. Alexander Hernandez had an easy night with a first-round knockout victory.
I was disappointed with Santos vs. Walker after seeing the spectacular match between Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega last week. However, Volkanovski and Ortega were on pay-per-view for a reason: they are superior performers who deserve a bigger stage and a bigger payday. Last week’s fights were so enthralling that they spoiled me as a fight fan. The main event of this week brought me back to reality.
Next week, UFC Fight Night returns to the Apex Center in Las Vegas with a bevy of fights, including Mackenzie Dern vs. Marina Rodriguez in the main event. As always, we’ll have the most up-to-date information on the fights’ outcomes, as well as in-depth commentary, right here at World In Sport!