Removed from 3 straight weeks with action filled and spectular events of UFC 267, 268 and then UFC Fight Night Holloway VS. Rodriguez, Saturday's card was lackluster to say the least with only 1 finish in 11 bouts (McKinney VS. Ziam was cancelled due to medical issues) but still had major talking points heading into the event and now after the event. The main event saw former UFC bantamweight champion Miesha "Cupcake" Tate (19-8 MMA, 6-5 UFC) on her second fight after returning from a 6 year absence to square off against Nova Uniao product Ketlen "Fenomeno" Vieira (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC). The fight was very back and forth for the duration of the 5 rounds, with Vieira using her jab to keep the wrestler at bay and busting her nose up leaving Tate bloodied and winning a unanimous decision in her first UFC main event. With the lack of finishes, the card does not compare to the last few in successes but major shakeups still happened within the top 15 rankings of the UFC.
Just A Prospect No More
All the hype in the world was behind the Saul Soliz disciple and rising bantamweight Adrian Yanez (15-3 MMA, 4-0 UFC) when he was squared up against the boogeyman of the UFC bantamweight division and TUF Season 18 finalist "Dangerous" Davey Grant (11-6 MMA, 4-5 UFC). Yanez was coming off of 3 straight KO wins to start off his UFC career and 3 straight performance of the night bonuses to go along with it. After a 1st round KO win to earn himself a contract on the 3rd season of Dana White's Contender Series, the 27 year old shot up the ranks of the most rich division in the whole UFC and found himself in deep waters against Grant. Grant himself was coming off a loss to now #11 bantamweight in the world Marlon "Chito" Vera but before that had rattled off 2 straight KO wins and earned himself 3 bonuses (FOTN For Vera VS. Grant) before facing Yanez. The two started and fought at a high pace, with Yanez fighting off his jab and using feints to draw out attacks and Grant throwing unpredictable shots with Yanez showing off solid head movement. The fight played the same throughout all 3 rounds with only one takedown attempt by Grant, the fight hit the judges scorecards with Grant's nose as flat as a pancake and Yanez's ear looking like a creampuff (as well as DC trying to touch it). Adrian pulled away with a split decision victory (27-30, 29-28 x2) and now might hold a number next to his name when the new rankings come out as well as a future opponent in the superstar "Suga" Sean O'Malley throwing his name into the hat of squaring off against the surging contender Yanez. Last but not least, both Yanez and Grant earn an extra $50 thousand for fight of the night bonus so everyone went home with a good taste in their mouth and especially Yanez after a hard 15 minute battle.
Still Got It At 37 After All
At 37 years of age and almost 40 career fights under his belt, WEC and UFC veteran Rani Yahya (28-10-1 MMA, 13-4-1 UFC) has been through all the ups and downs of the fight game. Fighting professionally since 2002, the brazilian jiu jistu black belt has grappled and submitted his way into a now 19 year fight career which is now picking up pace more than ever. Winning 5 of his last 7 with 4 by way of submission and 21 career wins by submission, Yahya squared off against former Road FC bantamweight champion Kyung Ho "Mr. Perfect" Kang (17-9 MMA, 6-3 UFC) originally back in July back the fight was scrapped on fight day due to a positive covid test from Yahya's camp. Rescheduling it to November, the fight took place as expected with Kang striking at range and moving with Yahya tried to cut the distance short and get him to the ground. The first round went as well as it can for Yang, hurting him on the feet with a earned knockdown and defending 3 of his 4 takedowns. However the moment the fight hit the floor early in the second round, it was a completely different ball game with a total of over 9 minutes in the last two rounds and established the grappling difference. Kang was the superior striking but Yahya was the better grappling and the better mixed martial artist Saturday night. Yahya walked away with a unanimous decision victory (29-28 x3) and his 13th UFC win and at the fine age of 37 and in a young man's sport, he is looking on the outside of a top 15 ranking possibly next to his name for his next fight.
When You Need A Late Replacement, Call Loopy
With a decision loss to Jessica Penne in her UFC debut, former LFA strawweight champion Lupita "Loopy" Godinez (7-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) bounced back against late replacement Silvana Gomez Juarez with a first round armbar to secure her first UFC win. It was not much until she was a late replacement to fight Luana Carolina the next week and with the two fights only being 7 days apart, she breaks Khamzat Chimaev's record of quickest turnaround in UFC history. Coming short on a decision to Carolina, it took only 34 days to have another fast turnaround to face off against muay thai specialist Loma Lookboonmee. Getting notarized as being a fighter who fights often in a short amount of time (just how Kevin Holland got his rise for fighting 5 times in 2020 and winning all 5 fights as well as Khamzat Chimaev, who fought 3 times in 2 months and became a star), Godinez fought 3 times in a span of 42 days and put a blistering pace onto Lookboonmee for a clear cut unanimous decision win (30-27 x3) using her wrestling to neutralize the thai clinch Loma loves to use and smothering top control when on the ground. With the activity so far in her UFC tenure and her wrestling skills are superb in a division that lacks real depth and consistency in the top 15 rankings, you might want to start calling loopy for some higher level fighters if she keeps bringing in the fan base she is with her activity. However the most important part of her run is winning and only 9 fights into her professional career, the 28 year old has time to grow her skills and round out her game in the deep end of the UFC's strawweight division.