Future Hall of Famer, Nate Diaz, sat ringside watching a few of his pupils from the Team Diaz Training facility in Metropolitan Los Angeles participate in the action. Seeing a legend of the sport who is close to retiring taking the position of a coach and observer is a reminder of how quickly a sport can transition from one era to the next. It seems not that long ago that Diaz was being celebrated for being the first fighter in the UFC to defeat Conor McGregor; now he has already solidified his post-retirement plans, with his eyes fixated on the future…
UFC Vegas 47 featured great action from everyone involved, including an important lesson on humility and expectations. There’s a lot to unpack here. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
Hermansson vs. Strickland
Middleweight contender Jack Hermansson is one of the most accomplished grapplers in the division. Leading up to the fight, his opponent, Sean Strickland said that Hermansson would resort to wrestling once he got a taste of Strickland’s punching prowess. In Strickland’s words, Hermansson preferred to wrestle because he was “scared” to get into a striking exchange. Hermansson responded by saying that Strickland was “scared” to grapple him on the mat because of his superior skillset. It was a classic verbal back and forth that lets fight fans know that both men will show up to the bout ready to compete.
In round one, Hermansson seemed determined to find out if Strickland was indeed “scared” to grapple. He completed a successful takedown early in the round but it appeared he grossly underestimated Strickland’s physical strength. Strickland fought to his feet and refused to let Hermansson turn the bout into a wrestling match. The two men exchanged strikes for the remainder of the round; Strickland got his point across. He would not be intimidated or let his opponent dictate the pace of the fight.
Strickland’s most impressive moment of the fight came with three seconds left in the second round. With the momentum of the fight beginning to swing in his favor, he sent Hermansson crashing to the mat with an overhand right. If there had been more time remaining in the round, he may have been able to capitalize on the moment and gain a stoppage. In rounds three, four and five, Strickland put on a striking exhibition. He kept Hermansson on the outside with the jab à la Larry Holmes and never let his opponent get close enough to execute any of his patented maneuvers.
For his efforts, Strickland was awarded a split decision victory. Honestly, this was a bad decision; Strickland won this fight by a landslide and deserved to walk away with a unanimous decision. The only argument I can make in favor of Hermansson is that he executed one early takedown and he never gave up during the fight. Perhaps the judge who scored the fight in his favor is a big wrestling fan. That’s the only explanation I can think of for not deciding in Strickland’s favor after watching this fight.
Soriano vs. Maximov
Middleweight fighters Punahele Soriano and Nick Maximov were both collegiate wrestlers before becoming professional mixed martial artists. That was evident throughout the fight as both men executed sound techniques on the mat and exhibited impressive strength. Maximov was more aggressive than his opponent throughout the night and was able to accumulate more ground control time throughout the three round affair. This fight was difficult to score because neither fighter was able to inflict a lot of damage on the other. In the end, Maximov’s superior strength and his accumulated ground control time garnered him a split decision victory.
Rakhmonov vs. Harris
Welterweight prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov is the first fighter from Kazakhstan to compete in the UFC. In his first main event for the organization, he made his countrymen proud. Early in the first round he executed a spinning back kick that landed squarely on Carlston Harris’ jaw. That sent Harris sprawling to the mat. Rahhmonov seized the moment, pounced on Harris and proceeded to pummel him with a ground and pound barrage that forced the referee to stop the fight. Shavkat Rakhmonov is going to be a force in the welterweight division. It won’t be long before he’s ranked in the top ten and it seems an almost foregone conclusion that he will receive a title shot at some point in the future.
Alvey vs. Allen
Brendan Allen sent a message to Sam Alvey and the rest of the light heavyweight division that he is a force to be reckoned with. After Alvey controlled most of the first round with well timed strikes, Allen landed an overhand right that badly hurt him right before the end of the round. In the second round, Allen picked up where he left off. He connected on a well-timed left hook that sent Alvey to the mat. He quickly established an anaconda submission hold and forced Allen to tap out. It all happened so fast that waiving the waitress down to order another round of beer for the guys could cause some unsuspecting soul to miss the finish. All in all, it was an impressive performance for Brendan Allen.
Gore vs. Battle
Middleweight gladiators Tre’Sean Gore and Bryan Battle are two of the most inexperienced fighters on the UFC’s roster. Battle earned a UFC contract after winning The Ultimate Fighter competition last fall. Gore, on the other hand, had a record of four wins and no losses prior to tonight’s fight, however all of those wins came in regional circuits whose rosters are comprised of hungry fighters hoping to get their first big break. Gore rubbed some people the wrong way in the week leading up to the fight when he spoke of becoming the champion of the division as if it were a foregone conclusion and no easy task.
Bryan Battle was the more active of the two fighters in round one. He landed a lot of leg kicks and a few strikes but he never inflicted serious damage on Gore. Gore was very inactive in round one and seemed to be looking for his rhythm. Round two was a different story altogether. Gore dominated the round with strikes and badly hurt Battle a couple of times. He scored a big takedown near the end of the round and it seemed that the momentum had swung completely in his favor.
Going into round three, it seemed as if Bryan Battle was a defeated fighter. His right eye was completely swollen shut and it was clear that Tre’Sean Gore was the more physically gifted fighter. However, Bryan Battle refused to give up; he peppered Gore with well-timed strikes and outpointed him throughout the round. For his efforts, Battle was awarded a well-deserved unanimous decision victory.Embed from Getty Images
Erosa vs. Peterson
Julian Erosa and Steven Peterson engaged in an entertaining back and forth duel to determine which of them would make their first appearance in the featherweight’s top-15 when the new rankings are released in the next few days. Julian Erosa employed a strategy of constant forward pressure, while Peterson decided to use counterpunching and hard strikes to his advantage.
By the third round, both men had abandoned defense completely and just begun swinging wildly trying to inflict pain on the other. It was entertaining but I’m sure both of their head coaches were somewhat disappointed at the complete disregard for strategy. Ultimately, Erosa scored a big takedown with 45 seconds to go and ended the fight on top of Peterson swinging punches at his head. He won a split decision victory and that decision most likely came as a result of his final push. This was more of a brawl than a fight, but at least it was entertaining.
Tre’Sean Gore disrespected the sport this week; it is only fitting that he lost. For a guy who’s never stepped foot in the octagon in the most reputable organization in all of mixed martial arts to talk about winning the championship is absurd. How about waiting to win your first fight before declaring championship aspirations? It wasn’t just the fact that he said he would be a champion that offended people, it was the fact that he said it nonchalantly. He also disrespected his opponent, Bryan Battle, by looking past him and talking about the future. It is only fitting that Gore lost; next time he’ll take the man in front of him more serious and understand that nothing is a foregone conclusion in the world of combat sports.
The UFC returns to the Toyota Center in Houston next week for a pay-per-view event featuring middleweight champion Israel Adesanya putting his belt on the line against number one challenger Robert Whitaker. These two fought back in 2018, with Adesanya turning in one of the most dominant performances of his career. However, both men are greatly improved fighters since they last met in the octagon; their rematch will be an epic battle you won’t want to miss. Stay tuned to World In Sport for all the updates about the outcomes of the fight as well as in depth analysis. Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.