When Mateusz Gamrot was a member of KSW MMA’s roster, he became the champion in both the featherweight and lightweight divisions. While that promotion is certainly respected worldwide, he had his eyes set on becoming a champion in the world’s most renowned mixed martial arts organization, the UFC. Fast forward to the year 2022 and Gamrot can lay claim to being a top fifteen fighter in the UFC’s lightweight division. Last night, he passed the biggest test the organization has laid in front of him when he emerged victorious in the main event of UFC Fight Night. There’s a lot to unpack here; without further ado, let’s get into it!
Tsarukyan vs. Gamrot
Lightweight challengers Arman Tsarukyan and Mateusz Gamrot each came out of the gates swinging. The action was fast paced from the opening bell, and was so intense it looked like something scripted from a Hollywood action film. Each man tried to execute grappling maneuvers, however, the other man’s defense was too solid to penetrate. Tsarukyan was finally able to execute a takedown near the middle of the round and most likely walked away with the high score after round one.
In round two, Tsarukyan employed well-timed and strategically placed body kicks to land scoring blows to Gamrot’s rib cage. However, rounds three and four went to Gamrot as he successfully executed multiple takedowns in each round and Tsarukyan began to show fatigue. With the fight even at two rounds apiece, both fighters entered round five with a sense of urgency. The striking exchanges were intense but Gamrot was again able to execute two takedowns during the round. Ultimately, Mateusz Gamrot was declared the winner by unanimous decision.
In the post-fight interview, Tsarukyan said that he thought he’d won at least three rounds. However, watching the fight I believe the judges got this one right. Tsarukyan won rounds one and two in my opinion, but Gamrot’s ability to score multiple takedowns in rounds three, four and five while also slowing down Tsarukyan’s offense led him to victory when it mattered most. It just goes to show “It ain’t over ’till the fat lady sings.” Gamrot could have gotten discouraged after dropping the first two rounds; instead he stayed determined and it paid off with a victory.Embed from Getty Images
Magny vs. Rakhmonov
Coming into his fight against respected octagon veteran Neil Magny, welterweight prospect Shavkat Rakhmonov was undefeated inside the octagon. At 27-years-old there was a buzz surrounding him; he could very well be the next rising superstar of the welterweight division. Magny is a respected 34-year-old technician who knows his way around the sport as well as anyone. It was a classic case of old versus new.
Early in round one, Magny threw an ill-advised body kick without enough velocity to land or do any damage. Rakhmonov wisely caught his opponent’s leg and used the momentum to drive him into the mat. He would go on to dominate the rest of the round with ground control time. In the second period, Rakhmonov scored an early takedown and exhibited impressive grappling skills throughout the round. However, it looked like Magny would survive into round three. Rakhmonov would not be denied and relentlessly pursued a chokehold which forced Magny to tap out with just five seconds left in the round.
This was an impressive victory for Rakhmonov. Welterweight may be the second most talented weight class in mixed martial arts, behind the lightweight division. That being said, it will be difficult for Rakhmonov to climb his way to the top. However, if there is any young prospect with the talent to become a contender in the near future, Rakhmonov is certainly the guy.Embed from Getty Images
Parisian vs. Baudot
Heavyweight combatants Josh Parisian and Alan Baudot engaged in a seesaw battle that can be classified as a tale of two rounds. Baudot was able to open a cut under Parisian’s left eye early in the round, and later sent him to the mat with a huge overhand right. It looked as if Baudot was going to finish him inside of the first round but he was not active enough to get the job done. Eventually Parisian was able to fight to his feet and escape without being stopped.
In round two, Parisian seemed to be the fresher of the two fighters; fatigue had clearly begun to sink in for Baudot. Parisian scored two takedowns, the second of which he compounded by hitting Baudot with a hammer-fist-barrage. Baudot was rendered defenseless. Seeing that Baudot was no longer defending himself or fighting back, the referee wisely stopped the fight. It was an impressive turn around and a solid victory for Josh Parisian.
Moisés vs. Giagos
Lightweight prospect Thiago Moisés was able to make quick work of his opponent Christos Giagos through a clever display of grappling and submissions. After Giagos thwarted an early takedown attempt by Moisés, a second attempt led him to mount the back of Giagos successfully. While he was unable to wrestle Giagos to the ground, he was able to lock in a standing rear naked chokehold that forced his opponent to tap out. This was an impressive first round submission victory by Moisés. Forcing an opponent to tap out while they are still standing is an extremely difficult maneuver and very rarely is it executed to perfection.
Maness vs. Nurmagomedov
Bantamweight combatant Umar Nurmagomedov was dominant in all three rounds against Nate Maness. After scoring early takedowns and dominating rounds one and two with ground control time, Nurmagomedov landed a resounding head kick in the first 30 seconds of round three. He scored another takedown later in the round and followed that with a barrage of elbows to the face of Maness. For his efforts, Nurmagomedov was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
Curtis vs. Vieira
Chris Curtis was able to exhibit supreme takedown defense during his middleweight showdown with opponent, Rodolfo Vieira. Throughout the course of three rounds, Vieira attempted no less than ten takedowns; Curtis successfully thwarted them all. Offensively, Curtis used well-time body blows to slow Vieira down and create fatigue. By the end of the fight Vieira was also bleeding from the face and may have been suffering from a bloody nose. For his efforts, Curtis was awarded a unanimous decision victory.
Shavkat Rakhmonov is a rising star in the welterweight division. While he is not ready for the likes of Kamaru Usman or Colby Covington, he has the skill set to compete with almost anyone else in the weight class. Usman and Covington are 35 and 34-years-old respectively; Rakhmonov is only 27. That means, that as the two best fighters in the division move past their prime, Rakhmonov will be growing into his. It is only a matter of time before Father Time catches up to the those who currently sit at the top; whenever he does, Rakhmonov will be ready to capitalize on the opportunity.
The UFC returns next week with an exciting pay-per-view featuring Middleweight Champion, Israel Adesanya laying it all on the line against number one contender, Jared Cannonier live from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. We’ll have all the latest updates about UFC 276, as well as the outcomes of the fights, available right here at World in Sport! Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.