Over the last two weeks, we have been treated to two fine UFC Fight Night cards at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
First, we saw Sergei Pavlovich dismantle the seasoned Curtis Blaydes with frightening ease to inflate his stock in the heavyweight division. The Russian’s hot streak continues as a date with destiny now surely awaits him later this year.
A week later, Song Yadong derailed Ricky Simon’s surge through the bantamweight division with a vicious TKO to further illuminate his position as ‘that guy to beat’ if you want to progress through the rankings.
We will also discuss Caio Borralho’s win over Michal Oleksiejczuk, Bruno Silva’s swift demolition of Brad Tavares and Bobby Green’s headbutt on Jared Gordon.
Sergei Pavlovich def. Curtis Blaydes via TKO
Sergei Pavlovich continued his destructive ascent through the heavyweight division with another emphatic victory. The manner in which the Russian dispatched a fighter as prominent as Curtis Blaydes was both remarkable and frightening.
It was no surprise that a stand-and-bang affair was in store with both men trading a share of strikes in the opening minute of the first. Pavlovich was much more conservative with his striking and forced Blaydes into a few stumbles with some clean straights and left hooks- breaking through the American’s naked guard with relative ease.
Blaydes stagnated rapidly in the first round and the longer the stand-up went on, the more dangerous Pavlovich looked. His left hook was a magnet to Blaydes’ chin, and it slowly wared down the man they call ‘Razor’.Embed from Getty Images
The cut-throat nature of Pavlovich eventually sliced through Blaydes and less than two minutes into the opening round the Russian unleashed a barrage of strikes to flat-line his opponent to secure his sixth consecutive victory- five of which have all come within the first five minutes.
Along with Derrick Lewis and Tai Tuivasa- Pavlovich has now added Curtis Blaydes to his resume. The statistics and performances that accommodate this man’s victories is evidence that he is the real deal. He now moves to the number 2 ranked fighter in the heavyweight division and a date with Cyril Gane might potentially be on the cards.
Song Yadong def. Ricky Simon via TKO
Song Yadong has recently been deployed as that guy to beat in order for title-chasing fighters to increase their credibility in the bantamweight division. Given how stacked the division is, Dana White needs fighters like Song Yadong who can act as a benchmark.
Step forward Ricky Simon- a man on a five-fight winning streak and with aspirations of a late surge in his career towards championship status. After back-to-back defeats to Rob Font and Urijah Faber in 2019, Simon has embarked on an expedition of empowerment ever since.
At UFC Fight Night, Simon had his opportunity to squirm back into contention against Yadong. The first round was an assessment round for both fighters as they measured one another and found their range.
In the second, those feelings were found as both men started to land some vicious blows. Yadong inflicted the more damaging strikes- exchanging beautifully in his counter-striking and walking Simon up against the cage on numerous occasions.Embed from Getty Images
The championship rounds were more of the same, as Simon struggled to stamp his authority on the bout. This was largely due to Yadong’s resilient takedown defence, which virtually halved Simon’s attacking threat.
Yadong edged closer to victory and at the end of the fourth, he may well have ended the fight if it wasn’t for the claxon as he stung Simon with a vicious left hook that floored the American.
It wouldn’t prove too costly as a minute into the fifth round Yadong caught Simon with an almost identical punch and ended Simon’s brief resurgence with a ground and pound.
At 25 years of age, the future is bright for Song Yadong as his role in the UFC may move from competitor to contender over the next few years.
Bobby Green vs Jared Gordon ruled as a no-contest due to accidental clash of heads
After losing by a very controversial decision to Paddy Pimblett in his last fight, it was more misfortune for Jared Gordon against Bobby Green.
The clash between the two veteran lightweights ended rather prematurely when the pair clashed heads midway through the first round. It initially looked like a stunning disguised strike from Gordon who following the clash pounced on Gordon and pieced him up on the turf to initially take the win.Embed from Getty Images
However, the replays showed that as Green lined up a straight, he rammed his forehead into the face of Gordon. In the end, it was rash and reckless from the usually flamboyant Green as the bout was deemed a no-contest rather than a disqualification.
It was a pity too as the opening exchanges suggested that a cracking bout was in store, but the improbable nature of a no-contest bout ended any aspirations of that.
Bruno Silva def Brad Tavares via TKO
Bruno Silva picked up a much-needed win after two losses on the bounces with a swift dismantling of Brad Tavares.
The Hawaiian veteran’s weaponry in the opening round overwhelmed Silva a tad as the latter was forced to re-adjust his stance on a few occasions in an attempt to locate better striking angles.
Silva eventually started to find his range and it was simply all that was required in order for him to secure victory. He wobbled Taveres with a blistering check right and followed up with a devastating knee for good measure.
Tavares was dazing at stars and before he knew it another crushing blow came flying through the haze as Silva landed a precision left hand to floor his opponent and subsequently moved in for the kill.
The 33-year-old is now 4-2 in the UFC and 23-8 overall, accompanied by 20 knockout wins. A sensational performance from such a seasoned pro.
Caio Borralho def. Michal Oleksiejczuk via submission (rear-naked choke)
Caio Borralho continued his unbeaten run in the UFC by breaking down the sturdy Michal Oleksiejczuk and suffocating the Pole with a tight rear naked choke.
Nicknamed the ‘Fighting Nerds’, Borralho and his team were met with a tactical obstacle when the robust Oleksiejczuk fended off his opponent’s three takedown attempts without any hassle at all. The pair did not land anything significant in the stand-up and Borralho and his team knew the only way to end the fight was on the ground.
At the fourth time of asking, Borralho got his opponent onto the mat and done so again early in the second- laying down the foundations for him to build his finish. The Brazilian slotted into a three-quarter mount and eventually transitioned to the back and locking in the rear naked which brought the tap from Oleksiejczuk.
It’s now 4 in a row for Borralho inside the Octagon and now 11 straight overall as his stock in the middleweight division takes aim with every passing bout.