Despite the UFC Vegas 16 fight card being ravaged by COVID-19 and last-minute medical issues, Jack Hermansson and Marvin Vettori put on a tremendous display of heart and skill to close out the show.
Marvin Vettori scores huge victory over Jack Hermansson
Vettori opened strong, as he and Hermansson traded shots early. Vettori quickly finding a home for his left hand, while Hermansson went to work on his lead leg with low kicks.
Vettori dropped Hermansson with a blistering punch combination midway through the opening round, looking like he might end the fight early.
He followed Hermansson to the canvas, looking to finish. Vettori landed several more punches, but Hermansson went into survival mode and somehow held on to the end of the round.
Hermansson opened round two with a head kick. He then dropped into a takedown attempt. He had to work extremely hard for it, eventually dragging Vettori to the canvas, but was immediately reversed.
Vettori remained in control on the canvas for the majority of the round, peppering Hermansson with ground and pound. Hermansson escaped in the final minute and a half of the round, but looked dog tired. Vettori mostly remained calm, countering Hermansson, who was having a hard time finding his target.
The third frame opened with some good punch exchanges, but Vettori started to slow down with every punch. Hermansson, meanwhile, kept attacking with a steady diet of punches that he mostly used to try and set up more takedowns.
Late in the round, Hermansson simply outworked Vettori, continuing to unload with punch combinations, as Vettori was having more and more trouble finding a way through Hermansson’s defenses.
Vettori recovered well in between rounds, engaging in a high paced series of punch exchanges through the first half of the fourth frame. Hermansson was pushing the pace, but unlike the third round, Vettori was matching his pace.
The power that Vettori threatened with in rounds one and two, however, didn’t seem to be holding up. Hermansson seemed content to trade shot for shot, where earlier in the fight he was avoiding the Italian’s power punches.
Hermansson stormed across the Octagon to open round five, immediately launching a kick and punch combination, trying to see if Vettori could maintain the frenetic pace in the championship rounds.
Vettori didn’t have the power that he had out of the gate, but he answered everything that Hermansson threw at him. Both men continued firing throughout the round, matching each other blow for blow.
In the final minute, Vettori clinched and pressed Hermansson to the fence. Hermansson ended up on the ground, where he attacked Vettori’s leg with a submission attempt, but Vettori escaped the attempt and finished the fight sitting atop of Hermansson’s legs.
“It was a hell of a fight. I improved a lot tonight,” Vettori said after the judges awarded him a unanimous decision over the No. 4 ranked middleweight in the UFC.
“Man, the guy is tough,” he admitted. “I’m so happy walking away with a victory.”
Vettori should now shoot up the rankings, but he’s not content to rest on his laurels. He called out No. 2 ranked Paulo Costa, taking aim at the very top of the division.
Jamahal Hill returns from pot-infused no contest to stop OSP
Jamahal Hill may have had his last win changed to a no contest after he tested positive for marijuana in his post-fight drug test, but he continued to shred his opposition with a second-round stoppage of Ovince Saint Preux in the UFC Vegas 16 co-main event.
Hill’s speed and ability to cut the corners was apparent from the opening bell, as he lit Saint Preux up with punch combinations throughout the first frame.
Saint Preux, however, found some success with leg kicks, chopping away at Hill’s lead leg, trying to slow him down so he could find an opening for his powerful punches.
Unfortunately for Saint Preux, he couldn’t do the damage quickly enough, as Hill kept pressing forward. He landed a right cross early in the second round that obviously hurt Saint Preux. Several follow-ups had Saint Preux staggered.
Saint Preux clinched, trying to regain his senses. It worked briefly, but Hill remained patient, searching for more openings, which he eventually found.
Hill again landed the right had and several follow-up shots. He added a couple hard knees to the chin and closed the fight with a brutal onslaught of punches that forced the referee to call a halt to the bout.
Minus the no contest, Hill improved his record to 8-0, putting the UFC light heavyweight division on notice.
Gabriel Benitez slays Justin Jaynes
Gabriel Benitez broke free of a two-fight losing skid in a big way at UFC Vegas 16.
Though Justin Jaynes started fast, pushing the pace and storming forward with several stinging punch combinations, Benitez answered with a flurry of his own combinations, but also mixed in a variety of kicks.
Jaynes found a home for his right hand early, quickly causing bruising and swelling around Benitez’s left eye. But Benitez’s kicks, particularly his leg kicks, made all the difference.
After the kicks began to take some steam out of Jaynes’s punches, Benitez started to land with more frequency.
The action stalled for a moment because of an inadvertent low kick. When Jaynes pressed forward with punches, Benitez timed it well and plastered him with a knee to the solar plexus, dropping Jaynes to the canvas.
Benitez landed a follow-up punch and a couple of elbows before the referee stopped the fight.
Roman Dolidze dominates John Allan en route to … a split decision?!
Undefeated light heavyweight Roman Dolidze dominated his main card bout with John Allen, but somehow still managed just a split decision from the judges.
Round after round, Allan swung big on the feet, but only occasionally connected. And round after round, Dolidze took Allan to the canvas for the majority of the frame where he ground and pounded Allan and attempted submissions.
The fight went the distance, Dolidze seemingly in full control, but judge Chris Lee somehow saw the fight in Allan’s favor. The other two judges, Mike Bell and Dave Hagen, scored it in favor of Dolidze, awarding him the split decision.
Jordan Leavitt nearly slams Matt Wiman through the canvas
Jordan Leavitt made a statement in his official UFC debut. He earned his way into the Octagon via Dana White’s Contender Series in August.
Leavitt and Matt Wiman were supposed to fight on the UFC Vegas 16 prelims, but were elevated to the main card opener after three other bouts were canceled on the day of the event.
Leavitt quickly shot for a takedown, carried Wiman across the Octagon, and slammed him on his back. Wiman was immediately unconscious. Leavitt had reared back for a follow-up punch, but let his arm drop as he saw there was no need. He had just won his first UFC bout in 27 seconds.
UFC Vegas 16: Hermansson vs. Vettori results
UFC Vegas 16 Main Card (10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+)
- Main Event: Marvin Vettori def. Jack Hermansson by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-45)
- Co-Main Event: Jamahal Hill def. Ovince Saint Preux by TKO (punches) at 3:37, R2
- Gabriel Benitez def. Justin Jaynes by TKO (knee to the body and elbows) at 4:06, R1
Montana De La Rosa vs Taila Santos— COVID Cancellation
- Roman Dolidze def. John Allan by split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
Nate Landwehr vs Movsar Evloev— COVID Cancellation
- Jordan Leavitt def. Matt Wiman by KO (slam) at 0:22, R1
UFC Vegas 16 Preliminary Card (8 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and ESPN+)
- Louis Smolka def. Jose Quinonez by TKO (punches) at 2:15, R2
Jimmy Flick vs Cody Durden— Medical Cancellation
- Ilia Topuria def. Damon Jackson by KO (punch) at 2:39, R1
- Jake Collier def. Gian Villante by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)