UFC Vegas 25:
The first MMA event of the month of May is in the history books, Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 25 from the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas.
Although last week’s UFC 261 was the first event with a paying audience in more than a year’s time, the UFC will continue to hold its UFC Fight Night events inside the UFC Apex for at least the immediate future, including the just-completed card.
Fight Called Off:
Initially slated to be a 12-fight event on Saturday night, the final version of this card saw one fight cancelled after the weigh-ins on Friday morning
A scheduled Bantamweight encounter that was to match Gabriel Benitez (22-8) with Jonathan Pearce (10-4) was scrubbed Friday, this after Pearce declined to fight Benitez due to the former missing the nontitle maximum of 136 lbs.
This postponement led to UFC Vegas 25 proceeding as an 11-fight card, three of which ended in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 27.2 percent on the evening.
Since Jan. 16, the UFC has now presented 173 fights, with 75 ending in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 43.3 percent for the promotion.
Dating back to Jan. 15, Sports Drink has now seen 377 individual MMA fights, with 193 ending in stoppages, resulting in a stoppage rate of 51.1 percent all told.
The fights themselves:
Luke Sanders vs. Felipe Colares:
Your first fight on Saturday night was this Featherweight tussle between Luke Sanders (13-5) and Felipe Colares (10-2).
As is commonplace in his fights, Felipe Colares began with a kick, but Luke Sanders returned fire with vicious elbows and knee strikes in the clinch, scoring with more elbow shots in ground and pound.
Sanders then took top position with grappling, with Colares eventually getting back to his feet before Sanders landed a vicious combination—followed up by Colares stunning him and nearly finishing him later in the round.
Each man scored a takedown in round number two, but it was Luke Sanders who scored the bigger shots—until Colares executed a slam and took top position to try to land a submission, aborting it.
Colares then flipped the script to land vicious ground and pound shots to try and knock Sanders out—before Sanders was able to defend the attack.
By round three, both men were hurt and gassed, with each fighter leaving it in the Octagon.
In an early contender for Fight of the Night, this one went to the cards, with Colares taking the unanimous decision.
Andreas Michalidis vs. KB Bhullar:
Middleweights Andreas Michalidis (13-4) and KB Bhullar (8-2) were the second and third fighters to walk to the cage.
Michalidis controlled this fight in the opening round, dumping Bhullar with a takedown and accumulating decent ground control time.
This dominance continued throughout the second and third rounds, scoring with combos—despite Bhullar trying some leg kicks down the stretch, resulting in Michalidis taking this one by unanimous decision.
Sam Hughes vs. Loma Lookboonmee:
One of two Strawweight fights on this card (both on the undercard) took place here as Sam Hughes (5-3) battled Loma Lookboonmee (6-2).
The first round was all Lookboonmee, all the time, scoring three takedowns of Hughes during the period.
Lookboonmee found herself on the defensive end, however, in round two—but in the grand scheme, it mattered little, as she banked another round on the scorecard thanks to another takedown.’
These takedowns were enough to get her a unanimous decision after 15 minutes.
Poliana Bothelo vs. Luana Carolina:
Women’s Flyweight action served as the focus for the fourth undercard fight between Poliana Bothelo (8-4) and Luana Carolina (7-2).
Carolina came in heavy for this fight, and was thus ineligible for any potential post-fight awards on Saturday night.
Bothelo took immediate control in the first round, dumping Carolina and scoring decent ground control time.
From there, Luana Carolina reversed the script, landing 95 strikes all told.
In a recurring theme on Saturday night in the early going, the cards were read, with a split decision returned for Luana Carolina.
Co-Featured Prelim: Kai Kamaka vs. TJ Brown:
Featherweights Kai Kamaka (8-4) and TJ Brown (15-8) walked to the cage for the co-featured prelim.
It was a stand-up battle in the opening round, with Kamaka landing 28 strikes to Brown’s 22.
Round two produced some seminal moments, with Kamaka hurting Brown and taking top position, eventually grappling in an effort to lock in a kimura choke—before Kamaka took to the clinch.
Each fighter matched the other strike for strike throughout the contest, with Brown again attempting a submission as the clock ran out—ending with Brown scoring a split decision.
Featured Prelim: Randa Markos vs. Luana Pinhero:
Your other Strawweight fight of the evening was also its featured undercard bout between Randa Markos (10-11-1) and Luana Pinhero (9-1).
Although Pinhero scored three first-round takedowns and executed great judo throws, the fight was halted midway through the round amid an eye poke to Markos—before resuming after a delay.
Late in the first round, Markos delivered an up kick to a downed Pinhero, with referee Mark Smith disqualifying her, giving Pinhero the win for the first stoppage of the night.
No. 12 contender Merab Dvashvili vs. No. 13 contender Cody Stamann:
The main card started here with this Bantamweight fight between 12th-ranked Merab Dvashvili (13-4) and 13th-ranked Cody Stamann (19-4-1).
Dvashvili scored with a takedown in round one, but could not advance on it, eventually dumping him four more times by the end of round two, at which point, he was in complete control.
Although Stamann landed a takedown of his own in round three, it was too little, too late on his side of the ledger.
Dvashvili took this one by unanimous decision after 15 minutes.
No. 15 contender Sean Strickland vs. Krysztof Jotko:
Middleweight action was the focus for the second main card fight between 15th-ranked Sean Strickland (23-3) and Krysztof Jotko (22-5).
It was a stand-up fight throughout the first round, with Strickland doubling up on Jotko with 33 strikes to his opponent’s 15.
As the fight wore on, he only asserted his dominance even further, landing some decent leg kicks in round two.
In short, it was a dominating performance for Strickland—winning by unanimous decision.
Ion Cutelaba vs. Dustin Jacoby:
Your last fight to not feature a ranked contender was also the last fight prior to the co-main event as Ion Cutelaba (15-6-1) fought Dustin Jacoby (14-5-1).
This was a blowout performance by Cutelaba in the first round, dumping Jacoby eight times, nearly finishing him inside round one.
Cutelaba scored his ninth takedown of the fight during round two, but Jacoby closed the gap in strikes.
By round three, Cutelaba was in cruise control, thanks to those nine takedowns from earlier, with Jacoby scoring his lone takedown of the fight late in the final round.
That takedown from Jacoby was enough to land a split draw after 15 minutes.
Co-Main Event: No. 14 contender Giga Chikadze vs. No. 15 contender Cub Swanson:
This Featherweight co-main event between 14th-ranked Giga Chikadze (13-2) and 15th-ranked Cub Swanson (27-12) was over almost as quickly as it started.
Chikadze landed a nasty kick to the body, immediately dropping Swanson, finishing him off with ground and pound shots for just the second stoppage of the night.
Main Event: No. 3 contender Dominick Reyes vs. No. 5 contender Jiri Prochazka:
Your final act of UFC Vegas 25 saw a Light Heavyweight headliner between third-ranked Dominick Reyes (28-3) and fifth-ranked Jiri Prochazka (12-3).
Reyes scored the first takedown of the fight against Prochazka, who responded by outpacing Reyes in strikes (39-30) in the first round down the stretch.
Prochazka teed off with a plethora of strikes late in round two, finally knocking Reyes out cold with a spinning elbow for the third and final stoppage of the night.