SHARE



Sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then stream the UFC live on
your smart TV, computer, phone, tablet or streaming device via the
ESPN app.

Sometimes a card that looks like no great shakes on paper
delivers an unforgettable night of fights. Other times, we get

UFC Fight Night 186
.

Even by the standards of the COVID era, when last-minute shakeups
and cancellations are the rule rather than the exception, the event
colloquially known as “UFC Vegas 20” was positively decimated.
After losing five fights in the week leading up to the event —
three in just the last 36 hours — only nine bouts made it to the
cage at the UFC Apex on Saturday. The bigger problem is that those
nine fights, for the most part, did not deliver. Eight of the nine
went to the judges. The main event featured two young heavyweight
contenders who spent 25 minutes doing their best to dispel their
reputations as exciting knockout artists. The Pedro
Munhoz
Jimmie
Rivera
rematch was a no-brainer for “Fight of the Night”
because…it was the only exciting fight. The UFC’s choice to hand
out just three post-fight bonuses, rather than the customary four,
said it all.

Nonetheless, once the dust settled, eight fighters had won while
another eight had lost (and two had fought to a draw). As a result,
some fighters’ stocks rose while others fell. Here is the stock
report for UFC Fight Night 185: Rozenstruik vs. Gane.

STOCK UP



Pedro
Munhoz
:
To paraphrase a situation that seems to come
up in this column every single week, Munhoz’s job was probably safe
going into Saturday night, but he was very much in danger of
becoming just another guy in the UFC bantamweight division.
Thirty-four years old and on the first losing streak of his career,
Munhoz risked dropping out of the Top 10, perhaps for good, if he
could not avenge his 2015 loss to Rivera. Three exciting rounds
later, Munhoz had squared things at one win apiece with “El
Terror,” pocketed a cool $50,000 in bonus cash, and reaffirmed his
place in the division. Munhoz’s low calf kicks, which have been a
nice weapon in his arsenal for several years, were the story of the
fight. Rivera’s left leg was severely compromised by the end of the
first round and a complete mess by the end of the second, sapping
his punching power as well as slowing his movement. After the win,
Munhoz was the latest 135-pound contender to toss his hat in for
the prize that is welcoming former champ T.J.
Dillashaw
back from his two-year suspension. Whether he gets it
is anyone’s guess, but that it was even a reasonable request is a
good sign.

Thiago
Moises
:
With the possible exception of welterweight,
lightweight is the most difficult division for a new fighter
entering the UFC to break into the Top 10. While it can take a
half-dozen or more consecutive wins even to show up on radar,
Moises is now off to a good start, as he took a clear-cut unanimous
decision over Alexander
Hernandez
on Saturday to run his current streak to three. More
importantly, the 25-year-old Brazilian is showing improvement from
fight to fight. His submission win over Michael
Johnson
last May, while impressive, was a comeback after
getting badly outboxed for the entire first round. The version of
Moises who won at “UFC Vegas 20” looked like a completely different
fighter, as he was quicker and appeared no less strong than
Hernandez, one of the most explosive, dynamic athletes in the
division. Now 4-2 in the UFC, with the only losses coming against
Top-10 fighter Beneil
Dariush
and MIA mega-prospect Damir
Ismagulov
, Moises is becoming a man to watch.

Ronnie
Lawrence
:
If there is a silver lining in the dark
cloud of COVID-era MMA, with all its postponements and
cancellations, it is that with the right win at the right time,
fighters can become stars quickly. Just ask Khamzat
Chimaev
or Kevin
Holland
. Lawrence was the only debuting fighter at UFC Fight
Night 186, scored the only finish of the night and earned the only
solo performance bonus. That’s a pretty damned good start. “The
Heat” was already a hot property coming out of Dana White’s Contender Series and he was a
solid favorite over Vince
Cachero
for a reason, but there’s something to be said for
taking a showcase opportunity and making the most of it. Cachero’s
hyper-aggressive fight style give Lawrence the chance to
demonstrate his outstanding wrestling as well as his developing
standup game. And despite the furious pace forced by Cachero, the
noticeably bigger Lawrence not only held his own in the cardio
department, but successfully pursued a third-round finish.
Bantamweight has a bright new prospect in the 28-year-old
Tennessean.

STOCK DOWN



Jairzinho
Rozenstruik
:
When a fighter enters the UFC as a 6-0
prospect and wins his first two Octagon outings by knockout in
under 30 seconds each, as Rozenstruik did in 2019, unrealistic
expectations come with the territory. However, Rozenstruik’s loss
to Ciryl
Gane
in Saturday’s main event is problematic beyond the simple
“L” on his ledger. The more damaging issue is that “Bigi Boy”
seemed completely gun-shy for five rounds. While the fight was not
terribly exciting to watch, more of that blame must rest with
Rozenstruik than with Gane, as Gane was the one to close the
distance and strike first, over and over again as Rozenstruik
waited in vain for a kill-shot counter that never came. The
Surinamese kickboxer is far from a lost cause at this point. He is
still developing, in his physical prime and has multiple recent
wins over all-time greats, but it will probably be some time before
anyone is clamoring to see him take on another top-shelf
heavyweight.

Sabina
Mazo
:
There’s no way to pretty this one up. Mazo, on a
three-fight winning streak, entered the Octagon as a two-to-one
favorite over the 36-year-old Alexis
Davis
, who was on a three-fight losing streak and had been away
from the sport for nearly two years. What might have been a major
statement fight for “The Colombian Queen” instead turned into a
steamrolling, as Davis took Mazo down with relative ease in all
three rounds. Once the fight hit the ground, Davis dominated,
taking a clean sweep on the scorecards and even earning a 10-8
Round 3 from one judge. At this point, Mazo’s issues have been laid
bare. While she is tall and rangy at flyweight as well as
bantamweight, she is susceptible to being outmuscled, and her
preferred distance striking game simply doesn’t have the power or
footwork to dissuade determined, UFC-level women from getting
inside on her. There is plenty of time to address those flaws, as
Mazo is only 23 and probably several years shy of her physical
prime, but there is no question that Saturday was a setback.


LEAVE A REPLY