Fight of the Night: Diego Ferreira vs Beneil Dariush 2 ($50K bonus to both fighters)
Performance of the Night: Alistair Overeem vs Alexander Volkov | ($50K bonus to Volkov)
Performance of the Night: Cory Sandhagen vs Frankie Edgar | ($50K bonus to Sandhagen)
Just when you thought UFC bantamweight Cory Sandhagen stole the show with his first-round flying-knee KO against the famed veteran Frankie Edgar, heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov proved why he deserves a shot at UFC gold with his second-round starching of the “Demolition Man” himself, Alistair Overeem.
Only five of the twelve bouts at UFC Vegas 18 produced a finish, but the results from Saturday night’s action have shaken up the lightweight, bantamweight, and heavyweight divisions.
Let’s get into it.
CATEGORIES: BLAZING, LUKEWARM, CHILLY, COLD AS ICE
Cory Sandhagen def. Frankie Edgar (KO Round 1 – Flying Knee)
It only took 28 seconds to do it, but Cory “The Sandman” Sandhagen (MMA 14-2-0, UFC 7-1-0) just put the entire bantamweight division on notice after notching the second-fastest flying-knee knockout in UFC history (First belongs to Jorge Masvidal and his 5 second flying knee KO against Ben Askren).
After a slight hiccup against Aljamain Sterling (MMA 19-3-0, UFC 11-3-0) back in June of 2020 at UFC 250, Sandhagen has shown a new focus; perhaps one motivated by one of his favorite reads, The Inner Game of Tennis: The Classic Guide to the Mental Side of Peak Performance, authored by W. Timothy Gallway which he revealed during his pre-fight interview on ESPN.
I noted in All Factors Considered Ep. #24 that Frankie “The Answer” Edgar’s (MMA 24-9-1, UFC 18-9-0) best shot at beating Sandhagen was to pressure him and ensure that the Elevation Fight Team athlete couldn’t get into the flow of his offense.
Even though that’s the exact game plan Edgar implemented, it was clear that Sandhagen had his bases covered. He pulled Edgar into striking range with lateral movement, gauged his timing, leapt up and landed a flush knee that left the UFC veteran facedown on the mat for a prolonged amount of time before recovering.
In my opinion, Sandhagen just secured a title shot for his next outing. But as we know all too well, the UFC needs fighters that can put promo’s and sell PPV’s. Well, in his own words “the winner of Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling gets knocked out by [Sandhagen] in July. ”
Let’s book it. The Sandman has his eye on UFC gold.
Devonte Smith def. Justin Jaynes (TKO Round 3 – Doctor’s Stoppage)
Devonte “King Kage” Smith (MMA 11-2-0, UFC 3-1-0) looked like a brand-new man during his shutout victory against short-notice replacement Justin “Guitar Hero” Jaynes (MMA 16-7-0, UFC 1-3-0) taking place at 160 pound catchweight.
This bout was my Don’t Blink fight of the week and while it did live up to expectations ending in a finish, this fight was much more one-sided than I anticipated. That’s partially because I thought that Smith, who was coming off an achilles injury that forced him to have to relearn how to walk, would come out tentative and try to ease back into the swing of things.
I was wrong. Smith came out like a man on a mission and absolutely dominated Jaynes from the opening bell. He wasn’t able to get a classic finish, but he left Jaynes’ eye so swollen and closed up that the doctor’s were forced to call the fight out of safety precaution.
From his wicked 1,2 combo and his strength in the clinch, to his superb top-control and hammer fists in transition – I think Devonte Smith is ready for a big challenge.
I would like to see him face off against Rafael Fiziev (MMA 9-1-0, UFC 3-1-0) or even Arman Tsarukyan (MMA 16-2-0, UFC 3-1-0) next to see if he has the makings of a top-fifteen lightweight in the UFC.
Suffice it to say, the future is bright for this young athlete.
Ode Osbourne def. Jerome Rivera (KO Round 1 – Left Cross)
Ode “The Jamaican Sensation” Osbourne (MMA 9-3-0, UFC 1-1-0) made his UFC debut against Brian Kelleher (MMA 22-11-0, UFC 6-4-0) in January of 2020 in the bantamweight division.
After a cancelled bout in January, Osbourne set his sight on the Ukranian Denys Bondar, who was set to make his UFC debut at UFC Vegas 18 at 140 pound catchweight.
After that fell through, Osbourne finally had Santa Fe’s Jerome “The Renegade” Rivera (MMA 10-5-0, UFC 0-3-0) agree to a featherweight bout on less than a week’s notice.
And that’s when everything paid off Osbourne.
Known for throwing one of the most eccentric and unpredictable opening strikes in a UFC debut, Ode Osbourne rewrote his biography in terms of what fight fans will remember him for against Rivera.
It only took 26 seconds for Osbourne to catch a Rivera kick on his shoulder, roll with the kick perfectly, and blast a left-cross to the jaw of Rivera that ended the fight.
Reference the image above and you can see Rivera knew he messed up the moment the kick was caught. Ode Osbourne just blasted himself into the conversation of MMA talking-head’s around the world with this performance.
What’s even more impressive, Osbourne noted post-fight that he’s been eyeing UFC flyweight Francisco Figueiredo (MMA 12-3-1, UFC 1-0-0) and plans on continuing his career at 125 pounds, though he’s spend the majority of his career fighting between 135 and 145 pounds.
If he can notch one-hitter-quitters at 145, who knows what this man is capable of at 125 pounds.
Don’t sleep on the Jamaican Sensation.
Clay Guida def. Michael Johnson (30-27 x 3)
Michael “The Menace” Johnson (MMA 19-17-0, UFC 11-13-0) dropped a pretty clear-cut decision against the ageless wonder that is Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (MMA 36-20-0, UFC 16-14-0) at UFC Vegas 18.
The conundrum here is that Johnson, who is 3-7 in his last 10 outings, has shown that he can rise to the occasion having wins over one of the hottest names in town right now in #1 ranked lightweight Dustin Poirier, as well as Andre Fili and Artem Lobov.
Johnson even showed real promise in his losses against Justin Gaethje and Khabib Nurmagomedov. His striking can clearly hang with the best in the lightweight division, but in MMA you have to be able to do it all.
Nonetheless, when you lose four out of five bouts, especially in the lightweight division, that’s generally a recipe for your departure out of the UFC.
I would like to see Michael Johnson get one more shot at it, preferably against Bobby “King” Green (MMA 27-11-1, UFC 8-6-1) to determine whether he should stay in the prized Ultimate Fighting Championship or be relegated to Bellator, ONE Championship, or even the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship.
If it’s about money, he could probably earn more in those promotions than he can at this stage of his career in the UFC.
As the proverb goes, sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail. As for Michael Johnson, he’s helped pave the way for many of the “new generation” fighters that are inhabiting the upper echelon of the UFC’s rankings.
Stay tuned for what’s next for Michael Johnson.
After Further Consideration is the blog space for the All Factors Considered camp. The Stock Report is subjective and represents the stances, views, and opinions of the All Factors Considered camp solely.