The UFC Vegas 13 main card is underway and the co-main event just witnessed a bit of a lackluster decision between up and comer Tanner Boser and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. It was mostly a slow-paced kickboxing match, but lacked some major wow moments. Be that as it may, it was the veteran in Arlovski that walked away with the unanimous nod. At 41-years of age, Arlovski has won three of his last four.
Before that, the bantamweight division saw Raoni Barcelos take it to a spirited Khalid Taha for three-rounds to earn a unanimous decision. Barcelos started hot, going right at his opponent with some powerful combinations. He also owned the grappling exchanges, which aided him in taking a score of 30-27 on all-three scorecards. Barcelos is quite complete at 16-1 and has now won all-five of his UFC matches. It might be time for Barcelos to make a run at the top-15.
Also on the main card, Giga Chikadze made quick work of UFC newcomer Jamey Simmons with a first-round head kick. Giga first attacked the liver with a kick, causing the hands of Simmons to drop, then Chikadze went upstairs with a head kick that dropped his opponent. A couple of ground strikes got through before the referee stepped in and waved off the bout. This is Giga’s first promotional finish, fourth fight of 2020, and fifth UFC win. In his post-fight interview, the Georgian native called for a co-main event slot against UFC mainstay Jeremy Stephens.
Opening up the main card, the UFC’s #8 ranked strawweight, Xiaonan Yan, out-struck the #4 ranked, Claudia Gadelha, to take a unanimous decision. Yan was able to foil the bulk of the takedown attempts from Gadelha, and proceeded to put hands on her. Yan ha snow won all-six of her UFC bouts, making her a possible candidate to challenge Weili Zhang for her 115-pound title.
**See complete results below
Andrei Arlovski def. Tanner Boser by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Heavyweight
It’s no surprise that a technical striking match broke out right away. Both men were throwing a lot of feints and doing a lot of measuring. Boser was at least landing something sometimes while Arlovski was doing a lot more looking. The veteran did land one solid right hand just before the bell, which was also the best strike of the round.
The slow pace continued into the second act. Neither man was really willing to open up with a lot of feints and space still being utilized on both sides. The heavyweights did have a couple of bursts where they actually exchanged, but it wasn’t many. The very end of the round saw Arlovski score with a spinning backfist. Boser came out for the final round with a lot more urgency. He was launching some volume at the former champ to back him up. Arlovski was eating some hard kicks to both the inside and outside of his lead leg.
Raoni Barcelos def. Khalid Taha by unanimous decision (30-27 x3): Bantamweight
Barcelos ws attacking early with his kicks, both the up kick and ones to the leg. He was looking to build on his up kick with his left hook, and also kept attacking the leg. Barcelos started to flurry and he was bombing away. Taha finally started to return fire, but that’s when Barcelos changed levels and took the fight to the floor. Taha got dominated on the mat, both on top and by threatening with an armbar from his back.
The second round started with a more reserved pace than the previous period. It was a more technical standup battle, and then Taha took a shot to the cup. Taha took some time to recover and the fight got started again. Barcelos went back to his leg kick and it remained an effective weapon. Taha was standing his ground and throwing back in two’s and three’s, but Barcelos was still landing the better strikes and more of them. With just seconds remaining in the round, Barcelos rocked Taha with a flurry of punches. He tried to put Taha away with another barrage of punches, but the bell sounded before a finish could manifest.
Barcelos poured on the pressure early in the final round, taking Taha down to the floor. He maintained dominance over his adversary, surfing from position to position while dropping strikes along the way. Taha did eventually make it back to his feet, and tried to dump an onslaught of punches, but Barcelos was willing to brawl right back. Taha shot in for a late takedown, but Barcelos stuffed it to keep the fight on its feet.
Giga Chikadze def. Jamey Simmons by TKO at 3:51 of round 1: Featherweight
Giga was able to fend off the initial takedown attempt from Simmons and looked to snipe his opposition. Giga blasted the levier with a body kick, and then followed up with a head kick that dropped Simmons. Chikadze pounced with some ground and pound to end the fight and secure his first UFC finish.
Xiaonan Yan def. Claudia Gadelha by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Strawweight
The strawweights started trading strikes right away before Gadelha earned herself a takedown. Yan eventually worked back to her feet, but her back was still on the cage. Gadelha maintained control for quite some time, but wasn’t exactly doing much of any damage. The referee broke apart the fighters, and Gadelha quickly achieved a takedown. The fighters exchanged elbows and although Gadelha finished up the round on top, Yan’s strikes seemed more effective.
Yan showcased her hand speed to start the second round. She was beating Gadelha to the punch and keeping her opponent at the end of her punches. Gadelha was just missing with a lot of her punches, and then would get countered with some leather from Yan.
Gadelha went back to the clinch in the final round, pressing Yan against the fence. Yan did a great job of staying vertical and returning to open space. She also continued to get the better of the striking exchanges, peppering Gadelha with more punches at range. Gadelha again went back to the clinch, but she wasn’t able to find herself a takedown before the referee broke them apart. Yan continued to score down the stretch, showcasing her striking prowess.