The UFC Vegas 3 looked like a good card on paper and it turned out to be a solid event.
Sure, it started out on a strange note when Max Rohskopf quit on his stool and it finished with Curtis Blaydes gasping for air after he defeated Alexander Volkov on the strength of 14 takedowns, but between those two fights there were some memorable performances.
Justin Jaynes earned himself a bonus in his UFC debut with a fast knockout of Frank Camacho. Marc-Andre Barriault saved his UFC career with a knockout win of his own. Tecia Torres got back in the win column with what might have been the best fight of her UFC career. Jim Miller taught a young upstart a lesson. Raquel Pennington dominated in the clinch and perhaps most notably, Josh Emmett showed Shane Burgos that you don’t want to test your chin against Emmett’s power.
Curtis Blaydes: Blaydes did exactly what he told everyone he was going to do in his fight against Alexander Volkov.
FYI if y’all were hoping to see a 25 minute stand up war you probably shouldn’t tune in to the main event cause I fully intend on ragdolling my opponent just figured I’d let y’all know ahead of time ♂️— Curtis Blaydes (@RazorBlaydes265) June 19, 2020
Blaydes racked up 14 takedowns on 25 attempts and landed 69 percent of his significant strikes during the heavyweight battle. Yes, he ended up running out of gas near the end of the 25-minute bout, but he still took home the victory and extended his winning streak to four straight. Was the win as “pretty” as his stoppage triumphs over Junior Dos Santos and Shamil Abdurakhimov? No, but he won and that should be enough for him to hold his spot in the heavyweight rankings.
Josh Emmett: Going into his fight against Shane Burgos the word was that Emmett was power above all. While Emmett displayed plenty of power on his way to a decision win, he was also more accurate than usual, landing 47 percent of his significant strikes. Most of those strikes came after Emmett injured his knee in the early moments of the first round.
Emmett now has three straight wins since his nasty knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens that put him on the shelf for more than a year.
Emmett is a threat to any opponent who is silly enough to engage him on the feet.
As a side note, it was strange to hear Emmett take a shot at the MMA media for doubting him.
Raquel Pennington: Pennington delivered in her women’s bantamweight bout opposite Marion Reneau. Pennington landed 107 significant strikes in the three round contest. Pennington had never landed more than 82 significant strikes in a UFC bout before Saturday night. She landed that number in her second UFC contest, which took place in 2014. Pennington’s best work came in the clinch where she unloaded with numerous knees to Reneau’s body. The win was one of Pennington’s best career performances.
Belal Muhammad: Muhammad used his footwork and movement to outland Lyman Good over the first 10 minutes of their welterweight bout. That expenditure of energy might have allowed Good to turn up his output in the third round and make up for his striking deficit. However, Muhammad scored two takedowns in the last round and finished the fight looking for a choke. Muhammad is now 7-1 in his past eight scraps.
Lyman Good: Good lost to Muhammad, but it wasn’t because of lack of effort, especially in the third round when he landed 42 of 71 attempted significant strikes.
Good lands among the winners of this card because this fight was his first bout back since he was diagnosed with COVID-19. Good was also dealing with the death of his father a few weeks ago.
Jim Miller: There are certain fighters who have earned a high degree of respect among their fellow fighters. Jim Miller is one of those guys. On Saturday he stepped into the octagon for the 35th time and he barely broke a sweet before he forced Roosevelt Roberts to verbally tap to an armbar.
Miller doesn’t trash talk, boast about himself or denigrate his opponents. He just goes out and fights and always goes for the finish. With his first round submission win over Roberts, Miller has the most submission wins by a non-Brazilian in UFC history.
Bobby Green: One point the UFC commentators hit more than once was how Bobby Green has been on the wrong end of the scorecards. That did not happen on Saturday night when Green ended a two-fight losing skid with a decision win over Clay Guida.
It was an entertaining fight, but Green did a good job racking up strikes and stopping takedowns on his way to victory.
Tecia Torres: I’ll admit that it surprised me to see that Torres was on a 0-4 run and had not had a win since she defeated Michelle Waterson in 2017. I’ll also own up to wondering why she was still with the promotion. Torres answered that question for anyone who was in the same headspace I was heading into this event.
Torres lived up to her “Tiny Tornado” nickname against Brianna Van Buren. Torres was just too aggressive and too fast for Van Buren. She moved in and out and landed a lot of nasty kicks on her way to a decision victory. An excellent performance from Torres.
Gillian Robertson: Robertson did a superb job with her takedowns and ground control in her matchup against Cortney Casey. In the first ten minutes, Robertson racked up over 8:30 of ground control time. She stayed busy on the mat and used strikes to keep the fight on the floor. Late in the third round, Robertson found an opening for a choke and she locked it in — without hooks — to get her fifth UFC stoppage win.
Justin Jaynes: Jaynes had not fought since May 2019. He accepted his matchup against Frank Camacho on Wednesday of fight week. It wasn’t a shock that Jaynes was an underdog. It also wasn’t a shock that he came out like a house on fire.
Jaynes’ super aggressive strategy paid off when he scored an incredibly fast TKO win, stopping Camacho 41 seconds into the contest. Not a bad UFC debut for Jaynes.
Lauren Murphy: After a 1-3 run at bantamweight, Murphy dropped to flyweight. She improved her record in that division to 4-1 on Saturday when she defeated Roxanne Modafferi by decision. The win gave Murphy three straight victories at 125 pounds.
Murphy’s striking and ability to get Modafferi to fight her style of fight carried Murphy to victory.
Austin Hubbard: Hubbard spent most of the first round of his lightweight bout against Max Rohskopf fighting off takedowns and submission attempts. When the second round began, Hubbard took complete control of the contest and pieced up Rohskopf with his striking. He landed at will and had Rohskopf bloodied by the end of the round. Rohskopf quit on the stool.
This was a solid performance from Hubbard, who is a former LFA lightweight champ. It showed his confidence and his ability to remain calm in the face of adversity. His experience paid off in this matchup.
Michael Bisping: It was great to hear Bisping say that Max Rohskopf did the right thing when he stopped the fight between the second and third round of his matchup against Austin Hubbard. Bisping was very understanding of the situation and said that it was the right move. It was refreshing to hear a former UFC champ acknowledge that fact. Maybe times are changing for the best.
Alexander Volkov: Volkov is a good striker, but he is not good at takedown defense and the lack of wrestling skill hurt him on Saturday night as he dropped a decision to Curtis Blaydes.
The UFC commentary team noted that Volkov’s ability to train with American wrestlers was hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s not as if he isn’t aware of his shortcoming in the wrestling department. At 31, Volkov has time to work on his wrestling skills. If he wants to challenge for a top spot in the UFC, he needs to spend a lot of time on the mat as soon as possible.
Shane Burgos: Burgos seemed more interested in testing his chin than in using his reach advantage against Josh Emmett. Emmett was more than happy to fulfill that wish. That style cost Burgos. Emmett knocked down Burgos twice in the third round in what was a fun but exasperating fight for Burgos. Had Burgos used his reach and jab a bit more in this fight, he might have earned the win. Instead, he left the octagon with a bloody, swollen face and a loss.
Marion Reneau: Reneau dropped her third straight decision when she was on the wrong side of the scorecards on Saturday night. Reneau struggled with the strength and power of Raquel Pennington throughout the 15 minute contest.
Roosevelt Roberts: Roberts learned a lesson on Saturday, don’t go to the mat with a submission ace early in the first round. Roberts hit the ground early in his matchup against Jim Miller. Not long after that he verbally tapped to an armbar.
Roberts is a talented young fighter. He’s confident and entertaining and he’ll bounce back from this loss, which he should look at as a learning experience.
Brianna Van Buren: The former Invicta FC strawweight champion tasted defeat for the first time in two years when Tecia Torres overwhelmed her at UFC Apex.
Van Buren scored two takedowns in the first round, but after that it was all Torres. Van Buren had no answers for Torres’ speed during the final 10 minutes of the fight.
Oskar Piechota: Piechota was a unbeaten Cage Warriors middleweight champ when he joined the UFC in 2017. He won his first two boots with the promotion, but things have since turned bd for him. His loss to Marc-Andre Barriault put him on a four-fight losing skid. Piechota had low output and a suspect gas tank before Barriault wrapped things up with strikes in the third stanza.
Cortney Casey: Casey failed to take advantage of any momentum she had her May submission win over Mara Romero Borella. Casey’s lack of takedown defense cost her against Gillian Robertson and she spent most of the fight playing defense on the mat. That defense failed her late in the third round when she tapped to a rear-naked choke.
Frank Camacho: Camacho’s rough run in the UFC might have come to an end on Saturday. Camacho was a big favorite over Justin Jaynes in their catchweight bout. Not only did Camacho get stopped in 41 seconds, but he came in two pounds overweight.
Camacho’s UFC record now stands at 2-5.
Roxanne Modafferi: Striking will never be Modafferi’s strong suit. Unfortunately for her, her matchup against Lauren Murphy — for the most part — took place on the feet. Modafferi did okay when she landed first, but Murphy was quick to answer with strong counters and that seemed to keep Modafferi from finding her groove.
Clay Guida: Clay Guida did Clay Guida stuff against Bobby Green and even though he lost he put on an entertaining performance. Guida has been with the UFC since 2006 and I don’t think he’s going anywhere any time soon.
Marc-Andre Barriault: Barriault used an aggressive style to get his first UFC win. A former two-division champion with TKO in Canada, Barriault was 0-3 in the UFC heading into this contest and likely fighting for his life with the promotion. Barriault said that what we saw on Saturday was representative of his true skills and style. He looked good, but with a 1-3 run, I’ll take a wait and see approach with Barriault.
Max Rohskopf - Rohskopf accepted his fight against Austin Hubbard on short notice. For the first five minutes he looked pretty good, using an interesting grappling style. However, he ran out of gas and ended up a bloody mess in the next five minutes.
Rohskopf goes into the neither category because he took the fight under bad circumstances. The jury’s out on him until he gets a full camp to prepare.