The UFC Vegas 38 main card just closed out with the #5 ranked light heavyweight, Thiago Santos, winning a unanimous decision over the #10 ranked, Johnny Walker. Nobody was really ever hurt in this fight as there was ample respect being shown on both sides. When the fighters did let it go, it was pretty exhilarating for as long as it lasted. Earning three scores of 48-47 breaks up a three-fight losing skid for Thiago.
Before that, Kevin Holland vs. Kyle Daukaus ended in a no contest after an accidental clash of heads resulted in Kevin being knocked down, and then Kyle chasing down an RNC. Since the officials ruled that the accidental headbutt was directly responsible for the finishing sequence, the win was not awarded to Daukaus. In the cage after the commotion, Holland got Daukaus to agree to run it back as soon as possible. Good thing, too, because this match was just heating up before misfortune struck.
In the welterweight division, Niko Price and Alex Oliveira had a war of attrition where Niko pulled out a decision win. It was one a piece going into the final round, and that’s when Price stepped on the gas pedal to solidify the dub. Out of 15 UFC appearances, this is actually Price’s first time winning on the scorecards for the promotion. It’s also his first victory in nearly two-years.
The UFC’s #13 ranked light heavyweight, Misha Cirkunov, made a move to 185-pounds, but Krzysztof Jotko spoiled his middleweight debut by taking a split decision. It was a pretty close fight, but Jotko was the one landing more strikes and also did a sound job of defending the takedown attempts. Guess who has won four of his last five fights? It’s Krzysztof.
Opening up the UFC Vegas 38 main card, Alexander Hernandez sparked out Mike Breeden in just 80-seconds. It was a set of takedowns attempts from Hernandez that opened up his striking game. He started to land crisp right hands and then refused to let Breeden off the hook. In his post-fight interview, Alexander asked for a match with his originally scheduled opponent for tonight, Leonardo Santos.
**See complete results below
Thiago Santos def. Johnny Walker by unanimous decision (48-47 x3): Light Heavyweight
A lot of respect was being shown on both sides to get things going. Neither man was wanting to make a mistake. Walker was commanding the center of the Octagon, but still neither man was connecting. It was kind of a tough round to score since nothing really happened.
The second round saw Santos start a lot more aggressive. He went after Walker and the athletes exchanged in the pocket before breaking off into range. The pace simmered back to what it looked like in the opening round. Then Santos exploded forward with a set of crushing body kicks, causing a big red mark on liver side of Walker’s midsection. Johnny really didn’t have a response to answer those kicks before the round ended.
Santos took the center of the cage to begin the third act. Walker was staying defensively responsible, but he wasn’t really pulling the trigger either. Thiago kept launching his solo power kicks from range, and Johnny just wasn’t opening up. Walker continued to be reserved on the fourth frame, but he did attack with a couple of head kicks. There was also still a lot of feinting going on. Santos wasn’t throwing much this round, but did catch a kick and connect with a left hook. Walker landed a right hand at the same time, and it might have been his best round thus far.
The athletes fought to control the center to kick off the final round. They began exchanging more in the pocket, with the biggest punch of the fight being an overhand that got the attention of Johnny. The fight for the center continued. They would take turns pushing the other man back, while remaining cautious of the other man’s power.
Kyle Daukaus vs. Kevin Holland ruled No Contest (Accidental Head Butt) at 4:33 of round 1: Middleweight
Daukaus punched his way into a takedown attempt to begin the match. Holland was stubborn with going down, but still couldn’t find any seperation. Holland was talking to Daniel Cormier while fighting. The referee broke the fighters apart and a clash of heads lead to Holland getting dropped as if he was knocked out. The referee almost stopped the fight, but allowed it to continue, nonetheless. Daukaus jumped on the neck with a guillotine, and then switched to the RNC as Holland stood up. Holland tapped while on his feet.
Niko Price def. Alex Oliveira by unanimous decision (29-28 x3): Welterweight
The fighters went right to work, trading leg kicks and setting up their respective punches. They clinched up and Oliveira hit a takedown, but Price used the momentum to his advantage and rolled on top. Oliveira got his guard passed and Price chipped away with short strikes. Price stayed on top and in control for the rest fo the round.
Oliveira came out swinging in the second round, throwing hefty hooks and blistering overhand rights. Price was able to get out of the way of a lot of them, but he wasn’t really throwing or landing much offense of his own. Cowboy then tripped up Price and took top position. Niko frantically tried to improve his position, but Oliveira was staying a steep ahead to maintain control. Oliveira stayed on top and in control for the rest fo the round.
Oliveira landed a set of calf kicks and then a flush right cross to open up the final round. Price tried to pressure, but a stiff 1-2 from Cowboy backed him off. Price responded with a jab cross of his own that landed, and the round was up for grabs. Price pressed forward behind his punches and right into the clinch, but Oliveira avoided the takedown and returned to open space. Oliveira was visibly labored, and when he was trying to take the back standing, Price threw him to the ground. Niko then punched away until the bell.
Krzysztof Jotko def. Misha Cirkunov by split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29): Middleweight
Cirkunov quickly closed the distance, pressing his opponent against the fence, but Jotko circled out into open space. It wasn’t long before Cirkunov was back on the inside and Jotko’s back was to the cage, but the fight didn’t stay there. Jotko escaped again and was able to land a couple of punches. It was a pretty close round.
Cirkunov punched his way into the clinch to begin the second act. He wasn’t able to get a takedown, maybe because of an illegal fence grab that Jotko was merely warned for. Then, an accidental cup check from Misha brought a brief pause to the action. The contest resumed and Jotko got back to landing his punches in open space. Cirkunov was struggling to get on the inside, and couldn’t do much when the match did travel there.
Cirkunov achieved an early, and first, takedown to start the final frame. Jotko would stand to his feet, but he struggled to break free. A lot of time went by with Jotko trying to escape. Once he finally got free, Jotko then shot for a takedown of his own. He didn’t get it, but he was able to neutralize Cirkunov against the fence. An accidental eye poke brought another pause to the fight. Upon the restart, Jotko was pressing the action, throwing his strikes and shucking off Misha’s clinch attempts. He even hit a takedown in the final 10-seconds to leave a good impression on the judges.
Alexander Hernandez def. Mike Breeden by KO at 1:20 of round 1: Lightweight
No feeling out was needed here as both men got right to work. Breeden was throwing heaters, prompting Hernandez to shoot in. Mike did a fantastic job of defending the takedown, but then he ate a hefty 1-2 that wobbled him. Hernandez pounced, landing punch after punch, knocking out Breeden’s mouthpiece. Then came a perfectly placed overhand right that slumped Breeden and ended the fight. Eek!