The APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great night of fights at UFC Vegas 23: Vettori vs. Holland. The card saw two (T)KOs, three submissions, and eight decisions, including two split-decisions.
The prelims opened with a fun scrap that saw Impa Kasanganay rebound from his first defeat with a sensational no-hooks rear-naked choke of Sasha Palatnikov in the second round.
Da Un Jung would completely dominate William Knight with a combination of smothering top control and some solid striking to win a lopsided unanimous decision.
Luis Saldana battled his way to a unanimous decision victory over Jordan Griffin in an action-packed scrap punctuated by brutal low kicks and exciting scrambles.
Jack Shore and Hunter Azure also put on an entertaining fight that featured plenty of competitive grappling that ultimately ended with Shore taking the split-decision.
Jarjis Danho violently finished Yorgan De Castro with a crushing overhand right that felled Yorgan like a tree in the first round. One more hammerfist and that was it for De Castro.
John Makdessi notched a split-decision victory over Ignacio Bahamondes in a fun scrap that took place almost entirely in the phone booth, with Bahamondes swarming with tons of volume but Makdessi landing the heavier, more damaging blows.
Mateusz Gamrot ended Scott Holtzman’s night in the second round when Gamrot uncorked a massive right that dropped the former hockey player. He immediately followed up with a barrage of punches until the referee was able to intervene.
Joe Solecki defeated Jim Miller via unanimous decision in a fight that saw Miller competitive in the first round, but unable to stay that way throughout, with Solecki gaining top control in the second round and for most of the third. Miller’s 37th fight inside the octagon was a bust, but more importantly, his run of turning away the up-and-coming prospects has likely come to an end.
The main card opened with Mike Perry taking an absolute shellacking from Daniel Rodriguez, demonstrating that perhaps “Platinum” has already achieved his ceiling, whether he has a camp behind him or not (this camp he trained at MMA Masters). Rodriguez owned every aspect of the fight, taking an easy unanimous decision, even if some of the judges clearly don’t believe in 10-8 rounds.
Mackenzie Dern scored an easy takedown of Nina Nunes in the first round that was the beginning of the end for Mrs. Nunes. Dern easily outgrappled her, patiently making the necessary adjustments until she secured the tap off an armbar in the first round. She looked composed and calculated. If she can harness some form and technique in her striking, she could be a real problem for any of the ladies in the Top 5.
Julian Marquez and Sam Alvey put on a thrilling first round of action with both men trading huge bombs, both being wobbled. The second round saw Marquez hurt Sam early with a right hand, then take his back with the second no-hooks rear-naked choke of the night. Marquez may have been gone for awhile, but coming back with consecutive finishes has got to look good to the brass, because his post-fight interviews are just too corny for words.
The co-main event saw Arnold Allen the better fighter in the first two rounds and Sodiq Yusuff take the third (by my tally). Arnold’s relentless jab and hard kicks were the stars of the contest. Allen extends his win streak to 10 with 8 of them inside the octagon.
The main event was a showcase of Marvin Vettori’s forward pressure and wrestle-heavy style. He maintained top control for long stretches, slamming Holland back to the canvas when he was able to recover his footing. On the feet, Vettori was busy, but Holland had some moments, but any time Holland showed some momentum, Vettori would level change and become a lead blanket again. “The Italian Dream” fought a well-executed game plan and won a fairly easy 50-44 because of it. Holland clearly needs some time off to process what’s going wrong in his ground game and work towards fixing it.
Performance of the Night: Mackenzie Dern, Mateusz Gamrot
Impa Kasanganay (no-hooks rear-naked choke at :26 of round 2), Jarjis Danho (KO (punch) at 3:02 of round 1), Mateusz Gamrot (KO (punches) at 1:22 of round 2), Mackenzie Dern (armbar at 4:48 of round 1), and Julian Marquez (no-hooks rear-naked choke at 2:07 of round 2) all scored finishes in their respective fights but it would be Mackenzie Dern and Mateusz Gamrot taking the bonus money today.
Fight of the Night: Sam Alvey vs. Julian Marquez
Da Un Jung (30-26, 30-26, 30-27), Luis Saldana (29-28 x3), Jack Shore (30-27, 28-29, 30-27), John Makdessi def. (28-29, 29-28, 30-27), Joe Solecki (29-28, 29-28, 30-27), Daniel Rodriguez (30-27, 30-27, 30-26), Arnold Allen (29-28 x3), and Marvin Vettori (50-44 x3) all went the distance in their respective fights but it would be Sam Alvey vs. Julian Marquez taking the FOTN cash.