The UFC Vegas 25 main card is almost over, and the co-main event was the setting where Giga Chikadze stopped longtime MMA veteran Cub Swanson with a Giga-kick in the first-round. Chikadze blasted the liver of Swanson with his patented body kick that instantly buckled the veteran. Cub is as tough as they come, but once that liver is tagged, it’s hard to recover from that. Giga has won all-six of his UFC appearances, and called for a fight with either Max Holloway, or Calvin Kattar.
Before that, we got a tale of two fights in one when Dustin Jacoby and Ion Cutelaba fought a hard 15-minutes to a split draw. Cutelaba had a dominant opening act, smothering Jacoby and landing a bunch of ground strikes. Then, Dustin started stuffing the takedowns and landing quality strikes of his own for the remaining two rounds. When the dust finally settled, one judge had it 29-28 for Jacoby, one had it the same way for Cutelaba, and then the third official saw it as a 28-28 draw.
The UFC’s #15 ranked middleweight, Sean Strickland, put on a clean performance against a surging Krzysztof Jotko. Strickland brought the pressure and a slick boxing game that kept Jotko uncomfortable the entire time. He wasn’t talking a bunch of trash, or showboating at all for that matter. Sean was focused and dialed in for the entire 15-minutes of this fight, to score his fourth straight victory and keep his spot in the rankings.
The main card opened with two of the bantamweight’s best grapplers going heads up in the form of Merab Dvalishvili vs. Cody Stamann. There were a ton of fun back and forth scrambles, with both men getting the fight down, but just not for very long. The big difference was the boxing of Dvalishvili, which he utilized to address the forward pressure of Cody and aid him in earning the unanimous nod. The UFC’s #12 ranked 135-pounder has just won his 6th UFC fight in a row.
**See complete results below
Giga Chikadze def. Cub Swanson by TKO at 1:03 of round 1: Featherweight
Swanson applied pressure right away, backing up Chikadze to the cage. Giga used his footwork to circle out, and uncorked a mean kick right to the liver. Cub instantly started to back up in agony, falling to the floor as Chikadze pounced. A couple of ground strikes landed for Giga before the referee stepped in and rescued the hurt fighter. What a kick!
Dustin Jacoby vs. Ion Cutelaba resulted in a split draw (29-28, 28-29, 28-28): Light Heavyweight
Jacoby started cracking off with calf kicks to get things going. Cutelaba responded with a flurry of hands, followed by a smothering wrestling attack. Jacoby found himself stuck in the rinse cycle. He would stand up, and then get taken right back down. Cutelaba started to land mean elbows in-between takedowns. Jacoby hung tough and got away with a cage grab to stay on his feet, with the referee only warning Dustin numerous times. A point could have easily been deducted, but it wasn’t.
Jacoby threw a knee to start the second round, but that resulted in Cutelaba getting another takedown. Dustin was able to break away and find open space this time, and was able to fight off the following shot from Ion. Jacoby started to work his jab, prompting Cutelaba to clinch up for a takedown. Jacoby continued to fight off the takedown attempts, and navigate the haymakers coming at him. Cutelaba was backpedalling, seeming to be fading a bit as Jacoby started to pour it on.
Jacoby opened the final round with a low calf kick, followed my a vicious body kick. Cutelaba continued to throw his patented haymakers, with some of them getting through. Jacoby slowly stalked forward, wisely picking his shots and working off of his jab. Cutelaba kept swinging away, and even ate a flying knee without issue. Jacoby started working a takedown of his own, grinding against Cutelaba against the fence and earning a last second takedown.
Sean Strickland def. Krzysztof Jotko by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Middleweight
Strickland looked to pressure right away, with Jotko looking to strike of off his Blackfoot. Jotko was finding a home for his southpaw left, and then a stinging right hand rom Strickland registered. Sean started to pour on some punishment, causing Jotko to shell up. Krzysztof was able to regain his composure and got back on his bicycle, but Strickland maintained command of the cage.
Strickland got right back to work in the second act. He walked down Jotko, keeping him uncomfortable and hitting him with more force than the strikes coming back at him. Jotko stayed on his bike the whole time, looking to intercept his advancing opponent with a variety of strikes. He just wasn’t really connecting. He was missing, expelling a ton of energy with his footwork, and getting busted up for his troubles.
Jotko stayed busy in the third round, but he still wasn’t connecting clean, let alone doing much of any damage. Meanwhile, Strickland stayed with his pressure, and he made his punches count. When he threw, he often landed and when he hit Jotko he was moving him. It was quite a clean performance from Sean.
Merab Dvalishvili def. Cody Stamann by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2): Bantamweight
Dvalishvili was letting his hands go early in the fight, dressing the takedown attempt of Stamann with boxing. Dvalishvili had the faster hands, and he was firing at will and hitting his target. Stamann was eating a lot of straight punches as he tried to close the distance. A couple of wide hooks scored for Cody, but this was Merab’s round.
Stamann showed up for round-two and instantly scored a takedown. Dvalishvili quickly scrambled back up, and then it was his turn to hit a short-lived takedown. It wasn’t until Dvalishvili botched a guillotine that Cody spent an extended amount of time in a dominant position — and even then, the fight didn't stay there for that long.
The final round saw Stamann pressing forward looking to score a knockout. Dvalishvili was waiting for him with a slick boxing attack, cutting off Cody as he closed the distance. Dvalishvili shot in for the takedown, but Stamann reversed it put Merab on his back. When Dvalishvili tried to scramble away, Stamann stayed in control until the final seconds of the fight.