The Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great night of fights at UFC Vegas 27: Font vs. Garbrandt. The card saw two (T)KOs, two submissions, and eight decisions, including one split-decision.
The prelims kicked off with Damir Ismagulov taking a unanimous decision over Rafael Alves in a very fun opening bout. That was followed by a sensational showing by David Dvorak when he defeated super late replacement opponent Juancamilo Ronderos, via rear-naked choke in the first round. Josh Culibao would take the victory away from Shayilan Nuerdanbieke by unanimous decision and Bruno Silva brought the whole house down, and his opponent, when he knocked out Victor Rodriguez just one minute in. At some point, Kid Nate is really going to have to sit down with Victor and have “the talk” with him. This fighting gig just isn’t working out. Court McGee looked like he discovered the Fountain of Youth in his outstanding performance against BJJ stylist Claudio Silva where he took a lopsided unanimous decision. The featured prelim was incredibly fruitful in that we got a bonkers crazy brawl between “Huggy Bear” Chris Barnett and Big Ben Rothwell for about half the fight, then Ben does what he does to men with the surname “Barnett.” He slapped on a guillotine and choked him out.
The main card opened with a great scrap between Edmen Shahbazyan and Jack Hermansson that saw the Young lion get outworked and outgrappled—this after having had a great first round. Young Edmen needs to get a handle on his cardio and his grappling. He’s still young and green with plenty of time to learn and grow. Ricardo Ramos more than convincingly defeated Bill Algeo by unanimous decision in a very entertaining battle, but somehow, the judges still managed to give Algeo a round. Maybe I need to watch this one again, but I couldn’t find it within my cold, black heart to give Mr. Algeo a single round. Norma Dumont scored a big upset over the ultra-tough Felicia Spencer by split decision and once again, the judges were off here, giving Dumont a 30-27 round when she barely scraped by. Jared Vanderaa took a unanimous decision from Justin Tafa after a gangbusters fight that saw a Vanderaa sustain what seemed like a terrible cut, but it turned out to be fairly small, it just happened to be a bleeder. Despite that, Vanderaa and Tafa put on a helluva scrap.
The co-main event saw Carla Esparza put on a masterclass against Yan Xiaonan. She boxed her up, took her down, dominated her completely. Than she scored a TKO from the crucifix position in the second round, only the 14th ever in the UFC. She should get next.
The main event saw Cody Garbrandt do fairly well in the first round, but Rob Font made the necessary adjustments, and won the rest of the rounds easily. He won the striking exchanges with a crisp jab, elbows in the clinch, dictated the pace and range...just a masterful performance. Four in a row. Is it time? I think so.
Performance of the Night: Carla Esparza, Bruno Silva
David Dvorak (rear-naked choke at 2:18 of round 1), Bruno Silva (KO (punches) at 1:00 of round 1), Ben Rothwell (guillotine choke at 2:07 of round 2), and Carla Esparza (TKO (strikes) at 2:58 of round 2) all won their respective fights via finish, but it would be Carla Esparza and Bruno Silva absconding with the bonus cashola.
Fight of the Night: Tafa/Vanderaa
Damir Ismagulov (29-28 x3), Josh Culibao (29-28, 29-28, 29-28), Court McGee (30-26, 30-26, 29-27), Jack Hermansson (29-27 x3), Ricardo Ramos (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Norma Dumont (30-27, 28-29, 29-28), Jared Vanderaa (30-27 x2, 29-28), and Rob Font (48-47, 50-45x2) all went the distance in their respective fights but it would be Jared Vanderaa’s super fun scrap with Justin Tafa taking tonight’s bonuses.