The UFC Vegas 27 main card is almost over, and it saw quite a few back and forth decisions before the co-main event ended with a second-round TKO. The UFC’s former strawweight title holder, Carla Esparza, completely dominated the #3 ranked, Xiaonan Yan, on the floor before getting the ground and pound finish from the crucifix. This makes five-straight wins for Esparza, who after this spectacular showing just might get a rematch with current champ, Rose Namajunas, who she already holds a win over.
Before that, we got an exciting heavyweight war between Justin Tafa and Jared Vanderaa. Both men left it all out there, with Tafa throwing hefty punches and elbows, and Vanderaa mixing in brutal knees and kicks with his boxing combinations. It was one hell of a fight, and despite losing a lot of blood from a forehead cut, Vanderaa walked away with the unanimous nod. Vanderaa has now officially won a UFC fight.
The UFC Vegas 27 main card was graced with a rare women’s featherweight tilt when Norma Dumont took a split decision over Felicia Spencer, There wasn’t a ton of action in the early stages of this one, with the fight spending a lot of time at range. Things picked up down the stretch tho, with Dumont showing off some descent hand speed, and then Spencer coming alive late with elbows in the clinch. This makes back to back wins for Dumont, who expressed an interest in dropping back down to 135-pounds.
The featherweight division saw a highly competitive matchup between Bill Algeo and Ricardo Ramos go the distance. The fighters went back and forth on the feet, with neither man able to really take over, or dish out a round-stealing moment. The difference was Ramos landing the takedowns and owning the control time, which aided him in earning the unanimous decision.
Opening up the main card, the UFC’s #7 rated middleweight, Jack Hermansson, overcame a rough opening round to win a unanimous decision over the #10 rated, Edmen Shahbazyan. It was the grappling of Hermansson that aided him in victory. He was able to put Shahbazyan on his back keep him in his world. “The Joker” has gotten himself back into thew win column, and has now alternated wins and loses in his last five fights. In his post-fight interview, he requested a dance with former middleweight champ, Robert Whittaker.
**See complete results below
Carla Esparza def. Xiaonan Yan by TKO at 2:58 of round 2: Strawweight
Esparza hit a double leg right away to get this one going. Yan scored with a couple of elbows from her back, but was pretty much trapped on bottom. Esparza locked down side control, dropping blows and staying busy. Just before the bell, the former champ threatened with a Kimura and armbar, before smashing down with wig-splitting elbows.
The second round opened up with an almost instant takedown for Esparza. She went back to side control, and then to the crucifix position where she continued to punish Yan with unblocked elbows. It was clear that Yan was not going to escape and the beating wasn’t going to stop, so the referee stepped in to rescue her.
Jared Vanderaa def. Justin Tafa by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Heavyweight
Tafa went right at Vanderaa, throwing big and moving his head. Vanderaa responded with sneaky knee to the face to gain some respect. As the round went on, Vanderaa started to launch a much more varied attack than Tafa, mixing in kicks behind his punches. Tafa was only looking to chuck haymakers.
Vanderaa got right back to work in the second round, staying true to his kicking attack. He was going to leg, the body, as well as the head, seeming to be in a groove. Vanderaa hurt Tafa and had him backing up to the cage. Vanderaa unleashed a flurry or punches and elbows, but most of them missed their mark. Tafa responded with a heavyweight set of hooks, causing a leaky gash on the forehead of Vanderaa. Back and forth the fighters went as the clock dwindled down, brawling it out and landing their respective strikes.
The fighters went strike for strike again in the final round. Vanderaa had early success with his knees to the body on the inside, and then started to throw his punches in combinations. Four and five punches would be coming at a time, and a lot of them would get through. When Tafa’s back hit the fence, he landed a big right and then a back elbow that wobbled Vanderaa. Tafa came alive, and started bombing away, and Vanderaa answered him with more combinations. Then an accidental cup shot from Vanderaa happened with just over 30-seconds to go. Naturally, the fighters brawled it out for the remaining seconds, with Vanderaa landed some stinging kicks and knees to the body. What a fight!
Norma Dumont def. Felicia Spencer by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29): (W) Featherweight
There was quite a bit of feeling out going on in the opening round. Neither fighter was really letting their strikes go, and when they did engage, it was Dumont who seemed to hold the power advantage. The round did end with an exciting flurry, with both Spencer and Dumont connecting.
Spencer showed up for the second act tossing out a lot of flashy head kicks, with maybe one of them landing. Dumont responded with a blitz of punches that got Spencer’s attention. Whenever Spencer moved forward, Dumont would tune her up with her boxing and force her to disengage. Spencer did keep trying her hook kicks to the face, and they were actually getting pretty close to landing.
Dumont hit a takedown into the full guard to begin the final frame. Spencer ate a couple of strikes before finally getting back to her feet. Spencer then started to push the pace. She forced her foe against the fence, landing a couple of elbows to the face on the inside. Dumont floundered a hip toss, and Spencer was able to jump into top position. Spencer stayed on top until the bell.
Ricardo Ramos def. Bill Algeo by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28): Featherweight
It wasn’t very long before Ramos took the back standing, but Algeo was able to fight off the RNC attempt and free himself. In open space, Algeo kept ducking his head into the right hand of Ramos. Algeo was flowing though, swinging from funky angles and throwing a variety of kicks. Ramos then changed levels and initiated a scramble, staying just step ahead the whole time.
The fighters went back and forth on the feet to begint he second round, and then Ramos got himself another takedown. Algeo was able to fight off a D’arce to get back to open space, where he began to pump out some volume. Ramos was scoring too, just not quite as much. Ricardo did hit a last second takedown just before the bell.
Ramos got aggressive in the final round, but Algeo was doing a great job of making him miss. Algeo was moving his head and flowing with what was coming his way, which really mitigated the damage of the strikes that actually did land. Ramos switched gears and hit another takedown, and then tried to grind on his foe. Algeo fought back up to his feet, and then Ramos caught one of his kicks and threw him back down right at the bell.
Jack Hermansson def. Edmen Shahbazyan by unanimous decision (29-27 x3): Middleweight
Shahbazyan pressed the action right away, coming forward with boxing combinations. Hermansson first takedown attempt missed by a mile as Shahbazyan was commanding the range. The punches of Shahbazyan were visibly moving Jack, with very little offense being returned. Hermansson did land a couple of calf kicks, but this round was all Shahbazyan.
Hermansson was quick to close the takedown in the second round, and was actually able to put Shahbazyan on his back. When Shahbazyan returned to his feet, he came up with a cut around his right eye. Shahbazyan put himself back on the bottom when he jumped a guillotine. Hermansson controlled for a bit until Shahbazyan was able to hit a reversal. The round closed out with Shahbazyan landed a couple of stinging ground strikes.
Hermansson was able to get Shahbazyan to the floor early in the final round. He rained down punishment from the top of halfguard, with Shahbazyan seeming to accept being on bottom. The beating got worse as the round grew long, with the referee even threatening to stop the fight if Shahbazyan didn’t improve his position.