The Apex Center in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a great night of fights at UFC Vegas 28: Rozenstruik vs. Sakai. The card saw four (T)KOs, one no-contest, and eight decisions, including one split-decision.
The prelims opened with Claudio Puelles pulling out the unanimous decision when he defeated Jordan Leavitt in a fun scrap. That was followed by Sean Woodson taking a hard-fought split-decision win over Youssef Zalal. Manon Fiorot defeated Tabatha Ricci via second-round TKO. Ricci was overpowered by the much bigger Fiorot for much of the fight. Mason Jones vs. Alan Patrick ended in a no-contest due to an eye poke in the second round, a miserable finale to what was turning out to be a great fight. Kamuela Kirk defeated Makwan Amirkhani by unanimous decision in a fight that was so closely contested, it could have gone to Amirkhani and it wouldn’t have raised a stink, but one judge actually saw it as a shutout for Kirk, which is bonkers. I had it 29-28 for Mr. Finland. Muslim Salikhov took a lopsided unanimous decision over Francisco Trinaldo in a fight that unfortunately demonstrated that Father Time waits for no man. Ilir Latifi took a close split-decision over Tanner Boser in another fight that saw the scorecards all over the place. The UFC’s only living centaur logged his first win in three years. Huzzah!
The main card opened with Montana De La Rosa defeating Ariane Lipski by TKO in the second round. She outclassed Lipski from the beginning, and the finishing sequence was a dominant display of ground-and-pound from full mount. So far, the ladies are carrying the card with the only finishes. Dusko Todorovich looked like a fish out of water for the first two rounds of his fight with Gregory Rodrigues, but finally found some purchase in the third. It wouldn’t be enough when it came to the scorecards, though, and Rodrigues would take the unanimous decision. Santiago Ponzinibbio and Miguel Baeza put on the fight of the night, easily. Hell, it is a fight of the year contender by my calculations. The two battled back and forth, with Baeza taking the first half and The Ponz taking the latter half, but it was Santiago who poured on the most damage, even knocking Baeza’s mouthpiece out in the final seconds. It was a fantastic scrap. Roman Dolidze controlled the fight for the most part via lead blanket control. It was an ugly grinder that will be remembered solely for that fact.
The co-main event saw Walt Harris light up Marcin Tybura early, but “Tybur” survived the storm, scored a huge takedown and from there, rained down punches, won the scramble, then rained down more punches until the ref stopped the fight. That marked five wins in a row for Tybura. Excellent performance.
The main event saw two heavyweight titans very tentative until the last minute of the fight. Rozenstruik, content to wait for Sakai to make a mistake, finally got bold in the last seconds of the fight, uncorking a left-right combo that put Augusto down. “Bigi Boi” followed him down, landing the whole time until Herb Dean called a halt to the action with just a second left on the clock in the first round.
Performance of the Night: Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Marcin Tybura
Manon Fiorot (TKO (punches) at 3:00 of round 2), Mason Jones (no-contest (eye poke) at 2:14 of round 2), Montana De La Rosa (TKO (strikes) at 4:27 of round 2), Marcin Tybura (TKO) punches at 4:06 of round 1), Jairzinho Rozenstruik (TKO) punches at 4:59 of round 1)
Fight of the Night: Ponzinbbio vs. Baeza
Claudio Puelles (29-28 x3), Sean Woodson (29-28, 28-29, 29-28), Kamuela Kirk (30-27, 29-28, 29-28), Muslim Salikhov (30-27 x3), Ilir Latifi (29-28, 27-29, 29-28), Gregory Rodrigues (30-27, 30-27, 29-28), Santiago Ponzinibbio (29-28 x3), Roman Dolidze (30-27 x3)