Bloody Elbow fight experts, Zane Simon & Dayne Fox, are here tonight – Saturday, July 17th., 2021, to breakdown the UFC VEGAS 31: ‘Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises’ Fight Night event, aka: UFC on ESPN 26, which was broadcast from the cozy confines of the APEX Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The guys will have hot takes, possible next fights, as well as reactions to the overall event in the player above, or on our Bloody Elbow Presents YouTube Channel and BE Presents Podcast Network. (SPOILERS...)
Makhachev all the way. Moises will have chances to snag victory from the jaws of defeat, but seems likely he'll be fighting off his back foot, or off his back, most of the time. #UFCVegas31— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 18, 2021
Former UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway and The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America Featherweight winner, Yair Rodríguez, were all lined up to excite as the event headliner. However, Holloway was pulled from the bout due to an injury. That match up is expected to remain intact and the bout will be rescheduled to a future event. So what we had here tonight was the substitute headliner between Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moisés. For a fairly short notice bout, it was expected to be a good match up.
"This is my first 4th round in my life. I never fight more than 3 rounds." - Islam Makhachev happy for the 5 round fight experience. #UFCVegas31— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 18, 2021
Well, the UFC showcased a banger of a Lightweight Bout tonight! The minus 700 favorite, Makhachev, excelled with Khabib in his corner and became the first man to take down Thiago Moises. In his first fight beyond three rounds he also became the 6th fighter in UFC Lightweight history to win eight or more consecutive fights, as his record now goes up to 20-1. Post-fight, Islam tells Felder, “You can run but you can’t hide. I’m coming. I’m here.” After which he calls for a bout with RDA next. In the post-fight show on ESPN+ he took the opportunity to also call out Michael Chandler, who was at the announcers table during the event tonight.
Taking Tate. Expect Reneau will make it tough for her for a while standing, but I think she can grind out the win behind her wrestling game and stay out of subs. #UFCVegas31— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 18, 2021
A women’s Bantamweight bout between former Strikeforce and UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Miesha ‘Cupcake’ Tate and Marion ‘The Belizean Bruiser’ Reneau served as the event’s Co-Main Bout. It was Tate’s first fight since UFC 205, where she lost to former title challenger Raquel Pennington, via Unanimous Decision. She announced her retirement at the age of thirty afterwards, so her last bout was November, 2016.
Tate returned to the Octagon with a vengeance. ‘Cupcake’ was a beast. She put down Reneau (for the first time) with a flurry of strikes, punches and bloody elbows - after some calm and composed takedowns, she looked super comfortable on her feet, but vicious on the mat right up to the 1:53 mark of the third round, earning herself a POTN bonus. Reneau did not disappoint with her performance either, she was happy with the way she went out tonight.
Big announcements from both sides of the octagon post-fight: Tate exclaims she has “checked a lot of things off the bucket list today” and lets us know, “With all due respect, I’m not here just for a fight. I’m here for a belt.” So she is back to go after the title; but she was not yet ready to call anyone out by name. Reneau states she was glad to go out the way she did, having been a fan of Tate’s for a long time; while announcing this was her last fight, she is retired as of tonight.
I don't think it's next for Tate, but I've got a feeling we'll see a rematch between her and Holly Holm at some point, perhaps within the next year. #UFCVegas31— Dayne Fox (@TheDayneFox) July 18, 2021
"I'm sure you're going to get addicted to something else physical." - Paul Felder with some kind (but also hilarious) words to Marion Reneau. #UFCVegas31— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 18, 2021
Also on the card, we got the return of Jeremy ‘Lil’ Heathen’ Stephens, after his controversial shove to Drakkar Klose at UFC Vegas 24 back in April (which cancelled the bout on the day of the event, due to Klose sustaining a spinal injury as a result of that shove at the weigh-ins). Stephens was scheduled to face Mateusz Gamrot tonight.
Plus, a Featherweight bout was initially slated between Herbert Burns and Billy Quarantillo, but Burns had to cancel in early June due to a torn ACL, and was since replaced by Gabriel Benítez as Quarantillo’s opponent in the main card opener.
Can anyone remember the last kimura finish in the UFC? You don't see those very often anymore. Typically a strongman submission. #UFCVegas31— Dayne Fox (@TheDayneFox) July 18, 2021
Gamrot annihilated Stephens in short order with a wicked shoulder-shredding Kimura Submission at just 1:05 of the first round, which was bound to earn him a POTN bonus.
Rodolfo Vieira and Dustin Stolzfus put on a bloody three round battle, which ended at the 11:54 mark of the bout – when Vieira subbed Stolzfus with a Rear Naked Choke’; for a minute there it looked like they were going to go the distance, they were fighting their hearts out.
In another three round banger, Billy Quarantillo took the ‘W’ via punches from back control at 13:40 into his bout against Gabriel Benitez. Quarantillo looked terribly impressive in his performance tonight. FOTN right there.
Vieira really does look incredibly relieved that all this is over. #UFCVegas31— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 18, 2021
Hard elbows from back control from Qurantillo. Constantly plugging away with shots from back control Ref finally steps in. Benitez's eye was busted and he was an absolute mess. Just got pulped out there. #UFCVegas31— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) July 18, 2021
In the featured prelim, Abubakar Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet Daniel Rodriguez in a Welterweight bout. Nurmagomedov however, was forced to withdraw from the event due to an injury. Rodriguez was facing promotional newcomer Preston Parsons instead... as was predicted it was over quickly, the bout concluded in just 2:47 with Punches delivered upon Parsons, ending his UFC debut in defeat.
For the opening prelim, we had a Heavyweight bout between Rodrigo Nascimento and Alan Baudot. Which was originally expected to take place at UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Garbrandt. However, they were rescheduled to this event after Baudot got injured, now it was part of our undercard tonight. Was Baudot fully recovered? It’s worth pondering, when you consider that he was eliminated by Nascimento via Punches (Standing TKO) at just 1:29 of the second round. POTN bonus to Nascimento.
Gonna be hard to pick Performance bonuses. My picks thus far: Lemos, Quarantillo, Vieira, and Gamrot. That said, I still hate the idea of limiting the amount of bonuses. #UFCVegas31— Dayne Fox (@TheDayneFox) July 18, 2021
This week the guys’ picks heading into the event were...
Zane: Stephens, Dayne: Gamrot
Both: JohnsCancelled due to COVID-19 Protocols, dos Santos camp
Overall, this now 10-bout card saw three exhilarating first round finishes, five impressive KO/TKO’s, three sweet submissions, and two decisions. *NOTE: The UFC issued SIX bonuses tonight... Rounding things out, bonuses for putting forth POTN efforts went to Rodrigo Nascimento, Miesha Tate, Mateusz Gamrot, & Rodolfo Vieira; FOTN honors went to Gabriel Benitez vs. Billy Quarantillo. What a night of fights we have to share with you, join us to discuss all the action...
Here’s a look at the fight results & updated records for the ‘UFC VEGAS 31’ fight card:
ESPN/ESPN+ MAIN CARD
10. 155lbs: Islam Makhachev (20-1) DEF. Thiago Moises (15-5) – SUB, Rear Naked Choke at 2:38 of Rd 4 of 5, Total 17:38
9. 135lbs: Meisha Tate (19-7) DEF. Marion Reneau (9-8) – KO/TKO, G&P at 1:53 of Rd 2, Total 11:53
8. 155lbs: Mateusz Gamrot (19-1) DEF. Jeremy Stephens (28-19) – SUB, Kimura at 1:05 of Rd 1
7. 185lbs: Rodolfo Viera (8-1) DEF. Dustin Stolzfus (13-3) – SUB, Rear Naked Choke at 1:54 of Rd 3, Total 11:54
6. 145lbs: Billy Quarantillo (16-3) DEF. Gabriel Benitez (22-9) – KO/TKO, Punches from Back Control at 3:40 of Rd 3, Total 13:40
5. 170lbs: Daniel Rodriguez (15-2) DEF. Preston Parsons (9-3) – KO/TKO, Punches at 3:47 of Rd 1
4. 115lbs: Amanda Lemos (10-1) DEF. Montserrat Ruiz (10-2) – KO/TKO, Counter Right at 0:35 of Rd 1
3. 135lbs: Sergey Morozov (17-4) DEF. Khalid Taha (13-4) – DEC, Unanimous
2. 125lbs: Malcolm Gordon (13-5) DEF. Francisco Figueiredo (12-4) – DEC, Unanimous
1. 265lbs: Rodrigo Nascimento (9-1) DEF. Alan Baudot (8-3) – KO/TKO, Punches (Standing TKO) at 1:29 of Rd 2, Total 6:29
Be sure to follow Zane - @TheZaneSimon & Dayne - @TheDayneFox; and follow @BloodyElbow on twitter as well, for all the latest in MMA happenings. ‘Bloody Elbow Presents’ is a mixed martial arts podcast network presented to you by Bloody Elbow:
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