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UFC Vegas 62: Grasso vs. Araujo Winners and Losers

The real winners and losers of UFC Vegas 62

UFC Fight Night, UFC Vegas 62, Alexa Grasso, Viviane Araujo, Grasso vs Araujo, Winners and Losers,
Alexa Grasso victorious at UFC Vegas 62 after defeating Viviane Araujo

The UFC returned to the Apex on Saturday, following a week off after holding a private event for Mark Zuckerberg on October 1. In the main event of that card, UFC Vegas 62, Alexa Grasso faced Viviane Araujo in a matchup between two highly-ranked flyweights. Grasso, who was the No. 5 fighter in the official flyweight rankings, topped the No. 6 ranked Araujo thanks to her superior striking skills.

In the co-main event, Jonathan Martinez made a statement by finishing Cub Swanson via leg kicks. The 28-year-old, who was unranked heading into the bantamweight bout, let everyone know after his win that he is ready to face ranked opposition — and maybe even a former UFC champion — in his next outing.

Also on the main card, veteran bantamweight competitor Raphael Assuncao showed that while retirement might be approaching, he’s not quite ready to cede his spot on the UFC roster with a win over Victor Henry.

Read on for a complete list and breakdown of the winners and losers from UFC Vegas 62.

Winners:

Alexa Grasso: Alexa Grasso moved her winning streak to four straight with a clear unanimous decision win over Viviane Araujo in the main event of UFC Vegas 62.

Grasso’s striking and ability to keep the fight off the mat earned her the win.

Outside of getting the win, the most important takeaway from this fight was Grasso getting a five-round scrap under her belt. Now that she knows the pace she can compete at and what it feels like to go 25 minutes, I expect Grasso will get another five-rounder in her next outing and if she gets her hand raised in that contest, she should be ready to challenge for the UFC title.

Jonathan Martinez: Jonathan Martinez might not break into the UFC bantamweight rankings following his leg kick TKO win over Cub Swanson, but he feels he’s ready to face ranked fighters.

Following his dominant win over his veteran opponent, Martinez called for a matchup opposite the No. 7 ranked Dominick Cruz.

Martinez looked excellent in dismantling Swanson. His low and high kicks were devastating and effective and his work in the clinch was top-notch. With the win at UFC Vegas 62, Martinez has four straight victories.

Raphael Assuncao: Raphael Assuncao picked up his first win since 2018 on Saturday with a unanimous decision nod over Victor Henry. The victory ended a four-fight losing skid for the 40-year-old and also answered some questions about his viability as a UFC bantamweight.

Assuncao’s days as a top-15 135-pounder might be over, but he remains a capable and dangerous fighter. Saturday’s win was a big statement from Assuncao.

Alonzo Menifield: Alonzo Menifield is having a good 2022. After going 2-3 between 2020 and 2021, Menifield has two first-round knockouts this year.

Menifield can get a little reckless and expose himself to counters, but his power is undeniable. With his two recent wins, Menifield’s confidence also seems to be increasing and that’s always a positive.

Joanderson Brito: Joanderson Brito has had three memorable outings with the UFC. He scored his second win in the UFC and his second first-round finish on Saturday with a submission win over Lucas Alexander.

Brito knocked out Andre Fili in May. At UFC Vegas 62, he followed that with a rear-naked choke submission victory over Alexander. Brito is incredibly aggressive and a potent finisher, but his pedal-to-the-metal style cost him in his UFC debut, a decision loss to Bill Algeo. With his two recent finishes, there’s no way to tell if he’s dealt with that issue, but as long as he’s racking up quick finishes, I guess that’s not a problem to worry about right now.

Tatsuro Taira: Tatsuro Taira moved to 12-0 overall and 2-0 in the UFC with a submission win over C.J. Vergara. The 22-year-old used Vergara’s aggression against him in the first round to score takedowns.

The young flyweight’s ground game showed some real promise. Taira displayed patience on the mat. He didn’t force anything and his transition from the rear-naked choke to the fight-finishing armbar showed impressive situational awareness.

Pete Rodriguez: The UFC matchmakers owed Pete Rodriguez one and they repaid him at UFC Vegas 62. Rodriguez was 4-0 when he was matched against the more skilled and experienced Jack Della Maddalena in January. Della Maddalena ran over Rodriguez, knocking him out in under three minutes. It was Rodriguez’s turn to be the superior fighter opposite Mike Jackson on Saturday. Rodriguez showed good boxing and his finishing knee, which he said he threw on the advice of his corner, was a nasty way to wrap things up.

It’s hard to tell precisely where Rodriguez stands after his first two fights in the UFC, but the 25-year-old has shown a willingness and ability to engage on the feet.

Losers:

Alexa Grasso: I usually don’t care about fighter callouts, but Grasso sent the UFC a message following her win over Viviane Araujo. That message was she does not want the fight with flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko.

I don’t have a problem with that, but if Grasso does want the title fight, but ends up getting overlooked, she can’t complain.

Viviane Araujo: Viviane Araujo’s best chance at victory at UFC Vegas 62 was to get the fight to the mat, and rack up ground strikes. She was unable to do that and it cost her the fight against Alexa Grasso.

Cub Swanson: Cub Swanson’s drop to bantamweight did not go well. Any success he had in his matchup opposite Jonathan Martinez seemed to come from his heart and toughness.

I think the 38-year-old still has something to offer the UFC, but I doubt what he has left will allow him to compete at the upper levels of the 135 or 145-pound division. With that, Swanson, who has been with the WEC/UFC since 2007, has to consider what his future holds as far as UFC competition.

Jordan Wright: Jordan Wright spent whatever energy he had during the first five minutes of his fight opposite Dusko Todorovic. When the second round began, Wright had nothing to offer and did nothing but accept damage for the 3:12 that the second round lasted.

Wright opened his career with a record of 11-0 (one no contest). He is 1-4 in his past five outings, with three consecutive stoppage defeats.

Victor Henry: Saturday night was a good learning experience for Victor Henry and his team. With his unanimous decision loss to Raphael Assuncao, Henry and his team now know what it takes to compete with the next level of UFC talent.

Misha Cirkunov: Misha Cirkunov’s foray at middleweight lasted two fights. He lost both. The 35-year-old returned to light heavyweight at UFC Vegas 62. Things did not go well. Alonzo Menifield knocked out Cirkunov in 88 seconds. Cirkunov is on a four-fight losing skid. His record over the past five years is 2-6.

Jacob Malkoun and his corner: Why did Jacob Malkoun and his corner accept a ground fight for the first three minutes of the second round and parts of the third stanza of the Nick Maximov scrap? Something happened in the first round that left Maximov compromised — it was his back leg that was injured — and that was messing with his striking. Allowing Maximov to compete on the mat was a mistake.

Nick Maximov’s corner: Something happened in the first round of the Nick Maximov vs. Jacob Malkoun fight that left Maximov wincing during the action and limping to his corner when the round ended. Maximov’s corner did not acknowledge that their fighter was hurt after the first round or consider getting their compromised fighter out of a fight he was losing. I can maybe understand sending him out for the second round, but the third? No. Maximov’s corner should have thrown in the towel in this one.

Mike Jackson: Mike Jackson has never seemed to be a favorite of the UFC brass. I suspect his knockout loss to Pete Rodriguez will open the door to release Jackson.

Din Thomas: I get trying to put a positive spin on things, but sometimes one needs to be realistic. During the intro segment of the UFC Vegas 62 card, UFC commentator Din Thomas said that Cub Swanson had dropped to bantamweight from featherweight to challenge himself despite having success at 145 pounds. Swanson’s record at featherweight over the past five years is 3-5. Thomas can try to spin the move in any way he wants, but a below .500 record is not a success.

UFC: The UFC 280 promo that ran at the end of the card featured UFC commentator Daniel Cormier saying that the Arizona athletic commission took Charles Oliveira’s title from him. I’m sure the UFC would like everyone to believe that lie because it lets the organization off the hook. However, the UFC title is a promotional title and the athletic commissions do not have anything to do with those belts. The UFC stripped Oliveira of the lightweight crown when he missed weight at UFC 274. Despite what the UFC and its employees would like us to believe, there’s no way around that fact.

Neither:

Mana Martinez: Mana Martinez seemed to treat his fight with Brandon Davis as a fun little gym scrap, which was something his coach James Krause screamed at him about during the one-minute break between the second and third rounds.

Martinez won the split decision, but his coach was obviously not pleased with his shenanigans during the fight. I expect a much more focused Martinez in his next outing or a different team in his corner.