On Saturday, Sean Strickland fought in his second consecutive UFC main event. Like in his first headlining bout — UFC Vegas 33 — Strickland took home a decision win at UFC Vegas 47. He defeated Jack Hermansson via split decision.
Judging from his post-fight comments, Strickland was not happy with his performance.
“I’m sorry guys,” Strickland told UFC commentator Michael Bisping during his post-fight interview. “I was being a pansy. I should have stayed in the pocket and thrown. Maybe I let the pressure get to me. I was fighting like a b*tch. I think I just let the win bonus get the better of me. I should have stayed in the pocket and thrown more.”*
Whatever his assessment, Strickland won the fight and with where he began the bout, one spot behind Hermansson, who was No. 6 in the official UFC rankings before the event, the chances are good the win will move Strickland one step close to his goal of fighting for the UFC middleweight title.
Read on for the winners and losers from UFC Vegas 47, which took place at UFC Apex in Las Vegas and streamed on ESPN+.
Sean Strickland: Was Sean Strickland’s win over Jack Hermansson exciting? No. Was his approach to the fight effective? Absolutely.
Strickland showed what an effective jab, solid takedown defense and good defensive striking can do over the course of 25 minutes — beat another highly ranked middleweight.
Strickland moved his middleweight winning streak to 5-0 since October 2020. I don’t think Strickland’s style will prompt the UFC matchmakers to put him on the shortlist of potential title contenders, but he should face a fighter ahead of him in the rankings and the only middleweights above him who are not booked to fight are Paulo Costa — who UFC president Dana White said is done at 185 — and Marvin Vettori, who is coming off an October win over Costa.
Shavkat Rakhmonov: Shavkat Rakhmonov moved to 15-0 with 15 finishes when he put Carlston Harris away in the first round of their welterweight contest.
Rakhmonov is now 3-0 in the UFC and the former M-1 Global welterweight champion looks poised to make a run up the 170 pound rankings. Rakhmonov seems to have an easygoing approach to how fast he moves up the welterweight pecking order, but I expect the UFC will give him more of a test in his next matchup. Whoever Rakhmonov faces, fans should catch that fight.
Brendan Allen: Brendan Allen saw an opportunity to get the taste of a loss out of his mouth when he agreed to fight Sam Alvey at UFC Vegas 47. Allen, who usually fights at middleweight, accepted the light heavyweight bout opposite Alvey on five days’ notice. The matchup was his first since a December loss to Chris Curtis.
The 26-year-old looked relaxed and confident in facing the veteran inside the octagon. Allen got back in the win column with a second round submission win over Alvey.
Julian Erosa vs. Steven Peterson: Fight fans did not get a technical battle when Julian Erosa and Steven Peterson faced off in the opening bout of the main card of UFC Vegas 47, but they got a full 15 minutes of violence and entertainment.
Erosa and Peterson pursued the finish throughout the bout, and both seemed close to getting that stoppage at points, but they were a bit too reckless in the pursuit of that finish - something both men’s coaches told them about before the third stanza.
This was a dream matchup for those who want to just see two tough fighters get in the cage and throw caution to the wind. It was crazy scrap.
The fight won “Fight of the Night.” With Peterson missing weight, Erosa reportedly pocketed the entire $100,000 allotted for that bonus.
John Castaneda: John Castaneda put together a complete and superb performance at UFC Vegas 47. The 30-year-old used his speed and cunning in the first round to draw his opponent Miles Johns into thinking he could land punches that Castaneda defended at the last millisecond. Then, in the second and third stanzas, Castaneda used pressure and output to take the fight to the fatiguing Johns.
I was especially impressed by how Castaneda got the finish. He forced nothing and took what the fight gave him and wrapped things up with a choke.
Hakeem Dawodu: Before UFC Vegas 47, Hakeem Dawodu last fought in June 2021. He had a great showing in his return to action. Dawodu was relentless in his striking during his featherweight bout opposite Michael Trizano. He did a fantastic job mixing his targets and techniques, as well as throwing a massive amount of volume at Trizano.
If Dawodu can stay healthy and active, his win over Trizano will be something he should be able to build on.
Chidi Njokuani: Chidi Njokuani had his first pro MMA bout in November 2007. After stints in various MMA promotions — including Bellator, LFA, RFA and Tachi Palace - Njokuani earned himself a shot in the UFC in 2022. The younger brother of Anthony Njokuani, Chidi showed out in his UFC debut on Saturday. Njokuani stunned his opponent, Marc-André Barriault, with a jab and then sat him down with a big right. Some additional — but perhaps unnecessary — ground strikes, brought the contest to an end in 16 seconds. Njokuani had the type of UFC debut fighter’s dream about.
Jailton Almeida: Jailton Almeida was the biggest favorite on the UFC Vegas 47 fight card and he lived up to that billing. Almeida showed his patience, grappling skills and ground striking in earning a first-round TKO stoppage. In a division that is very much in need of fresh blood, it’s going to be interesting to see how the UFC matchmakers handle this 30-year-old light heavyweight.
Phillip Rowe: Phillip Rowe did not have a good first round in his welterweight bout against Jason Witt. Witt took Rowe down and held him on the mat for most of the first stanza. However, Witt’s wrestling skills did not discourage Rowe. Rowe came back in the second round and used his 10-inch reach advantage and superior striking skills to score an impressive knockout in the second stanza.
Rowe is now 3-1 in the UFC with three knockout wins.
Jack Hermansson: Jack Hermansson gave as much as he could to defeat Sean Strickland at UFC Vegas 47, but he did not have enough. Hermansson couldn’t get a takedown and he struggled to land effective head strikes. Hermansson’s striking increased in every round of the fight, but his landing rate decreased. With the defeat, Hermansson has now alternated wins and losses over his past six fights dating back to his decision victory over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in April 2019.
Steven Peterson: Steven Peterson missed weight by a significant amount for the second time in a row at UFC Vegas 47. Peterson came in at 148.5 for his June 2021 bout opposite Chase Hooper (Peterson won). On Friday, he checked in at 149 ahead of his fight against Julian Erosa (Peterson lost). While Peterson was walking to the octagon, the UFC commentators noted that Peterson said he was going to work with a nutritionist after the fight. Former UFC fighters and current UFC commentators, Paul Felder and Michael Bisping, rightly pointed out that the time for Peterson to do that was before the fight and not after.
The weight miss cost Peterson 30 percent of his fight purse as well as his share of the “Fight of the Night” bonus.
Denys Bondar: Denys Bondar suffered a nasty arm injury in his loss to Malcolm Gordon. Hopefully the injury does not keep him out of action for a long time. Bondar was originally booked to make his UFC debut in February 2021.
Mark Smith: UFC commentators Michael Bisping and Paul Felder seemed stunned that referee Mark Smith did not take a point from Julija Stoliarenko for her illegal upkick in the first round of her fight against Alexis Davis. The two UFC vets were correct to scratch their heads. That seemed like a big miss by the referee.
Punahele Soriano vs. Nick Maximov: The matchmaking for the middleweight bout between Punahele Soriano and Nick Maximov seemed to be about which fighter might get a push from the UFC machine. I don’t know if Maximov, who got the decision win in this fight, will get that push just yet.
Maximov remained undefeated with the win, but my criticism of his first fight remains the same after this win. The 24-year-old has good wrestling, but he doesn’t do much with that skill once he has the fight on the mat. Maximov needs to work on his ground striking in a big way if he wants to make noise in the UFC.