There was plenty to enjoy from UFC Vegas 57 on Saturday night. The lightweight headliner was an all-action affair, and the welterweight co-headliner had an undefeated upstart move one step closer to contention.
The preliminary portion of the card started with a scrappy fight between Vanessa Demopoulos and Jinh Yu Frey that ended in a split decision for the ‘Lil’ Monster,’ who is now on a two-fight win streak. She even did her signature celebration and jumped into the arms of UFC color commentator Michael Bisping during her post-fight interview. Mario Bautista took Brian Kelleher to the ground and secured a slick rear-naked choke in the very first round. Cody Durden blitzed JP Buys for a 68-second technical knockout, his first finish in the UFC. Sergey Morozov survived an early scare and used his wrestling to stave off Raulian Paiva en route to a unanimous decision. Shayilan Nuerdanbieke and T.J. Brown had a close fight, but the ‘Wolverine’ was able to get it done by decision. Carlos Ulberg hurt Tafon Nchukwi with a stiff left hand and followed up with a flurry of punches that led to referee Herb Dean stepping in at 1:15 of Round 1. ‘Black Jag’ set the tone for his City Kickboxing teammates Israel Adesanya, Alexander Volkanovski and Brad Riddell, who are all fighting at UFC 276 next week.
The main portion of the card saw Chris Curtis get his third consecutive win in the UFC with a unanimous decision over Rodolfo Vieira. The ‘Action Man’ stuffed 20 (!) takedown attempts by the ‘Black Belt Hunter’ and kept punishing him with vicious body shots. Umar Nurmagomedov dominated Nate Maness on the ground and improved to 15-0 as a professional. He should be booked against a ranked opponent in his next appearance, right? Thiago Moisés returned to the win column with a first-round rear-naked choke of Christos Giagos. That was a one-armed rear-naked choke, too. Super impressive, Mr. Moisés! Josh Parisian fought through adversity to earn a second-round technical knockout of Alan Baudot. Shavkat Rakhmonov scored the biggest win of his professional career thus far, submitting Neil Magny with a guillotine choke in the second round. What a performance by the No. 15 ranked contender, who proceeded to call out Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson.
Arman Tsarukyan vs. Mateusz Gamrot was heaps of fun! After five rounds of non-stop action, it was the ‘Gamer’ who did enough to earn a unanimous decision.
Performance of the Night: Thiago Moisés, Shavkat Rakhmonov and Josh Parisian
Mario Bautista def. Brian Kelleher by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:27 of Round 1
Cody Durden def. JP Buys by TKO (punches) at 1:08 of Round 1
Carlos Ulberg def. Tafon Nchukwi by TKO (punches) at 1:15 of Round 1
Thiago Moisés def. Christos Giagos by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:05 of Round 1
Josh Parisian def. Alan Baudot by TKO (punches) at 3:04 of Round 2
Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Neil Magny by submission (guillotine) at 4:58 of Round 2
Fight of the Night: Mateusz Gamrot vs. Arman Tsarukyan
Vanessa Demopoulos def. Jinh Yu Frey by split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Sergey Morozov def. Raulian Paiva by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Shayilan Nuerdanbieke def. T.J. Brown by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Chris Curtis def. Rodolfo Vieira by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Umar Nurmagomedov def. Nate Maness by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-25)
Mateusz Gamrot def. Arman Tsarukyan by unanimous decision (48-47 x3)