Performance of the Night (POTN) | Fight of the Night (FOTN)
Derrick Lewis – KO (2) via Uppercut | $50K POTN Bonus
Chris Daukaus – KO (1) via Punches | $50K POTN Bonus
Tom Aspinall – SUB (2) via Rear Naked Choke | $50K POTN Bonus
Aiemann Zahabi – KO (1) via Right Cross | $50K POTN Bonus
UFC Vegas 19 was chalked full of knockouts, submissions, questionable judging, and multiple upset victories. Because there was such a high level of competition in terms of what performance stood out the most, this week’s Stock Report will be short and focused solely on the cardinal victories that took place on Saturday night.
Without any further ado, let’s get into it.
CATEGORIES: BLAZING, LUKEWARM, CHILLY, COLD AS ICE
Derrick Lewis def. Curtis Blaydes (KO Round 2 – Uppercut)
Right off the bat – I, along with the 2,891 other Tapology users who picked Curtis Blaydes (MMA 14-3-0, UFC 9-3-0, 1 NC) to win on Saturday night, have to eat my words and bow down to the esoteric oddity of a UFC star that is Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (MMA 25-7-0, UFC 16-5-0).
The narrative going into UFC Vegas 19’s main event was that Lewis has been more or less inept at defending takedowns against decent wrestlers in his UFC tenure. If he couldn’t defend a takedown against Alesey Oleinik, who was over 40 years old at the time they fought, how could we expect a different result against an extremely high-level wrestler like Blaydes?
My All Factors Considered co-host AJ mentioned jokingly in our UFC Vegas 19 Preview Show that “the best takedown in the sport is a strong left hook.” Well, Derrick Lewis showed us Saturday night that the key to defending takedowns from an NJCAA All-American wrestler is a strong right uppercut.
This knockout solidified Lewis’ name on the short-list of fighters who will have the opportunity to step in for Francis Ngannou if he is unable to compete in the Heavyweight championship rematch against Stipe Miocic on March 27th (Jon Jones is clearly first on that short-list, but Lewis’ name remains etched on that list as well).
However, Lewis has made it clear on multiple occasions that he’s not interested in taking five-round fights, not voluntarily at least. As of now, Lewis has his sight set on The Demolition Man. “I don’t care [Alistair Overeem] had a couple of losses in a row” said Lewis at the UFC Vegas 19 post-fight presser, “It’ll be cool just to fight him because he’s a so-called legend so it would be cool to fight somebody like that.”
Lewis is an enigma in the sport of MMA and his post-fight comments skew him more in the direction of the Diaz brothers rather than the cut and dry mold of a basic contender.
Nonetheless, Lewis finishes fights and sells PPV’s, which is beauty to the ears of Dana White and the UFC brass.
I would love to see Derrick Lewis vs Jon Jones or even Lewis vs Volkov 2, but neither of those fights will take place unless it’s for a championship or it’s slated as a three-round bout.
I learned the hard way – don’t count out Derrick Lewis.
Yana Kunitskaya def. Ketlen Vieira (29-28 x 3)
Yana Kunitskaya (MMA 14-5-0, UFC 4-2-0) just knocked off the #6 contender in the women’s Bantamweight division in Ketlen Vieira (MMA 11-2-0, UFC 5-2-0) with an unusual, but nonetheless effective strategy.
It’s unfortunate that this fight went to the judges, because the disputed nature of Kunitskaya’s victory has marred the impressive showing she put on against Vieira, who closed as a -280 betting favorite.
But since it happened in the cage, we have to talk about it.
According to mmadecisions.com; Of the 18 MMA media members polled, only 4 of them scored the fight for Kunitskaya. 14 media members scored it 29-28 for Vieira, which given the context of the bout would mean that Vieira won 2 of the 3 total rounds.
Now, let’s talk about why there’s a judging dispute in the first place:
For years MMA fans have complained that takedowns and top control are weighed too heavily by the judges. Here is an example of a common question that sheds light on the discrepancies and subjectiveness that goes into MMA judging.
If [Fighter A] is having success on the feet and is landing a plethora of significant strikes in the first 3 minutes and 30 seconds of the round, but [Fighter B] takes them down in the last minute and a half and begins to control the action, land ground and pound strikes that open a big cut, and finishes the round on top of [Fighter A], who wins the round?
Or we could use the inverse of this example:
If [Fighter A] is having success on the ground and is controlling effectively in the first 4 minutes of the round, but [Fighter B] is landing pot shots throughout and reverses position in the last minute and begins to control the action, land ground and pound strikes that open a big cut, and finishes the round on top of [Fighter A], who wins the round?
The latter of those examples is more or less what took place during the Vieira vs Kunitskaya bout on Saturday night. Though Vieira controlled the majority of the fight from bell to bell, Kunitskaya made it tough on her, landed nearly seven times the amount of strikes that Vieira did, and opened up a huge cut on her at the end of the fight.
And with that being said, I still scored the fight 29-28 for Vieira because she held Kunitskaya in multiple “finishing positions,” such as full-mount, back-mount, and even side-control to a degree. Meaning that even though Vieira wasn’t able to capitalize on a submission, she still had Kunitskaya is real danger throughout the fight.
Regardless, a win is a win is a win – and Yana Kunitskaya is now on a two-fight win streak and looking to trek closer and closer to a title shot.
If this was a perfect world, we’d see Kunitskaya face off against the Mexican boxer Irene Aldana, who currently sits at #4 in the women’s Bantamweight division. Aldana served Vieira her first professional loss and Kunitskaya just served the Brazilian her second professional loss.
Let’s see who would come out victorious in that potential strike-fest of a clash. Book it Dana!
Tom Aspinall def. Andrei Arlovski (SUB Round 2 – Rear Naked Choke)
When opportunity arises, it waits for nobody! Liverpool’s Tom Aspinall (MMA 10-2-0, UFC 3-0-0) is learning that in real time as his second-round submission victory against Andrei Arlovski (MMA 30-20-0, UFC 19-14-0, 1 NC) has already put him on the short list of fighters who have been able to submit the “Pitbull.”
When I say short-list, I mean it too. Arlovski has only been submitted twice in his 40 fight MMA career; once by Josh Barnett in 2016 and now by Aspinall at UFC Vegas 19.
I noted in our UFC Vegas 19 Preview Show that Andrei Arlovski was a huge test to determine the trajectory of Tom Aspinall’s career. Aspinall walked through names like Jake Collier and Alan Boudot in his first two UFC bouts, but those fighters are nowhere near the caliber of old-man Arlovski.
Former Middleweight champion and now UFC commentator, Michael Bisping noted that when Aspinall was asked if he thought he would be able to fare well on the ground if Arlovski took it there, the Team Kaobon fighter simply replied, “what’s grappling?”
Clearly Aspinall was joking – he does train with the likes of Darren Till and Mike Grundy at Team Kaobon in Liverpool.
Aspinall passed the test that was necessary to determine if he was simply a heavy handed punches beating up on cans or a real contender with an ace up his sleeve in case things got sticky in the cage.
In his post-fight interview, Aspinall called out the winner of Oleinik vs Daukaus, which was also a main card fight that took place at UFC Vegas 19. I don’t know if the UFC will be willing to pit two very promising Heavyweight prospects who have both racked up independent 3 fight finishing streaks against each other so early in their development.
However, I would love to see Tom Aspinall face off against the terrifying Alexander Romanov or even Tanner Boser, who is another hot Heavyweight prospect coming off a decision loss against Arloski. Either way, Tom Aspinall (and Chris Daukaus who isn’t mentioned in this week’s Stock Report) is a fighter that everybody needs to keep an eye out for. In my eyes, we’re looking at the future UFC heavyweight champion that nobody knows about yet.
After Further Consideration is the blog space for the All Factors Considered camp. The Stock Report is subjective and represents the stances, views, and opinions of the All Factors Considered camp solely.