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UFC On ABC 4: Five Things We Learned

UFC on ABC 4

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC on ABC 4
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC On ABC 4: Five Things We Learned

UFC on ABC 4 was an outstanding night of fights. Jailton Almeida looked outstanding in his first main event, Johnny Walker took another leap in his career, and Ian Garry Machado showed off his skills. Additionally, we saw a few fun scraps, some sweet knockouts, and slicks submissions. All the action left us with a ton to recap. Here are five things we learned at UFC on ABC 4.

Jailton Almeida is an elite heavyweight grappler

The UFC heavyweight division does not have many elite grapplers. At UFC on ABC 4, Jailton Almeida proved to be one of the best in the division. Almeida put his grappling on full display as he landed a first-round submission against Jairzinho Rozenstruik. This is a relatively simple fight to recap, as Almeida was able to land an early takedown and work his BJJ from the top position before landing a rear naked choke.

Almeida’s grappling has made him one of the top prospects in the UFC’s higher weight classes. This performance allowed him to demonstrate that his grappling would be effective against the heavyweight division’s top fighters rather than just its unranked members. That does not necessarily come as a surprise, but it is a positive step in his development.

Johnny Walker is slowing down the pace 

At UFC on ABC 4, Johnny Walker showed a new wrinkle to his game as he earned a decision win over Anthony Smith. Typically, when Walker is successful, he earns quick finishes. That was not the case against Smith as this was the first decision victory of his UFC tenure.

This was an interesting performance for Walker. We saw a more controlled fighter that emphasized offensive fundamentals and defense. That resulted in Walker landing a lot of leg kicks while avoiding the power shots from Smith.

I do not hate this approach from Walker. I think the development in his skills was good to see. That said, I think this approach needs to be refined. Firstly, I think Walker needs to be more aggressive. I think he needs to be more diligent in throwing a more diverse set of kicks. I loved his leg kick, but he should mix in his body and head kick more frequently. Those felt like great tools that were being underutilized. The same can be said for other offensive weapons. Secondly, there were moments when he could have finished Smith. In those moments, he should have picked up the pace. Yes, it is nice that he can slow the pace down, but he needs to be aware of when he should pick up the pace. It is a balance that needs to be reached.

Anthony Smith needs to consider retirement 

Anthony Smith was unable to secure a win at UFC on ABC 4. Now, I think it is time for him to consider retiring. I am not saying he has to, but I do think he should do some self-evaluation before determining his next step.

Let me just say, I do not enjoy saying a fighter should retire. Although, I do think it is important for a fighter to walk away at the right time. This allows them to avoid damage that comes at the tail end of their career.

In terms of Smith, I do not think he looked good in this fight. To me, he just looked flat. It seemed like he could not get started. That resulted in him taking some heavy shots and a ton of leg kicks.

At this point, Smith, 34, is not terribly old. The issue is that he has been fighting since 2008 and has 54 professional bouts. That is a lot of damage for one person.

It is important to recognize that Smith was returning from a massive ankle injury. That could have impacted his performance. If Smith was not at 100 percent, then he should take another fight.

If Smith does call it a career, he had a great one. No, he never became a champion, but he was a title contender that spent years at the top of the light heavyweight division. Plus, he has a great career in media that will keep him involved in the sport.

The Ian Machado Garry hype train is growing

Ian Machado Garry was one of the biggest winners at UFC on ABC 4. The Irishman made a statement as he knocked Daniel Rodriguez with a head kick in the first round. That type of impressive knockout will only allow his massive hype train to grow.

Machado Garry’s performance against Rodriguez is more than worthy of recognition. In the fight, he did an outstanding job of using the body kick to set up the head kick that he used to finish the fight. On top of that, Machado Garry’s best weapon is his punches. That makes his head-kick finish even more impressive. The cherry on top was that Machado Garry became the first person to knock Rodriguez out.

It is safe to say that Machado Garry deserves the hype train he has received. All in all, he sits at 12-0 in his career and 5-0 in the UFC. That track record will result in him earning a ranking when the UFC rankings are updated this week.

Carlos Ulberg is an exciting light heavyweight prospect

At UFC on ABC 4, Carlos Ulberg landed a first-round knockout against Ihor Potieria to prove he is one of the best prospects in the light heavyweight division.

Ulberg entered UFC on ABC 4 on an impressive three-fight win streak. This win over Poteiria extended that streak to four, with now three of those wins coming via first-round knockout.

This streak has established Ulberg as one of the best prospects in the light heavyweight division. Ulberg, 32, is not young, but his technical striking and power make him an intriguing fighter in a shallow division. Furthermore, the division lacks elite prospects which makes Ulberg’s status even more unique.

***

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