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UFC Vegas 71: Five Things We Learned

UFC Vegas 71

UFC Vegas 71
(Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

UFC Vegas 71: Five Things We Learned

UFC Vegas 71 was a strange fight card. We saw great performances, poor performances, bad stoppages, no contests and more. The main event delivered, however. Sergei Pavlovich showed why he deserves a spot at the top of the division, knocking out Curtis Blaydes in the first round. Overall, UFC Vegas 71 left us with a ton to recap and discuss. Here are five things we learned at the event.

Sergei Pavlovich is a threat to elite heavyweights

Pavlovich made a statement at UFC Vegas 71. The heavyweight showed off his lethal power, quick hands and boxing combinations, quickly finishing Blaydes in the first round. Now, Pavlovich has won six consecutive fights by first-round knockout.

Pavlovich has proven to be a massive threat at heavyweight. While he has looked great in previous bouts, Blaydes is bar far the best fighter that he has beaten. It is a shame that Blaydes did not look to utilize his wrestling sooner. It would have been nice to see Pavlovich’s wrestling tested to a higher extent, but that is not his fault.

It is hard to predict what Pavlovich’s future will look like. At the moment, there are rumors that Jon Jones is going to defend the heavyweight belt against Stipe Miocic. It would be easy to say that Pavlovich will fight the winner, but there is talk that Jones may retire after the fight. The same could be said for Miocic, who is 40 years old. Regardless of if Pavlovich’s next fight is against Jones, Miocic, or a different heavyweight, he has the ability to beat any heavyweight on the roster.

Curtis Blaydes takes another step back

At this point, it is tough not to feel bad for Blaydes. It seems like every time Blaydes is able to string a few wins together he losses the bout that would put him over the top. UFC Vegas 71 was no different. This time around, Blaydes was riding a three-fight win streak before losing to Pavlovich. In fact, every time Blaydes has lost it happened while he was on at least a three-fight win streak.

Throughout his career, Blaydes has continued to get better. Every time he strings wins together he shows massive improvements in his game. That holds true this time around as he showed a lot of development in his striking. Against Pavlovich, he was able to land some great counterstrikes. The issue was that Pavolvich was able to eat strikes and return with more powerful shots. That is not to say Blaydes is not at fault, however. It doesn’t really make sense that he didn’t look to grappler sooner. Yes, he had some solid moments on the feet, but grappling was always his path to victory.

I will be interested to see how Blaydes’ career progresses from here. At 32, Blaydes still has plenty of time to go another run and potentially work his way back into the title picture.

Bruno Silva find his form

In our UFC Vegas 71 preview, one of my concerns surrounding Silva was that he looked bad in his last fight against Gerald Meerschaert. At UFC Vegas 71, he needed to be much better if he wanted to beat Brad Tavares. In the fight, Silva looked great as he knocked Tavares out in the first round.

It is nice to see Silva fight to his potential. At middleweight, Silva has a chance to break into the rankings if he can continue to stack a couple of impressive performances. At a minimum, I think it is safe to disregard his loss to Meerschaert in future previews.

Iasmin Lucindo is a fun addition to the UFC roster

At UFC Vegas 71, Lucindo picked up her first UFC win as she got a decision win over Brogan Walker. Lucindo looked great as she battered Walker with a ton of massive shots while avoiding the shots coming her way. I will say, I would have loved to see Lucindo pour on the pressure. If she picked up the volume she could have easily found a finish. That would have been nice considering I picked her to win via finish in best bets.

Still, Lucindo is two fights into her UFC career and she has been in two entertaining bouts. The first came against Yazmin Jauregui at UFC San Diego. I thought she proved to be a UFC-caliber fighter in that bout. That held true in this bout; however, I think it was more impressive that she continued to fight at such an entertaining brawling style.

Montel Jackson deserves more hype

At UFC Vegas 71, Montel Jackson knocked Rani Yahya in the first round. In this fight, Jackson once again demonstrated why he deserves more hype.

Jackson has an outstanding mix of length, knockout power, and grappling. Yet, he is never discussed as one of the better prospects in the UFC bantamweight division. That needs to change.

In fairness, the lack of hype around Jackson is a result of how stacked the bantamweight division is. The division has so many elite prospects that they can not all be given the proper amount of hype. That has led to Jackson flying under the radar despite his talent.

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