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UFC Vegas 71: Five Things We Learned

UFC Vegas 71
(Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)

UFC Vegas 71: Five Things We Learned

UFC Vegas 71 was an outstanding night of fights. The card featured a handful of ranked talent like Merab Dvalishvili, Petr Yan, Alexander Volkov, Alexander Romanov, Nikita Krylov, Ryan Spann and more. More importantly, the card was entertaining as we saw a ton of fun fights and impressive finishes. At the end of the night, UFC Vegas 71 left us with several lessons that need to be discussed. Here are five things we learned at UFC Vegas 71.

Merab Dvalishvili is really a machine

In the main event of UFC Vegas 71, Merab ‘The Machine’ Dvalishvili earned a dominant decision victory over Petr Yan. Dvalishvili won all five rounds on all three of the judges’ scorecards, making him the first person to dominate Yan in that fashion.

Dvalishvili was able to accomplish this through a historical display of volume. According to UFC Stats, throughout the fight, Dvalishvili attempted 49 takedowns and threw 401 significant strikes. Dvalishvili did not land at a great percentage as he only landed 11 takedowns and 202 strikes. Still, he fought with such a high output that it prevented Yan from getting any offense going as he was always on the back foot reacting to Dvalishvili’s output.

Dvalishvili really earned his nickname in this one. Dvalishvili had a machine-like output that allowed him to get win over Yan, a former champion. This was also Dvalishvili’s first five-round fight which made his performance even more impressive. Coming into this fight, there were questions as to whether he could fight at his crazy pace for five rounds. As much as that seemed impossible, he was able to accomplish it. There is no question that Dvalishvili is a tough task for anyone over five rounds.

Petr Yan is in bantamweight no man’s land

We have already established that Yan was unable to get a win at UFC Vegas 71. In fairness, Yan did not necessarily have a bad fight. Rather, Dvalishvili just prevented him from getting any offense going. Still, that makes Yan 1-4 in his last five.

Yan is probably the most talented fighter to even go on such a bad stretch. It is also noteworthy that two of those four losses came by way of suspect decisions while another came via disqualification. That does not change the number of losses on his record though.

It is going to be tough for Yan to climb back into the UFC bantamweight title picture. At the moment, Yan has loses against the three highest-ranked fighters in the division. The division could feature a shake-up if Henry Cejudo becomes champion at UFC 288. Aljamain Sterling could move up to bantamweight too. Either of those things could help Yan work his way back to the top of the division.

It is hard to tell who Yan will fight next. There are a few interesting names though. If Marlon Vera loses to Cory Sandhagen that could be a fun matchup. A fight between Yan and top prospect Adrian Yanez could be in line if Yanez defeats Rob Font. I don’t hate the idea of Yan welcoming former flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo to the division either. Regardless of who Yan ends up fighting, it will be a must-win.

Alexander Volkov keeps his top-ten rank

In the UFC Vegas 71 co-main event, Alexander Volkov got a first-round finish against Alexander Romanov. Volkov proved to be miles ahead of Romanov. Once Volkov defended Romanov’s first takedown attempt, the fight was practically over. Romanov was already tired and had nothing to offer Volkov on the feet.

This was an important win for Volkov. If he were to lose, he was to be on the border of losing his spot in the heavyweight rankings. Instead, he got a massive victory and kept his top-ten rank. Now, he looking upward on the rankings and could be in line for a fight against someone ranked above him.

Nikita Krylov adds to his win streak

At UFC Vegas 71, Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann finally fought and it was worth the wait. Despite a first-round finish, this fight was massively entertaining as we saw non-stop action. Eventually, Krylov was able to come out on top as he landed a triangle choke that finished the fight.

This fight displayed a massive gap in technique. Spann was the more explosive and athletic of the pair. That can be seen in the opening exchange when Spann landed a massive jab. The difference is that Krylov was always one step ahead on the ground. Krylov was able to stay safe during Spann submission attempts while advancing position and threatening submissions of his own. The technique and intelligence advantages of Krylov were on full display when Spann rushed Krylov’s guard which was what allowed Krylov to land the triangle choke that finished the fight.

This win extends Krylov’s win streak to three. At this point, Krylov is on the verge of a massive opportunity in the light heavyweight division. It is tough to tell exactly who he will fight next. The winner of Anthony Smith vs. Johnny Walker makes sense and Aleksandar Rakic would be a good fight. Either way, Krylov put himself in a good spot at UFC Vegas 71.

Jonathan Martinez is another bantamweight prospect

The UFC bantamweight division has a ton of awesome prospects. I will not run through every elite prospect because that would take a while, but Jonathan Martinez added his name to the list at UFC Vegas 71. Martinez was able to get an impressive decision victory over Said Nurmagomedov to legitimize his status in the bantamweight division.

The most impressive part of this performance was that Nurmagomedov is a bad matchup for Martinez. Nurmagomedov is one of the few fighters that have the kicks and speed needed to compete with Martinez on the outside. Plus, he is a great grappler. Still, Martinez was the one who walked away victorious.

At 28 years old, Martinez seems to be hitting his peak. Martinez is already an impressive 9-3 in the UFC, but he has now won four in a row. As Martinez continues to win, the opponents only get tougher and tougher so his job will be anything but easy. Although, at UFC Vegas 71 he showed that he can compete with some of the most talented fighters in the world. The future for Martinez will be a fun one to watch.

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