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UFC Vegas 73: Five Things We Learned

UFC Vegas 73

UFC Vegas 73 Recap
(Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Vegas 73: Five Things We Learned

On paper, UFC Vegas 73 was not the best UFC card, but it delivered in spectacular fashion. The main event between Mackenzie Dern and Angela Hill resulted in the fight of the night. Outside the main event, we saw many impressive performances and outstanding finishes. More importantly, we learned a lot about a handful of fighters on the UFC roster. It is time to recap all the action by discussing the five biggest lessons we learned at UFC Vegas 73. 

Mackenzie Dern’s striking is improving:

At UFC Vegas 73, we saw a completely new version of Mackenzie Dern. Dern picked up a dominant decision victory over Angela Hill that saw her display some growth in her skill set. In this fight, Dern landed a lot of powerful shots, having hurt Hill badly on several occasions across the five rounds. It came from a variety of straight shots, hooks and knees.

Dern threw with devious intentions and fought at an insanely high pace. In previous fights, Dern was never that aggressive. With all those improvements in mind, Dern showed outstanding cardio as she was able to maintain the pace for 25 minutes. 

On the feet, Dern’s striking improvements were noticeable, but she still needs to improve her wrestling. One of the issues in Dern’s game is that she struggles to get the fight to the ground which prevents her from utilizing her elite BJJ. That held true against Hill. In this fight, she was able to land a few takedowns, though the problem was that they all came against the fence.

This presents an issue as the cage can be used to help negate her BJJ. If Dern was able to land takedowns in the middle of the cage, it would be much easier for her to land submissions. 

All in all, Dern does deserve credit for the improvements she made. At the same time, it is important to recognize that she could become one of the best fighters on the roster if she can continue to improve. 

Anthony Hernandez is relentless: 

In the co-main event of UFC Vegas 73, Anthony Hernandez put on a clinic in the art of weaponizing pace as he picked up a third-round finish against Edmen Shahbazyan.

Hernandez started to push the pace immediately. Shahbazyan did find some success early, but it did not last long as Hernandez’s frantic pass eventually caused the prolific striker to gas.

Once the second round started, the fight was practically over.

Hernandez was barely breathing heavily while Shahbazyan could barely fight. Ultimately, that led to Hernandez landing ground-and-pound strikes until the fight was stopped shortly into the third round. 

At this point, I can not imagine that many fighters are offering to fight Hernandez. He may not be a perfect fighter and he is certainly beatable, but his cardio, toughness and pace are off the charts.

Hernandez is able to fight at a pace that will make most fighters tired after a round. I think it is safe to say Hernandez deserves respect for having some of the best cardio in the UFC.

Joaquin Buckley can fight at Welterweight: 

At UFC Vegas 73, Joaquin Buckley made his welterweight debut against Andre Fialho. In that fight, he landed a massive head-kick knockout and proved he is capable of fighting in his new division. 

Prior to finishing the fight, Buckley looked good on the feet against Fialho who is an accomplished striker in his own right. Throughout the fight, Buckley was able to get inside and land some powerful shots and also landed solid kicks to all three levels on the outside.

The most important part of Buckley’s welterweight debut came outside of his skills. Before the fight even occurred, Buckley made the weight and looked good on the scale. In the fight, his chin and cardio looked good.

As Buckley progresses in his career, there should not be any concerns about fighting at welterweight. That is a great sign as it appeared that he would struggle to find long-term success at middleweight.

Carlos Diego Ferreira is not done yet:

Prior to UFC Vegas 73, there were reasons to be concerned about Carlos Diego Ferreira. At 38-years-old, he was riding a three-fight losing streak.

If he were to lose a fourth fight in a row (this time against Michael Johnson), he would have been in an awful position. Thankfully for Ferriera, that was not his fate. Instead, he landed a terrific overhand that resulted in a sensational knockout victory.

That’s not to say Ferreira was fighting a perfect fight. Up until the knockout, Johnson was winning the majority of the striking exchanges. As we move forward, I am still concerned about where Ferreira sits in his career since it’s clear he is no longer in his prime. At the same time, he is far from finished.

Natalia Silva is an elite prospect:

At UFC Vegas 73, Natalia Silva showed that she is an elite prospect. In all honesty, that was pretty evident after her performance at UFC Vegas 65. Still, against Victoria Leonardo, she reiterated that fact for anyone that did not get the memo.

Silva once again displayed her sensational striking as she picked Leonardo apart before getting a first-round knockout. On the feet, Silva has the quickness, power and technical prowess required to climb the UFC women’s flyweight rankings. In terms of weapons, she has a great jab with a straight that follows it. Additionally, her kicks are lethal.

At this point, it is pretty clear that Silva is the best prospect in the division. Make sure to keep your eye out for her as she progresses in her career.


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