UFC Vegas 85: Five Things We Learned
UFC Vegas 85 ended up being a perplexing event. The card was filled with madness. A good portion of the insanity came in the main event. In turn, a good amount of this post will be dedicated to the main event. That includes the fighters’ performances, rules, and scoring.
At the end of this post, I plan to add a “quick hitters” section to help touch on a few things that took place outside of the main event.
Nassourdine Imavov gets positive momentum back
The UFC Vegas 85 main event was an important fight for Nassourdine Imavov and Roman Dolidze. The fight was massive as each fighter was looking to regain momentum and re-establish themself as a rising prospect. Plus, the winner would be set up for a ranked opponent while the loser is pushed down the rankings. Well, Imavov got the job done and will be the fighter that yields the benefits.
Imavov had a clear advantage at range. Imavov was miles quicker and much more precise from the outside. That allowed him to land big shots early. That translated into big moments for Imavov and he nearly finished the fight.
After the first round, Imavov was playing it safe. The fight was in the bag and he continued to pick at Doldize from the outside, but he never spent enough energy to gas out.
Imavov did run into adversity in the fourth round as he landed an illegal kick. Dolidze had one hand on the ground and Imavov threw a head kick. In all honesty, Imavov should be thankful that Dolidze did not milk the blow and take the disqualification victory. Instead, Dolidze took time to recover and was willing to continue fighting. Despite still losing rounds, Dolidze was actually more competitive after eating the illegal strike.
At the end of the fight, Imavov earned a decision win. It was a strange fight, but Imavov got the victory and positioned himself for a climb in the rankings.
Roman Dolidze looks his age
It can be hard to predict when a fighter will peak or begin to decline. At the lower weight classes, it can be easier to get a handle on, but it is more individualized in the higher weight classes. Well, at 35, Dolidze has suddenly hit a wall.
It was remarkable how much different Dolidze looked in this fight in comparison to his most recent fight against Marvin Vettori. It looked like he aged ten years.
The damaging part of Dolidze’s decline is that his skill set falls apart with a drop in physical attributes. That is mainly because he did not have much speed, but he looked even slower against Imavov. More concerningly, he was heavily affected every time Imavov landed cleanly. No, he was not knocked out, but it did not take much for him to get severely damaged.
The illegal strikes to a down opponent rule needs to be changed
The illegal strikes to the downed opponent rule has stirred up serious issues over the last two UFC events. At UFC Vegas 85, we nearly had a disaster. As previously discussed, Imavov landed a kick while Dolidze had one hand on the ground. Thankfully, Dolidze opted to continue fighting.
The current downed opponent rule is confusing and protects the opponent in the defensive position far too much. The rule should be simple. In my opinion, a fighter should be ruled a down opponent if they have a knee, elbow, or butt on the ground. If they have two hands on the ground, they should not be considered down.
That change would take out all the confusion surrounding the rule and prevent fighters from using the current rule to manipulate positions. Thankfully, CSAC director Andy Foster has proposed this rule change.
MMA judging strikes again
UFC Vegas 85 was a great demonstration of awful MMA judging. In the main event, a judge submitted an unexplainable scorecard.
Judge Ron McCarthy scored the main event a 47-47 draw. That is atrocious. Dolidze won every single round and should have been awarded a 10-8 round in the first round. That means McCarthy had to submit an incorrect score for three of the five rounds to land on a draw.
The rest of the card featured a few bad scorecards. It was not anything as egregious as the main event, however. In my opinion, Natalia Silva should have won all three rounds against Viviane Araujo. I also thought Landon Quiñones won rounds one and three against MarQuel Mederos. Instead, the judges gave the fight to Mederos.
This card was a great example of how often judges get things wrong. It is getting ridiculous at this point.
Natalia Silva is joining the elite flyweights
Outside of the UFC Vegas 85 main event, Natalia Silva’s performance against Viviane Araujo was the most eye-catching aspect of the card.
Silva has the ability to be a premier talent in the women’s flyweight division and she showed that once again. On the feet, Silva has remarkable striking. That was evident as she landed precise shots against Araujo. Not to mention, she landed several huge kicks.
This fight exposed one the the biggest flaws in Silva’s game. Araujo managed to spend a lot of time controlling Silva in the clinch. That said, Araujo was not able to land takedowns and did not create damage. Essentially, she was stalling position to avoid striking with Silva. Araujo will not be the last person to do that to Silva. In the future, fighters will probably look to stall against Silva to avoid striking with her. It is not the most important aspect of MMA, but Silva will need to get better at dealing with that situation.
On a more positive note, Silva moved herself into a great position. It is clear that she is climbing the rankings and her next bout will likely be against an elite flyweight. That helps spice up and already competitive division.
Renato Moicano edged out a close fight against Drew Dober. Afterward, he gave another insane octagon interview. If I had to guess he gained a few fans at UFC Vegas 85.
Randy Brown knocked out Muslim Salikhov in the first round. Brown used a double jab to set up his right hand and he landed it flush. This was probably the best performance of his career.
Molly McCann won her strawweight debut with a first-round submission over Diana Belbita. It looks like strawweight suits McCann much better. The power is still present and she can afford to be more aggressive. It is evident that she has a ceiling on her skills, but her hype train will likely be rebuilt with appealing stylistic matchups.
Themba Gorimbo knocked out Pete Rodriguez in just 30 seconds. Gorimbo has an inspiring story and seems like a great person. I have a feeling this hype train is going to get way out of control, however.
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