UFC Vegas 86: Five Things We Learned
UFC Vegas 86 ended up being a fairly anti-climatic card with a few spots of excitement. Still, there are a few important takeaways from the fights. Here are the five biggest lessons we learned at UFC Vegas 86.
Jack Hermansson shows the importance of the basics
In the UFC Vegas 86 main event, Jack Hermansson upset prospect Joe Pyfer. It was a strong veteran performance and a solid reminder that the basics win fights.
A lot of times, MMA can be overcomplicated. If you have solid cardio, a functional jab, and impactful leg kicks, you can win fights. Hermansson put this on display in the later rounds. In rounds three through five, Hermansson was fresh and properly mixed his jab and leg kick. Those two strikes completely changed the fight.
Hermansson also deserves credit for his game plan and ability to execute. In this fight, he survived the early rounds and weaponized his cardio late. That sounds incredibly easy, but it is not easy to execute when you are eating big shots against Pyfer. It is also uncommon to see a middleweight that does not slow down throughout five rounds. Hermansson deserves respect for his performance.
Joe Pyfer has flaws to fix
The UFC Vegas 86 main event was rough for Pyfer. The top prospect did not deliver in his first UFC main event. In the fight, the flaws in his game were exposed.
Pyfer had some serious issues exposed against a ranked middleweight. That starts with cardio. It was evident that Pyfer needs a deeper gas tank. Not only will that allow him to be more competitive in the later rounds, but it will allow him to be more aggressive early in the fight.
From a technical standpoint, Pyfer needs to address the jab. On the offensive side of things, a functional jab would allow him to deal damage and set up his power shots. With his power, he has the chance to develop a stiff jab that greatly affects fights. On the defensive side of things, he has to improve against the jab. Previously, he showed decent counters against the jab, but that did not hold up against Hermansson. That needs to be developed. Furthermore, he has to be able to get his head moving or control range if he is unable to counter.
I do not think it is time to completely write Pyfer off. At 27, he still has plenty of time to make adjustments to his game. Thankfully, his flaws were exposed early into his UFC career and he has time to make the proper adjustments. That said, those adjustments have to be made.
Dan Ige puts his knockout power on display
Dan Ige lit up the Apex in the UFC Vegas 86 co-main event against Andre Fili. In the first round, Ige landed a beautiful right hand that ended the fight.
A lot of people forget that Ige has legit knockout power. If he lands a clean shot, it comes with serious consequences. That was on display against Fili.
Ige will continue to be underrated for the foreseeable future. A series of losses against top-ten featherweights made people forget that he has legit boxing and legit knockout power. If he is not fighting an elite featherweight or a great wrestler he will probably exceed expectations.
Robert Bryczek is not worth getting excited about
The UFC Vegas 86 main card features a middleweight bout between Robert Bryczek and Ihor Potieria. Bryczek was making his UFC debut and disappointed as he dropped a decision against Potieria.
This was a pretty clear spot for Bryczek. The UFC gave him an opponent that was 1-3 in the promotion. If Bryczek wanted to be taken seriously as a prospect, this was the first step in gaining some steam. Well, Bryczek was unable to find a knockout shot and did not mount any offense in the later rounds.
I do not think Potieria is very good either. The fact that Bryczek could not knock him out gives me little hope for him in the UFC.
Gregory Rodrigues is still a threat
At UFC Vegas 86, Gregory Rodrigues had an outstanding performance against Brad Tavares. This bout was a great example of how big of a threat Rodrigues can be to the rest of the middleweight division.
Rodrigues looked great against Tavares. Despite Tavares’ great takedown defense, Rodrigues managed to land a few slick takedowns. On the feet, his aggression and power eventually got him the finish.
As far as skills go, Rodrigues can compete with a lot of middleweights. The mix of grappling and powerful striking makes him a serious threat.
The problem with Rodrigues is his chin. If he gets hit clean, there is a chance that he will go unconscious. In his most recent loss, he was caught clean on the chin and dropped. In this fight against Tavares, he was stunned for a brief moment. Despite being one of the toughest fighters on the roster, he can go out if he is hit hard. That will likely result in Rodrigues having great performances that can be stopped with a hard shot.
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