The week was starting to look like a bust with two late cancellations, dropping the card down to only 10 fights, but the UFC fighters had other plans!
For only the second time in UFC history, a card produced a 100% finish rate with 10 straight finishes, including 7 TKO/KOs. Cory McKenna grabbed the first Von Flue choke in women’s UFC history while Terrance McKinney continued his dominance with a 1st Round submission. Other impressive finishes included a head kick KO from Bryan Battle in the first minute of his fight and dominant striking performances from Michał Oleksiejczuk, Sergey Spivak, Geoff Neal and Jamahal Hill.
We also crowned the new TUF champions, Mohammed Usman and Juliana Miller. All of the bouts from UFC Vegas 59 are covered below along with BLÜ’s favourite performances of the night: the BLÜ BONUSES.
Mayra Bueno Silva def. Stephanie Egger by Submission in the 1st Round
The ladies opened up with some back-and-forth striking, but moved to the canvas as Egger dragged Bueno Silva to the ground. Bueno Silva locked in a DEEP armbar, but let go immediately. In a strange turn of events, the ref called for a video review to see if a tap had occurred.
There was NO tap visible and really it’d didn’t seem like it was possible a tap could have occurred in that position that quickly. Interestingly, the ref then deferred the decision to the judges (???). Somehow one of them saw a tap… I have no idea how, considering their angle, but that gave Bueno Silva an impressive 1st Round submission win.
Cory McKenna def. Miranda Granger by Submission in the 2nd Round
With the shorted reach in the UFC, McKenna pushed forward early, lighting Granger up with some quick combos. From there she pushed Granger into the fence, fighting for a takedown. With 3 minutes left in the round, McKenna dragged her down and started to get some heavier offence going. Interestingly, instead of trying to get back up or reverse positions, Granger opted to hold on to McKenna’s neck and body.
This was mildly effective at slowing McKenna down, but doesn’t help at all with winning the fight. Squeezing as hard as she could, McKenna almost grabbed a fantastic submission, but was beaten by the clock, saving Granger from defeat. Right away, McKenna ran in and had Granger pinned along the fence. From there she dragged Granger down once again and started to work for another submission attempt. This time it was just a matter of time as Granger tapped to a DEEP Von Flue choke early in the 2nd Round. Amazingly, this was the very FIRST Von Flue choke finish in women’s UFC history and only the FIFTH fighter in UFC history to grab one.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick
Takashi Sato vs. Bryan Battle
The odds heavily favoured Battle going into this weekend, but it seemed a lot closer than that after watching tape. Already, it’s tough to pick Battle when he’s never fought a “true” UFC fighter, especially when Sato has fought fighters like Belal and Baeza. That being said, Battle’s active, kick-heavy strategy with some grappling thrown in should have been enough to edge ahead in a decision.
Battle by Decision
As expected, the movement of Sato was clear right away, bouncing around in front of Battle. As soon as the action started, it was already over. Battle threw out a head kick, straight to the chin of Sato that knocked Sato out COLD. He was out so long that Battle was done celebrating before he woke up. Just an unbelievable, sensational KO win for Battle.
Bryan Battle def. Takashi Sato by KO in the 1st Round
Michał Oleksiejczuk def. Sam Alvey by TKO in the 1st Round
Immediately, Oleksiejczuk pressured HARD, landing BOMBS, stumbling Alvey all over the Octagon. After landing a couple of HUGE shots, he busted Alvey open and dropped him, already looking like he was going to get an easy 1st Round finish. Amazingly, Alvey managed to get back up, but Oleksiejczuk landed another BOMB, dropped him again, forcing the ref to step in.
Main Card Action
Terrance McKinney vs. Erick Gonzalez
Once again, I mean no disrespect to Erick Gonzalez or his first UFC opponent, Jim Miller, but the fact that Gonzalez was TKOd in the 2nd Round last fight means he’s almost guaranteed to be knocked out BAD by McKinney. I rarely say this kind of thing… but there was no doubt in my mind this week that McKinney was going to grab a KO in less than 30 seconds here.
McKinney by Finish
He didn’t come in as hot as I thought, but McKinney landed BOMBS early, giving Gonzalez spaghetti legs within the first minute. It looked like he was going to keep that damage going, but then he got SMOKED by huge counter from Gonzalez. From there, McKinney dragged Gonzalez down to work for a submission. After a little bit of grappling, they found themselves along the fence with McKinney locking in a DEEP submission from Erick’s back. Just a few seconds of that squeeze and Gonzalez was forced to tap, giving McKinney ANOTHER 1st Round win.
Terrance McKinney def. Erick Gonzalez by Submission in the 1st Round
McKinney made a point of calling out Paddy ‘the Baddy’ and I couldn’t agree more. Sadly, I don’t see that happening because I don’t think there’s much doubt that McKinney would probably take his head clean off his shoulders. Instead, I’d say he’s gotta be looking at a shot into the top 15. He’s got some of the heaviest shots in the division and a ground game that’s WILDLY underrated. This guy’s young and he’s here to stay.
Augusto Sakai vs. Sergey Spivak
Anything is possible when heavyweights match up. In this case though, Sakai just really hasn’t been able to compete in his last few fights. I’m not exaggerating when I say he barely threw a strike in the last two fights. With Spivak’s pressure, power and grappling strength, I can’t imagine this going any other way than a Spivak KO.
Spivak by Finish
Instead of trying to land some bombs, Spivak worked for some HUGE takedowns instead, dragging Sakai down early. He locked in some pretty deep submissions, but it was the ground and pound that seemed to be the biggest concern. Sakai kept making his way back to his feet, but Spivak refused to let go and kept dragging him back down and threatening finishes. Spivak closed the round with a HUGE shot, but couldn’t quite grab that 1st Round finish. Spivak opened the second with a crisp combo that wobbled Sakai again.
Following the trend of the 1st Round though, Sakai was quickly dragged down. Sakai got up but was quickly dragged down and started to get slammed with some HEAVY ground and pound. After getting slammed by ground and pound for about 2 minutes straight, Sakai was put out of his misery by the ref, giving Spivak another big win.
Sergey Spivak def. Augusto Sakai by TKO in the 2nd Round
Fight #7 (TUF 30 Flyweight Finale)
Juliana Miller vs. Brogan Walker
Both TUF fights are close and could go either way; we have to remember that all these fighters are less experience and consistent than your average UFC fighter. What you then have to look at is how their styles matchup. Walker has always struggled with grapplers; she struggled in Invicta FC and TUF with that kind of style.
Miller is the epitome of grappling. She’s not a terrible striker, but her goal 100% of the time is to walk forward, grab you and take you down using any method possible. From there, she’s at home and will submit anyone who’s not a ground fighter. She submitted Neil on the show and almost made Guthrie tap as well. With the immense grappling advantage that Miller has, I actually predicted she’d be getting a finish.
Miller by Finish
Walker pushed forward early, but Miller landed first, landing a HUGE counter that stumbled Walker. From there, as expected, Miller dragged Walker down to the ground, working HARD for a submission. Walker was holding on to Miller, trying to not get slammed by shots or submitted, but was getting dominated. For almost 4 minutes straight, Miller smothered her on the ground and clearly won the opening round on the cards.
They were a lot slower to open the 2nd Round, but once again it was Miller that was landing the heavier shots, busting up Walker’s eye. Interestingly, Walker pushed Miller into the fence, but as expected, Miller dragged her down and ended up on top. From there, Miller started to really crank HARD on a choke, really threatening a finish. Just as it looked like Miller was going to grab the title of TUF winner, Miller let go of the choke and they moved back on their feet. That didn’t stop Miller’s control though as she pinned Walker along the fence and took her down again. This capped off another dominant round for Miller.
Walker opened the 3rd round trying to finally land some combos on the feet, but was still struggling with Miller’s length. Once again, it was Walker who moved the fight to the fence, but Miller reversed her and dragged her down for the 3rd Round in a row. From there, Miller started to dominate with ground and pound, SLAMMING elbows into Walker. The ref let it go for quite a while, but eventually stopped it, giving Miller a DOMINANT finish, becoming the new TUF champion!
Juliana Miller def. Brogan Walker by TKO in the 3rd Round
Fight #8 (TUF 30 Heavyweight Finale)
Zac Pauga vs. Mohammed Usman
Once again, it’s tough to pick a winner here, but Pauga has proven to be a faster, more dangerous fighter throughout the season. Usman has been picked apart at times by both of his TUF opponents while Pauga grabbed a two fairly dominant wins with a TKO finish in his last. Usman is a tough guy, but with Pauga’s speed, activity and power, I predicted another finish for Pauga.
Pauga by Finish
Both guys went at it early, throwing some pretty heavy combos. After a head kick attempt from Pauga, Usman slowed him down by grabbing his leg and pushing him into the fence. Usman seemed to have the heavier shots, but Pauga was too fast and avoided the vast majority of his strikes. Using that speed, Pauga stayed at a distance and started to pick him apart with his counters and jabs. Nobody landed anything crazy, but it was clear that Pauga edged the round on the cards with his huge output.
Just as the 2nd Round started, the biggest shot of the fight was landed. Usman SMOKED Pauga with a hook and knocked him out COLD to become the 2nd TUF champion named Usman. An insane come-from-behind knockout win to grab the win.
Mohammed Usman def. Zac Pauga by KO in the 2nd Round
Vicente Luque vs. Geoff Neal
Just like the Sato and Battle matchup, this fight is a lot closer than the odds suggest. Luque has the name and the hype, but Neal’s got some crisp, dangerous striking. Neal has a good chance of edging ahead if they stay on their feet, but if the fight hits the ground, I think Luque grabs a finish and I think Luque is going to go heavy with his grappling and grab a finish on the ground.
Luque by Finish
Both of these dangerous strikers took it slow to start, only throwing out a quick combo here and there. Luque seemed to be landing the more significant strikes early, but Neal was landing more accurately. Things then started to really heat up as Neal stumbled Luque with a beautiful combo. He looked like he was in trouble, but Luque recovered and started to land some combos of his own again. As the round continued though, Neal regained momentum and started to really light Luque up, knocking him down multiple times. Luque was still alive at the end of the round, but Neal was CLEARLY ahead on the cards, maybe even up 10-8.
Clearly still rocked from the 1st Round, Luque didn’t have a whole lot of output to open the 2nd Round. Unfortunately for Neal, he also slowed down quite a bit, which actually led to Luque getting some offence going. In a strange turn of events, Neal opted to drag Luque to the ground. Luque got up quick, but started to get peppered along the fence. It was much closer round, but I’d have guessed that Neal was up 2-0 going into the final round.
Keeping that momentum going, Neal kept up his huge output, lighting Luque up with MASSIVE combos. From there he had Luque against the fence and just let it all go, grabbing the biggest knockout of his career.
Geoff Neal def. Vicente Luque by KO in the 3rd Round
Luque was ranked 6th before this matchup. That means Neal will be on the edge of the top 5. If we want to make a guaranteed exciting brawl like this last one, look no further than ‘Wonderboy’. We’ve been saying for a while now that Thompson has been stuck against grapplers, let’s finally give him a striker like Neal. If not, Burns would also make a lot of sense and would get Neal close to a title shot or a shot against Colby. As for Luque, I think they’re going to throw him in against someone up-and-coming like Rakhmonov or Pereira.
Thiago Santos vs. Jamahal Hill
You can never write off a UFC veteran the calibre of Santos. that being said, he hasn’t looked the same his last few fights. On the other side, Hill has been knocking all of his opponents out COLD. With Hill’s constant forward pressure, he’ll likely start to catch Santos and eventually get a finish.
Hill by Finish
As expected, both men took it slow, making sure not to get hit early. Also expected, Hill was pressuring forward constantly, walking Santos down. Santos was landing some kicks, but nothing really significant was coming from either side. Interestingly, Santos was throwing out some takedown attempts, likely trying to avoid the power. Santos was trying pretty hard, but Hill was doing well to defend. With not a whole lot of action from Hill, it was a clear 1-0 lead on the cards for Santos going into the second.
After some striking from both guys, Santos managed to grab his first takedown of the fight, but Hill quickly got back up. After a slip from Santos, Hill landed his first big shots of the night, wobbling Santos a bit. Santos responded with some heavy shots of his own later, but Hill was standing his ground, swinging some BOMBS. Wobbling a little bit, Santos was walking backwards to close the round and it seemed like the fight was tied 1-1 on the cards.
Going back to his grappling, Santos opened the third with a takedown, dragging Hill to the ground a couple of times. Just like before, Hill recovered very quickly, getting back to his feet fairly easily every time. As the round went on, Hill landed some heavy shots in the clinch, but with all of the control time, it seemed likely that Santos was up 2-1.
Looking to come back in strong, Hill pressured forward at the start of the 4th Round and hit Santos with some BIG shots along the fence. Santos was landing some BOMBS of his own, but Hill was relentless. He kept backing Santos up, exchanging HUGE shots with him until he dropped Santos to the ground. From there, Hill let loose shot after shot for about 30 seconds straight until the ref finally stopped it. It took longer than a lot of people thought, but Hill managed to finish one of the most accomplished light heavyweights still fighting in the UFC.
Jamahal Hill def. Thiago Santos by TKO in the 4th Round
We talked about the potential matchups a bit last week after Smith and Ankalaev fought. It seems like Glover and Jiri will be fighting again, but if not, Ankalaev will probably get the title shot. Now that Hill is officially in the mix as well, we’re probably looking at Ankalaev/Hill or Bloachowicz/Hill. Light heavyweight was in rough shape last year, but it’s really starting to get interesting will all of this new talent.
BLÜ’s Record for the Night
Main Card: 4-2
KO of the Night: Bryan Battle
Sub. of the Night: Cory McKenna
Brawl of the Night: Vicente Luque vs. Geoff Neal