Photo Credit: MMAFighting.Com via Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
*This was originally posted June 19, 2022*
This card may not have been a PPV, but it sure brought all the energy and action of a huge PPV. In 13 fights, there were 8 HUGE KO finishes, one unexpected submission and a thrilling brawl in the main event. Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett put on a main show in the main event, but the real story of the night was all of the knockouts throughout the rest of the card. Roman Dolidze, Cody Stamann, Ricardo Ramos, Jeremiah Wells, Adrian Yanez and Gregory Rodrigues ALL grabbed themselves incredible 1st Round knockouts. Taking just a little bit longer, grabbing their KOs in the 2nd Round, were Phil Hawes and Joaquin Buckley. The biggest surprise of the night though was a submission by the trash-talking, crime-stopping striker, Kevin Holland. All of the bouts from UFC Austin are covered below along with BLÜ’s favourite performances of the night: the BLÜ BONUSES.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #1
Kyle Daukaus vs. Roman Dolidze
Here we were treated to a matchup between two men on the edge of the middleweight rankings. It looked as though Daukaus was going to jump into the top 15 if he beat Kevin Holland late last year, but sadly, due to a TERRIBLE accidental clash of heads, Holland was knocked out and the fight ended in a ‘No Contest’. He then followed that up with a HUGE 1st Round submission win over Jamie Pickett in February. Roman Dolidze also joined the UFC in 2020, finding himself with a record of 3-1 with a win over Laureano Staropoli and a loss to Trevin Giles in his last two fights. These two are very similar and very evenly matched, but Daukaus looked like he held an edge in this fight. He’s already fought some of the hardest hitters in the division (Holland, Hawes and Pickett) and stood up to their power by dominating them with clinches and takedowns. He’s also got some pretty heavy hands, almost knocking Hawes out on his feet. It should also be said that he dominated Pickett who was MUCH bigger than him in a catchweight bout at 195 pounds. Thanks to his extra strength and experience fighting larger fighters, I picked Daukaus to grab a dominant decision win.
Daukaus by Decision
There was a scary moment early as Daukaus took the brunt of a clash of heads, but he recovered and the fight went on. Roman blitzed him from there, dropping him with a BIG hook. Daukaus clinched from there but was hit with a MISSILE of a knee, straight to his forehead, knocking him down immediately. It was just a matter of a couple of quick ground-and-pound shots for the ref to jump in and stop the fight just over a minute into it.
Roman Dolidze def. Kyle Daukaus by TKO in the 1st Round
Phil Hawes def. Deron Winn by TKO in the 2nd Round
Hawes got his striking going early, lighting Winn up with some crisp jabs, dropping him within the first minute. Winn responded with some BIG hooks, stumbling Hawes a little bit early. Less than two minutes in and Hawes had already dropped Winn a second time and stumbled him so many times I lost count. Winn kept landing a couple punches here and there, but Hawes was going CRAZY, landing these WILD elbows and crisp, heavy jabs. Even though he was absolutely MANGLED, Winn managed to get out of the opening round. The doctor came in to check on him but was quick to confirm that he could continue. Hawes came in heavy trying to continue his striking and less than a minute into the second, Winn was getting ROCKED. That being said, Winn finally really started to let it loose, actually forcing Hawes to move the fight to the ground. From there, Hawes continued his dominance on the ground, peppering him with some ground and pound. Winn got back up, but that may have been a problem as he kept getting obliterated with elbows and jabs. Over and over he was getting stumbled, wobbling all over the Octagon. After almost a full two rounds of getting SHREDDED on the feet, the ref took pity on Winn and stopped the fight. To give you an idea of how dominant Hawes’ striking was, his blonde hair had turned to a nice shade of pink/red with all of Winn’s blood.
BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #2
Cody Stamann vs. Eddie Wineland
Here we saw a dangerous, young, formerly ranked contender, Cody Stamann, take on a beloved veteran striker: Eddie Wineland. Stamann only had one win in his last 5 fights, but he’s been fighting some of the most dangerous men in the bantamweight division including Said Nurmagomedov (Loss), Merab (Loss) and Song Yadong (Draw). Wineland also only had one win in his last five, but hasn’t been as active and hasn’t quite performed as well. In his last two, he was BRUTALLY knocked out by ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley and John Castaneda in the 1st Round. Before that, he grabbed a TKO win over Popov and a couple of decision losses dating back to 2017. I’m a huge fan of Wineland, I’ve always loved his image and the way he fights, but this was a TERRIBLE matchup for him and could have been one of his final UFC fights. Stamann, as usual, is the shorter, but much stronger fighter. He was ranked up until his last bout where he was submitted early by the surging Said Nurmagomedov. Before that though, he had a close fight with one of the top-ranked contenders in Merab Dvalishvili. Merab is relentless with his pressure and pace, but Stamann handled it well with his own wrestling and even managed to stumble Merab. Meanwhile, Wineland’s last win was over Popov who was making his UFC debut. Eddie is quick with great striking but didn’t see, to have much of a chance against a VERY strong, well-rounded fighter in Stamann. Stamann isn’t much of a finisher though, so I said we’d probably see a dominant decision win.
Stamann by Decision
Most people assumed Stamann would move straight into some wrestling, but he went straight into a WILD striking battle with the boxer Wineland. Right away Wineland was in trouble, getting dropped by a HUGE combo. Stamann kept it going, overwhelming Eddie with combo after combo. The ref gave Wineland every opportunity to recover, but after getting dropped and stumbled multiple times, the fight was over in less than a minute.
Cody Stamann def. Eddie Wineland by TKO in the 1st Round
Maria Oliveira def. Gloria de Paula by Split Decision
Oliveira came in HOT, throwing some wild combos and kicks, even yelling at de Paula, trying to get her strike with her. A couple minutes in though and tables started to turn as de Paula began to walk forward and get her striking going. With the round split in half, each woman leading the action for half the round, it was tough to tell who was ahead on the cards. Maybe tired from her early barrage, Oliveira was slower in the 2nd Round, letting de Paula get her striking going. Halfway into the second, Gloria finally had a big moment, stumbling Oliveira with a crisp combo. With a late takedown, plus all that forward pressure, it seemed as though de Paula grabbed the 2nd Round on the cards. Oliveira came in heavy again in the final round, trying to shift the momentum on the judges’ cards. De Paula tried to shift the momentum herself with a takedown but was reversed by Oliviera. With another couple of takedowns and some more combos, Oliveira clearly clinched the final round on the cards. It was a VERY close fight, but with all of the early activity, plus the 3rd Round dominance, I’d have scored it 29-28 for Oliveira. The judges thought it was just as close, scoring it 29-28, 28-29 and 29-28 for Maria Oliveira in a tight split decision.
Ricardo Ramos def. Danny Chavez by KO in the 1st Round
Both men were throwing some heavy strikes early… but one man landed early and that was it. For the second time in his UFC career, Ramos landed an INSANE spinning back elbow that dropped Chavez immediately. It’s only been landed as a finish 5 times in the UFC and Ramos holds two of them.
Jeremiah Wells def. Court McGee by Unanimous Decision
For the first time of the night, the fight started off really slow with neither man throwing out a whole lot of offence. Then, just as the offence started, it was all over! With the first big punch that either man landed, Wells grabbed an EXPLOSIVE KO win with a BOMB of a left hook.
Natalia Silva def. Jasmine Jasudavicius by Unanimous Decision
Silva wasted no time, running at Jasudavicius and lighting her up with combos. She landed a big one, dropping Jasmine to her knees, but shut down the action with a clinch along the fence. When the striking continued, it was Jasmine that landed the bigger shot first, stumbling Silva a bit. In hopes of grabbing a takedown to clinch the round, Jasudavicius went in for another clinch, but couldn’t drag it to the ground. It could have gone either way, but with a bit of extra activity, I’d have scored it for Silva. Still fresh after the 1st Round, Silva opened up the 2nd Round with some more quick combos. Jasudavicius started to fight for a takedown, but Silva wasn’t having any of it as she shut her down and grabbed a takedown of her own. Halfway through the 2nd Round, Silva just looked like a new fighter; she was fast, accurate and strong while Jasmine was slow and looked tired. Silva kept that dominance going, slamming Jasudavicius into the canvas multiple times and lighting her up with combos. Not slowing down at all, Silva opened the final round with some incredible movement around the Octagon, avoiding any kind of offence from Jasudavicius. Jasmine locked in a pretty solid takedown attempt but was shut down once again. It was just her UFC debut, but Silva looked like an experienced, ranked opponent, outclassing a talented Jasudavicius. The judges agreed, scoring it 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 for Silva.
Main Card Action
Adrian Yanez vs. Tony Kelley
Originally scheduled as the featured prelim, this banger was upgraded to the main card because the Cerrone vs. Lauzon fight was cancelled on fight day AGAIN. Fan favourite Adrian Yanez has been on a tear since his DWCS win, grabbing 3 TKO/KO wins to open his UFC career and a hard-fought decision win over Davey Grant in November. On the other side was Tony Kelley who also joined the UFC in 2020, but hasn’t had the same rise to fame. He opened his journey with a decision loss to Kai Kamaka and followed that up with wins over Ali AlQaisi and Randy Costa. They’re both relentless, quick strikers: a surefire recipe to produce one of the best fights of the night, but Yanez seemed to carry an edge into this matchup. Yanez fights a lot like Kamaka did against Kelley but…Yanez is MUCH better than Kamaka. Kelley struggled with Kamaka’s crisp striking and, although neither man really seems to slow down, Yanez seems to improve as fights go on. It should also be pointed out that he took a LOT of damage from Grant, damage that Kelley can’t produce. With Yanez’s crisp, technical striking and incredible chin, I predicted he’d be able to win a scrappy, blood and violence-fueled decision on the judges’ cards.
Yanez by Decision
The fight started with an explosion of cheers for the hometown hero Yanez. The first few minutes were tense with both men letting loose some beautiful combos. As the round went on, Yanez was the one who started to land. He landed HUGE combos over and over, stumbling Kelley. Then, in a final flurry, he dropped Kelley and assaulted him with some MEAN ground and pound until the ref pulled him off. Another sensational performance from Yanez, proving that he’s deserving of all the hype.
Adrian Yanez def. Tony Kelley by TKO in the 1st Round
After such sensational performances in every single one of his fights, you would have to imagine that Yanez is going to get a HUGE opportunity in his next fight. A lot of people, including Yanez and ‘Suga’ himself, want to see him fight ‘Suga’ Sean next and I don’t think anyone would say no to that. Regardless of what ‘Suga’ does in his fight in a couple weeks, that would be an incredible, explosive, razor-thin striking battle that could easily be its own main event or an insane matchup for the main card of a PPV event.
Julian Marquez vs. Gregory Rodrigues
Opening up the main card action is a middleweight brawl between two DWCS alumni, Marquez and Rodrigues. Marquez was on the Contender Series all the way back in its first year: 2017. He won that matchup against another dangerous prospect, Phil Hawes, following that up with a 3-1 record in the UFC. All three wins have been by submission, but he’s actually more of a striker who’s knocked down his opponents with his fists and just used that position to get a submission. Rodrigues is a much more recent addition to the UFC, only joining in 2021, finding himself with a 2-1 record with a split decision loss to an incredible young contender in Petrosyan in his last. This was a tight matchup, but it seemed like Marquez’s style could have been his downfall this time. His last two fights were to Alvey and Pitolo, two men that haven’t had much UFC success. He used his accurate striking to eventually catch them and drop them to the canvas. The problem with that in this matchup is that Rodrigues is MUCH larger; he’s got a lot of extra power, strength and grappling ability. Since Marquez tends to get hit a lot and tends to get controlled along the fence and on the ground, I said that Rodrigues should be able to control Marquez wherever the fight will go, winning a fairly clear decision.
Rodrigues by Decision
As expected for two BIG men, the fight started off a little slow. Rodrigues was the one landing early though, stumbling Marquez a couple times with HUGE combos. ‘Robocop’ Rodrigues was landing BOMBS over and over again, dropping Marquez multiple times. Finally, he landed a good one of his own, but Rodrigues responded by dropping him again, then flatlining him with a final, MASSIVE shot, adding yet ANOTHER KO to the card.
Gregory Rodrigues def. Julian Marquez by KO in the 1st Round
Damir Ismagulov vs. Guram Kutateladze
In a card full of thrilling matchups, this one may have flown under the radar to casual fans, but seemed SURE to produce some explosive action. Ismagulov came into this fight with a stunning record of 23-1, with a 4-0 UFC record and wins over Thiago Moises and a dangerous new UFC addition in Rafael Alves. On the other side is an unbelievable Georgian striker, Kutateladze, who only made his 2nd UFC appearance in this one but opened his journey with a split decision win over Gamrot, holding an impressive record of 12-2. Both of these men had an incredible MMA record and were unbeaten in the UFC, but that changed this weekend. They were VERY closely matched, but it seemed as though Ismagulov held a slight edge. He may have only had decision wins in the UFC leading up to this one, but those wins were dominant. He uses his amazing striking ability to pick people apart at a distance, then shoots in for takedowns and controls his opponents on the ground. In all of his fights so far, he’s knocked down his opponents, even Moises, thanks to his crisp striking. Guram is also an incredible striker but struggled with the wrestling of Gamrot. Gamrot took him down fairly easily most of the time, even with some lazier takedowns and was controlled on the ground. It’s because of that difference in grappling capability that led me to predict another decision win for Ismagulov.
Ismagulov by Decision
As expected, the skill of both of these men was evident right away. They were both throwing some CRISP combos, but Ismagulov was the first to land. He also got a clinch going, but was shut down by Kutateladze. From there though, Guram got a clinch himself and started to pepper Ismagulov with some BIG strikes along the fence. Both men looked fantastic in the opening round, but Kutateladze clearly grabbed the round on the cards thanks to that work along the fence. The 2nd Round opened the same way with both men trying to land crisp, technical combos, but doing an incredible job of defending. It was a VERY close round, but Ismagulov may have been edging ahead as the round went on thanks to his lightning-fast jabs that busted open the face of Guram. The 3rd round continued the exact same way with some dead-even, back and forth striking. Ismagulov shot in for a couple of takedowns, but couldn’t quite get Kutateladze to the ground. Guram started to shoot in for a few takedowns as well, but also couldn’t quite get one. After one of the closest, most technical striking battles I’ve ever seen, it was impossible to tell who was going to win the decision. The judges were also split, scoring it 28-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Ismagulov.
Damir Ismagulov def. Guram Kutateladze by Majority Decision
Joaquin Buckley vs. Albert Duraev
Here we had a very interesting middleweight matchup between Buckley, who was 4-2 in his short UFC career, and the relative newcomer, Duraev. Only joining the UFC in 2020, Buckley has stunned UFC audiences with HUGE wins over Jordan Wright, and Antonio Arroyo and with the 2020 UFC Knockout of the Year over Kasanganay. Duraev grabbed his UFC contract with an impressive 1st Round submission on the Contender Series, following that up with a dominant win in his debut last October. Although Duraev came into this one with a 10 fight win-streak, this matchup didn’t look all that favourable. He struggled to get takedowns in his debut against Kopylov. This was concerning since Buckley is MUCH larger than Kopylov and has some grappling skills himself. He was also dropped by Kopylov and… with 3 TKO/KO wins for Buckley, that was another huge concern. Thanks to Buckley’s WAY above-average strength, I said Duraev would struggle with his grappling and would likely eventually get hit by something that’d end his night. I predicted either a fairly clear decision win or a late finish for Buckley.
Buckley by Finish
Buckley got his movement going right away, avoiding any potential takedowns from Duraev. Buckley had the first big moment, slamming a NUKE of a kick straight into Duraev’s head, dropping him down to the canvas. Amazingly, he recovered and, of course, shot in for a takedown. Buckley stuffed that though and kept the fight on the feet. Then it was Duraev who landed a head kick to stumble and cut open Buckley. In the 2nd Round, the action reached a whole new level. Buckley was just DESTROYING Duraev’s face with MASSIVE combos, kicks and punches to the point where his eye was completely shut. Duraev landed a couple of takedowns along the fence and controlled the fight along the fence for a bit, but with all those stumbles and huge shots, it was clear that Buckley was stealing the momentum. But as the final round was about to begin, they had to bring in the doctor to check on Duraev’s eye. Sadly for him, the fight was called off and ruled a 2nd Round TKO for Buckley. To be fair, Buckley seemed to have multiple opportunities to end the fight in the 2nd Round but didn’t capitalize on the moment. Either way, this was just an absolutely sensational performance from Joaquin Buckley.
Joaquin Buckley def. Albert Duraev by TKO after the 2nd Round
Tim Means vs. Kevin Holland
Making his 2nd appearance in the UFC’s welterweight division, Kevin Holland took on the veteran Tim Means. At this point, you’re likely aware of Holland’s striking ability with multiple highlight-reel KOs in 2020 alone, but the big story lately has been his grappling. He struggled immensely, especially at middleweight, with grappling and was dominated by both Brunson and Vettori on the ground. Since then though, after working on his grappling, he shut down all the takedown attempts from Kyle Daukaus at middleweight and Alex Oliveira at welterweight: two very good grapplers. As for Means, he was Kevin Holland’s next grappler. Thanks to his grappling, he’s got UFC wins dating all the way back to 2014 and has found himself on a 3 fight win-streak with decision wins over Staropoli, Mike Perry and Nicolas Dalby. On paper, this seemed like a tough matchup for Holland because of the grappling, but I’d confidently say that Alex Oliveira was the tougher matchup. Means tends to fight at range, then goes in, gets hit a lot and lands a takedown. I said that would NOT work against Holland who is an incredible striker and has an absurdly long reach for the division. Thanks to his height and his new grappling abilities, it seemed like Means would struggle to take him down… if he could even get past his striking. It should be noted that Means was actually submitted by Alex Oliveira and Holland didn’t have too much trouble for the most part. It seemed likely that Holland would grab yet another KO finish before he moves on to ranked opponents.
Holland by Finish
As expected, Means stuck to his game plan early, pushing Holland along the fence. Thanks to Holland’s work over the past year, he was able to shut that down and get back to striking. In between a couple of other takedown attempts, Holland finally got something going, landing a couple of heavy combos. Thanks to that HUGE reach advantage, Holland really started to land some BOMBS near the end of the round. It was a close round, but thanks to all that damage, I’d have given the round to Holland. Carrying on the momentum of the opening round, Holland ROCKED Means early, stumbling him backwards. From there, in a move that most people wouldn’t have seen coming, Holland took Means to the ground and grabbed the only submission of the night!
Kevin Holland def. Tim Means by Submission in the 2nd Round
Holland was already ranked at middleweight, he’s already got two incredible wins at welterweight, he’s gotta be getting a ranked opponent next. It’s well-established that he’s willing to fight literally anybody, but he specifically mentioned Sean Brady who’s currently ranked 8th. He also mentioned wanting to fight Brunson again but said that probably won’t ever happen.
Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett
Don’t let the odds fool you, this looked like one of the closest matchups of the night and really could have ended with either man taking the win. Many people only really found out who Calvin Kattar was when he got dominated by Holloway early last year. He’s a sensational boxer that’s grabbed his number 4 spot in the rankings by beating the likes of Dan Ige, Jeremy Stephens, Shane Burgos and, most recently, Giga Chikadze. Josh Emmett is ALSO a dangerous striker, earning the number 7 spot thanks to his wins over Michael Johnson, Shane Burgos and Dan Ige. It’s tough to say who held the edge in this matchup. Emmett had the clear edge in power, but Kattar seemed to have an edge in technique, stamina and activity. What made the decision slightly easier was the fact that they’ve fought a lot of the same fighters recently. Dan Ige is the best example of this. Emmett’s last fight was with Ige and, although he won the decision, it was a TIGHT decision thanks to Ige’s activity on the feet. Meanwhile, Kattar didn’t have as many problems. Not to mention, since that matchup, Kattar has gotten WAY better, as we all saw in his fight against Giga. We know that Kattar doesn’t slow down in 5 round fights, while Emmett slows down. With his extra stamina, striking skills and pace, it seemed like Kattar would be able to avoid Emmett’s power and chip away at him throughout hj5 rounds to win a decision.
Kattar by Decision
The fight started off as a staring contest with both men VERY cautious to make the first move. Emmett was the first to land, landing a big combo to stumble Kattar backwards. Kattar had a couple of crisp shots land too, but with that being the only significant moment of the round, it seemed as though Emmett grabbed the round on the cards. In the 2nd Round, both men started to let their hands loose a bit more. Emmett was clearly the one landing the MUCH heavier shots, but Kattar kept responding with some quick jabs. The only difference was that Emmett was starting to bleed, while Kattar was clean after the 2nd Round. Considering how razor-thin these opening rounds were, it was impossible to tell who was ahead on the cards. Following the theme of this fight, the 3rd Round was just as even with Kattar landing some crisp combos and Emmett throwing out some BOMBS. It was close, but on my cards, I had it 29-28 Emmett at this point. In the fourth, neither man was making any huge moves. Emmett landed a couple big ones and pushed Kattar into the fence, but Kattar recovered just fine. Emmett followed that up with a HUGE shot to stumble Kattar, but then it was Kattar who landed a BOMB, stumbling Emmett straight into the fence. It was still a close round, but with Emmett’s eye closing and a couple big combos, I’d have said it was tied after 4 rounds. Going into this fight it seemed as though Kattar would gain momentum as the fight pushed on, but this fight was truly even throughout all 5 rounds. If you weren’t looking at the face of both men, it’d be pretty tough to pick a winner for this fight, but considering all of the damage on Emmett’s face, I may have scored the fight 48-47 Kattar may have taken the decision. The judges were split once again, scoring it 48-47, 47-48 and 48-47 for Josh Emmett.
Josh Emmett def. Calvin Kattar by Split Decision
With Volk and Holloway fighting for the belt next month, there are really only two people that could claim they deserve a title shot; Emmett or whoever wins between Yair and Ortega. Let’s not forget, that if Volkanovski wins once again, he may even decide to move up to lightweight for a fight instead of defending at featherweight. If that’s the case, it may even make sense to put Emmett against the winner of Yair and Ortega, then the winner of THAT would take the next title shot. Either way, we should all be excited to see Volk/Holloway and Yair/Ortega.
BLÜ’s Record for the Night
Main Card: 5-1
KO of the Night: Ricardo Ramos
Sub. of the Night: Kevin Holland
Brawl of the Night: Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett
Most Valuable Fighter
Not only was the internet happy that Kelley was brutally knocked out, but Yanez put on an incredible performance against a dangerous contender. He’s one of only a few fighters to get 5 performance bonuses in their first five fights. I don’t know how high he’ll go in this division, but with a record like that, he’ll be putting on HUGE shows in main events in no time.