UFC continued its stay in Las Vegas, Nevada and the UFC APEX last night (Sat., Aug. 8, 2020) for UFC Vegas 6. After last week’s last-second event, UFC Vegas 6 was something of a return to normal — or at least, the pandemic equivalent. There were a dozen fights, a mix of familiar faces and newcomers, but overall a pretty solid night of action.
Let’s take a closer look at the slickest techniques and best performances:
Black Beast Smash
I love Derrick Lewis’ game plans for their simplicity. Generally, his strategies boil down to a an elegant concept like “Get on top” or “Punch him in the face.” He might even consider both if he’s feeling particularly troubled by an opponent’s skill set.
Against Aleksei Oleinik, Lewis took it a step further, repeatedly trying to replicate Walt Harris’ success against Oleinik. Harris notably stopped Oleinik with a flying knee to left straight in less than a minute, and each time he was given the space to work, Lewis jumped into a knee or kick then followed with his cross.
Guess what? It worked! It didn’t matter a bit that “The Black Beast” is not a Southpaw like Harris. When Lewis jumped into a knee that off-balanced Oleinik then blasted him with the cross — precisely like Harris did — the end result was the same. Shockingly, the 43-year-old veteran of 70-some professional fights did not completely change his stance and positioning ahead of this bout.
It’s a lesson in simplicity for the rest of the fighting world: fighters tend to stick to their usual habits, so if a technique worked for somebody else, it will probably work again!
Dariush The Contender
Back in 2016, Dariush seemed an imminent title contender. Then, an 0-2-1 run really sent him spiraling down the ranks. In particular, a short-notice knockout loss to Alexander Hernandez really eliminated him from the conversation.
Since that spiral, Dariush has returned better than ever. He’s always been a violent Southpaw with elite jiu-jitsu, but things are just clicking for Dariush. He’s grown more aggressive, and he packs serious power in his left hand. Now, that’s all adding up to knockout wins, as Dariush has finished four of his opponents on his current five-fight winning streak.
He straight up battered Scott Holtzman last night. Everything he threw landed, and he capped it off with a walk-off spinning backfist.
Dariush has earned another chance to fight up the ladder. He’s earned a top 10 opponent. Lightweight may be constantly crowded, but Dariush’s recent performances demand attention and opportunity.
Kevin Holland is one tricky Middleweight.
In a division where most men do one thing at a pretty slow pace, Holland does LOTS of stuff at an active rate! He’s plenty willing to wrestle, trade submissions, counter punch, lead with wild combinations, or fight in the clinch. Historically, that universal comfort has gotten him in some trouble, as Holland willingly played into his opponent’s strengths.
Fortunately, that no longer seems to be the case! Holland fought loose and had fun inside the Octagon, but he did so intelligently, making use of his significant height and reach advantage against a shorter boxer in Joaquin Buckley. Holland sniped with his right hand, jammed him up with lots of kicks, and slammed home some nasty elbows whenever the pair met in the clinch.
Buckley seems a talented fighter moving forward, but Holland was too much for a short-notice debut. In the third round of an already convincing performance, “Trailblazer” shut off the lights with a crisp 1-2, once again announcing himself as a future contender.
- Darren Stewart defeats Maki Pitolo via first-round guillotine choke: Stewart fights with a mean streak regularly, and he came out extra aggressive last night. The second Pitolo even hinted at an exchange or clinch, “The Dentist” would unleash a multi-punch combination. He was attacking on a hairpin trigger, so perhaps it shouldn’t be a shock that Pitolo tried to change it up with a double leg. When Stewart wrapped up the neck and landed the first submission win of his entire pro career, well, that was pretty surprising!
- Andrew Sanchez defeats Wellington Turman via first-round knockout: Sanchez is a fighter that has long been plenty skilled. A collegiate wrestler with a Karate background, The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) has never looked out of his element inside the Octagon … until he fatigues, and then things tend to fall apart. Turman presented such a risk, as the young Brazilian is tough and aggressive, capable of pushing hard for three rounds. Instead, Sanchez’s relaxed and sharp counter punches found their mark with great consistency. Turman walked through several straight rights, but when one did stun him, Sanchez stepped forward with another sharp 1-2 that ended the bout in style.
- Gavin Tucker defeats Justin Jaynes via third-round rear naked choke: This was a really great fight! Tucker started strong, showing his Muay Thai background with a sharp array of kicks. Jaynes turned it up in the second half of the first round, flattening his foe with an uppercut and nearly strangling Tucker with the follow-up guillotine. He seemed to fatigue himself chasing the finish, however, as Tucker rallied in the second, picking his foe apart with a gorgeous variety of striking before landing a choke of his own in the final round. Tucker is a guy who has consistently shown great skill in the Octagon, but this time, his cardio held up perfectly, allowing him to really display the depth of his talent.
For complete UFC Vegas 6: “Lewis Vs. Oleinik” results and play-by-play, click HERE!