UFC Vegas 44 has come and gone. The card was as stacked and spectacular as advertised! Of the 13 fights, 8 were finishes and there was no boring fight. But hey, this is not a Yelp review of the card so let us get right into the business of the day and talk about the UFC Vegas 44 results.
Jose Aldo Rolls Back The Years With UFC Vegas 44 Win
A bantamweight fight to determine title hopefuls closed the card. Rob Font put his 4-fight win streak on the line against former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo. The result was five rounds of high-octane action. In the end, a serious contender had his dreams put on hold while a legend rolled back the years to put himself in the title conversation.
Jose Aldo (31-7 MMA, 13-6 UFC) lost the first round on a scorecard against Rob Font (19-5 MMA, 9-4 UFC), but won every other round. Two of the judges scored it 50-45 in his favor and the last scored it 49-46. “The King of Rio” is not one win away from achieving his goal of becoming a two-division champ in the UFC.
Font came into the fight relying on his volume striking but the real story of the day was Aldo’s power advantage. Aldo dropped the New England native several times in the course of the five rounds. He also used his signature takedowns and ground and pound.
After the win, Aldo said, “I trained for this. I want to be a champion in this division and I’m working for that. Rob Font’s a tough opponent. I respect him a lot but nobody’s going to stop me. We trained to become a complete MMA fighter. I want to be as complete as I can. This is the new Aldo that you’re seeing.”
Knowing a shot at the 135-pound gold won’t happen until Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling settle their score, he called out the next best name. He called out former champion T.J. Dillashaw who won his last fight against Cory Sandhagen. He said, “I want to fight for the title but we don’t know what’s going to happen with that. So [T.J.] Dillashaw is right there just sitting. I want to fight Dillashaw. That would be my best opponent next.”
That would be an exciting matchup as two former champs square up for a chance to challenge for the belt again.
Rafael Fiziev Is a Problem For The UFC Lightweight Division
We predicted that the co-main event will be a contender for the fight of the year. I guess we’d just have to settle for a place in the top 10 best knockouts of 2021. They are friends but Rafael Fiziev didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on a blistering wheel kick that sent Brad Riddell to the shadow realm.
The first two rounds were as advertised. Both men engaged in a back-and-forth battle that involved nasty body kicks, heavy hands, and calf kicks. Riddell showed off his quick hands that kept Fiziev at bay. Fiziev’s diverse arsenal and devastating counters stopped Riddell from attacking carelessly. Both were evenly matched entering into the third.
The official end time came at 2:20 in round three. With Riddell backing away from Fiziev’s forward pressure, a spinning wheel kick hit him and sent him towards the cage. “Quake” got so stunned by the attack that he literally froze. Thankfully, referee Herb Dean rushed in to stop the fight before any further damage could be done.
After his fifth consecutive win, Fiziev said, “This is from God. God give me power. I love [Brad Riddell]. When I meet with him, I love him from the first second. I learned from him before and today also. I hope he comes back. I wait for this moment in three rounds. I know when he goes this way, he drop his hands down and he forgets about spinning back kicks.”
Fiziev will now likely face a top ten opponent soon but he wants to take a short break for now. “I don’t want to call someone. Give me three months and I’m ready to fight again.”
Jamahal Hill Destroys Jimmy Crute, Calls Out Paulo Costa, Johnny Walker
Jamahal Hill got over his last loss to Paul Craig with a spectacular 48-second win over Jimmy Crute. This was a battle between two highly-rated prospects who suffered freak defeats in their last outings.
In the first exchange, Hill had a flash knockdown on the Australian prospect. Crute rallied and got back to his feet. Hill was patient and the next time he landed the right, Crute crumbled to the canvas with the referee immediately waving the fight off.
After the win, Hill said, “I was just hoping for a good fight. I know Jimmy’s a tough dude. This is me. This is what ya’ll get when you get me. It feels really good to get this win.”
Since he got signed to the promotion from Dana White’s Contender Series, Hill has shown that he could be a light heavyweight contender. But after losing via first-round submission to Craig, he had something to prove on Saturday night. And he did with a statement win over Crute.
His UFC record currently stands at 3-1, 1 NC, and his next out will likely be against some of the big boys of the division. At least that’s what he wishes for. In the post-fight interview, he said, “I want to be back in very soon. As soon as possible. I hear Paulo Costa is supposed to come play with the 205’ers. If not him, Johnny Walker, that’s something that a lot of people want to see.”
Miracles do happen! All you need to be a believer in this statement is Clay Guida vs Leonardo Santos last night. Clay, who turns 40 next week, had one of the most unbelievable come-from-behind wins of the year. What made it even more unbelievable was the fact that he submitted a multiple-time BJJ champ. Add that to the fact that he was almost put away by a flurry of strikes from Santos in the first round.
No-nonsense Keith Peterson did not stop the fight when Guida was on the ropes. Guida then showed relentless heart and cardio as his team urged him to take the fight to an exhausted Santos. With the victory, Guida became the first person to force Santos to tap out in his 19-year pro MMA career.
Chris Curtis Scores Another Upset Victory at UFC Vegas 44
Chris “The Action Man” Curtis did it again!
This is his second match in the Octagon and this is his second upset victory. At UFC 268 in November, he came from behind to beat a highly-rated Phil Hawes. At UFC Vegas 44, he caused another upset when he defeated Brendan Allen via a second-round TKO.
The first round was back and forth with both men having good moments. But in the second round, he rocked Allen with a right hook then walked him down with heavy shots. The follow-up body shots and knees to the fact dropped Allen and referee Herb Dean ended the round at the 1:58 mark of Round 2.
Curtis has an interesting MMA career that almost ended when he didn’t get a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series. Since his return in 2021, he has remained undefeated. His 2021 record stands at 6-0 with two of those victories coming in the UFC Octagon.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time,” Curtis said in his post-fight interview with Daniel Cormier. “I don’t have a sterling record. I’m a dog. Everyone dismissed me. Brendan dismissed me. Phil did a little bit too. I don’t need anyone to believe in me.”
He also said he’d like to fight on the UFC 269 card next week. With cards falling off due to COVID-19, that just may happen. What makes both wins even more impressive is that Curtis is a natural welterweight. We look forward to seeing where his career goes from here.
Cheyanne Vlismas and Mallory Martin Win UFC Fight of The Night Bonus
Were we the only ones confused when the commentary team kept saying Vlismas throughout the fight? I had to run a Google check to confirm if the bout got rescheduled at the last minute. Not even Jon Anik could give us the tea on that one. Her personal issues didn’t stop Cheyanne Vlismas and Mallory Martin from giving the best performance of the night.
Martin came into this bout after her February loss to Polyana Viana while Vlismas was fresh off a July head kick win over Glorida de Paula. Vlismas was on her bike for all three rounds as she used speed to her advantage. She was constantly moving and hitting Martin with counters. She was also able to stop all the takedown attempts by Martin.
Martin was throwing hard and trying to knock out Vlismas with every shot. But Vlismas was like a butterfly, fluttering away from her strike and coming back in with shots of hers. Vlismas always got the better when they both exchanged and by the end of the fight, the evidence was all over Mallory Martin’s face.
Dusko Todorovich Scores Brutal Ground-and-Pound UFC Win
Dusko Todorovic needed to win at UFC Vegas 44 and he got himself just that when he knocked out Maki Pitolo in the first round.
Round 1 started with a feeling-out period on the feet before Pitolo pulled guard to lock in a guillotine choke. Even though the choke was tight, Todorovich was calm and wiggled out. After wiggling out, Todorovic unleashed brutal ground-and-pound strikes before taking his back. From that position, he unloaded hard punches until the referee decided he had seen enough and ended the fight.
Dusko, who joined the UFC undefeated, lost two consecutive fights to Punahele Soriano and Gregory Rodrigues. This was an important win for him and a dangerous reminder to other light heavyweights.
Vince Morales Starts UFC Vegas 44 With A Huge Bang!
When you are unhappy with your last performance in the Octagon, what do you do? You make like Vince Morales and get a spectacular first-round knockout!
Louis Smolka tried to grab a Muay Thai clinch to land knees but Morales had other ideas. He through a counter right hand that knocked down Smolka. A few follow-up shots on the ground and referee Chris Tognoni called off the fight at just 2:02 in the first round.
“It felt good,” Morales said about his win. “That was my first knockout in the UFC. I’d like to get back in here real soon. I’d like to get on that London card. If Nathaniel Wood’s looking for an opponent, I’m happy to dance.”
In his last five appearances, Morales is now 3-2 and he is riding his first two-fight win streak since joining the UFC in 2018.
What was your best fight of the UFC Vegas 44 fight card? Let us know in the comments section. You can also check out the best images from UFC Vegas 44 courtesy of the UFC via Getty Images.