8 Positives & 2 Negatives From UFC Austin

After the excitement of the promotion’s first Singapore-held PPV, the UFC returned to US soil on Saturday for another on-the-road fight night in the form of UFC Austin. The second of a still-rare two-week trip away from the Apex facility saw the MMA leader land in Texas, where the Moody Center played host to a…

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After the excitement of the promotion’s first Singapore-held PPV, the UFC returned to US soil on Saturday for another on-the-road fight night in the form of UFC Austin.

The second of a still-rare two-week trip away from the Apex facility saw the MMA leader land in Texas, where the Moody Center played host to a 13-fight card. While the event didn’t pose the immediate title implications and drama that UFC 275 did, the headliner did promise to shake things up at the top of the featherweight division.

While top-five contender Calvin Kattar battled #7-ranked Josh Emmett at the top of the slate, exciting welterweights Kevin Holland and Tim Means provided the appetizer. Elsewhere, the likes of Adrian Yanez, Joaquin Buckley, Guram Kutateladze, and Gregory Rodrigues all took to the Octagon on the main card.

With entertaining fighters like Cody Stamann, Roman Dolidze, and Ricardo Ramos also in action on the prelims, the event looked to be one of the stronger UFC Fight Night cards in recent memory, on paper at least.

So, did it deliver? Let’s find out with the positives and negatives from UFC Austin.

Negative – Cursed

  • Manel Kape vs. Sumudaerji – UFC Vegas 52
  • Alexandr Romanov vs. Chase Sherman – UFC Vegas 52
  • Carlos Candelario vs. Tatsuro Taira – UFC Vegas 53
  • Donald Cerrone vs. Joe Lauzon – UFC 274
  • Manel Kape vs. Rogério Bontorin – UFC 275

It’s safe to say we’ve had our fair share of disappointing fight cancelations in recent weeks and months. And not just any cancelations, fight week/day disappointments. In a case of déjà vu, we can add Cerrone vs. Lauzon to that list again, this time for UFC Austin.

Like last month in Arizona, the pair made it to the event location, completed their media duties, and successfully weighed in. But once again, Saturday’s event went down without the presence of the the two veterans inside the Octagon.

In May, that was down to a nasty dose of food poisoning on the side of “Cowboy.” This time, a freak knee injury sustained by Lauzon while he was putting his socks on post-weigh-in, of all things, forced the bout to be scrapped.

If Tony Ferguson’s ruptured LCL, which was caused by him tripping over an electrical cable prior to one of many planned matchups with Khabib Nurmagomedov, taught us anything, it’s that freak incidents like this usually means a matchup is cursed.

With that said, it doesn’t seem that the MMA gods want to see Cerrone vs. Lauzon. While the UFC hasn’t addressed whether or not a third attempt at pitting the two vets against each other will be made, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the promotion move both men on to other things.

Positive – Dolidze Doesn’t Kneed Long

This was some way to start proceedings…

The tone was set nicely at UFC Austin courtesy of Roman Dolidze, who was making his first appearance since a June 2021 victory over Laureano Staropoli. Against Kyle Daukaus, the Georgian was looking to return to a win streak having had his initial 2-0 start in the Octagon blemished by Trevin Giles last March.

Dolidze accomplished his goal about as viciously as he could have, finishing Daukaus with a truly brutal knee to the head against the cage. Having debuted in the UFC by stopping Khadis Ibragimov with a knee, it’s clear that Dolidze knows how to put the dangerous weapon to good use.

The only negative here was that more people weren’t in attendance to see it. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but the arena seemed remarkably empty, even for the opening bout of the night, which was actually one of the more intriguing matchups on the card.

Nevertheless, that certainly didn’t take away from Dolidze’s performance and brutal finish. Violence, violence, violence!

Positive – Frightening Dominance

How about that for a statement?

In the second fight of the night, Phil Hawes delivered one of the most one-sided beatdowns in recent memory, piecing Deron Winn up right from the word go. From effective jabs and cutting lead-in elbows to flush high kicks and cross-rights, everything “Megatron” threw, he did so with vicious intent, and usually landed.

Given Hawes’ striking talent, which was evident last time out before he got caught by Chris Curtis, Winn’s gameplan was a confusing one. Despite being thoroughly dominated, the elite wrestler didn’t even feint a takedown once.

The aesthetic of Winn bloody and beaten in his corner after round one made it pretty clear where the bout was headed. And despite some resistance in the form of a few overhand rights, it remained one-way traffic right up until a standing TKO stoppage. The “standing” is credence to the Missouri native’s toughness.

The beatdown maybe went on longer than it should have, with referee Herb Dean stepping in as the contest had gone beyond the ‘yep, this is done’ stage, something that was clear when Winn’s swings went from low power to no power.

Negative – Texas Judging

When the UFC heads to Texas, one narrative is inevitable, and it surrounds the expectation for some horrific judging catastrophes.

While not a total disaster given that it had no influence on the result, the first-round scoring for Hawes’ utter demolition of Winn was concerning. If that five minutes of action, which included a knockdown and a host of wobbly moments for Winn, as well as practically nothing in return, wasn’t worthy of a 10-8, then quite frankly, I don’t know what is.

Sal D’Amato awarded Hawes a 10-8, but judges Joel Ojeda and Jason Stafin did not. D’Amato gets a lot of stick, much of it unnecessary, but what does it say that he, the one experienced and renowned judge on that fight’s selection, got an obvious call correct, while two local officials somehow missed it?

That says Texas.

I wrote the above section expecting something else to crop up throughout the night, and that it did.

On the main card, Damir Ismagulov and Guram Kutateladze battled in a highly technical and highly entertaining lightweight contest. While it was undoubtedly a close fight with a few acceptable scorecards, Jason Stafin’s 30-27 certainly wasn’t one of them.

Once again, the seasoned judges scoring this fight, Chris Lee and Doug Crosby, turned in opposing 29-28s that were certainly acceptable. The dissenting, and clearly incorrect scorecard, once again came from the mind of Stafin, a local judge.

Given that Stafin’s experience amounts to two UFC Fight Nights and one Bellator event since 2016, his presence cageside can certainly be questioned.

Positive – The Spin King Does It Again

The group of 2022 Knockout of the Year contenders is beginning to get a little crowded, and a little dizzy.

While the standout is perhaps Michael Chandler’s front-kick knockout of Tony Ferguson, Molly McCann and Weili Zhang have both span to disable their latest opponents, the former via elbow and the latter with a backfist. Joining good company, then, is Ricardo Ramos.

UFC Austin had already started fantastically, but the featherweight contest between Ramos and Danny Chavez brought a new level of violence. Just over a minute into the fight, “Carcacinha” shut the lights out in some style.

As Chavez backed up towards the fence, Ramos dipped to his right and feinted a left jab. When “The Colombian Warrior” bit and dropped his hands to parry, the Brazilian threw a remarkably quick spinning back elbow up top, connecting clean with Chavez’s temple.

The 35-year-old was propped up by the cage, staring into space. Ramos quickly changed that, completing the knockout with a left hook that slumped his rival to the ground.

Having delivered a similarly brutal spinning back elbow against Aiemann Zahabi at UFC 217 in 2017, it’s clear that Ramos has nailed the art of eccentric and unique striking. When he returns to the Octagon, there’ll be no prizes for guessing what move most will be waiting for, including his opponent…

Positive – Another One

DJ Khaled references are cliché and overused when it comes to instances of repetition, but I’d estimate that it came to the minds of at least half the fans watching UFC Austin.

No sooner had the echo of Ricardo Ramos’ elbow stopped ringing around the Moody Center, Jeremiah Wells gave the Brazilian a run for his money on the brutality meter. The victim this time was Court McGee. Given that “The Crusher” had only been finished once in the UFC prior to Saturday night, the image of him unconscious on the canvas wouldn’t have been in many prediction pieces.

So how did he get there? A highlight-reel left hook from hell. After having a right hand parried, Wells threw a looping left hand that came from so far back, it’s understandable it went unnoticed from McGee.

After a sickening thud to the ground and some savage ground-and-pound shots, the fight was over, and Wells had followed up his memorable stoppages of Warlley Alves and “Blood Diamond” with a third equally devastating finish.

Positive – A Masterclass On Debut

It’s safe to say that Natália Silva’s fanbase got a whole lot bigger on Saturday.

It’s hard to recall a debut as technically sound, impressive, and dominant as Silva’s. Closing out the UFC Austin prelims, the Brazilian faced Jasmine Jasudavicius. While the Canadian’s walkout and song choice cemented her as the fan favorite early on in this one, that didn’t last long at all.

Who’d have thought a Brazilian debutant would have a Texas crowd chanting her name? Silva earned that acclaim with a flawless performance.

From her fluid movement and takedown defense to her lightening-fast kicks, both to the head and body, and including spins, everything that the 25-year-old attempted came off, and ended up making Jasudavicius look rather amateur, and even like a punching bag at times.

To make the performance that much more impressive, it marked Silva’s first outing since 2019. With the display, Silva has made an immediate impact in the Octagon, and will likely find herself with an elevated rise towards the rankings.

A new flyweight threat has emerged, and her name is Natália Silva.

Positive – Satisfying.

The biggest takeaway from UFC Austin was that bigots get their comeuppance, and in MMA, that means they get knocked out.

Opening the main card was Tony Kelley (not a bad position for someone who was supposedly ‘canceled’) and rising prospect Adrian Yanez. Delivering a finish for himself, his home state, the Moody Center crowd, and the country of Brazil, Yanez showed his class, and the gulf in it between himself and Kelley.

It took just minutes to see which of the two was sharper and slicker with their movement. And after surviving one hairy moment, Kelley met his end to the clearly superior Yanez less than four minutes into the opening round.

The ferocious KO brought a rowdy reaction from the crowd, as well as a big response from all corners of social media.

As it turns out Kerry Hatley might not be the biggest Kelley fan either. The ref decided against stepping in as the dazed 35-year-old sat clueless on the ground, resulting in three more shots that ensured Kelley went all the way to sleep.

Hatley also gave him an inadvertent kick to the head as he leapt over him in what was certainly a messy stoppage. Although you’d be hard-pressed to find too many complaints about it online.

I think most acknowledged that Yanez had earned a better opponent with his impressive run, but it seems many were okay with this matchup so that, well, what happened could happen…

With that out the way, though, it’s time for Yanez to fight a more notable name and begin facing bantamweights with numbers next to their names.

Positive – Main Card Violence Continues

When the prelims deliver such an entertaining set of fights, the main card often struggles to reach the same heights. At UFC Austin, that wasn’t the case.

After Adrian Yanez set the tone, the rest of the main card fighters took up the mantle and matched the efforts of their predecessors.

The first to do so was Gregory Rodrigues, whose fists did a surreal amount of damage to Julian Marquez. From the moment he rocked “The Cuban Missile Crisis,” the Brazilian smelt blood and went to work, consistently knocking down and wobbling Marquez. Eventually, a stiff right hand penetrated the Missouri native’s defense and ended his night.

After “Robocop” added a seventh finish of the night, Damir Ismagulov and Guram Kutateladze delivered their own dose of violence, but in the form of a technical and enthralling three-round battle. In the boxer vs. kickboxer contest, it was the former who came out victorious, with Ismagulov extending his win streak to 16.

The action certainly wasn’t done there.

Next up to have his Austin moment was Joaquin Buckley, who put in a striking clinic en route to a TKO victory in-between rounds two and three. The doctor’s stoppage came when it was clear that Albert Duraev couldn’t see out of a massively swollen left eye.

Giving us another look on the violence front was Kevin Holland in the co-main. Giving further evidence that his decision to drop to welterweight was a good one, “Trailblazer” moved closer to the 170-pound top 15 by snapping the three-fight win streak of Tim Means.

After showing his slick striking game on the feet, Holland capitalized on an opportunity to lock in his second UFC submission, forcing Means to tap-out to a tight D’Arce choke in the second round.

A submission was perhaps the only thing left on our UFC Austin bingo cards heading into the top-two bouts on the card. That was quickly rectified courtesy of Holland’s handiwork.

Positive – A FW Title Contender Emerges

Not many sentences get MMA fans as excited as, “ranked featherweights fighting.” The UFC Austin headliner showed why.

For five rounds, Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett went toe-to-toe, with both looking to secure their place opposite the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway 3 victor. In the end, after a remarkably-close fight, it was the #7-ranked contender who secured his ascension into the top five and into the championship conversation via split decision.

With Brian Ortega, who has lost to both Holloway and Volkanovski, and Yair Rodriguez, who fell to “Blessed” last November, set to collide next month, it seems that Emmett represents the kind of fresh blood that the champion will be looking for, whoever that may be after UFC 276.

At 37 years old, UFC Austin was a crucial moment for Emmett’s title charge. And against one of the division’s best, the 145-pound powerhouse shone bright.

What were your positives and negatives from UFC Austin?

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Calvin Kattar Speaks Out Following Disappointing Loss To Josh Emmett

UFC featherweight contender Calvin Kattar thinks he deserved to win on the judges’ scorecards against Josh Emmett at UFC Austin. Kattar and Emmett were both coming off of impressive wins heading into their UFC Austin headliner. In what was expected to be a back-and-forth war, the two featherweight contenders lived up to expectations as they…

Continue Reading Calvin Kattar Speaks Out Following Disappointing Loss To Josh Emmett at MMA News.

UFC featherweight contender Calvin Kattar thinks he deserved to win on the judges’ scorecards against Josh Emmett at UFC Austin.

Kattar and Emmett were both coming off of impressive wins heading into their UFC Austin headliner. In what was expected to be a back-and-forth war, the two featherweight contenders lived up to expectations as they brawled for 25 minutes on the feet.

It was a very close fight from the opening minutes as both Kattar and Emmett dealt their fair share of damage in the Octagon. In the end, Emmett would walk away with the split decision win to earn his fifth-straight victory.

During the UFC Austin ESPN+ post-fight show, Kattar gave his initial reaction to his five-round battle with Emmett.

“I just thought I was going to get my hand raised at the end of it,” Kattar said. “I didn’t care, we give a sh*t if it’s unanimous or a split. I thought I did enough to win the fight. Josh is a class act, a tough kid. Congrats to him and his team.

“… There was never a point I thought I could sit back, but I thought I was edging him out, especially the longer the fight went. The fifth round, I thought I took it. I know he wanted to stand in the center and bang but I mean, that’d be cool I guess if I wasn’t up in the fight, maybe. I thought I was landing the better shots, but I’m not a judge. It went the way it did, but I thought I did enough to win the fight.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

UFC fans were divided on how they scored Kattar vs. Emmett, and the same can be said for the judges. Two judges gave Emmett a 48-47 victory, with one judge giving Kattar the win by the same score.

A few of the rounds in the fight were difficult for most to definitively score, as both Kattar and Emmett had their fair share of moments throughout the battle. Kattar seemed to hold the advantage from a volume standpoint, while Emmett arguably landed the more damaging blows.

Kattar surged back into the featherweight title conversation following a win over Giga Chikadze back in January. Following his latest defeat, he’ll look to pick up the pieces and come out victorious in his expected return later this year.

How did you score Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett?

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UFC Austin Scorecards: Judges Split On Calvin Kattar Vs. Josh Emmett

The judges had their work cut out for them when scoring the back-and-forth war between Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar at UFC Austin. Emmett and Kattar went toe-to-toe in their UFC Austin headliner, relying on their stand-up to pressure one another. After five rounds of action, Emmett earned a split decision win for his fifth-straight…

Continue Reading UFC Austin Scorecards: Judges Split On Calvin Kattar Vs. Josh Emmett at MMA News.

The judges had their work cut out for them when scoring the back-and-forth war between Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar at UFC Austin.

Emmett and Kattar went toe-to-toe in their UFC Austin headliner, relying on their stand-up to pressure one another. After five rounds of action, Emmett earned a split decision win for his fifth-straight victory.

Two of the judges’ scorecards were 48-47 in favor of Emmett, while one judge had it 48-47 for Kattar.

Emmett’s winning streak continues following victories over the likes of Dan Ige, Shane Burgos, and Kattar in the Octagon.

Emmett’s win was preceded by a co-main event welterweight clash in which Kevin Holland submitted Tim Means in Round 2. All three judges gave Holland the first round 10-9.

Holland is now 2-0 since making the move from middleweight to welterweight. He defeated Alex Oliveira in his 170lb debut earlier this year at UFC 272 via second-round TKO.

UFC middleweight Joaquin Buckley earned another victory with an impressive performance against Albert Duraev at UFC Austin. He earned a TKO win via doctor’s stoppage in Round 3 and won the first two rounds on the scorecards.

UFC lightweight prospects Damir Ismagulov and Guram Kutateladze battle in a three-round war. After a closely-contested bout, Ismagulov earned the win via a split decision.

The judges had an easy task of scoring Julian Marquez vs. Gregory Rodrigues, as Rodrigues earned a first-round knockout by blitzing Marquez on the feet. UFC bantamweight Adrian Yanez opened up the UFC Austin main card with a quick knockout over Tony Kelley.

How did you score Calvin Kattar vs. Josh Emmett?

Continue Reading UFC Austin Scorecards: Judges Split On Calvin Kattar Vs. Josh Emmett at MMA News.

UFC Austin Bonuses: UFC Breaks The Bank For Second-Straight Week

UFC Austin delivered for a raucous crowd at the city’s Moody Center, tying a record for the most KO/TKO finishes at a single UFC event. The promotion decided to mark the occasion by handing out extra bonuses for the second-straight week after 7 different fighters took home an extra $50k at UFC 275 last week….

Continue Reading UFC Austin Bonuses: UFC Breaks The Bank For Second-Straight Week at MMA News.

UFC Austin delivered for a raucous crowd at the city’s Moody Center, tying a record for the most KO/TKO finishes at a single UFC event. The promotion decided to mark the occasion by handing out extra bonuses for the second-straight week after 7 different fighters took home an extra $50k at UFC 275 last week.

The UFC topped that number this week and gave 11 different fighters a $50K bonus. The promotion elected to hand out Performance of the Night bonuses to every fighter that won by finish, plus the usual pair of bonuses for Fight of the Night.

Things got off to a fast start in the middleweight division, as Roman Dolidze stopped Kyle Daukaus just over a minute into the night’s opening fight. The Georgian landed a knee that sent Daukaus to the canvas and only required a few half-hearted follow-up punches before the ref had seen enough.

The action continued at middleweight with the night’s second bout. After battering him for large portions of the fight, Phil Hawes landed some standing elbows on an already comprised Deron Winn to earn a stoppage at the end of the second round.

The event ended up with three-straight finishes before seeing the judge’s scorecards. Cody Stamann needed less than a minute to stop veteran Eddie Wineland with a combination of knees and punches against the fence.

The first decision of the night did nothing to halt the card’s momentum, as Ricardo Ramos delivered arguably the most impressive finish of the evening in the following bout. Already known for his spinning elbow KO of Aiemann Zahabi at UFC 217, the 26-year-old landed the technique a second time to set up a finish of Danny Chavez.

Not to be outdone, Jeremiah Wells delivered his own offering for the night’s best finish in the next fight. Matched with The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 winner Court McGee, Wells pressed forward and landed a huge left hook that starched “The Crusher” just over a minute and a half into the fight.

The event’s second decision provided a brief respite from the violence of Ramos and Wells’ finishes, but Adrian Yanez got things back on track with the third first-round finish of his UFC career. The Texas-native clearly fed off the energy of his home fans and battered Tony Kelley until the ref stepped in with just over a minute left in the first round.

The next fight between Gregory Rodrigues and Julian Marquez ended in the event’s sixth and final first-round finish. Rodrigues established a striking edge early, and despite a valiant attempt from Marquez to fire back he ended up on the canvas after a right hand from “Robocop”.

Middleweights went 4 for 4 on finishes when Joaquin Buckley earned a victory over Albert Duraev via doctor stoppage in the third round of their fight. While Buckley couldn’t dictate exactly when the fight ended, Duraev had no answer for the offense that closed the Russian’s left eye to the point where a doctor deemed him unable to continue.

The welterweight co-main event between Kevin Holland and Tim Means provided the final finish of the evening and night’s only submission. “Trailblazer” managed to catch Means in a d’arce choke for Holland’s second-straight victory since moving to the welterweight division.

The main event bout between featherweights Calvin Kattar and Josh Emmett had a lot to live up to considering the action that preceded them entering the cage. Both men delivered in a Fight of the Night performance where Josh Emmett walked away with a narrow split-decision win and his fifth-straight victory.

All in all, 9 different fighters walked away from UFC Austin with Performance of the Night Bonuses in addition to Fight of the Night going to Kattar and Emmett.

What do you think of the bonuses for UFC Austin? Should the UFC continue this trend of handing out extra bonuses for exceptional events?

Continue Reading UFC Austin Bonuses: UFC Breaks The Bank For Second-Straight Week at MMA News.

MMA Twitter Reacts To Josh Emmett Outworking Calvin Kattar At UFC Austin

Josh Emmett continues his surge through the featherweight ranks after edging Calvin Kattar in the main event of UFC Austin this evening. The split decision victory means Emmett is now riding a five-fight win streak that extends back to March 2019. Taking place almost entirely on the feet, the fight was a closely contested affair…

Continue Reading MMA Twitter Reacts To Josh Emmett Outworking Calvin Kattar At UFC Austin at MMA News.

Josh Emmett continues his surge through the featherweight ranks after edging Calvin Kattar in the main event of UFC Austin this evening.

The split decision victory means Emmett is now riding a five-fight win streak that extends back to March 2019. Taking place almost entirely on the feet, the fight was a closely contested affair between two defensively sound fighters. Both Kattar and Emmett had moments landing significant strikes, however it was Emmett who delivered the more telling blows.

After defeating the #4 ranked featherweight Kattar, we can expect the #7 ranked Emmett to enter the division’s top five in the coming days. You can catch all the highlights of the main event below.

This was Emmett’s fifth win in a row.

Now, let’s see how fighters reacted to Emmett’s victory over Kattar at UFC Austin.

UFC Austin: Kattar vs. Emmett Results & Highlights

MMA News is providing ongoing coverage of UFC Austin. We’ve got you covered with live results, video highlights, and post-fight tidbits.

Continue Reading MMA Twitter Reacts To Josh Emmett Outworking Calvin Kattar At UFC Austin at MMA News.

Dana White Gives A Bonus To Every Fighter That Finished Their Fight At UFC Austin

Dana WhiteDana White and the UFC were in a generous mood tonight, as they have given every fighter that finished their opponent a bonus at UFC Austin. There was a total of 8 finishes by KO/TKO on the entire card, tying the previous record for most KO’s or TKO’s in a card. The card will go […]

Dana White

Dana White and the UFC were in a generous mood tonight, as they have given every fighter that finished their opponent a bonus at UFC Austin.

There was a total of 8 finishes by KO/TKO on the entire card, tying the previous record for most KO’s or TKO’s in a card. The card will go down as one of the best Fight Nights in recent history, as there was something to get excited about with every fight. The card started off with fireworks, foreshadowing what was to come for the next few hours. Roman Dolidze got the party started with a huge KO over Kyle Daukaus, who as a bit of a heavy favorite in the bout.

That was just the start, as there were some more mind blowing knockouts, as Ricardo Ramos had one of the most beautiful spinning elbow KO’s ever. Ramos caught Danny Chavez early in the first round of the fight. He fainted a body shot with the left, and spun and hit him with the elbow.

The fighters going home with the Bonus include:

  • Roman Dolidze
  • Phil Hawes
  • Cody Stamann
  • Ricardo Ramos
  • Jeremiah Wells
  • Adrian Yanez
  • Gregory Rodrigues
  • Joaquin Buckley
  • Kevin Holland (Sub)

Dana White had also given a bonus to Josh Emmett and Calvin Kattar for their ‘Fight of the Night’ bout

Kattar and Emmett went toe to toe for five grueling rounds, in a razor close fight that saw Emmett get his hand raised. Both Kattar and Emmett had some great moments in the fight, but it seems as if the judges had given the fight to Emmett, due to the power he was hitting Kattar with. He threw every punch with intention of ending the fight, as Kattar was fighting more technically according to the judges scorecards. One could argue that the decision could have gone either way, depending on how it was judged.

Did you enjoy UFC Austin? What was your favorite moment?