UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas Saturday evening was headlined by a top-10 bout between heavyweight contenders Alistair Overeem and Augusto Sakai. Both fighters are looking at an opportunity to take on Stipe Miocic after the champion’s win over Daniel Cormier back in August.
In the end, Overeem came out on top with a brilliant knockout of Sakai. A bit further down on the card, Ovince Saint Preux put up a turn-back-the-clock perforomance while paying homage to a legend.
These are among the biggest winners and losers from Saturday night’s action at the Apex in Las Vegas.
Winner: Ovince Saint Preux returns to prominence
It seems like ages ago that this Tennessee native was taking to the Octagon to compete against the likes of Jon Jones. Now 37 years old, he entered Saturday night’s action coming off a loss to Ben Rothwell back in May. Could Saint Preux make a big statement and prove that he isn’t completely washed? The answer to that question was a resounding yes.
He took out Alonzo Menifield in Round 2 via a knockout. It was about as violent as it gets, too.
After the knockout, Saint Preux was seen paying homage to late-great actor Chadwick Boseman after his untimely passing last week. Great stuff.
Loser: Augusto Sakai wastes golden opportunity
At 15-1-1 in his career heading into Saturday’s headliner against Alistair Overeem, this Brazilian had a golden opportunity to ascend the heavyweight rankings even more. After dominating throughout pretty much the entire fight, Sakai lost via a shocking Round 5 knockout.
Sakai put himself in a horrible situation coming out to Round 5. You can’t find yourself vulnerable on the mat against someone of Overeem’s ilk and experience. He paid dearly in the end.
Winner: Hunter Azure rebounds in a big way
Fresh off a knockout loss to Brian Kelleher this past May, the first of his professional career, the 28-year-old Azure needed a rebound performance against Cole Smith in Vegas Saturday evening. The featherweight contender found himself as a favorite in the Octagon and did not disappoint.
Azure outlasted Smith via decision after three rounds. He landed six more total strikes throughout the bout, including 11 more significant strikes. Add in five take downs, and it was clear that Azure had the major upper hand throughout the bout.
Loser: Montana De La Rosa drops biggest fight of her career
Coming off a win over Mara Romero Borella back in February, this Texas native really wanted to show that she belongs on the biggest of stages. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old De La Rosa, that did not come to frution. In what was a close bout between the two flyweight contenders, Viviane Araujo came out on top via decision.
The stats seemed to back this up, as did the highlights in the Octagon. Despite a gutsy performance, De La Rosa dropped her second fight in three attempts after winning four consecutive.
Winner: Brian Kelleher submits Ray Rodriguez in less than a minute
His loss to Cody Stamann back in UFC 250 this past June had this featherweight contender in a bad mood heading into the Octagon Saturday evening. Unfortunately for Ray Rodriguez, Kelleher took that frustration out on his opponent early on. We’re talking about a Guillotine Choke submission 39 seconds into the opening round. It was something to behold.
That’s just insanity right there. While Rodriguez was given just 24-hour notice for this fight, it’s still an absolutely huge win for Kelleher. “Boom” now moves to 5-4 in his UFC career.
Loser: Bartosz Fabinski with ugly performance
At 3-1 in his UFC career and coming off a resounding win over Darren Stewart in Cage Warriors 113 this past March, “The Butcher” had a prime opportunity to prove himself even more. Fabinski was a minus-170 favorite over Andre Muniz. Sadly, he did not show it in the Octagon.
Fabinski was defeated in Round 1 via an arm bar submission. This came after Muniz landed more total strikes throughout the early stages of the fight. Obviously, this loss is going to leave a sour taste in the Poland native’s mouth.
Winner: Alistair Overeem with a legendary performance
For the most part, this former title contender was overpowered by a younger Augusto Sakai during Saturday’s main event. The latter landed 48 more strikes, including 33 more significant strikes. Showing that there’s some fight left in this dog, 40-year-old came up huge when it counted the most.
Talk about a ground and pound. This might have been one of Overeem most-significant performances since a win over Frank Mir during UFC 169 back in 2014. Ranked No. 5 in the heavyweight division heading into the fight, could a rematch against Stipe Miocic potentially be in the cards?