In honor of President’s Day, we take a look back at some of the latest and greatest UFC moments chosen by UFC President Dana White.
‘If You Don’t Know, Now You Know’ is a social media segment where White informs fans on which under the radar fights he’s looking forward to. By picking sleeper fights, White helps create buzz for fighters who might be making their debut or might not have the biggest following.
And as you might have guessed, The Boss knows his stuff.
Last year White was dead on, directing viewers to tune into six of 2021’s best fights. Take a look which IYDKNYK picks landed on the list:
Marina Rodriguez vs Michelle Waterson
It’s unusual for White to push a headlining bout on IYDKNYK, but both Marina Rodriguez and Michelle Waterson saved the main event after Cory Sandhagen vs TJ Dillashaw was cancelled. Rodriguez and Waterson took the fight up a weight class at flyweight on less than two weeks’ notice, both promised to bring the heat, and they delivered in a big way.
Rodriguez held the edge in a first round that remained on the feet, but Waterson did get in enough kicks to keep her opponent honest. Rodriguez did land some hard close-range shots late, punctuating a good frame.
The Brazilian continued to keep a steady pace on offense in round two, staying one step ahead of Waterson in a fight that was competitive, but slowly going in Rodriguez’ direction.
Waterson went after Rodriguez’ lead leg in the third, and while she was effective with that attack, everything else was going Rodriguez’ way, as she was able to get off plenty of offense both at range and in the clinch.
In the fourth round for the first time in her career, Rodriguez started out the frame in control, but in the second minute Waterson took the fight to the mat and kept her opponent grounded until the horn, setting up a pivotal fifth round.
MORE FROM WHITE: Julianna Peña | Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler
Waterson landed a thudding kick that immediately brought up swelling on Rodriguez’ jaw early in the final frame, but the Brazilian took it well and kept marching forward, getting in some hard right hands and a head kick of her own down the stretch.
Official Result – Marina Rodriguez def. Michelle Waterson via unanimous decision (48-47, 49-46, 49-46)
Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza
‘Styles make fights’ is a popular phrase used amongst the MMA community and it was a popular phrase to describe why people were excited for Santiago Ponzinibbio vs Miguel Baeza. The iron-clad welterweights earned Fight of the Night honors for putting it all on the line inside the UFC APEX.
Baeza went after Ponzinibbio’s legs from the start, and it momentarily slowed the forward progress of the Argentina native. Baeza then moved his attacks upstairs, bruising his foe’s face, but it was Ponzinibbio ending the round strong.
The leg kicks kept coming in the second stanza, and when he followed up with a right hand a minute in, he staggered his foe. Ponzinibbio wasn’t going away, though, and he kept pressing and throwing, refusing to back down from the Floridian as he pumped out a stiff jab while landing his own leg kicks in a late surge that had Baeza on the defensive.
Momentum was clearly on Pozinibbio’s side as the final round began, but Baeza got back down to business until a right kick to the leg staggered “Caramel Thunder.” Now in a battle of wills, both fighters were leaving it all in the Octagon in search of victory, and with two minutes left, Ponzinibbio went looking for the finish. Baeza shook off the blows and fired back, making you wish there was a packed house cheering the two welterweights on as they went back and forth, slugging it out until the final horn.
Official Result – Santiago Ponzinibbio def. Miguel Baeza via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Brad Riddell vs Drew Dober
Brad Riddell versus Drew Dober was one of those fights that immediately jumped off the card. It featured two powerful strikers who were willing to go out on their shield and they proved it by winning Fight of the Night at UFC 263: Adesanya vs Vettori 2.
There was no feeling-out process here, as Dober and Riddell were throwing thunder from the start. A minute in, Dober staggered Riddell, forcing the New Zealander to go all-in in search of a takedown. He got it briefly, but Dober rose to his feet quickly. The time grappling did allow Riddell to clear his head, and when they resumed striking, “Quake” got in some solid shots before he got rocked again, albeit not as badly as earlier. And getting the last big shots in was Riddell, who landed three right hands before the horn.
Neither fighter backed off as round two began, and they kept taking turns rocking each other before a takedown by Dober a minute in. Riddell reversed and grappled from the dominant position and soon the two separated before a takedown by the Auckland product. With under two minutes to go, the fighters were standing and swinging, Riddell taking a slight edge.
Riddell’s right hand was on target in the third round, forcing Dober to seek a takedown. He didn’t get it, but he was able to buy the time to reset his offense. The two were then cagey around each other, but Riddell finished strong, rocking Dober again and slamming him to the mat just before the final horn.
Official result: Brad Riddell def. Drew Dober via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Chito Vera vs Davey Grant
In 2016, Chito Vera and Davey Grant squared off, with the England native getting the best of Ecuador’s finest. So, when the two were set to go at it once again, Vera was determined to even the score with a statement performance at UFC Fight Night: Korean Zombie vs Ige.
And he was able to do just that in a thrilling Fight of the Night performance.
Grant was busy and effective with his striking attack in the first three minutes of the bout, and he was looking to end things early. Vera took the shots well, got in a few of his own and did some good work when the bout hit the mat. The two didn’t stay there long, and when the standup clash resumed, Grant’s face and lead leg were a little banged up.
Grant kept the heat on in round two, but Vera’s shots were more telling, with an elbow by “Chito” opening up a cut on the Brit’s forehead. Grant put the fight on the mat a few moments later, and he went to work as Vera looked for a submission from his back. With a minute left, Grant looked for a guillotine choke while Vera used a leg lock attempt to get out of trouble and into the top position, where he fired off hard strikes until the horn.
After eluding a Grant takedown attempt to begin the third frame, Vera looked for submissions before the two rose, but the Brit landed some hard shots before Vera hurt his foe with a knee and then took him down. On the mat, Vera kept up his punishing attack, nearly submitting the gutsy Grant with a guillotine choke as the seconds ticked away.
Official result – Marlon Vera def. Davey Grant via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-28, 30-26)
Adrian Yanez vs Randy Costa
The two bantamweight prospects were slotted to face one another after MMA Twitter manifested a fake beef between them. It all started with which food item was better, Dr. Pepper or Reese’s Cups.
I know seems silly, but White saw past the sweets and knew that this fight featured two high-octane strikers trying to gain footing in the stacked bantamweight division. Adrian Yanez and Randy Costa put on a show for as long as it lasted, swinging for the fences until one of the friendly foes dropped to the canvas.
Getting right after it, the fighters wasted no time looking to get the upper hand, with Costa taking an early lead behind a busy punching attack and hard kicks to the head. Soon, Yanez was bloodied and finding a hard time catching Costa, whose jab was on target. Yanez did start getting a rhythm late in the round, sending him into the next round on a positive note.
And in the second stanza, Yanez upped his work rate and began tagging Costa repeatedly with punches from all angles. The bloodied New Englander then got drilled with an uppercut that put him on the canvas, and after a barrage of punches, referee Chris Tognoni stopped the fight at the 2:11 mark of round two.
Official result: Adrian Yanez def. Randy Costa via TKO (strikes) at 2:11 of round two
Paddy Pimblett vs Luigi Vendramini
Pimblett’s kicks were on target as the bout began, but a left hand by Vendramini a minute in rattled the Brit and was followed by a takedown. Vendramini put the fight back on the feet moments later, and he began stalking Pimblett, who ate another left hook midway through the round. Pimblett returned the favor, though, hurting Vendramini with a right hand before unloading with both hands and prompting referee Mark Smith to halt the bout at the 4:25 mark of the opening round.
Official result – Paddy Pimblett def. Luigi Vendramini via TKO (strikes) at 4:25 of round one