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UFC Vegas 11 scorecard

Recap the big winners from UFC Vegas 11

Saturday’s UFC Vegas 11 event is in the books, and now that the dust has settled in “The Fight Capital of the World,” it’s time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at the Apex.

1 – Khamzat Chimaev

You stay in this business long enough and skepticism becomes part of your DNA. But after a 17 second knockout of a legit seasoned veteran in Gerald Meerschaert, how can you not see Khamzat Chimaev as the next big thing in this sport? Yes, winning three fights in 66 days is a modern era UFC record and an impressive feat, but what impressed the most about his win last Saturday was that everyone and their brother was expecting him to shoot on Meerschaert like he had in his previous two victories. He didn’t. He knew what his opponent was looking for and he flipped the script, showing his Fight IQ is up there with his talent and tenacity. Yeah, I’m convinced, and while no perfect run lasts forever (usually), I think we’re going to enjoy seeing this one go as long as it can.

2 – Colby Covington
UFC Vegas 11: Colby Covington Post-Fight Interview
UFC Vegas 11: Colby Covington Post-Fight Interview

Every blurb about Colby Covington for the last couple years and probably for the rest of his career will begin with “Love him or hate him,” and given his statements in interviews and on social media, that’s not surprising. But when it comes to what happens on fight night, there’s no doubting that he’s one of the best 170-pounders on the planet, and he proved it again in a win over former champ Tyron Woodley. Was it his most spectacular victory? No. But it was a dominant performance over a fighter many were considering in the running for the mythical “best welterweight of all-time” crown when he had the title. When Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns settle their business, Covington will be knocking on the door, waiting to get another crack at the belt.

3 – Mackenzie Dern

The fight game is so unpredictable, but some things are certainties, and going to the ground with Mackenzie Dern is a guaranteed bad night for you. And it was for Randa Markos, so tough and so game that she may have thought, “Hey, I’ll test myself on the ground with you.” That’s a fighter’s mindset through and through, but Dern is one of those jiu-jitsu players that is levels above anyone else who doesn’t have over 20 years on the mat to draw on in a fight. And like Jon Anik pointed out, seeing Dern work on the ground is a joy, and now that she’s beaten a tough out like Markos, it’s time for another step up on the strawweight ladder.

4 – Johnny Walker
Johnny Walker scores a first round KO on Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11
Johnny Walker scores a first round KO on Ryan Spann at UFC Vegas 11

Speaking of folks who got off to a fast start in the UFC, Johnny Walker was the poster child for such a rapid rise, scoring three quick knockouts of Khalil Rountree Jr., Justin Ledet and Misha Cirkunov in 2018-19. Two losses to Corey Anderson and Nikita Krylov quieted the buzz, making his Saturday fight against Ryan Spann a pivotal one. And despite getting in some trouble early, he roared back to halt Spann and return to the win column. Is the Brazilian a finished product, yet? No, and he knows it. But he is still in the mix at 205 pounds, and sometimes that’s all that matters.

5 – Donald Cerrone / Niko Price

Donald Cerrone and Niko Price did what they do last Saturday night – they fought. And though the draw verdict wasn’t what either of them wanted, they gave their fans a show and that’s always something they take pride in. But the reason they’re here is because of their post-fight interview with Megan Olivi where you could see the emotion when they spoke about getting back to their kids. Yeah, Cerrone, Price and all their peers are superheroes on fight night in the Octagon, but they’re also fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, etc. So it’s good to remember that a lot of sacrifice goes into what happens when the bright lights are on, and kudos to all the fighters out there for making them for our entertainment.