Saturday’s UFC Vegas 13 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 UFC Apex.
5 – Alexandr Romanov
With two wins and two finishes in the Octagon, Alexandr Romanov may be the best heavyweight prospect in the UFC, but what makes the unbeaten Moldova native so intriguing is his style, which mixes old school ground-and-pound with a solid submission game and athleticism. “King Kong” is not like the other heavyweights, but he is fun to watch and likely to be making his move on the elite of the division sooner rather than later.
4 – Giga Chikadze
Another fighter emerging thanks to a breakout performance on last weekend’s main card is Georgian striker Giga Chikadze, who earned his first UFC Performance of the Night bonus with a first-round stoppage of Jamey Simmons. That victory was his fourth of 2020, and just like Kevin Holland and Khamzat Chimaev used this crazy year to raise their stock on the global MMA scene, Chikadze is doing the same thing, and there’s nothing wrong with that for one of the top strikers on the roster.
3 – Raoni Barcelos
Call me crazy, but there were several instances on Saturday night when I looked at Raoni Barcelos in action against Khalid Taha and saw a prime Jose Aldo. His striking was so fluid and on target that it was easy to see Barcelos take on anyone at 135 pounds and beat them. And that’s not a ludicrous statement considering that the Brazilian hasn’t dropped a fight since 2014, that’s a long time to be that good, and hopefully the next time out, he’ll be competing with a number next to his name against a fellow 135-pound contender.
2 – Andrei Arlovski
Speaking of the over 40 crowd, Andrei Arlovski has now won three of his last four. That’s something I don’t think anyone thought they would be saying during any number of cold stretches for the former heavyweight champion, like his 0-5 run in 2016-17 or his 0-3, 1 NC skid in 2018-19. But “The Pit Bull” kept showing up and didn’t let the bad times dictate his future, and now he’s a player again in the division he once ruled. Have his recent fights resembled some barnburners of the past? No, but he’s fighting smart and fighting to win, and no one can begrudge him that. Arlovski has earned the right to do whatever he wants to do on fight night.
1 – Glover Teixeira
Another one for the old guys! And as someone who has a decade on 41-year-old Glover Teixeira, I can say that because the Brazilian vet will always be young to me. But all kidding aside, Teixeira’s win over Thiago Santos proves that there’s one thing that youth can’t provide in a fight, and that’s experience. And despite eating a few shots that had him in trouble briefly, Teixeira found enough breathing room for him to use that experience to beat the returning “Marreta.” The win made it five straight, and a title fight against Jan Blachowicz isn’t just deserved, but it’s one with Fight of the Year potential.