Saturday’s UFC Vegas 2 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.
While a lot of folks made a big deal about Cynthia Calvillo beating number one contender Jessica Eye in her UFC flyweight debut (and rightfully so), it shouldn’t be that surprising. Let’s not forget that despite a suspension and some lengthy layoffs, Calvillo was 5-1-1 in the Octagon heading into the bout, with wins over Joanne Calderwood, Cortney Casey and Poliana Botelho along the way. So her credentials were legit, and with the extra ten pounds that fighting at flyweight affords her, Calvillo is going to be an interesting matchup for anyone at 125.
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Poor Marvin Vettori. I thought the poor guy’s head was going to explode as he looked to get into the Octagon for his first fight since October 2019. From March to June, Vettori waited and waited, but finally, he got his fight and he got his win, impressively submitting Karl Roberson in the first round. In the process, he picked up his first post-fight performance bonus as a member of the UFC roster, and it likely won’t be as long a wait for his return to action.
I don’t know about you, but Mariya Agapova soared onto my top 10 list of favorite fighters after her first-round win over Hannah Cifers. Why? First, she approached her UFC debut not like a sporting event, but a fight. Second, she was all action from start to finish. Third, did I mention that she showed up to Las Vegas looking to get into a fistfight? And fourth, she had an energy and attitude similar to that of her American Top Team squadmate, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. That’s good enough for me.
Tyson Nam should have been in the UFC years ago. And he was going to be until contractual issues with his former promoter kept him outside the Octagon. Finally, the Hawaiian debuted in the UFC in 2019 but lost his first two fights to Sergio Pettis and Kai Kara-France. No shame there, but entering his third bout with Zarrukh Adadshev, it had to feel like more of a must-win than usual for the 36-year-old. So with so much on the line, Nam came up big, scoring a 32-second knockout and a Performance of the Night bonus. The emotions of the moment were all over his face when the bout ended, and knowing what it took him to get there makes it one of the feel-good stories of the year.
We already knew Julia Avila had personality for days, and we knew she could fight after she beat Pannie Kianzad in her UFC debut last summer. Now…we know she has the potential to not only make a run for a title at 135 pounds, but to become a star in the process. And it only took a 22-second stoppage of Gina Mazany to open our eyes.