On Saturday, September 22, light heavyweight Vinny Magalhaes submitted Igor Pokrajac via armbar to earn his first win in the UFC. Magalhaes's victory capped off an exciting preliminary card which featured a lightweight war between T.J. Grant and Evan Dunham and a featherweight matchup between rising prospects.
Here are three thoughts on the prelims:
Magalhaes gets his first UFC victory
It's been quite the journey for Vinny Magalhaes. The Ultimate Fighter 8 alum disappeared after losing to Eliot Marshall at UFC 97, and it's taken some time to earn his way back into the organization. He didn't waste the opportunity.
Magalhaes won the fight at 1:14 of the second round when he reversed a takedown attempt by Pokrajac and rolled his opponent into an armbar. It was a beautiful move which forced Pokrajac to submit almost immediately.
There's little doubt that Magalhaes is one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world. Hopefully, we'll get to see if he's truly developed some stand up skills to go with his jiu-jitsu in his next fight.
I'm not sure how the people over at FX felt about the bloodbath that took place in the cage as T.J. Grant edged Evan Dunham, but it was an excellent fight to watch. The two athletes put on an outstanding performance worthy of a pay-per-view event. Grant, in particular, looked sharper than I've ever seen in him in the cage. I'm looking forward to seeing him compete again soon.
As for Dunham, you have to wonder where his career is going. Two years ago, Dunham was getting close to a title shot. Now he's lost three out of his last five fights. Dunham will keep getting fights in the UFC as long as he keeps putting on great shows, but what else is there for him? Has he peaked?
Brimage wins battle of prospects
Marcus Brimage and Jim Hettes both entered this fight as rising prospects in the featherweight division. However, after watching the fight, I'm convinced that both athletes have a long way to go. Don't get me wrong, both men fought hard, but neither fighter would stand a chance against the top contenders in the weight class.
Brimage's problem is that he doesn't pace himself. He was slowing down by the end of the first round after throwing multiple bombs at Hettes in the first few minutes. Brimage simply puts too much power in his punches. Once he figures out how to manage his striking game, I think he'll become a strong contender.
On the other hand, Hettes's striking is woefully inadequate. His punches were sloppy and powerless, and he failed to cut any angles against an opponent who spent much of his time circling out late in the fight. However, the biggest problem that I saw with Hettes was how he kept his hands low. He's lucky that Brimage didn't knock him out in the first round. Hettes still has great potential, but he has some work to do before he takes the next step in his career.
Derek Ciapala is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor for MMA. He has been published on GatewayMMA.com, UltimateApocalypse.com and multiple other websites. You can check him out on Facebook or on Twitter @dciapala.
- Martial Arts
- Sports & Recreation
- Vinny Magalhaes
- Evan Dunham
- Igor Pokrajac