Jeff Chiu/Associated Press
Marvin Vettori notched a big unanimous-decision win over Jack Hermansson in a featured middleweight bout from the Apex Facility in Las Vegas on Saturday.
Vettori took an early lead in the fight when he landed an effective straight left hand that buckled Hermansson. He immediately followed up with ground-and-pound, but succumbing to the temptation to lock in a choke distracted from his ability to finish the fight.
The Joker offered very little offense of his own. His goal appeared to be to hold on for dear life and live to fight another round, which he did but not before Vettori established himself as the favorite.
Hermansson showed heart as the fight went on, though. While many fighters would allow the rough start to plague the rest of their night, the 32-year-old fired off some counters, doubled down on his striking and ended up taking the round with a chance to regain momentum.
The fourth round was uncharted territory for Vettori, who had never fought beyond the third round to this point in his career.
Vettori’s chin, gas tank and defense were tested, but ultimately he was able to pass those tests with flying colors. Hermansson stepped up his intensity, but Vettori was also able to elevate his own game and get the win from the judges’ scorecards.
Considering the fast pace and fun factor, combined with the opponent, this was a breakthrough performance for Vettori that should see him move to an even bigger stage within the division.
Before the marquee middleweight bout, there were multiple up-and-comers who secured wins that should raise their stock. Jamahal Hill stopped Ovince Saint Preux, while Jordan Leavitt made his way into UFC history books.
Here’s what went down with a look at each of the main card bouts.
- Marvin Vettori def. Jack Hermansson by unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 49-45)
- Jamahal Hill def. Ovince Saint Preux by TKO, 3:37 of Round 2
- Gabriel Benitez def. Justin Jaynes by TKO, 4:06 of Round 1
- Roman Dolidze def. John Allan Arte by split decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)
- Jordan Leavitt def. Matt Wiman by KO, 0:22 of Round 1
- Louis Smolka def. Jose Alberto Quinonez via TKO, 2:15 of Round 2
- Ilia Topuria def. Damon Jackson via KO, 2:38 of Round 1
- Jake Collier def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Jamahal Hill def. Ovince Saint Preux
Experience did not trump talent in the co-main event as Jamahal Hill showcased his potential in the light heavyweight division. Fighting the biggest name and best fighter of his career Hill didn’t look like the moment was too big or he was in awe of a man who once went five rounds with Jon Jones.
Hill was relaxed and confident in his second-round TKO over Ovince Saint Preux. The undefeated Hill simply overwhelmed OSP with his volume.
Saint Preux is the quintessential gatekeeper in the light heavyweight division. He’s never lived up to his potential based on his frame and athleticism, but he’s just good enough to show whether a prospect in the division is up to the task.
Hill passed that test in the co-main event.
Hill has a lot of the traits that made OSP an intriguing prospect when he entered the organization. Hill is a talented athlete with a long frame who could have a bright future in the light heavyweight division.
Gabriel Benitez def. Justin Jaynes
Justin Jaynes came to make an impact in his lightweight bout with Gabriel Benitez. He was the aggressor in their fight leading up to the co-main event. However, it was his aggression that left him open to the strike that ultimately finished him.
With Jaynes coming in to land a power punch of his own, Benitez landed a well-timed knee to the solar plexus that immediately put Jaynes in trouble.
It was a savvy performance from a fighter who has struggled to string together strong performances. He was 0-2 in his last two fights leading up to this bout while Jaynes was making just his third fight with the organization.
Benitez showcased timing and striking that will make him an interesting fighter in the division. It allowed him to snap a two-fight skid that included a loss in his only other 2020 bout against Omar Morales.
Roman Dolidze def. John Allan
Roman Dolidze didn’t do enough to convince all three judges he deserved to remain undefeated, but he earned enough credit to keep his unblemished record in a light heavyweight fight that went the distance.
Dolidze was in control of the fight the majority of the time while Allan mostly just kept Dolidze from being able to do too much damage. However, the highlight of the fight for him was when he nearly pulled off a submission moments after asking his coaches if he should go for the win.
The Georgian 205er has been a finisher, picking up four knockouts and three submissions in his first seven fights. But now he has proven he has the gas to make it all three rounds and still pick up a win.
Allan had moments on the feet where he looked like he could compete, but it was defense from him once the fight hit the mat. Allan kept his 32-year-old opponent from creating the space he needed to drop bombs but wasn’t able to put himself in good positions either.
Jordan Leavitt def. Matt Wiman
Jordan Leavitt got his UFC career started off with a bang. Literally, that was the sound that Matt Wiman made as Leavitt slammed his opponent to the mat hard enough to call the fight just 22 seconds after the opening bell.
Leavitt—who is usually a submission fighter—picked up Wiman and was looking for the takedown early, but all he needed to do was slam Wiman to the ground before he even went to work with his grappling.
It’s the third consecutive loss for Wiman who made his UFC debut in 2006 and took a five-year hiatus before coming back in 2019. Unfortunately, he has yet to find the win column since his return.
As UFC research analyst Michael Carroll noted, Leavitt became just the 12th fighter to score a slam knockout in the history of the UFC.