The UFC returned to pay-per-view on Saturday night with a card that had a WEC kind of feel to it. Every fight but one was held at 145 pounds or fewer. The main event featured a bantamweight title rematch between the current champion, TJ Dillashaw and former champion, Cody Garbrandt. The co-main event featured another rematch as flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson faced Henry Cejudo in a rematch of their 2016 fight. The fight was very close as it could be the best fight the flyweight division has seen. But at the end, the split decision was given to Henry Cejudo as he shocked the world. This would put an end to DJ’s seven-year unbeaten streak. Before we witnessed the two title fights, we saw an important featherweight match-up between Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano.
The little guys sold out the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and they put on a show. Many guys performed very well and put on excellent performances. Now, it is time to look at the fighters who stood out from the other with their Standout Performances. In order for a fighter to make this list, their performance must stand out among their peers. This could be quick finishes, flashy knockouts, great submissions, dismantling an opponent, or providing an all-around exciting fight. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
UFC 227 Standout Performances
#1: Alex Perez
Alex Perez def. Jose Torres via Knockout (Punches) at 3:36 of Round One
An alum of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, Alex Perez made his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 123. The fight took place in Fresno, which was in the same area that Perez grew up in. He took on Carls John de Tomas that night and finished him with the same choke that got him a UFC contract, the anaconda choke. After his debut, he faced TUF alum, Eric Shelton at UFC on Fox 28 and won that fight by unanimous decision to start 2-0 in the UFC.
His third fight came against undefeated two time Titan FC champion, Jose Torres. Torres had gotten lots of respect during his time outside of the octagon. Many thought he had earned a shot well before the time came. Former flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, who was champion at the time of this interview, said that Torres could even be a possible opponent for him in the future. Torres got his shot in the UFC with a short notice fight against Jarred Brooks. This fight took place at UFC Fight Night 131 in June. He won that fight in the second round after Brooks seemed to have knocked himself out with a slam.
Alex Perez came out of the gates very quickly. He immediately began landing all sorts of shots on Torres. He was putting together perfect combinations that were landing clean and hard.
These were just some of many of the strikes that Perez landed in the entire fights. Throughout the entire fight, which was just a little over three minutes, Perez outstruck Torres 104-24. Perez attempted to take Torres down a few times but after not getting any, he went back to the striking and eventually finished the fight with flurries of punches.
#2: TJ Dillashaw
TJ Dillashaw def. Cody Garbrandt via TKO (Punches) at 4:10 of Round One
The first time these two fighters met, Cody Garbrandt was the champion. That meeting came at UFC 217 with Dillashaw surviving a first-round knockdown and coming back to finish the fight by knockout in the second. To the surprise of many, Garbrandt got an immediate rematch in a talent-stacked bantamweight division. That rematch was set to headline the UFC’s return to Los Angeles for UFC 227. Dillashaw was looking to defend his title for the first time during his second title reign. The first title reign came at UFC 173 when he knocked out the pound for pound best fighter, Renan Barao.
Unlike the first fight, Garbrandt came out throwing a lot of kicks, as did Dillashaw. Garbrandt seemed he may have improved from the last time they fought but that didn’t matter to Dillashaw. Dillashaw was moving around the octagon smoothly as he would connect with some combinations here and there. A little over halfway through the round, Garbrandt thought he got a knockdown but it only looked as if Dillashaw slipped or was tripped. Garbrandt didn’t notice and immediately began to rush in and look for the knockout. Dillashaw was not hurt at all and was able to avoid Garbrandt’s attacks and was able to knock down Garbrandt as he rushed in with looping punches.
This was the beginning of the end for Garbrandt once again. Dillashaw began to pour it on as he connected with hard ground and pound. Garbrandt eventually got back to his feet but was still wobbly. Dillashaw was able to connect with a hard right that made Garbrandt stagger back to the fence, and that’s where Dillashaw would finish it.
#3: Renato Moicano
Renato Moicano def. Cub Swanson via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 4:15 of Round One
Coming into the fight, Cub Swanson was riding a two-fight losing streak, tied for the longest in his 14-year professional career. It all started in 2017 when he took on Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC Fight Night 123. He lost that fight by second-round guillotine. He would then go on to face Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night 128 in a rematch of their 2014 meeting. Swanson would also go on to lose that fight by unanimous decision. This would then set up a fight against the rising featherweight prospect, Renato Moicano.
Moicano entered the UFC at 8-0 and would go on to win his first three UFC fights. The most notable of those wins came against the heavy hitting Jeremy Stephens. That fight took place at UFC on Fox 24 where he would win the fight by split decision. This set up a fight with fellow undefeated prospect, Brian Ortega at UFC 214. It seemed like Moicano was winning the back and forth fight until he was caught with a guillotine in the final round. Moicano rebounded from his first career loss when he took on Calvin Kattar at UFC 223 where he’d win by unanimous decision.
Throughout the fight, Moicano was showcasing his striking. He was able to land the jab all night long and landed good combinations in the close combat striking battles.
Swanson was also finding success with his strikes as he was able to land multiple good right hands in the first. However, Moicano ate everything thrown at him and continued throwing. He was landing good punches, some good body kicks and hard leg kicks.
With just over two minutes in the round, Moicano landed another hard jab and he dropped Swanson. Moicano would then proceed to land hard ground and pound as Swanson attempted to get back to his feet. Swanson was able to get back to his feet but Moicano had a hold of his leg. He drove Swanson back to the cage where he landed a hard knee to the chest of Swanson. Moicano was able to lock his hands and drag Swanson down and gain full mount.
Now being trapped in the mount, Swanson was doing all he could to escape from underneath Moicano. He was able to pass a couple times but Moicano just got right back into mount. Swanson would eventually give up his back and as soon as he did, Moicano locked in the choke. He wasn’t completely under the chin but it didn’t matter as he squeezed on the jaw of Swanson, forcing him to tap.
#4: Marlon Vera
Marlon Vera def. Wuliji Buren via TKO (Body Punch) at 4:53 of Round Two
Marlon Vera came into this fight looking for an important win as he had lost his last two. After going on a three-fight win streak that included finishes over Brad Pickett and Brian Kelleher, Vera was slated to meet top-five contender, John Lineker. This fight took place at UFC Fight Night 119 with Lineker winning by unanimous decision. He then went on to face Douglas Silva de Andrade at UFC Fight Night 125. He would also lose that fight by unanimous decision.
His opponent, Wuliji Buren, made his UFC debut last year at UFC Fight Night 122 when he took on Rolando Dy. He would lose that fight by unanimous decision, dropping his record to 9-4.
The first round started slowly for both fighters as they were feeling each other out. Towards the end of the round, Buren began to pick things up and was landing some good right hands. He also got a good takedown with about thirty seconds remaining and would keep Vera there until the round’s end.
In the second round, Vera came out much quicker and began landing some good shots. He was finding some good success with his punches as he landed a good combination before being taken down by Buren.
After the takedown, Vera was controlled on the mat for a while before the ref stood them up. Vera began finding even more success after being stood up, but he was still having problems defending Buren’s right hand. However, Vera was able to get a takedown of his own late in the round and land some shots. Buren, however, got back to his feet with about thirty seconds left in the round.
Shortly after Buren got back to his feet, Vera began to pour it on. He landed some good looping shots over the guard of Buren and tried to go to the body as well. His first attempt to attack the body was blocked but he came straight back up the middle and crumpled Buren with a perfectly landed body shot to end it.
With UFC 227 in the books, we take a look at what is next for the UFC. For the next three weeks, there will be no UFC events taking place. The octagon returns on August 25 as the UFC heads to Lincoln, Nebraska. The main event features a lightweight fight between the always exciting Justin Gaethje and James Vick. Plus, in the co-main event, Michael Johnson makes his second appearance in the featherweight division as he takes on Andre Fili. We will also see the return of Eryk Anders, James Krause, and Mickey Gall. So join me next week as we look back on UFC Fight Night 135 and determine the top standout performances.
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