UFC on ESPN 15 Standout Performances

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In the main event of UFC on ESPN 15, former UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar made his bantamweight debut. After a few failed attempts at gold in the featherweight division, Edgar made the move to 135. In his divisional debut, Edgar faced off against fifth ranked bantamweight contender Pedro Munhoz. Edgar attempted to pick up a win in his new division and snap his two fight losing streak. Meanwhile, Munhoz was trying to rebound from a recent loss to Aljamain Sterling. After a close back and forth fight where each fighter had their moments, Edgar would win the fight by split decision. With the win, Edgar could find himself inside the bantamweight’s top ten already.

The night’s co-main event featured a couple of light heavyweights, although not the ones that were originally scheduled. Just hours before the card started, it was announced that Ovince Saint Preux had tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, his co-main event bout against Alonzo Menifield was cancelled. As a result, the light heavyweight fight between Marcin Prachnio and Mike Rodriguez was boosted to the co-main event. Each fighter entered the fight coming off recent losses as they looked to get back in the win column.

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UFC on ESPN 15 Standout Performances

For a card that was plagued by injuries, there was still plenty of action. The main card featured plenty of good finishes while there were a couple more eye opening wins on the prelims. Now, it is time to pick from those finishes and determine the five standout performances from UFC on ESPN 15. 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. Along with every performance will be a look at what could potentially come next for each fighter.

#1 Trevin Jones

def. Timur Valiev via TKO (Punches) at 1:59 of Round Two

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 22: Trevin Jones reacts after his knockout victory over Timur Valiev of Russia in their fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Heading into fight week, Timur Valiev was originally scheduled to face UFC newcomer Mark Streigl. However, just two days before the fight, Streigl was pulled after testing positive for COVID-19 and he was replaced by Trevin Jones. Valiev was also making his UFC debut as he entered the octagon on a six fight win streak, including some wins with PFL. Those wins came from 2017-18 as he submitted Josenaldo Silva and defeated Max Coga and Bekbulat Magomedov by unanimous decision. In his last two fights before entering the UFC, Valiev finished Giovanni da Silva Santos Jr. by TKO and defeated Taigro Costa by UD. Valiev looked to make it seven in a row with a win over Jones at UFC on ESPN 15.

Trevin Jones entered his UFC debut with a record of 6-2 in his last eight fights. The two losses he has suffered over that time have both come by split decision. In his last two fights, Jones won them both as he submitted both his opponents. The first match up took place at ACA 91 as Jones submitted Mehdi Baydulaev with a guillotine choke. In his next and most recent outing, Jones faced off against Takafumi Otsuka at DEEP – 86 Impact. He submitted Otsuka in the second round that night, finishing him with a rear naked choke. Jones looked to pick up a big win on short notice for his third straight win at UFC on ESPN 15.

The Fight

Round One

Valiev looked to start round one off very good as he was connecting with a lot of his shots. He was landing a lot of kicks as he went to the legs early before starting to throw question mark kicks, going from low to high. As the next couple of minute went by, Valiev continued pressuring Jones back to the fence. With his opponent’s back toward the cage, Valiev was able to move in and pick his shots, landing lots of leg and body kicks as well as lunging in with a lead elbow.

With about a minute and a half left in the round, Valiev landed another hard body kick that forced Jones to hold his midsection and curl up in pain. Valiev noticed, and thought the fight might have been over, but Jones toughed it out and was still fighting. As Jones attempted to recover from the shots, he was stuck on the fence covering up his midsection. This allowed for Valiev to rip hard punches to the body and even land some clean head kicks until Jones got a takedown and finished the round on top.

Round Two

In round two, Valiev continued doing what won him the first round. As he walked Jones down, Valiev was landing hard kicks to the body and lead leg of Jones. Jones had some of his own moments however, landing some good counter shots here and there. With just over three minutes left in the round, Jones was able to circle around and get Valiev’s back against the cage. Once there, Jones landed a perfect right hand that dropped Valiev. Jones immediately jumped on top and started landing ground and pound, forcing the fight to be stopped just moments later. After the beating he took in round one, Jones completed a huge comeback in the second round with the TKO win.

What’s Next?

Jones pulled off a big upset win as he finished Valiev in round two of their fight. Now it is time to take a look at who could be next for Trevin Jones. After a short notice fight in his debut, Jones would probably like to have a full camp and he should get one before his next outing. As for who he should face next, one option that comes to mind is Davey Grant.

Grant made his UFC debut in 2013 and has fought six times since then, going 3-3 in those six fights. He holds a unanimous decision win over Marlon Vera in his second UFC outing and has won his last two straight. The first of those wins came at UFC Fight Night 163 as he defeated Grigorii Popov by split decision. In his most recent outing, Grant faced off against Martin Day at UFC 251 earlier this summer. He picked up his second straight victory that night as he defeated Day in the third round by knockout.

#2 Daniel Rodriguez

def. Dwight Grant via TKO (Punches) at 2:24 of Round One

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 22: Daniel Rodriguez reacts after his knockout victory over Dwight Grant in their welterweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

On the day of weigh-ins, Daniel Rodriguez‘s opponent, Takashi Sato, was forced out of their fight after he was deemed medically unfit to fight. On that same day, Dwight Grant‘s opponent, Calen Born, was also forced out of their fight due to personal reasons. As a result, Rodriguez and Grant would be matched up against each other.

Rodriguez entered the fight coming off eight straight wins. He made his UFC debut earlier this year as he faced Tim Means at UFC Fight Night 167. He picked up a performance of the night bonus in his debut as he finished Means in round two by submission. In his most recent outing, Rodriguez faced off against Gabriel Green at UFC on ESPN 9. He won his second straight fight in the octagon that night, defeating Green by unanimous decision. Rodriguez looked to extend his win streak to nine as he faced Grant at UFC on ESPN 15.

Early in his career, Dwight Grant put together a solid seven fight win streak. That streak was capped off with a second round knockout win over Tyler Hill in season two of the Contender Series. In his UFC debut, he faced off against Zak Ottow and lost by split decision. Grant then went on to win his next two straight fights. The first of those wins happened at UFC Fight Night 145 as he defeated Carlo Pedersoli by first round TKO. In his most recent outing, Grant won his second straight fight by defeating Alan Jouban by split decision at UFC 236.

The Fight

Just over thirty seconds into the fight, Rodriguez had already found himself in danger. As he moved in, Grant landed a nice combination that dropped Rodriguez. He immediately got on top and started landing ground and pound but it appeared that Rodriguez had, for the most part, recovered. Multiple times the ref had to warn Rodriguez to fight back and so he kept moving around, saving the fight from being stopped. He was able to get back to his feet after spending nearly a minute with Grant on top of him.

Once back to their feet, Rodriguez quickly dropped Grant after landing one right hand. Grant popped right back up to his feet but he seemed wobbly. Rodriguez started to put the pressure on Grant now and walked him back to the fence. Now Rodriguez started landing his own punches and soon, he had Grant in danger. Just around the halfway point of the round, Rodriguez got Grant against the fence and began landing the fight ending combo. He dropped Grant with a left hand and, as Grant tried getting back up, dropped him again. The second knockdown quickly forced the ref to stop the fight. 

What’s Next?

The win now makes it nine in a row for Rodriguez as it is time to take a look at what is next. Why not just rebook Rodriguez and his original opponent, Takashi Sato, for another show down the road? Sato made his UFC debut last year when he faced Ben Saunders at UFC Fight Night 150. He won his debut, finishing Saunders in the second round by TKO. In his next fight, Sato faced Belal Muhammad at UFC 242 and lost in the third round by submission. Finally, in his most recent outing, Sato faced off against Jason Witt at UFC on ESPN 12. He bounced back from his loss to Muhammad as he finished Witt in round one by TKO.

#3 Jordan Wright

def. Isaac Villanueva via TKO (Doctor’s Stoppage) at 1:31 of Round One

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 22: Jordan Wright reacts after his TKO victory over Ike Villanueva in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Entering UFC on ESPN 15, Isaac Villanueva had put together a 4-1 record in his last five fights. All of his wins during that time came in the first round as he finished every opponent by TKO. Those wins happened when he was fighting for Fury FC as he defeated Patrick Miller, Juan Torres and Roger Narvaez. The fourth TKO win was against former UFC fighter Rashad Coulter at Fury FC 40. After that fourth straight TKO win, Villanueva earned a shot in the UFC. He made his debut earlier this year, facing off against Chase Sherman at UFC Fight Night 171. Unfortunately, Villanueva would lose in his debut as Sherman finished him by TKO in round two. He looked to rebound from the loss and pick up his first UFC win as he entered the octagon on Saturday.

Villanueva was originally scheduled to face off against Jorge Gonzalez at UFC on ESPN 15. However, Gonzalez was forced out of the fight due to undisclosed reasons. As a result, Gonzalez was replaced by promotional newcomer Jordan Wright. Wright entered the fight with an undefeated record of 10-0 with all of those wins coming within the distance. Before earning the short notice fight in the octagon, Wright was fighting with LFA. In his most recent outing, Wright took on Gabriel Checco at LFA 80. He improved his record to 10-0 that night, finishing Checco in the second round by TKO. Wright looked to keep his undefeated record alive as he looked for his first UFC win.

The Fight

The first strike of the fight was a spinning kick from Wright that landed to the top of Villanueva’s head and instantly sat him down. He was quick to get back to his feet however but Wright smelled blood in the water. After Villanueva got back to his feet, he clinched with Wright and pushed his back to the fence. From there, Wright began launching knees and landed three of four good ones, opening up a nasty cut on Villanueva’s brow. After about another thirty seconds in the clinch, the pair broke apart and the ref used the pause in action to bring the doctor in. The doctor took a quick glance at Villanueva’s cut after cleaning it up and quickly determined he could not continue. The win went to Wright by TKO as he delivered an impressive performance in his octagon debut. 

What’s Next?

With the win over Villanueva, Wright improves his undefeated record to 11-0. However, that record was not always perfect as his one no contest was originally a loss. Wright made an appearance on the Contender Series in the second season as he took on current UFC middleweight fighter Anthony Hernandez. Hernandez won the fight in the first round, knocking Wright out in under a minute to earn a UFC contract. However, after a positive test for marijuana following the win, it was overturned to a no contest, keeping Wright’s record perfect. Now that Wright has entered the octagon and picked up a win, perhaps another match up with Hernandez would be a good idea.

Since joining the UFC after their first fight, Hernandez has gone 1-2. In his UFC debut, he faced off against Markus Perez at UFC Fight Night 144. Hernandez lost in his debut as Perez ended up winning by submission in round two. In his next fight, Hernandez took on Jun Yong Park at UFC Fight Night 157. Hernandez picked up his first UFC win in that fight as he submitted Park with the same choke Perez finished him with in the second round. In his most recent fight, Hernandez fought another Contender Series alum in Kevin Holland at UFC on ESPN 8. Hernandez would end up losing to Holland in the first round as he was finished by TKO. 

#4 Mike Rodriguez

def. Marcin Prachnio via Knockout (Strikes) at 2:17 of Round One

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 22: Mike Rodriguez reacts after his TKO victory over Marcin Prachnio of Poland in their light heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

When he first arrived in the UFC in 2018, Marcin Prachnio had won eight straight fights. Prachnio made his UFC debut in at UFC on Fox 28 as he took on Sam Alvey. His win streak was snapped that night as Alvey finished Prachnio in the first round by knockout. In his most recent outing, Prachnio appeared at UFC Fight Night 136. He took on Magomed Ankalaev that night and lost his second straight fight as Ankalaev finished Prachnio by TKO in round one. Prachnio looked to snap his two fight losing streak as he faced Mike Rodriguez at UFC on ESPN 15.

Rodriguez made his UFC debut in 2018 after a first round knockout win over Jamelle Jones in the first season of Dana White’s Contender Series. In his octagon debut, Rodriguez faced off against Devin Clark at UFC 223 and lost by unanimous decision. He picked up his first UFC win in his next outing when he faced Adam Milstead at UFC on Fox 31. Rodriguez won that fight in the second round, finishing Milstead by TKO. His next fight, after originally being a UD loss, was changed to a no contest after his opponent tested positive for a banned substance. In Rodriguez’s most recent outing, he faced off againast Da Un Jung at UFC Fight Night 165. Rodriguez would lose that fight as Jung defeated him in just over a minute by knockout.

The Fight

As the fight began, Prachnio quickly made it clear he wanted to slow down the movement of Rodriguez as he landed multiple leg kicks. After eating a head kick just over a minute into the fight, Rodriguez returned fire with a flying knee. After the knee landed, Prachnio grabbed a hold of Rodriguez and the two clinched along the fence. As they worked in the clinch, Rodriguez eventually got in position to start landing knees and elbows. Once he started landing these shots, the pair of fights began moving away from the fence where Rodriguez landed the elbow that dropped Prachnio. After going down, Rodriguez landed a couple of punches that quickly put and end to the fight. 

What’s Next?

After an impressive win over Prachnio, it is time to determine what is next for Mike Rodriguez. Until just hours before the card started on Saturday, the co-main event was supposed to be a light heavyweight fight between Ovince Saint Preux and Alonzo Menifield. But after OSP tested positive for COVID-19, the fight was cancelled. Now it has yet to be reported whether or not that fight will be rescheduled. If it will be, Rodriguez should face the winner. If not, just give OSP to Rodriguez and match Menifield up elsewhere. 

In his last five fights, OSP has put together a record of 2-3. He holds just two wins in the last two years. The first of those wins happened in 2018 at UFC Fight Night 132 as he took on Tyson Pedro. He won the fight in the first round, submitting Pedro with a straight armbar. Following that win, OSP lost his next two fights as he lost to Dominick Reyes by unanimous decision and Nikita Krylov by submission. After the loss to Krylov, OSP picked up a win over Michal Oleksiejczuk with his signature “Von Preux” choke at UFC Fight Night 160. Finally, in his most recent fight, OSP decided to jump to heavyweight where he faced Ben Rothwell at UFC Fight Night 171. He would end up losing that fight as Rothwell beat him by split decision.

As for Menifield, he made his debut off the Contender Series in 2019. He won his first outing as he defeated Vinicius Moreira by TKO at UFC Fight Night 143. Menifield won his second straight fight as he finished Paul Craig by knockout in his next outing at UFC on ESPN 3. But his win streak and undefeated record were snapped in his last fight as he lost a unanimous decision to Devin Clark at UFC 250

#5 Joe Solecki

def. Austin Hubbard via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:51 of Round One

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – AUGUST 22: Joe Solecki reacts after his submission victory over Austin Hubbard in their lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on August 22, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Just over a year ago at UFC Fight Night 152Austin Hubbard made his UFC debut against Davi Ramos. His three fight win streak he brought into the octagon was snapped in that fight as Ramos defeated him by unanimous decision. In his next outing, Hubbard picked up his first UFC win at UFC Fight Night 158, defeating Kyle Prepolec by unanimous decision. Hubbard would then alternate wins and losses in his next two as he went on to lose to Mark Madsen by unanimous decision. In his most recent outing, Hubbard picked up a win over Max Rohskopf by TKO after Rohskopf stopped the fight himself after round two. Hubbard hoped to put together his first win streak in the UFC by getting a win at UFC on ESPN 15.

Facing off against Hubbard would be winner of his last four straight Joe Solecki. After two straight wins outside of the octagon, Solecki made an appearance on season three of the Contender Series. In that bout he faced off against James Wallace and won in the first round by submission. Solecki made his UFC debut in his most recent fight as he took on Matt Wiman at UFC on ESPN 7. He won that night, picking up his fourth straight win as he defeated Wiman by unanimous decision. Solecki looked to win his fifth straight and remain unbeaten in the octagon with a win over Hubbard.

The Fight

For the first minute of the fight, both fighters circled the octagon trading good shots. After that first minute, Hubbard looked like he was trying to change levels as he closed the distance. The pair of fighters were now working in the clinch as they made their way to the fence. As they both worked in the clinch they each traded some good body shots before Solecki looked for a takedown. He nearly was able to get Hubbard down, but Hubbard was able to stay on his feet. However, that would not stop Solecki from being able to take Hubbard’s back after the failed takedown.

After taking his back, Solecki quickly got both hooks in and was now on Hubbard like a backpack. With just over two minutes left, Solecki got the body triangle locked and began punching Hubbard, looking for a window for the choke. About a minute later, the choke finally presented itself and Solecki locked it up, forcing Hubbard to tap.

What’s Next?

The win now makes it five in a row for Joe Solecki as he improves his UFC record to 2-0. As for who he should fight next, a match up between the winner of the upcoming fight between Roosevelt Roberts and Matt Frevola would work. Those two are expected to face one another at UFC Fight Night 177 in September.

Roosevelt Roberts made his UFC debut in 2018 at the TUF 28 Finale, defeating Darrell Horcher by first round submission. Since his debut, his UFC record now sits at 4-2. After picking up a unanimous decision win following his debut, Roberts lost his first fight in the octagon at UFC on ESPN 3. That fight was against Vinc Pichel as Pichel defeated him by unanimous decision. Roberts would then go on to win his next two straight, defeating Alexander Yakovlev by UD and finishing Brok Weaver by second round submission. In his most recent outing, Roberts took on Jim Miller at UFC on ESPN 11 and lost by first round submission.

As for Frevola, he also made his debut in 2018 when he took on Marco Polo Reyes at UFC Fight Night 124. He would end up losing in his debut as Reyes defeated him by first round knockout. In his next outing, at UFC 230, Frevola fought Lando Vannata to a draw. He picked up his first UFC win in his next fight as he defeated Jalin Turner by unanimous decision at UFC 236. In his most recent fight, Frevola won his second straight by defeating Luis Pena by split decision.

Next Week

Next week’s event will feature a couple of top ten ranked light heavyweights in the main event of UFC Fight Night 175. Former title challenger Anthony Smith returns to the octagon looking to get back in the win column as he faces Aleksandar Rakic. After Smith lost in his title fight with Jon Jones at UFC 235, he went on to face off against multi-time title challenger Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 153. Smith defeated Gustafsson that night, submitting him in the fourth round. In his next outing, Smith faced Glover Teixeira in the main event of UFC Fight Night 171. Teixeira finished Smith in that fight, winning by TKO in round five.

As for Rakic, after a four fight win streak to start his UFC debut, capped off by a huge knockout win over Jimi Manuwa, he lost in his last outing. That loss happened against Volkan Oezdemir at UFC Fight Night 165 as he lost by split decision.

Also, in the night’s co-main event, former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler returns to the octagon on short notice. Lawler steps up on short notice to replace Geoff Neal as he faces off against Neil Magny. Lawler has not won since his unanimous decision win over Donald Cerrone in 2017. As for Magny, he has won his last two straight over Li Jingliang and Anthony Rocco Martin. Also Alexa Grasso makes her flyweight debut and the rematch of Magomed Ankalaev and Ion Cutelaba. So do not forget to check back here next week for UFC Fight Night 175’s Standout Performances.

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Discovered the UFC and the sport of MMA the night Nate Diaz upset Conor McGregor and since then I have been a die hard fan and have rarely missed a fight.

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