The UFC was once again live from the APEX on Saturday night for UFC Fight Night 175. In the night’s main event, former UFC light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Smith faced off against Aleksandar Rakic. After failing to claim the belt against Jon Jones at UFC 235, Smith would go 1-1 in his next two fights. The first of those fights was at UFC Fight Night 153 when he submitted Alexander Gustafsson in the fourth round. In his next fight, Smith would lose by fifth round TKO against Glover Teixeira at UFC Fight Night 171. As for Rakic, he had won four straight after making his UFC debut. The biggest of those wins was a first round knockout over Jimi Manuwa. In his last outing, Rakic’s win streak was broken after losing a split decision to Volkan Oezdemir. After taking Smith the distance in their main event on Saturday, Rakic easily took the decision on all the scorecards.
UFC Fight Night 175 Standout Performances
In the co-main event, former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler stepped in on short notice to face Neil Magny. Leading into the fight, Lawler had not won in the octagon since 2017. That win came against Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 as Lawler won by unanimous decision. Since then, he had gone on to lose three straight fights. He would first lose to Rafael dos Anjos by unanimous decision before being submitted by Ben Askren. Finally, before facing Magny, Lawler last appeared about a year ago at UFC on ESPN 5 as he lost another UD to Colby Covington. Magny, on the other hand, has gone 4-1 in his last five, winning his last two straight. His one loss came against Santiago Ponzinibbio in 2018 as he lost by knockout. Prior to facing Lawler, Magny would pick up two unanimous decision wins over Li Jingliang and Anthony Rocco Martin.
UFC Fight Night 175 kicked off with a bang as the first four fights ended in submission. After that, all the fights went the distance but they were still entertaining. With that being said, it is time to pick out UFC Fight Night 175’s 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. Along with every performance will be a look at what could potentially come next for each fighter.
#1 Mallory Martin
def. Hannah Cifers via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:33 of Round Two
Coming off of her UFC debut in 2019, Mallory Martin looked to bounce back at UFC Fight Night 175. In her debut, she took on Virna Jandiroba and would end up losing by submission in round two. Prior to entering the UFC, Martin had put together a record of 6-2. To earn herself a contract with the UFC, Martin had won he last five straight before making her debut. Three of those were finishes as two came by TKO and one by submission. Martin looked to bounce back from the loss in her debut and pick up a win against the struggling Hannah Cifers.
Cifers made her UFC debut in 2018 at UFC Fight Night 139 when she lost to Maycee Barber by second round TKO. In her next outing, Cifers picked up her first UFC win as she faced Polyana Viana at UFC 235. She defeated Viana that night, winning the fight by split decision. After the win, Cifers was matched up with Jodie Esquibel at UFC 241. She would win her second straight fight, defeating Esquibel by unanimous decision. Unfortunately, after putting together two straight wins, Cifers would end up losing her next three straight. The first loss came against Angela Hill as she was defeated by second round TKO. Cifers’ next two straight losses both came in the first round by submission, losing to Mackenzie Dern and Mariya Agapova. Cifers looked to snap her losing streak and pick up a much needed win at UFC Fight Night 175.
For the first half of round one, Martin was the one walking forward but Cifers was more active as she closed distance and landed combinations. Just over halfway through the round, Cifers landed a hard right hook that dropped Martin. She immediately looked to finish the fight and snap her three fight losing streak. Moments later, Martin was able to get back to her feet but Cifers kept the pressure on.
Knowing she was still hurt, Cifers ran forward and continued landing hard punches and knees in the clinch. It got to a point where the ref had to warn Martin to do something, so she responded by firing a failed takedown attempt. At that point, Cifers was once again on top of Martin but she quickly let her up in order to continue her success from the feet. However, Martin pulled Cifers into her guard after the two stood in the clinch for a moment. Cifers slammed Martin down to break her guard and land some ground and pound before letting Martin up during the final five seconds.
Martin started round two with a sense of urgency as she moved forward with some good combinations before clinching with Cifers. Just moments after getting her in the clinch, Martin took the fight to the mat. Once Martin was on top, she landed some good ground and pound before she passed into full mount. After she passed into full mount, Martin started raining down hard elbows, forcing Cifers to turn and give up her back. Just seconds later, Martin locked up the rear naked choke and finished one of the best comebacks of the year.
With the comeback win over Cifers, Martin now holds a UFC record of 1-1 as she earned her first UFC victory. As for what should come next, there are not many options in the women’s strawweight division. She should not be matched up with a ranked fighter just yet so that left Amanda Lemos as a possibility. Lemos made her debut in 2017 at UFC Fight Night 113 when she faced Leslie Smith. She would end up losing in her debut as Smith defeated her by second round TKO. Since then, Lemos has gone on to win two straight fights. After her loss to Smith, Lemos was suspended by USADA for two years and returned at UFC Fight Night 165 against Miranda Granger. Lemos picked up her first win in the octagon in that fight as she finished Granger in the second round by submission. In her most recent outing, Lemos took on Mizuki Inoue at UFC on ESPN 15 earlier this month. She won her second straight fight as she defeated Inoue by unanimous decision that night.
#2 Polyana Viana
def. Emily Whitmire via Submission (Armbar) at 1:53 of Round One
In 2018, Polyana Viana made her UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 125 against Maia Stevenson. She would go on to win that fight, submitting Stevenson in the first round. After the big win in her debut, Viana would go on to lose her next three straight fights. Following the win over Stevenson, Viana took on JJ Aldrich at UFC 227, losing by unanimous decision. The second loss was against Hannah Cifers as she lost to her at UFC 235 by split decision. In her most recent outing, Viana faced Veronica Macedo at UFC Fight Night 156. She lost her third straight that day as Macedo finished her by submission in the first round. Viana hoped to snap the losing streak and get back to her winning ways at UFC Fight Night 175.
Facing off against Viana was Emily Whitmire. Whitmire appeared on season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter and after losing during the tournament, made her debut at the TUF 26 Finale against Gillian Robertson. Robertson would end up defeating Whitmire as she won the fight in the first round by submission. She won her first fight in the UFC in her next outing as she defeated Jamie Moyle by unanimous decision. Whitmire would then win a second straight fight by defeating Aleksandra Albu by submission at UFC on ESPN 1. However, Whitmire’s streak was snapped in her last outing as she lost by submission to Amanda Ribas at UFC on ESPN 3.
As the fight began, both women exchanged in the center of the octagon as Viana landed some nice punches and Whitmire looked for some kicks. Just over thirty seconds into the round, Whitmire looked to take Viana down and after fighting for positioning she was successful. Now on her back, Viana was quick to get Whitmire into full guard where she quickly started looking for a submission. It was clear that she seemed to be isolating Whitmire’s arm to look for an armbar. Just moments later, Viana wrapped up the submission and forced Whitmire to tap seconds later.
As Viana picked up the big submission win, she snapped her three fight losing streak. With that being said, it is time to take a look at who she could face in her next bout. One possibility could be a fight against the loser of the upcoming fight between Mackenzie Dern and Randa Markos. That fight will be taking place later this month at UFC 253.
After starting her career 7-0, Mackenzie Dern lost her first pro fight in 2019 against Amanda Ribas. That fight took place at UFC Fight Night 161 as she lost by unanimous decision. Since then, she rebounded from the loss with a win over Hannah Cifers earlier this summer. That win came at UFC on EPSN 9 as she finished Cifers in the first round, submitting her with a kneebar.
As for Markos, she has been fighting in the UFC since 2014. In her last five fights, she has put together a record of 2-2-1. The first of those five fights resulted in a draw as she and Marina Rodriguez fought to a draw at UFC Fight Night 137. In her next fight, Markos fought Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night 148, submitting Hill in the first round with an armbar. She would then go on to lose her next fight as Claudia Gadelha defeated her by unanimous decision at UFC 239. After the loss to the former title challenger, Markos faced Ashley Yoder at UFC Fight Night 162. She rebounded from the loss by defeating Yoder that night by split decision. Finally, in her most recent outing, Markos lost to Amanda Ribas by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 170.
#3 Alex Caceres
def. Austin Springer via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:38 of Round One
Leading up to UFC Fight Night 175, Alex Caceres had to go through a couple of opponent changes. He was originally scheduled to face Giga Chikadze but after Chikadze tested positive for COVID-19, he was replace by Kevin Croom. Croom would end up being removed from the fight a day later and was replaced by Austin Springer. Coming into the fight, Caceres had won his last two straight after a loss to Kron Gracie. The first of those wins occurred at UFC on ESPN 4 when he defeated Steven Peterson by unanimous decision. Caceres followed that up with a win in his most recent outing as he beat Chase Hooper by unanimous decision at UFC 250. He looked to make it three in a row as he took on short notice newcomer Austin Springer.
To earn himself a short notice opportunity in the UFC, Austin Springer put together a three fight win streak prior to his debut. One of those fights was on Dana White’s Contender Series against Caceres’ original opponent, Giga Chikadze. Springer defeated Chikadze in the fight, finishing him in the third round by submission. He did not end up earning a contract that night as his next fight was at CageSport 59 as he took on Kevin Boehm. Springer picked up his third straight win in that fight, defeating Boehm by unanimous decision. He looked to pick up a big win in his short notice debut in the octagon at UFC Fight Night 175.
As the fight started, each fighter traded leg kicks as they circled around the center. Seconds later, Caceres launched a massive head kick that seemed to have partially landed as Springer stumbled a bit after. For the next couple of minutes, both fighters continued circling around the octagon landing some good shots. Springer focused a lot on the leg kicks as well as trying to close the distance with his looping hooks. With about a minute and a half left in the round, Caceres landed a nice uppercut to Springer’s body. Just seconds after, Springer shot in for a takedown that was easily stuffed by Caceres. Caceres immediately circled around to Springer’s back after that and quickly locked up the choke.
The win now puts Caceres at three in a row and when taking a looking at who his next opponent could be, it seems pretty easy. After so many changes to his opponent, why not reschedule Caceres to face off against his original opponent Giga Chikadze. After Chikadze lost on the Contender Series to Austin Springer, he put together two straight wins to earn himself a UFC contract. He made his debut at UFC Fight Night 160 as he took on Brandon Davis. Chikadze would defeat Davis that night as he won the fight by split decision. He would go on to win his next fight by split decision as well as he defeated Jamall Emmers at UFC 248. In his most recent outing, Chikadze fought Irwin Rivera earlier this year at UFC on ESPN 8. He won his fifth straight fight that night as he defeated Rivera by unanimous decision.
#4 Sean Brady
def. Christian Aguilera via Submission (Guillotine) at 1:47 of Round Two
In October of 2019, undefeated Sean Brady made his UFC debut at UFC on ESPN 6. In that fight, Brady faced off against Court McGee and defeated him by unanimous decision. Brady’s most recent fight happened earlier this year in February at UFC Fight Night 169. For his second octagon appearance, Brady took on Ismail Naurdiev and won by unanimous decision. Brady looked to keep his undefeated record alive as he took on Christian Aguilera at UFC Fight Night 175.
Aguilera made his UFC debut earlier this summer but before that he had put together a two fight win streak outside the octagon. The first of those wins was at Celtic Gladiator 25 as he finished Krzysztof Kulak in the first round by TKO. In his next outing, Aguilera faced off against Glaucio Eliziario at LFA 81. He picked up his second straight win in that fight as he won the fight by unanimous decision. Finally, Aguilera made his UFC debut in his most recent outing, taking place at UFC on ESPN 10. In that fight, he faced off against Anthony Ivy and won his third straight, defeating Ivy by TKO in less than a minute. Aguilera looked to improve his UFC record to 2-0 and win his fourth straight overall with a win over Brady.
For the majority of the first round, both fighters began by feeling each other out, landing some good combinations. They were also landing some good leg kicks every now and then. Aguilera was the one controlling the center of the octagon for most of the round but with about a minute left, Brady was able to take Aguilera down. Brady spent the remainder of the round on top, landing some good ground and pound before the end of the round.
As the second round started, they both traded some good punches for the first couple moments before Brady took the fight to the mat again just over thirty seconds in. After spending some time in Aguilera’s half guard, Brady was eventually able to pass into full mount. Once he was there, he quickly looked to lock up the mounted guillotine and after a brief scramble, he got it locked. Aguilera fought to get out of it for a moment but he was unconscious in seconds as Brady finished the fight.
With the win, Brady has now won all three of his UFC appearances to improve his undefeated record to 13-0. One idea for his next opponent could be a fight against Michel Prazeres. However, Prazeres is currently serving a suspension and will not be eligible to fight until March. Prazeres holds a record of 8-2 in his last ten fights, with all eight of those wins coming consecutively, in between losses. The first loss was back in 2015 when he lost to Kevin Lee at UFC Fight Night 60. He then put together eight straight wins that included wins at lightweight over Gilbert Burns and Desmond Green. Prazeres made the move back to welterweight in 2018 as he faced Zak Cummings at UFC Fight Night 129. He won that fight, defeating Cummings by split decision before going on to win his next fight by submission over Bartosz Fabinski. In his most recent fight, Prazeres faced Ismail Naurdiev at UFC Fight Night 145 in February 2019. He would end up losing the fight as Naurdiev won by unanimous decision.
Neil Magny def. Robbie Lawler via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Neil Magny made his UFC debut back in 2013 at UFC 157. Now, seven years and sixteen wins later, Magny looked to take sole possession of the second most wins in the welterweight division. The only man in front of him would be MMA legend and former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. In order to move into second place, Magny had to get past former UFC welterweight champion Robbie Lawler. Lawler entered the fight on a three fight losing streak with his last win coming in 2017 against Donald Cerrone. During his fight with Magny, Lawler looked the same as he had in his recent fights as he was slow to engage. Magny controlled the entire fight as he took Lawler down a total of four times. He would out-strike the former champion 116-41 as well as all three judges scored the fight 30-27 in favor of Magny.
The win over Lawler puts Magny at seventeen in the UFC welterweight division, taking second place all time in that division for most wins. As for what should come next, he is currently on a three fight win streak and with a win over a former champion, he has earned a high ranked opponent. One possible match up could be against former title challenger Stephen Thompson. Thomspon has gone 1-2 in his last three fights with losses against Anthony Pettis and Darren Till. In his last fight, he picked up a win by unanimous decision over Vicente Luque at UFC 244. A win over Thompson for Magny could put him in the top ten at 170 pounds.
Next week, the heavyweights are back at the top of the bill as MMA veteran Alistair Overeem makes his return. In that fight Overeem will be taking on quick rising heavyweight contender Augusto Sakai. Overeem enters the fight with a record of 3-1 in his last four fights. The one loss came against Jairzinho Rozenstruik in a fight Overeem was winning until being finished in the last ten seconds. Prior to that loss, Overeem had put together two straight wins. The first of those wins was against Sergei Pavlovich at UFC Fight Night 141 as he won in the first round by TKO. Overeem would then go on to finish his next fight as he defeated Alexey Oleinik by first round TKO. In his most recent fight, Overeem rebounded from his loss to Rozenstruik with a TKO win over Walt Harris at UFC on ESPN 8.
As for Sakai, he made his debut in 2018 coming off a win on the Contender Series. His debut was at UFC Fight Night 137 as he took on Chase Sherman. Sakai won his third straight fight that night as he finished Sherman in the third round by TKO. In his next outing, Sakai faced former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski at UFC Fight Night 150. He picked up another big win in that fight as he defeated the former champion by split decision. After the win over Arlovski, Sakai knocked out Marcin Tybura in less than a minute at UFC Fight Night 158 in his last fight. He looks to pick up the biggest win of his career as he faces Overeem at UFC Fight Night 176.
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