On Saturday night, UFC Chile was held in Santiago, Chile. Here are a few things we learned from yesterday’s (May 19) fights.
Vicente Luque wants a ranked opponent
Luque’s first-round KO of Chad Laprise marked his second straight dominant finish of a high quality challenger. Although he’s only 26-years-old, the eight-fight UFC veteran fan has amassed a good amount of experience. “The Silent Assassin” very much lives up to his nickname — Luque is well-rounded and is patient for his opportunity to secure the finish.
Now 6-2 in his UFC tenure, Luque used his UFC Chile post-fight interview to ask for a fight with a ranked opponent. Looking at the talent-laden welterweight division, I believe that a bout between Luque and #12 ranked Gunnar Nelson would be excellent. Since cracking the top-15, Nelson has failed to capitalize when matched with elite opponents. This would be a good chance for each fighter to prove that they deserve a coveted spot in the rankings.
Gabriel Benitez is a force to be reckoned with
Following his surprising victory over Jason Knight at Fight Night 123, the 28-year-old “Moggli” once again turned in a brilliant showing, last night. Benitez’ 1st-round TKO of hot prospect Humberto Bandenday proved that his last performance was no fluke. In one of the most dominant finishes you’ll ever see, Benitez dropped Bandenday within a matter of seconds, before knocking him out cold with a slam, moments later.
Alexandre Pantoja: Title contender?
In a contest between two of the flyweight division’s most promising young fighters, Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Moreno — Pantoja proved that he is indeed a blue-chip 125-pound prospect.
Now 28, the Brazilian fighter has looked great in all of his UFC appearances, even his loss to Dustin Ortiz. With a ‘W’ over the seventh ranked Moreno, Pantoja should anticipate his next fight to be his toughest challenge yet. Now 3-1 in the UFC, Pantoja could find himself in the realm of title-contention with just a couple more victories… Of course, as many young fighters have realized, breaking into the flyweight division’s top-five is not an easy task.
Dominick Reyes is the real deal
Prior to Reyes’ first-round TKO of Jared Cannonier last night, he was already considered by many to be the light heavyweight division’s most intriguing prospect. The 28-year-old Reyes’ first two UFC victories were over the likes of Joachim Christensen and Jeremy Kimball — two guys who I wouldn’t considered to be UFC-level fighters.
On the other hand, Jared Cannonier is definitely a fighter who belongs in the UFC. Reyes’ quick disposal of Cannonier was very impressive, considering the fact that neither Glover Teixeira nor Jan Blachowicz were able to finish “The Killa Gorilla”. Reyes’ great length and superb athleticism compliment his striking skills well. Although he lacks high-level experience, the undefeated (9-0) fighter has now amassed three first-round finishes in the UFC and is looking like a major threat at 205.
Kamaru Usman’s dominance continues
This fight went down pretty much as expected, but Demian Maia deserves praise for stepping in as a replacement and putting up a fight. Nobody was expecting Maia, who’s 40-years-old, to be the man to finally stop Usman, but I would love to see the 13-1 fighter re-booked to face his originally scheduled opponent, #10-ranked Santiago Ponzinibbio.
Usman’s style is not the most exciting, but he’s pretty much steamrolled every fighter who has stepped into the cage with him. Now 8-0 in the UFC, it’s about time we see what Usman can do against the welterweight division’s best.
On a side note, it would be great to see Maia booked against someone who is not an elite wrestler. He doesn’t have many fights left and is clearly not getting anywhere near the title again. The guy’s a legend — let him choke some fools out and ride off into the sunset!
Did you enjoy UFC Chile?