In the Clinch – Magic Number Three – There was the big Fight Night card at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas in the octagon on April 10, so let’s take a look at some of the fighters who did well for themselves and may have earned spots in Panini UFC releases.
Marvin Vettori (17-4-1) – “The Italian Dream” is 27 years old and in the prime of his career. He moved up to No. 3 in the middleweight rankings with a convincing decision win over Kevin Holland at UFC Vegas 23 on April 10. I do think a Vettori card is a strategic one for the simple fact that there are not a lot of Italian-born fighters in the UFC (women’s flyweight Mara Romero Borella is another).
Couple that with the fact that Vettori has a close split-decision loss to current UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya back in April 2018. He is in a good position to score a rematch – perhaps a fight or two away. If he can pull through, Vettori could become the first ever Italian-born UFC champion, which would likely increase his card value; but even if he falls short, Vettori is already one of the most successful Italian fighters to do it in the UFC.
Arnold Allen (17-1-0) – Also victorious on UFC Vegas 23 was prospect Arnold Allen, who overcame a game Sodiq Yusuff by unanimous decision. Allen is a U.K. product, 27 years old, and seems to be taking the Michael Bisping unanimous decision road to the top. Currently ranked No. 8, Allen’s consistency getting his hand raised is his best trait. “Almighty” is more of a long term card play, so put it firmly beside your Darren Till card for a rainy day.
Mackenzie Dern (11-1-0) – Everybody is looking for the next Ronda Rousey or Amanda Nunes. I don’t think we really have anyone yet in the current generation, but now that Mackenzie Dern’s striking has improved, she is on the rise. Her submission win over Nina Nunes (formerly Nina Ansaroff) at UFC Vegas 23 was set up by her striking and on the ground, she has no equal. She jumped up to No. 5 in the strawweight rankings with the win, but now she will be tested by the sharks in the division. At 28 years old, I do think she has a shot to become a long term force in the division. Scoop up a Mackenzie Dern card on the downlow.
There were some honorable mentions, like Daniel Rodriguez starching Mike Perry, but one great performance does not consistently translate to the card scene. The blue-chippers above have produced a solid body of work over the past year or so and are on the cusp of takings things to the next level.
Let the judge’s scorecards fall where they may.
In the Clinch – Magic Number Three
- In the Clinch – All eyes on Costa vs Vettori, UFC Fight Night 196 - October 22, 2021
- In the Clinch – Aspen Ladd Steps in for Holly Holm, UFC Vegas 40 - October 14, 2021
- In the Clinch – Dern & Rodriguez Ready to Battle, UFC Vegas 39 - October 8, 2021