A Look Back at Last Week: Vol.2 (Apr 29-May 1)

MMA fans were treated to another entertaining week of competition to conclude the month of April and began May with a bang. With the PFL’s second card in as many weeks taking place on Thursday night, an abundance of Friday night cards across the regional scene, plus a UFC card headlined by Light Heavyweight contenders, the week was filled with masterful performances and highlight-reel finishes. If you were unable to catch all the action or want to re-live the week it was, I’ve got you covered with seven stoppages that propelled the week.

Ray Cooper III defeats Jason Ponet via Submission, 1:23, Round 1, in Week 2 of the 2021 PFL Season; Takes #1 spot in the PFL Welterweight standings

Ray Cooper III extended his win streak to three with an incredibly efficient performance over Jason Ponet. Despite not throwing a strike in the entire fight, it only took 1:23 for Cooper III to complete victory after he landed this takedown and completed the arm-triangle choke with pristine technique.

With the fastest finish of all welterweights this season, Cooper III holds sole possession of first place in the weight-class as he owns six points plus the tie-breaker.

Rory MacDonald defeats Curtis Millender via Submission, 3:38, Round 1, in Week 2 of the 2021 PFL Season; Moves into second place in the PFL Welterweight standings

The MMA world felt the Red King’s presence in quick fashion when he submitted his opponent Curtis Millender to cap off the Thursday night card. MacDonald made his return to the octagon after a 551-day hiatus and imposed his will with a grappling-heavy performance and only needed 208 seconds to lock up this rear-naked choke on Millender.

With the opening round submission, Rory earned six points and will likely just need to earn a win in his next appearance rather than having to chase a finish. As a Canadian myself, it was awesome to see the Red King back in the octagon.

Michael Morales defeats Miguel Arizmendi via KO/TKO, 4:02, Round 2, at UWC Mexico 26

A friend suggested I watch Michael Morales perform on the UWC Mexico 26 card, and I was impressed to put it lightly. Here you can see the composed 20-year old Ecuadorian improve his record to 11-0 as he catches his opponent with this thumping right hand while he tries to evade the pocket.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching Morales fight, I’d highly recommend you take the time to do so. I know I’m glad I did. With an immaculate record that features 10 stoppages in 11 appearances at the ripe age of 20, I’m sure Morales is garnering attention from major organizations around the globe. 

Terrance McKinney defeats Toninho Gavinho via KO/TKO, 0:17, Round 1, at LFA 106

Not everything that’s fun has to last long and the final two fights on the LFA card proved that, starting with Terrance McKinney who scored an explosive head-kick to ground and pound stoppage just 17 seconds into the contest.

McKinney is off to an amazing start in 2021 as he’s collected two victories in a combined 33 seconds. He comes to fight and is exactly what Dana White is looking for on his Tuesday Night Contender Series as he has never been involved in a fight that’s gone the distance. McKinney received an opportunity on the show in 2019 when he was just 24-years old and fell short to Sean Woodson, but expect him to receive a well deserved second chance as he is one of the most prolific finishers in the regional scene. Only one of McKinney’s 10 victories have come outside of the opening three minutes. Considering McKinney is a lightweight, those are staggering numbers. 

Josh Silveria defeats Rafael Viana via Submission, 0:41, Round 1, at LFA 106

Josh Silveira made the first main event appearance of his career and immediately impressed. The 28-year old, who is training partners with UFC Light Heavyweight Title Challenger Glover Teixeira, put on a clinic in the grappling department as he locked up this rear-naked choke in just 41 seconds to keep his undefeated record in tact. 

I’ve got a strong feeling we’ll be watching Silveira display his jiu-jitsu pedigree in main event spotlights for years to come as he is well on his way to challenge for the LFA Light Heavyweight Title.

Giga Chikadze defeats Cub Swanson via TKO, 1:03, Round 1, at UFC Vegas 25

It has become evident Giga Chikadze has the talent to continue his rise to the top of the featherweight division as he dismissed his toughest opponent to date in the opening round. Chikadze has landed liver kicks like these throughout his martial-arts career and placed this one perfectly to secure his biggest win to date.

The victory extends Giga’s win streak to eight and he remains undefeated in the UFC with a record of 6-0. The 28-year old Georgian is now ranked the #10 Featherweight in the UFC and has only been with the promotion for 19 months. Chikadze has earned a fight with someone ranked above him, but no matter who the UFC matches him with it’s always a good time when Giga is in the octagon. 

Jiri Prochazka defeats Dominick Reyes via KO, 4:29, Round 2, at UFC Vegas 25

Jiri Prochazka is one of a kind. If you can think of a fighter as unique both in and out of the octagon, who can keep that kind of pace, power, and durability I would like to know because I don’t think I have seen something quite like Jiri.

I could watch this GIF for days. Jiri’s shot selection, creativity and reaction time are the definition of on point here. Shout out to Dominick Reyes who came to fight and landed massive blows of his own that wobbled Prochazka, but the Czech’s durability was working overtime. Both warriors left it all in the octagon and deserve our praise for this unforgettable war that completed the weekend in epic style.

Mike Beelby

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