Here 5 best finishes from the first UFC event of 2023

The first UFC event of 2023 went down last night, and it delivered big-time.

While the headliner of last night’s UFC event did go the distance, there were a number of excellent finishes on offer.

Will any of these finishes be remembered in six months’ time? Who knows, but for now, they are pretty cool. Here are the five best finishes from UFC Fight Night: Sean Strickland vs. Nassourdine Imavov.

#5. UFC flyweight bout: Allan Nascimento defeated Carlos Hernandez

Last night’s UFC Fight Night event was full of preliminary bouts that featured largely unknown fighters. While the likes of Daniel Argueta and Mateusz Rebecki, even in winning, didn’t really shine, Allan Nascimento definitely capitalized on the opportunity.

The Brazilian flyweight needed just over three minutes to dispatch his opponent Carlos Hernandez, taking his record in the octagon to 2-1 and his overall MMA record to 20-6.

Nascimento’s slick grappling came through for him. After securing a takedown, he was able to claim a body triangle – and when Hernandez made the error of attempting to wall-walk to get free, the fight was basically over.

‘Puro Osso’ was able to sink-in a rear-naked choke, and despite Hernandez standing, he was able to coax a tapout just seconds later.

Sure, there’s nothing rare about a rear-naked choke, but seeing a fighter strangle his opponent from the lemur position is always cool, and this one was reminiscent of similar chokes used by Josh Koscheck and Charles Oliveira.

It quite rightfully won Nascimento a $50k bonus, and fans should be excited to see him in action again.

#4. UFC middleweight bout: Roman Kopylov defeated Punahele Soriano

Of all of the bouts on offer last night, the middleweight clash between Roman Koplov and Punahele Soriano always looked the likeliest to produce a violent finish. After all, in a combined eight UFC fights, the two had gone the distance just three times.

In the end, despite many fans believing that Soriano’s heavy power would be too much for his opponent, it turned out to be Kopylov who scored the killer blow.

He looked to be the more skilled striker throughout the first round, countering nicely as Soriano seemed incapable of throwing anything but haymakers. A stiff jab, in particular, worked well for Kopylov, hurting ‘Story Time’ more than once.

In the second round, though, he smartly switched his attack to the body, first hurting Soriano with a spinning kick to the midsection. From there, he whipped a number of punches to the body and eventually landed a liver kick that basically ended the fight.

Sure, Kopylov didn’t leave his foe unconscious as a number of other fighters on the card, but he scored a clinical stoppage and is now on a two-fight win streak in the octagon. A nice $50k bonus can’t have done any harm, either!

#3. UFC middleweight bout: Abdul Razak Alhassan defeated Claudio Ribeiro

Abdul Razak Alhassan has been criticized plenty of times before. A massively limited fighter in many ways, ‘Judo Thunder’ is, however, still a threat because he carries absolutely insane power in his hands.

Last night, he picked up his first UFC win in nearly a year by turning out the lights on Claudio Ribeiro. Given that he had scored just one win in five bouts prior to this, he may well have saved his octagon career.

Still, it didn’t come too easily. Ribeiro outfought the Ghanaian in the first round, landing clean strikes and stopping a couple of strong takedown attempts, too.

In the second, though, he made the error of brawling with Alhassan and paid the ultimate price. Ribeiro’s punches simply weren’t quick or heavy enough to negate the brutal power of ‘Judo Thunder’, and sure enough, once Alhassan had his man hurt, it was over.

He unloaded a huge, swarming combination and ended up dropping Ribeiro with a savage right hand that sent the latter thudding to the ground. Alhassan didn’t even need to follow the knockout shot up as, thankfully, referee Mark Smith stepped in quickly.

Does this win make Alhassan a welterweight title contender? Absolutely not, but he left last night’s event $50k richer, with his first UFC win since August 2021.

#2. UFC featherweight bout: Dan Ige defeated Damon Jackson

Dan Ige bounces back with vicious walk off KO against Damon Jackson in the first UFC fight night in 2023

The fighter who probably needed to win more than anyone else last night was Dan Ige. ‘50k’ had not won a UFC bout since March 2021 and had lost three in a row. Despite his reputation as an exciting fighter, his job may well have been on the line last night.

Thankfully, not only did the Hawaiian featherweight pull out a win over Damon Jackson, he did so in some style, producing one of the night’s best finishes in the process.

On paper, the bout with ‘Action Jackson’ always seemed to favor Ige. Most observers figured he was the far superior striker and would probably be able to stop Jackson’s takedowns. They were right on the money.

The Hawaiian was able to completely outstrike Jackson for two rounds and eventually timed an uppercut perfectly, dropping his opponent and knocking him out cold in an instant.

Ige didn’t even need to follow up, choosing to walk away even before referee Jason Herzog stepped in.

Essentially, this was one of the best walk-off knockouts in some time, it earned Ige a $50k bonus and probably saved his career in the process.

#1. UFC bantamweight bout: Umar Nurmagomedov defeated Raoni Barcelos

The 27-year-old Umar Nurmagomedov regrets unecessary follow-up 'emotional' hammerfist after viciously knocking out Raoni Barcelos

The best finish last night came from Umar Nurmagomedov. The bantamweight took out his trickiest opponent to date in the form of Raoni Barcelos.

Prior to last night’s bout, Nurmagomedov had always succeeded in the UFC thanks to his grappling. He had submitted both Sergey Morozov and Brian Kelleher and basically stifled Nate Maness for a decision victory.

Against Barcelos, though, the cousin of former lightweight kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov used his striking to send a message to the rest of the bantamweight division.

After some early exchanges, he somehow nailed the Brazilian with a ridiculous combination to end the fight. Nurmagomedov threw a lunging knee, and while it didn’t land cleanly, he was able to throw a left hand directly after, turning the lights out on Barcelos instantly.

The Dagestani didn’t even need to follow the shot up fully, he even had to check a hammer fist blow as it was clear that his foe was done.

The win not only took Nurmagomedov to 4-0 in the UFC and 16-0 overall, and it’s hard not to see him as a title contender now. Can he emulate his cousin and win gold in the octagon? Only time will tell.

0 0 votes
Article Rating

Similar Posts

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments