Stock Report: UFC Fight Night 186

By Ben Duffy Mar 1, 2021

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Sometimes a card that looks like no great shakes on paper delivers an unforgettable night of fights. Other times, we get UFC Fight Night 186.

Even by the standards of the COVID era, when last-minute shakeups and cancellations are the rule rather than the exception, the event colloquially known as “UFC Vegas 20” was positively decimated. After losing five fights in the week leading up to the event — three in just the last 36 hours — only nine bouts made it to the cage at the UFC Apex on Saturday. The bigger problem is that those nine fights, for the most part, did not deliver. Eight of the nine went to the judges. The main event featured two young heavyweight contenders who spent 25 minutes doing their best to dispel their reputations as exciting knockout artists. The Pedro Munhoz - Jimmie Rivera rematch was a no-brainer for “Fight of the Night” because…it was the only exciting fight. The UFC’s choice to hand out just three post-fight bonuses, rather than the customary four, said it all.

Nonetheless, once the dust settled, eight fighters had won while another eight had lost (and two had fought to a draw). As a result, some fighters’ stocks rose while others fell. Here is the stock report for UFC Fight Night 185: Rozenstruik vs. Gane.

STOCK UP


Pedro Munhoz: To paraphrase a situation that seems to come up in this column every single week, Munhoz’s job was probably safe going into Saturday night, but he was very much in danger of becoming just another guy in the UFC bantamweight division. Thirty-four years old and on the first losing streak of his career, Munhoz risked dropping out of the Top 10, perhaps for good, if he could not avenge his 2015 loss to Rivera. Three exciting rounds later, Munhoz had squared things at one win apiece with “El Terror,” pocketed a cool $50,000 in bonus cash, and reaffirmed his place in the division. Munhoz’s low calf kicks, which have been a nice weapon in his arsenal for several years, were the story of the fight. Rivera’s left leg was severely compromised by the end of the first round and a complete mess by the end of the second, sapping his punching power as well as slowing his movement. After the win, Munhoz was the latest 135-pound contender to toss his hat in for the prize that is welcoming former champ T.J. Dillashaw back from his two-year suspension. Whether he gets it is anyone’s guess, but that it was even a reasonable request is a good sign.

Thiago Moises: With the possible exception of welterweight, lightweight is the most difficult division for a new fighter entering the UFC to break into the Top 10. While it can take a half-dozen or more consecutive wins even to show up on radar, Moises is now off to a good start, as he took a clear-cut unanimous decision over Alexander Hernandez on Saturday to run his current streak to three. More importantly, the 25-year-old Brazilian is showing improvement from fight to fight. His submission win over Michael Johnson last May, while impressive, was a comeback after getting badly outboxed for the entire first round. The version of Moises who won at “UFC Vegas 20” looked like a completely different fighter, as he was quicker and appeared no less strong than Hernandez, one of the most explosive, dynamic athletes in the division. Now 4-2 in the UFC, with the only losses coming against Top-10 fighter Beneil Dariush and MIA mega-prospect Damir Ismagulov, Moises is becoming a man to watch.

Ronnie Lawrence: If there is a silver lining in the dark cloud of COVID-era MMA, with all its postponements and cancellations, it is that with the right win at the right time, fighters can become stars quickly. Just ask Khamzat Chimaev or Kevin Holland. Lawrence was the only debuting fighter at UFC Fight Night 186, scored the only finish of the night and earned the only solo performance bonus. That’s a pretty damned good start. “The Heat” was already a hot property coming out of Dana White's Contender Series and he was a solid favorite over Vince Cachero for a reason, but there’s something to be said for taking a showcase opportunity and making the most of it. Cachero’s hyper-aggressive fight style give Lawrence the chance to demonstrate his outstanding wrestling as well as his developing standup game. And despite the furious pace forced by Cachero, the noticeably bigger Lawrence not only held his own in the cardio department, but successfully pursued a third-round finish. Bantamweight has a bright new prospect in the 28-year-old Tennessean.

STOCK DOWN


Jairzinho Rozenstruik: When a fighter enters the UFC as a 6-0 prospect and wins his first two Octagon outings by knockout in under 30 seconds each, as Rozenstruik did in 2019, unrealistic expectations come with the territory. However, Rozenstruik’s loss to Ciryl Gane in Saturday’s main event is problematic beyond the simple “L” on his ledger. The more damaging issue is that “Bigi Boy” seemed completely gun-shy for five rounds. While the fight was not terribly exciting to watch, more of that blame must rest with Rozenstruik than with Gane, as Gane was the one to close the distance and strike first, over and over again as Rozenstruik waited in vain for a kill-shot counter that never came. The Surinamese kickboxer is far from a lost cause at this point. He is still developing, in his physical prime and has multiple recent wins over all-time greats, but it will probably be some time before anyone is clamoring to see him take on another top-shelf heavyweight.

Sabina Mazo: There’s no way to pretty this one up. Mazo, on a three-fight winning streak, entered the Octagon as a two-to-one favorite over the 36-year-old Alexis Davis, who was on a three-fight losing streak and had been away from the sport for nearly two years. What might have been a major statement fight for “The Colombian Queen” instead turned into a steamrolling, as Davis took Mazo down with relative ease in all three rounds. Once the fight hit the ground, Davis dominated, taking a clean sweep on the scorecards and even earning a 10-8 Round 3 from one judge. At this point, Mazo’s issues have been laid bare. While she is tall and rangy at flyweight as well as bantamweight, she is susceptible to being outmuscled, and her preferred distance striking game simply doesn’t have the power or footwork to dissuade determined, UFC-level women from getting inside on her. There is plenty of time to address those flaws, as Mazo is only 23 and probably several years shy of her physical prime, but there is no question that Saturday was a setback.

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