UFC On The Prelims: Prospects Shine In Striker’s Delight

Saturday’s UFC card was violent. I know what you’re thinking: “Duh, it’s MMA.” But listen, Saturday’s event from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada USA was more blood-lusting than most MMA events.

It presented a level of violence that actually reached a record – yes, you can track these things. The afternoon action tied UFC’s single-event record for most KO or TKO finishes, per UFC statistic mastermind Michael Carroll.

The striking skills were on display early in the evening with the six preliminary bouts. This week’s issue of “On The Prelims” will highlight some of the better performances from the undercard that came from rising names.

Let’s Take Jung Seriously

It was just 10:00AM in Las Vegas, and Jung Da-un was ready to make a statement. He did exactly that in his fight, stopping Kennedy Nzechukwu in the first round with impactful elbows.

The win advanced Jung’s UFC record to an impressive four wins and one draw, keeping him undefeated in the promotion.

While the streak is solid, it’s worth noting that he has yet to receive a real step-up opponent at light heavyweight. Now’s the time. With an impressive streak that now includes a swift one-round win from Saturday, Jung should be given a real test. He has clear talent and knows what he’s doing in there, and it’s time that his skills are treated with the level of seriousness they deserve.

‘The Sniper’ Takes Down A Target

Sean Woodson is tremendously tall for his weight class. At six-foot-two, Woodson is just two inches shorter than UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya. Here’s the kicker: Adesanya weighs 40 more pounds than him.

Woodson will likely have the height and reach advantage over anyone he faces. And on Saturday, he showed that he can make that a problem for his opponents. His win against Collin Anglin, which is his third since joining the promotion, saw him use straight punches and kicks to maintain a distance.

Woodson’s sharp boxing secured him a paycheck early in the fight, as he stopped Anglin within a round with hooks to the body. Woodson has been on the UFC roster since 2019, but long layoffs have meant he has only fought four times thus far. He hopes to be more active soon, targeting a March return in his post-fight interview.

Striking Can Be Part of the Journey, Not Just The Destination

Saturday’s card was striking heavy, but make no mistake about it: the martial arts are still mixed. Whatever works (and is allowed within the ruleset), works.

Rafael Alves showed in his fight that striking can not just be a means to finish a fight, but can also be a tool to work towards that finish.

Alves had a quick win in the morning, stopping Marc Diakiese in the second minute. After hurting Diakiese with a jab and then closing the distance with a flying knee, Alves was taken down. Did that end his momentum? Nope. Showing awareness of his situation, Alves secured a guillotine choke on the way down and rode out the attempt until Diakiese tapped out.

Alves performed with the killer instinct who had been in there 30 times as a pro and much better than most who are only in their second UFC bout. It will be interesting to see where Alves goes here in his UFC career. No knock on him, but he doesn’t have as much time as most promotional newcomers.

At 31 years old and with 30 pro fights, he might get bigger challenges in the promotion earlier than newer names to the sport. Let’s see what’s next for the former interim Titan FC Lightweight Champion.

This series is about prelims, but all of UFC’s 11-fight lineup yesterday was pretty explosive. A report on the entire show can be read here.

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