From the glittering lights of Las Vegas, another UFC Fight Night has been and gone. Once again held at the UFC Apex, fans were treated to 10 bouts, featuring contenders, prospects and debutants.
Following on from the underwhelming conclusion to last week's main event, our hope for a UFC Vegas 22 main event that would leave us talking for the right reasons was met.
This weekend represented a card without the top names. Instead, it was the type of card we so often see stealing headlines and producing some remarkable moments. Grant Dawson fulfilled that criteria to a tee.
With that said, here are three positives and two negatives from UFC Vegas 22.
Positive - Dana White's Contender Series alumni
Dana White’s Contender Series (DWCS) has become one of the UFC’s most successful additional shows. Designed as a talent-scouting mission for White and his team, the first episode aired in 2017.
The list of names earning a contract through DWCS is endless. Dan Ige, Sean O’Malley, Geoff Neal, Greg Hardy, (take a breath…) Edmen Shahbazyan, Sodiq Yusuff and Ryan Spann, to name just a few, all joined the roster through the series.
UFC Vegas 22 was a night for Contender Series alumni. Kevin Holland, Grant Dawson, Adrian Yanez, Montel Jackson, JP Buys and Cheyanne Buys all competed.
Seeing so many DWCS graduates on one card shows the value the creation has in maintaining weekly cards.
Featuring some of the best prospects from the series, 35% of Saturday night’s card was comprised of previous DWCS competitors. That many prospects in action absolutely makes for a positive.
Positive - Grant Dawson's on the buzzer KO
Simply Incredible. Every now and then a card has that crazy moment that you think about for the rest of the night. This was that moment.
With 4:59 on the clock, and both sides unsure who’s edging the scorecards, what does Grant Dawson produce? Four brutal standing hammer fists. Leonardo Santos, previously unbeaten since 2009, was out cold.
Dustin Poirier's reaction echoed the thoughts of every MMA fan watching:
Dawson, 27, remains one of the biggest prospects in the UFC. Now 17-1, “KGD” has tasted victory in all five of his UFC appearances.
Riding an eight-fight winning streak, Dawson called out Clay Guida in his post-fight interview. Now that’s a fight we can get on board with.
Positive - An entertaining main event
After last week's underwhelming no contest, one thing on our UFC Vegas 22 wishlist was a competitive and entertaining main event. Even in defeat, Kevin Holland brought the entertainment in spades.
From the second he stepped foot in the Octagon, the accurately named "Big Mouth" was talking. Talking to a mounted Derek Brunson. Talking to Khabib.Talking to the opposition corner. Perhaps he talked too much.
Credit to Brunson for remaining focused throughout, something that couldn't have been easy with Holland commenting on his every action.
Brunson utilized his takedowns and wrestling to control the fight, understandably wary of Holland's striking. 'Trail Blazer' rocked the 37-year-old in a number of exchanges.
Having been prematurely branded the middleweight 'gatekeeper', Brunson has won his last four, including victories over Edmen Shahbazyan and Ian Heinisch. The North Carolina native has positioned himself for a top opponent in his next Octagon appearance.
He may have lost the decision but in Holland's eyes, taking Brunson down was a "freakin' win".