Another weekend met, another UFC fight card gone by. As the dust settles from the action, fans are soaking in the aftermath of what was an electrifying Fight Night. The matches were made perfectly, and the excitement never ceased. The judges were only needed thrice tonight as most of the victors took matters into their own hands.
Jessica Andrade made history, Charles Jourdain put the MMA world on notice, and Tyson Pedro kicked the door down upon his return - these are just some of the moments from this eventful Fight Night worth mentioning. Although the event had finish after finish, some stoppages stood out from the rest.
Here are the five best finishes from UFC Fight Night: Lemos vs. Andrade:
#5. Tyson Pedro vs. Ike Villanueva
Tyson Pedro returned tonight in what was his first bout since 2018. Though he's been absent due to injuries, he's still a force to be reckoned with. A first-round victory is often ideal, but Pedro got the job done flawlessly.
The Aussie may have been a bit too eager to get the finish in previous matches. Though this has largely worked for him, given his 100% finishing rate, the more mature fighters know when to relax and when to pursue the finish.
The 30-year-old was the quicker and more powerful fighter and quickly made this apparent. Even when shots landed that hurt Villanueva, Pedro showed his maturity as he sat back and let the finish happen organically.
The hands were sharp, but it was the low kicks that spelled the beginning of the end for his 38-year-old opponent. Villanueva was effectively a one-legged fighter after a couple of kicks landed. A final kick to the leg was the culminating blow, and the follow-up shots weren't exactly necessary. Pedro returned after over three years and scored a first-round knockout to make up for lost time.
#4. Sergey Khandozhko vs. Dwight Grant
This prelim fight was an absolute war. Momentum shifted back and forth multiple times, so much so that it was hard to tell exactly who would be up on the scorecards had this match met the fifteen-minute mark. Khandozhko seemed to be the more technical striker, but Grant proved to be unpredictable and powerful.
'Honda' had to fight through adversity in order to jump back into the win column. He was dropped and hurt very badly, but this didn't deter him from victory. Ever the game fighter, he tucked his chin and engaged in a slugfest.
Grant held his own, but it just wasn't his night. Sharp shots on the inside wobbled 'The Body Snatcher', but he showed championship-level grit. This wouldn't be enough, for a few more subsequent blows caused the referee's intervention. The contest went on to win the 'Fight of the Night' honors.
#3. Charles Jourdain vs. Lando Vannata
Jourdain taking on Vannata was expected to be a display of high-level striking. While this was mostly true for as long as it lasted, there was more variety here than one would've anticipated.
'Groovy' let his opponent know rather quickly that he's willing and able to wrestle, and he scored a takedown. The Canadian was able to get back to his feet quickly after, only to get attacked on the feet. Vannata is as dynamic a striker as the UFC has, but 'Air' Jourdain is no slouch in that department.
Just as 'Groovy' began to find his rhythm, he threw a kick and was countered with a straight punch that knocked him down. Vannata seemed to address the possible guillotine choke on his way up, but he lost focus on the choke for one second, which proved to be dangerous.
Jourdain locked in a one-armed guillotine choke that sunk in deep, even stripping Vannata of his fight shorts in the process. Jourdain is now the second person to finish Lando Vannata. The only other fighter able to do this was Tony Ferguson.
#2. Claudio Puelles vs. Clay Guida
Not only is this the third kneebar submission that Puelles has hit in the UFC, but this might be a 'Submission of the Year' candidate. Clay Guida is as tenured a fighter as the UFC can offer. When he signed to take on Puelles, it seemed like the "old dog taking on the new wave of talent" trope.
'The Carpenter' has repeatedly spoken about how much wrestling means to him. Additionally, his fighting tells the same story. High-paced action coupled with suffocating pressure usually leads to Guida hitting takedowns. While it wasn't different in this fight, Puelles ensured they led to Guida's downfall.
Immediate submission threats put Guida on the defensive. The 'Prince of Peru' did phenomenally well in not letting his opponent get settled, which stopped most offensive attacks that would've come his way. Guida knows this game well, though, and he survived the initial attacks.
However, Puelles proved that he is on another level. He attacked a leg and secured a kneebar that came lighting quick and quickly forced 'The Carpenter' to tap out. The Peruvian lightweight earned a 'Performance of the Night' bonus for his finish.
#1. Jessica Andrade vs. Amanda Lemos
The titular bout of this card saw Jessica Andrade return to strawweight, a division in which she's once summited. Opposite the former champion stood Amanda Lemos, a promising talent riding a five-fight winning streak.
The hype seemed real early on, too. 'Amandinha' lit up the former champion with leg kicks and straight punches. Though the offense was good, Andrade is rarely uncomfortable when inside the octagon.
The 30-year-old just needed to grab ahold of her opponent, and that was all she wrote. Though she's won by submission before, nobody in UFC history has won a fight via standing arm-triangle choke. This technique is primarily seen executed on the ground from a top position. Andrade, however, was able to apply enough pressure without the assistance of gravity and forced the tap from the taller opponent on the feet.
Once again, the former strawweight queen displayed her brute strength and walked away with a 'Performance of the Night' bonus for her impressive finish.