UFC Vegas 26 turned out alright in execution, but with just three finishes in the nine fights on offer, it wasn’t the most memorable card overall.
Still, there were at least a number of fun moments that were well worth watching.
With that in mind, here are the five most explosive moments from UFC Vegas 26: Marina Rodriguez vs. Michelle Waterson.
#1 Alex Morono picks up the biggest win of his UFC career over Cowboy
Sometimes, success in the UFC comes in the most unlikely fashion, and Alex Morono is now a prime example of that.
The Great White had a UFC record of 7-4 coming into last night’s show and was largely viewed as an unrecognizable undercard fighter there to make up the numbers.
A heavy combination that started with a right hook and a vicious shot to the body ended the night for Cerrone, who simply couldn’t deal with the sheer aggression of the Great White.
Sure, Cowboy wasn’t knocked unconscious, but he was clearly done, and if anything, the stoppage was a merciful one.
Not only was this the most explosive moment of UFC Vegas 26 overall, but it should propel Morono up the ladder – proving that in the UFC, sometimes it’s worth taking a big risk.
#2 Diego Ferreira and Gregor Gillespie put on an instant classic
This was a classic back-and-forth war that was a worthy winner of the UFC’s Fight of the Night award.
The first round went firmly to Ferreira, who hurt the Gift standing, busting him up in the process. And when the fight hit the ground, the Brazilian ended up in a dominant position and came close to finishing Gillespie with some heavy shots from a back mount.
Somehow, though, Gillespie survived, showing tremendous heart to do so.
And in the second round, he turned things around, taking Ferreira down and ending up in a dominant position of his own.
From there, the former NCAA wrestling standout simply smashed Ferreira with elbows and punches, forcing a stoppage with just seconds remaining in the round.
Simply put, this was a must-see fight for any UFC fan and almost made up for what was overall a slower show from the promotion.
#3 Carlston Harris delivers a beautiful anaconda choke in the opener
UFC Vegas 26’s opener saw welterweight prospect Carlston Harris make his UFC debut against Christian Aguilera. And the native of Guyana pulled off a beautiful victory, earning an extra $50k in the process.
The fight lasted just under three minutes and actually saw Aguilera get the better of things early, stunning Harris with a short uppercut.
But when Harris fired back and hurt him in return, Aguilera made the error of leaving his neck out on a takedown attempt.
And from there, Mocambique wasted no time in wrapping Christian Aguilera up in a picture-perfect anaconda choke, squeezing the life out of him and forcing Aguilera to pass out before he could tap out.
Quite how far the 33-year-old Harris can go in the UFC is hard to say. But this was an excellent debut victory for him with a choke that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would’ve been proud of.
#4 Michelle Waterson almost pulls off a big turnaround in the fifth
However, the most explosive moment of the fight belonged to the Karate Hottie. And if she’d realized quite how badly she’d hurt Rodriguez in the fifth, she could well have pulled off a major comeback.
The moment in question was a nasty head kick that left Rodriguez visibly stunned. Waterson followed it up with a body kick, and the Brazilian was clearly hurt. But unfortunately, the Karate Hottie didn’t follow it up and couldn’t really capitalize.
Overall, the main event was clearly Rodriguez’s fight – but who knows how it would’ve gone had Waterson followed up that big shot?
#5 Phil Hawes puts a third-round beatdown on Kyle Daukaus
High-level prospect Phil Hawes was given a tricky test by Kyle Daukaus last night but ended up pulling through largely due to his cardio and ability to wear his opponent down with well-timed punches.
Some hard shots to the body in the second round started to slow Daukaus down. And once Megatron took him down in the third round, it was clear that the fight was only going one way.
But Hawes made sure of it by putting an absolute beatdown on Daukaus, never really letting up with his heavy punches and elbows.
By the end of the fight, Daukaus was a bloody mess who was honestly lucky to escape without being TKO’d.
This was a serious message from Hawes to the rest of the UFC middleweight division that he’s a real threat. And while he didn’t get the finish, his third-round was explosive and violent nonetheless.