5 takeaways from UFC Fight Night: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez

Alex Perez made an impact on short notice last night
Alex Perez made an impact on short notice last night [Image via Getty]

The UFC was back in the Las Vegas APEX last night for another Fight Night show, and like many in recent months, this one was flying under the radar.

UFC Fight Night: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez was one of those events that had some fun finishes and fights but is still likely to be forgotten in a matter of weeks.

Still, the event definitely threw up some talking points, most notably in the two top fights on the card.

With that in mind, here are five takeaways from UFC Fight Night: Matheus Nicolau vs. Alex Perez.

#5. Uros Medic is the UFC's new welterweight action hero

Every weight class in the UFC needs an action hero - a fighter who isn't likely to develop into a title contender but is almost guaranteed to produce a wild finish every time they compete.

At welterweight, that fighter used to be Vicente Luque, but that appears to have changed now. 'The Silent Assassin' did develop into a contender but now seems to have hit a ceiling and slowed down.

Last night saw the real emergence of a fighter who could take that mantle, though, as Uros Medic stopped Tim Means in devastating fashion. The win was the fourth such stoppage from 'The Doctor' since he arrived in the promotion in 2021.

In this instance, Medic appeared to be sharper than 'The Dirty Bird' from the off, and eventually, he caught Means leaning in for a potential takedown. 'The Doctor' countered and timed a perfectly placed uppercut to the jaw, and that was that.

Given that he has two losses sandwiched within his four octagon wins, it feels unlikely that Medic will climb into the top fifteen of such a loaded division any time soon.

Realistically, though, that shouldn't matter. There will always be room on UFC main cards for a fighter who basically never goes the distance, and the fact that he claimed a bonus $50k last night was more proof of that.

#4. Could Jhonata Diniz become a heavyweight Alex Pereira?

When the UFC places a fight between two unranked heavyweights on the main card of an event, usually, it turns out to be a fight worth skipping.

That could not be said for the bout between Austen Lane and newcomer Jhonata Diniz last night, though. With an extensive kickboxing record from promotions like GLORY, Diniz was bringing a pretty big striking reputation into his octagon debut.

After a sticky first round that saw Lane ground the newcomer and basically keep him down, Diniz turned the tables in the second, big time. He began to find his range, and eventually folded the former football star with some big shots, including a vicious left hook that finally turned his lights out.

Given his background and killer left hook, then, it was hard not to draw comparisons between Diniz and the last Brazilian kickboxer to cross over into the UFC - current light-heavyweight champion Alex Pereira.

Sure, Diniz is not the athlete that 'Poatan' is and his kickboxing record isn't quite as strong, but he clearly packs power and had the kind of striking that many sloppier heavyweights lack.

Can he go as far as Pereira has in the promotion? It feels doubtful as 'Poatan' appears to be one of a kind, but if Diniz can score a couple more knockouts like this, the tag of 'heavyweight Pereira' probably won't be too far behind.

#3. Will Karine Silva crack the flyweight top ten after her win over Ariane Lipski?

While she didn't get the finish she was likely looking for, it was hard not to be impressed with Karine Silva's win over her fellow Brazilian Ariane Lipski last night. 'Killer' controlled almost every moment of the three-round fight and claimed a clear-cut decision when all was said and done.

Given that Lipski had been on a hell of a run prior to this, winning her last three and submitting the highly-touted Casey O'Neill, to see Silva completely dominate her on the ground was a real eye-opener.

This was basically proof that the Brazilian is not just a ruthless finisher who might fade in a tougher fight, she's absolutely the real deal in what is still a relatively thin division.

Will this victory be enough to move 'Killer' into the top ten at 125 pounds, then? Lipski was ranked at No.12 coming in, so there's perhaps an argument for Silva simply taking that spot.

However, there's also an argument to suggest that 'Killer' is better than at least two or three of the top ten, and so if this win doesn't put her there, she should be given an opportunity to get there next time around. At the age of 30, she might just be reaching her prime.

#2. It could be time up for Ryan Spann as a light-heavyweight contender

The light-heavyweight brawl between Ryan Spann and Bogdan Guskov was positioned as last night's co-headliner, and in terms of sheer action, the fight didn't disappoint.

Both men landed some heavy, heavy shots at points, as defense was basically kept to a minimum throughout the two-round affair.

However, while Guskov eventually won the fight - largely by the fact that he could absorb Spann's biggest punches while 'Superman' was unable to do so the other way - it's actually more intriguing to look at the loser.

Spann came into this clash ranked at No.11 in the 205-pound division, and in the first round, he gave everyone a reminder of his genuinely excellent skills. He took Guskov down, controlled him, and threatened with a neck crank, although he couldn't finish it off.

In the second round, though, he got tired, chose to trade off, and found himself outgunned by a heavier and more durable hitter.

'Superman' has now lost his last three fights, so does this loss signal the end of his run in the UFC? Perhaps not, but it probably does signal the end of his time as a fringe contender.

His exciting style should mean he's given a few more chances yet, but like many solid fighters before him - Keith Jardine and Kendall Grove, to name two - he simply doesn't have the durability to reach the top of the UFC. Last night was more proof of that.

#1. Did Alex Perez help himself, or the UFC's other flyweight contenders with his win over Matheus Nicolau?

In last night's biggest shock result, Alex Perez stole the show in the headline bout by knocking out Matheus Nicolau in the second round.

The win was the first for the former UFC flyweight title challenger since June 2020, and given that he took the bout on such short notice after the withdrawal of Manel Kape, it came as a major surprise.

The win saw Perez use his fast hands and boxing skills as a form of kryptonite for Nicolau's in-and-out counter style. After a relatively close first round, Perez found a real rhythm in the second and eventually caught his Brazilian foe cleanly with a right hook, turning off his lights.

The big question now, though, is who the win does more for: Perez or some of his rivals near the top of the flyweight division?

The truth is, it's probably the latter. Perez only lost to current champ Alexandre Pantoja in July 2022, and there's no real appetite to see him face 'The Cannibal' again.

However, his win over Nicolau probably knocks the Brazilian - who was ranked at No.5 coming into last night - out of contention entirely, opening up a spot for someone like Muhammad Mokaev or Manel Kape to leapfrog him into title contention.

Given Nicolau's often-slower style, the UFC will no doubt value Perez's win too, even if it may not actually advance his own career as much as he'd like to hope.

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