UFC action continued for a fourth straight week at the UFC Apex on Saturday, July 20. With an exciting mix of prospects, veterans and title contenders featured on the card, let’s take a look at who delivered the night’s finest performances!
Since 2017, Belal Muhammad has quietly amassed a 7-1 record in the UFC’s jam-packed welterweight division. Muhammad turned in a gritty performance against Lyman Good, to grab a victory from the judges. With another win in the bag, Muhammad looks poised for a step-up in competition.
Curtis Blaydes was dominant in the main event, but his performance was uninspiring. He took down Alexander Volkov 14 times en route to a unanimous-decision victory. As the heavyweight division’s most dominant wrestler, it was not a surprise to see Blaydes come out of the gates with a purely grappling strategy. It was slightly surprising, however, to see the former collegiate wrestler on the brink of exhaustion as the fight progressed through the championship rounds. Blaydes’s game plan nearly backfired disastrously, but ultimately, he pulled through to secure the decision in his first ever five-round affair.
Austin Hubbard got the preliminary show started with a masterful performance, handing Max Rohskopf his first professional loss. Hubbard has had a short, but eventful run in the UFC. His two losses within the organization have been dealt by possibly the best BJJ practitioner (Davi Ramos) and an Olympic silver-medalist wrestler (Mark O. Madsen). Though Hubbard came out of those bouts on the wrong end of the scorecards, he certainly benefited from the high-level experience. He showed off beautiful defensive wrestling on Saturday and used his crisp striking to put his opponent away. After taking a beating for much of the second round, Rohskopf threw in the towel.
Bronze Medal: Justin Jaynes
After compiling a 15-4 record on the regional circuit, Justin Jaynes finally received the long-awaited call to the big leagues last week. Jaynes stepped in on short-notice to face Frank Camacho, and wasted no time in showing that he belongs in the UFC.
Facing a bigger and more battle-tested opponent, Jaynes came out swinging for the fences, and he connected. Within the bout’s opening minute, the 30-year-old rendered his opponent unable to continue. With a performance like that, fans will be eager to see the newcomer back in the Octagon.
Silver Medal: Jim Miller
On Saturday night, Jim Miller notched his 21st UFC victory. He also made his 35th appearance with the company, tying Donald Cerrone atop the all-time leaderboard. The veteran needed just a couple of minutes to submit Roosevelt Roberts, a surging prospect who entered the contest with a 4-1 UFC record. Though Miller was 3-2 in his previous five outings, this was his biggest victory in years.
Now 4-2 in his last six outings, with all victories coming by way of first-round submission, Miller has proven that he can still hang with the best.
Gold Medal: Josh Emmett
Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos went to war on Saturday. Despite fighting on a compromised knee for much of the fight, Emmett managed to consistently land the more powerful strikes. Emmett suffered a brutal knockout loss to Jeremy Stephens in early 2018, but he’s bounced back in an amazing way. With three consecutive wins under the belt, Emmett continues to climb the featherweight rankings and appears to be closing in on a title shot. Now 7-2 in the UFC, Emmett was the biggest winner of the night.
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