Several competitors delivered standout performances on the UFC Vegas 28 prelims. Muslim Salikhov and Manon Fiorot impressed in their winning efforts, while Mason Jones dominated prior to his bout’s abrupt end.
Russia’s Salikhov put the welterweight division on notice by cruising to a decision victory over a very durable veteran. Meanwhile, France’s Fiorot displayed her violent striking arsenal en route to her second-round TKO finish. An unfortunate eye poke robbed the young Welsh talent of his first UFC victory. All in all, this trio of UFC Vegas 28 fighters must not be overlooked as they ascend up the ranks.
Fighters to Watch
Muslim Salikhov (18-2, 5-1 UFC) will see his name in the top-15 of the welterweight rankings in the near future. At UFC Vegas 28, the “King of Kung Fu” methodically picked apart the experienced Francisco Trinaldo, winning each round across all three judge’s scorecards. His deep-rooted experience was highlighted during the broadcast and it’s a major reason for his immediate success.
At 36-years-old, Salikhov has rattled off five straight wins since being submitted in his UFC debut. Despite the rather small sample size, it’s evident that the Dagestan product is one of the most unpredictable and dangerous strikers in the division. It will be interesting to see how fast the matchmakers serve him as a ranked opponent.
Considering the current rankings, it’s likely that he’ll be matched with another unranked foe, but the possibilities are very intriguing. Pairing him with either Jake Matthews or Randy Brown would make for an electric three-round affair.
Manon Fiorot (7-1, 2-0 UFC) has the opportunity to skyrocket up the women’s flyweight rankings. The lone French female athlete in the promotion has proven in just two appearances that she is ready for the division’s best. At UFC Vegas 28, “The Beast” demonstrated devastating power and precision against a newcomer in Tabatha Ricci.
Fiorot truly seems like she has the full package, including an imposing frame to go along with her deadly set of skills. It’s still too early to call her a future contender, but very few women on the planet have the finishing ability that she possesses. Undoubtedly, Fiorot is ready for a ranked opponent.
Honestly, she would be a tough matchup for #10 Alexa Grasso, who hasn’t finished an opponent since 2014. Expect Fiorot to become one of the more feared and avoided female fighters on the roster.
Mason Jones (10-1-1 NC, 0-1-1 NC UFC) put together a fantastic showing in his bout versus Alan Patrick at UFC Vegas 28. The 26-year-old avoided the looping attacks from his opposition, while nearly finning the finish of his own on multiple occasions. It was the exact kind of outing that “The Dragon” needed after losing in his debut last January.
The fact that Jones faced very little resistance from Patrick makes it more than feasible that he would have won the fight if not for the accidental eye poke. It’s been a difficult start to his UFC tenure, but the talent that Jones exudes is undeniable. Jones is farther from being ranked than the first two fighters mentioned above, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him reach those heights at some point.
Luis Pena and Gabriel Benitez would make for very entertaining dance partners with the Welshman. Jones faces some pressure after not yielding too much success through his first two appearances. Again, the results aren’t necessarily there, but the eyes tell a different story.
UFC Vegas 28 Results (Prelims)
- Ilir Latifi def. Tanner Boser via split decision (29-28 x2, 27-29)
- Muslim Salikhov def. Francisco Trinaldo via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Kamuela Kirk def. Makwan Amirkhani via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
- Mason Jones vs Alan Patrick ruled a no-contest (accidental eye poke)
- Manon Fiorot def. Tabatha Ricci via second-round TKO (3:00)
- Sean Woodson def. Youssef Zalal via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29)
- Claudio Puelles def. Jordan Leavitt via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Of all the UFC Vegas 28 prelim winners, who do you see having the brightest future in the sport? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below!
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