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UFC Vegas 32 Prelims: Contenders on the Rise

The UFC Vegas 32 card was one of the best fight cards we’ve had in recent memory. The main card was phenomenal, but the prelims were just as exciting. Three fighters put on performances that stood out above the rest. Take a closer look at these incredible performances and what these fighters could have in store for the future.

UFC Vegas 32 Prelims: Allen, Imavov, Eubanks Perform at Their Best

Brendan Allen

Brendan Allen put on an impressive performance against Punahele Soriano to cap off the UFC Vegas 32 prelims. This fight was one of the more anticipated fights on the card, and it lived up to the expectations. Many thought that Allen would need to incorporate his grappling if he were to get his hand raised, but it was Allen’s striking that led him to get the win. Since moving his camp to Sanford MMA, Allen has shown great improvements in his striking.

Allen’s improvements were on full display in this fight, as he looked to be the more technical striker. What stood out the most was Allen’s improvements in his striking defense, avoiding and blocking a majority of Soriano’s power shots. Allen and his team made it a part of their game plan to work Soriano’s body throughout the fight to exploit Soriano’s cardio. He landed countless kicks to the body of Soriano, which seemed to wear him down as the fight went on.

The fight would go to a decision, but it was clear that Allen had run away with the fight in the later rounds. Since his loss to Sean Strickland, Allen has gained back-to-back victories. Allen seems to be improving every time out, and at only 25 years old, the future could not be brighter. During his post-fight interview, Allen called out former opponent, Sean Strickland, and 10th ranked Edmen Shahbazyan. With Strickland fighting not long ago, a matchup with Edmen Shahbazyan could be the next fight for Allen.

Nassourdine Imavov

Nassourdine Imavov earned a 2nd round TKO victory over Ian Heinisch during the UFC Vegas 32 prelims. Both fighters were coming off recent losses and were looking to get back on track. This matchup surprised many when it was announced, as Imavov had just lost to Phil Hawes in a fight where Hawes controlled Imavov in the clinch and on the ground. This fight against Heinisch was actually a step up in competition, which you don’t normally see when a fighter is coming off a loss.

This fight appeared to be easy to predict, as Heinisch has the grappling tools to replicate Hawes. Imavov would quickly prove this to be false, defending very well against Heinisch’s wrestling. On the feet, Imavov had a clear advantage being the faster of the two and the overall better striker. Imavov’s speed caused many problems for Heinisch, with Imavov quickly countering any attacks thrown his way.

Heinisch did find some success on the feet, landing several low hard low kicks. The low kicks would not be enough as the damage continued to add up. Imavov dropped Heinisch with a knee and got the finish shortly after via ground and pound. This performance was by far the best of Imavov’s since joining the UFC.

This win was a big moment in Imavov’s career. His potential has always been there, but this is the first time he has really put it all together on the big stage. Imavov has a unique style, blending his technical striking with his wrestling background, that could lead to some favorable matchups down the line. Imavov said after the fight that when he gets back home, he will jump right back into training and will be ready when the UFC has a matchup for him. After Imavov requested a ranked opponent, it’ll be interesting to see who the UFC decides to match Ihim up against next.

Sijara Eubanks

Sijara Eubanks notched an exciting victory in her return to the strawweight division against Elise Reed. Eubanks returned to 125 pounds for the first time since her win over Roxanne Modafferi in late 2018. Eubanks was forced to move up to bantamweight after having trouble making the 125-pound strawweight limit. After a 2-4 run at bantamweight, Eubanks decided to drop back down to 125 pounds. Eubanks is definitely more suited for the strawweight division, being undersized against most of her opponents at 135 pounds.

There was some worry that Eubanks would again have trouble making the weight, but she made weight and looked healthy on the scale. After successfully making weight, Eubanks would put on an impressive performance, reminding people why most of her career success has come in the strawweight division. Eubanks showcased her grappling, getting an early takedown which led to her landing heavy ground and pound from top position. Once Eubanks secured full mount, she would pour it on and earn the 1st round TKO victory.

This win would also mark the first stoppage victory in Eubanks’ UFC career.  After the fight, Eubanks made it clear that she is looking to contend for the strawweight title. With wins over Roxanne Modafferi and Lauren Murphy, Eubanks should be fighting a high-ranked opponent next time out. 

What did you think of the UFC Vegas 32 prelims? Let us know in the comments below!

Follow me on Twitter @carterbergezMMA for updates on my work and live reactions to every MMA event. Let us know in the comments below! If you’re interested in other UFC-related articles, check out the UFC category linked here: UFC Articles. Make sure to stay up to date with the latest news in sports by keeping up with Overtime Heroics.

Featured Image Credits to: Embed from Getty Images

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