UFC Fight Night Report: Alexa Grasso defeats Viviane Araújo by unanimous decision

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2022/10/15/ufc-fight-night-report-alexa-grasso-defeats-viviane-araujo-by-unanimous-decision/

UFC Fight Night Report: Alexa Grasso defeats Viviane Araújo by unanimous decision

On Saturday evening, the UFC held a Fight Night event at the Apex Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. This card was originally set to be main-evented by a middleweight bout between Jared Cannonier and Sean Strickland, but Strickland was forced to withdraw from the card due to injury, and the bout was rescheduled for a later date. In its place, a flyweight bout between Alexa Grasso and Viviane Araujo was moved into the main event slot, in what would mark Araujo’s first main event in the UFC. Since making her UFC debut in 2019, Araujo has compiled a record of 5-2 in the promotion and going into this fight, Araujo was the sixth-ranked fighter in the flyweight division. Grasso was ranked one spot ahead of Araujo in the flyweight rankings going into this bout and was looking to defend her spot in the division. With a strong enough performance, Grasso could very well cement her status as the top contender for Valentina Shevchenko at flyweight, as a win against Araujo here would mark four consecutive wins for Grasso. In the co-main event, long-time featherweight Cub Swanson made the move down to bantamweight, making his divisional debut against Jonathan Martinez.

The commentary team for this card consisted of Brendan Fitzgerald, Dominick Cruz, and Paul Felder. Performance of the Night bonuses were awarded to Tatsuro Taira and Jonathan Martinez. Fight of the Night bonuses went out to Jordan Wright and Dusko Todorovic.



*Pete Rodriguez def. Mike Jackson by KO at 1:33 of Round 1

*Tatsuro Taira def. C.J. Vergara by armbar at 4:19 of Round 2

*Piera Rodriguez def. Sam Hughes by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Joanderson Brito def. Lucas Alexander by rear naked choke at 2:02 of Round 1

*Jacob Malkoun def. Nick Maximov by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Mana Martinez def. Brandon Davis by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)


*Alonzo Menifield def. Misha Cirkunov by KO at 1:28 of Round 1

*Rafael Assuncao def. Victor Henry by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Dusko Todorovic def. Jordan Wright by TKO at 3:12 of Round 2

*Jonathan Martinez def. Cub Swanson by TKO at 4:19 of Round 2

*Alexa Grasso def. Viviane Araujo by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)


Rodriguez quickly sent Jackson to the ground with a body shot, and he started swarming Jackson with strikes as Jackson tried to pick himself up. Jackson initially weathered the storm, but Rodriguez continued to dig into the body, which led to Jackson dipping his head, and he ate a huge knee from Rodriguez in the process, knocking him unconscious.

WINNER: Pete Rodriguez by KO at 1:33 of Round 1

Rodriguez was the sizeable favorite according to the oddsmakers going into this fight, and the bout played out as expected. Rodriguez just overwhelmed Jackson with his activity, and he clearly had a significant edge in power as well, which led to the quick finish. Rodriguez is now 1-1 in the UFC, with this marking his first win in the promotion. For Jackson, I would not be shocked if this is the last time that we see him in the octagon. Jackson is far below the UFC level as a mixed-martial artist, and at 37 years of age, it is tough to imagine him making the significant leaps as a fighter that would be necessary for him to improve his standing in the UFC’s welterweight division.

TATSURO TAIRA (11-0, 126) VS C.J. VERGARA (10-3-1, 129) – FLYWEIGHT

Vergara missed weight by 3lbs and was fined 30% of his purse.

Vergara flurried forward early in the bout, prompting Taira to change levels and take the fight to the ground. Taira moved into the north-south position, but Vergara was able to scramble to his feet. Unfortunately for Vergara, he was immediately taken back down, and Taira began to work from side control with a minute remaining in the round. Vergara scrambled into top position, and threatened a choke towards the end of the round, landing some strong knees to the body in the process.

Taira began the second round with a heavy leg kick. Vergara began to work his jab, as Taira attempted to time a head kick. Eventually, Taira was able to wrap Vergara up on the feet, and he proceeded to drag Vergara right back to the ground, where Taira began to work from his back. Taira started hunting for a rear naked choke, but he couldn’t quite find the angle, and he decided to attempt an armbar instead. Taira was able to extend the arm, locking in the submission, and Vergara was forced to submit.

WINNER: Tatsuro Taira by armbar at 4:19 of Round 2

I thought Taira looked very impressive throughout this fight. Vergara missed weight by a significant amount going into this one, but the weight advantage didn’t seem to play into the bout itself, as Taira was easily able to take Vergara to the ground, where he was largely able to control him with ease, before ultimately finishing him in the second round. Taira’s UFC record now stands at 2-0, and at just 22 years of age, he is certainly a fighter with a ton of potential.


They traded strikes on the feet throughout the opening minutes of the fight, with neither fighter gaining a clear advantage. Eventually, Rodriguez was able to back Hughes into the cage and shoot for a takedown, but Hughes easily defended the attempt, and the fight continued to play out on the feet for the time being. Rodriguez was more successful with her next takedown attempt, flooring Hughes momentarily, but Hughes was not content to give up the position, and she quickly returned to her feet. This was a very competitive round, but I gave a slight edge to Rodriguez. 10-9 Rodriguez.

Hughes started off the second round aggressively, but was quickly taken down, which slowed her attack, even upon returning to her feet. While Rodriguez was not having a ton of success in terms of keeping Hughes down, her takedowns were doing a lot to slow Hughes down, although Hughes still appeared to be the slightly more active fighter on the feet. It was another close round, but once again, I gave the slight edge to Rodriguez, who was quietly doing good work to the body. 20-18 Rodriguez.

Rodriguez shot for a takedown to begin the third round. Hughes defended the attempt, but Rodriguez began to attack the body with knees, forcing Hughes to back away. Rodrigue was successful with her next takedown attempt, but yet again, Hughes was able to pop right back to her feet. Hughes continued to march forward as she tried to put pressure on Rodriguez, looking to secure the late finish. The finish didn’t come, but Hughes was able to create yet another tough round to score with her late activity. 29-28 Rodriguez.

WINNER: Piera Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

I was actually somewhat surprised to see that all three judges were in agreement here, as I thought all three rounds were tough to call. Rodriguez recorded quite a few takedowns throughout the fight but was unable to keep Hughes down, and in the end, this fight came down to efficiency on the feet. Hughes was constantly moving forward, trying to put pressure on her opponent, however, Rodriguez fought well from the back foot, and was actually able to narrowly outland Hughes in terms of significant strikes. Rodriguez was able to land some damaging strikes in the clinch as well, attacking the body of Hughes with knees whenever her takedown attempts were defended. Rodriguez improved to 2-0 in the UFC following this win, and she is now 9-0 professionally.


Alexander slipped on a head kick attempt early, and Brito took his back as Alexander picked himself up, slamming him down to the ground. Brito locked in a body triangle as Alexander climbed back to his feet, and he was looking for a rear naked choke from Alexander’s back. It didn’t take long for Brito to sink in the choke, and Alexander was forced to submit.

WINNER: Joanderson Brito by rear naked choke at 2:02 of Round 1

Brito just ran through Alexander here. In his last bout, Brito was able to knock Andre Fili out in less than a minute, and this was really the perfect performance to follow that one up with, finishing Alexander with ease here, showcasing his grappling ability in the process. Brito is now 2-1 in the UFC, with that one loss coming in his UFC debut, to Bill Algeo. Brito called out Dan Ige in his post-fight interview.


A left hook from Maximov hurt Malkoun early, but Malkoun was able to recover, and the fight continued to play out on the feet. With just under three minutes remaining in the round, Malkoun opted to take Maximov down. Maximov was able to return to his feet, but he ate a combination of punches from Malkoun just moments later. Malkoun tripped Maximov to the ground, and he continued to tee off on Maximov as Maximov picked himself up. 10-9 Malkoun.

Maximov appeared to have injured his leg in the first round, and he was in noticeable pain by the start of round two. His movement was compromised, and Malkoun was able to take advantage of this by pressuring Maximov into the cage, where he was immediately able to take Maximov down. Malkoun was not terribly active from top position, and despite his injury, Maximov was eventually able to escape to his feet. Malkoun advanced forward for the remaining of the round, throwing short combinations Maximov’s way. Maximov was unable to respond with anything of substance, and this was a very clear round for Malkoun. 20-18 Malkoun.

Malkoun immediately brought Maximov back to the ground to begin the final round. Maximov eventually escaped to his feet, but it was clear he had very little to offer Malkoun at this point in the fight, and he was quickly taken back to the ground. Malkoun controlled the remainder of this fight on the ground as well as on the feet, and this was another one-sided round. 30-27 Malkoun.

WINNER: Jacob Malkoun by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Maximov injured his knee early in the first round and was never really able to gain any momentum in the fight from that point forward. The commentary team was understandably critical of Malkoun’s decision not to attack Maximov’s leg, but it is clear that leg kicks are not a part of Malkoun’s game at this point in his career, and that will be something that he’ll have to improve on in the future. For what its worth, Malkoun’s hands looked much improved in this fight, and he showed slightly more aggression that he has in prior bouts. Malkoun improved to 3-2 in the UFC following this win.


A quick (accidental) low blow from Davis led to a momentary pause in the action. Both fighters were active on the feet as the action resumed, especially Martinez, who found success attacking the body with kicks. Martinez grazed the eye of Davis as he attempted to escape from close quarters, which resulted in another pause in the action as Davis was given time to recover. Martinez connected with a hard left hand late in the round, which was probably the most damaging strike landed by either fighter to that point. Martinez defended a takedown attempt to end the round. 10-9 Martinez.

Martinez was able to keep the fight on the feet despite some early takedown attempts from Davis in the second round. Martinez was out landing Davis on the feet and was doing a better job of attacking in combination, attacking the body as well as the head. The fighters traded leg kicks before Martinez landed a left hand that found its target. A short right hook from Davis landed, and he was finding far more success towards the end of this round, landing some strong combinations of his own. In the final seconds of the round, Martinez dropped Davis with a spinning back fist, and then he dropped Martinez once more time just before the bell sounded. 20-18 Martinez.

Davis pressured forward in the final round, perhaps with the knowledge that he was in need of a finish. Martinez took him down to relieve the pressure, but Davis was able to pop right back to his feet, and he went right back on the attack in pursuit of a finish. Davis secured a takedown of his own with a minute remaining, and he attempted to finish the fight with ground and pound, but Martinez was able to hold on until time expired in the fight. 29-28 Martinez.

WINNER: Mana Martinez by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

I was surprised to see that the judges were split on this one. While Davis was probably ahead in the second round prior to the final seconds, I thought that the late knockdowns firmly cemented that round in Martinez’s favor, and I didn’t think Davis did quite enough in the opening round to earn that one either. Regardless, Martinez got his arm raised in the end, and his UFC record now stands at 2-1. Davis fell to 2-7 in the promotion following this loss, and I would not be shocked if this marked his final fight in the UFC for the time being.


Menifield was throwing bombs throughout the opening minute, and he was able to defend numerous takedown attempts from Cirkunov to keep the fight on the feet. It did not take long for Menifield to rock Cirkunov with one of those bombs, and a right hand knocked Cirkunov out cold just moments later.

WINNER: Alonzo Menifield by KO at 1:28 of Round 1

Cirkunov ate a number of shots after he was clearly unconscious, which is always rough to watch. Thankfully, Cirkunov was eventually able to sit up on his stool, and Menifield was very respectful as Cirkunov recovered from the scary knockout. This was the ideal result for Menifield, who looked like one of the scariest fighters in the division here, picking up his fifth first-round finish since making his UFC debut back in 2019. For Cirkunov, this was a poor performance, and he has now lost four consecutive fights. With a 2-6 record throughout his last eight fights, it appears as though Cirkunov’s time competing against the top light heavyweights may be behind him, and perhaps it is time for a significant step down in competition.


Henry landed a body kick to start the fight, and Assuncao responded with a pair of quick right hands after catching Henry’s next attempted body kick. Henry was not deterred from attacking the body, and he continued to throw numerous kicks to the body throughout the round. Assuncao attempted a takedown at one point, but the attempt was defended, and he instead opted to throw a heavy combination of punches Henry’s way as they broke apart. Assuncao landed a hard counter right hand after yet another body kick from Henry, and nearly caught Henry with a strong counter as Henry attempted to close the distance. Close round. 10-9 Henry.

Early in the second round, Henry slipped while attempting a wheel kick, and Assuncao took top position on the ground. Henry was active off of his back, but Assuncao was able to land some heavy ground and pound shots before Henry escaped to his feet. Assuncao caught another kick from Henry, and landed a series of right hands, backing Henry across the cage, before taking him back down. Henry was cut open near his left eye from the exchange, and this was a strong end to the round for Assuncao. 19-19.

Assuncao knocked Henry off balance with a left hand in the opening seconds of round three. Henry defended a takedown attempt from Assuncao but was eventually taken down after Assuncao committed to a single leg. Henry escaped to his feet, and he pressured forward as he attempted to finish the fight; however, Assuncao was doing a good job of attacking from the backfoot, and it felt as though Assuncao was starting to pull ahead in the bout. Ultimately, the fight went the distance, and I scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Assuncao.

WINNER: Rafael Assuncao by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Going into this fight, there were a lot of doubts concerning Assuncao’s abilities at this stage of his career, but he put many of those doubts to rest with this performance. Assuncao was a step ahead of Henry throughout the vast majority of this bout and fought with the aggression of a fighter who was clearly looking for a finish. Going into this bout, the forty-year-old Assuncao had lost four consecutive fights, and after a decade of sitting near the top of the bantamweight ladder, it became clear that Assuncao’s best days were finally behind him. This was the type of performance that will remind people that despite his recent losses, Assuncao is still a very high-level fighter, and if he chooses to continue fighting, there is still a place for Assuncao in the UFC’s bantamweight division.


Todorovic ducked under a big right hand from Wright and attempted to take him down early. Wright defended the attempt and secured one of his own just moments later. Todorovic rolled for a knee, but gave up his back in the process, allowing Wright to land a number of heavy left hands. Wright was able to control Todorovic on the ground for the remainder of the opening round, and this was a fairly easy five minutes to score in his favor.

Todorovic appeared to hurt Wright with a hook early in the second round, and he just went on the attack, throwing wild shots in an attempt to finish the fight. Wright was throwing heavy shots back at Todorovic, but he was clearly rocked, and Todorovic was on the verge of finishing the fight. Eventually, Todorovic started digging into the body in an attempt to get Wright to drop his hands, and he found success here, allowing Todorovic to land clean shots on top. With just under two and a half minutes remaining in the round, Todorovic took Wright down, and he threw down brutal ground and pound shots until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Dusko Todorovic by TKO at 3:12 of Round 2

Wright had a strong first round, but all that grappling seemed to fatigue him, allowing Todorovic to rebound in the second round, and ultimately finish the fight. The second round was a wild one, with Todorovic constantly going on the attack, swinging wildly, seemingly with little regard for his own health. It was a fun fight, just as you would expect from these two fighters, and Todorovic picked up the much-needed win here, improving his promotional record to 3-3. For Wright, this was a tough result, as he has now lost four of his last five fights, with each of those losses coming by way of stoppage. Wright is a very entertaining fighter, but it is clear that there will have to be some changes made to his game if he is going to continue to compete at this level.


Swanson defended an early takedown attempt from Martinez but ate a heavy body kick moments later. Swanson ate another hard body kick and opted to take Martinez to the ground. Martinez scrambled into top position before the fighters returned to their feet. There were a number of heavy exchanges in the pocket, with neither fighter gaining a clear advantage. The fighters traded body shots before Martinez dropped Swanson hard with a knee to the head. Swanson recovered, but he was grounded yet again by a knee to the body, and referee Herb Dean was just about to stop the fight when time in the round expired.

Martinez’s kicks continued to give Swanson trouble in the second round, and he was able to back Swanson into the cage before taking him to the ground. Swanson attempted to pick himself up against the cage, but he took numerous body shots in the process, before finally creating the separation that he was looking for. Swanson connected with some heavy right hands, clearly trying to get back some respect after falling behind in the fight. A heavy leg kick dropped Swanson down to a knee, and Martinez followed it up with another one that once again sent Swanson down. Swanson did his best to fight through the pain, but the next big leg kick from Martinez dropped Swanson hard, and the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Jonathan Martinez by TKO at 4:19 of Round 2

Cub Swanson is always a game fighter, and he did not appear to be severely compromised by his first cut to bantamweight, however, Martinez was able to capitalize on some of the holes in Swanson’s game, and in the end, this was a fairly dominant win for Martinez. Martinez did some great work to the body early in the fight, before he began to really commit to attacking Swanson’s legs, which quickly led to the finish. If you didn’t see the finish to this fight yourself, I would recommend going out of your way to see it, because this may have been the most brutal fight-ending leg kick that I can recall (gruesome injuries aside of course). It was a great performance from Martinez, and after the fight, he called out Dominick Cruz, who was sitting cage-side on commentary. Cruz appeared to be non-committal, but it would certainly be a fun fight if the UFC decide to go in that direction.


Grasso looked sharp on the feet, getting the better of the early exchanges in the pocket. Araujo was throwing with more power than Grasso but was not hitting her target quite as often as Grasso seemed to be. The fighters exchanged jabs for a while before Araujo decided to commit to a takedown attempt. Grasso defended the attempt, and the remainder of the round played out on the feet. 10-9 Grasso.

Grasso appeared to be putting a bit more power into her punches early in the second round, and Araujo eventually opted to take Grasso to the ground as a result. Araujo seemed to be working for an arm triangle, but Grasso was able to stay out of danger and was eventually able to escape to her feet with just under a minute remaining in the round. Grasso landed a heavy one-two toward the end of the round, but Araujo was able to secure one more takedown before time expired. 20-18 Grasso.

Araujo and Grasso’s corners both informed them that they were up 2-0 going into the third round, which seemed like dangerous advice, especially for Araujo, who was being outstruck by a significant margin. Grasso remained a step ahead of Araujo on the feet in the third round, but she didn’t have the power to make Araujo uncomfortable, and she was gladly willing to trade strikes whenever the opportunities presented themselves. Once again, I gave the edge to Grasso, but I thought this was the closest round of the fight to this point. 30-27 Grasso.

The fourth round continued to play out in a similar fashion. Araujo was content to stand and trade with Grasso, and to be fair to her, it wasn’t as though she wasn’t finding success on the feet, however her decision not to take the fight to the ground was a puzzling one, as that is very much an area of the game in which Araujo would have a notable advantage. Late in the round, Araujo finally attempted a takedown, but her attempt was defended, and the round concluded on the feet. 39-37 Grasso.

Both fighters were slightly hesitant to commit to their attacks early in round five, not wanting to make a mistake and potentially give up the round. Araujo was largely the aggressor, but Grasso was timing her counters well, keeping Araujo from getting too aggressive. This wasn’t the most eventful round of the fight, but it was yet another close one, and I narrowly gave the edge to Grasso. 49-46 Grasso.

WINNER: Alexa Grasso by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)

This fight was far closer than the scorecards indicated. There was very little to separate these fighters throughout the majority of these rounds, however, Grasso just seemed to be a bit sharper, and outlanded Araujo by the slightest of margins. I’m not sure if this was the type of performance that will earn Grasso a title shot, but there are not a ton of options at 125lbs, and she has now won four consecutive fights, capped off by this win in a big main event slot. If Valentina Shevchenko is not Grasso’s next opponent, I could see her facing Jennifer Maia, Talia Santos, or Jessica Andrade in her next bout.

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