UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier – Winners and Losers

Get the scoop on the real winners and losers from UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier.

By: Dayne Fox | 2 months ago
UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier – Winners and Losers
IMAGO / Troy Taormina

Another UFC Fight Night come and gone and another main event delivering. For all the complaints we have about the oversaturation of the UFC, their main events usually tend to leave audiences satisfied. Jared Cannonier and Marvin Vettori did so to the extreme. Though the contest ultimately proved to be one-sided, there were a plethora of ebbs and flows throughout the contest, particularly early on. Ultimately, Vettori solidified his status as one of the most indestructible UFC fighters in history, absorbing a record number of significant strikes in a middleweight contest as Cannonier battered him for the win. 

By the end of the event, it was clear Cannonier was the biggest winner of the evening. However, he was hardly the only one who had a particularly good night. In fact, it wasn’t easy to decipher who the biggest winners of event were. Nonetheless, I’ve broken things down so you might know who the biggest winners and losers of UFC Fight Night: Cannonier vs Vettori were. 


Jared Cannonier 

Cannonier needed to produce a memorable performance if he wanted to get back into the title picture, not just a clear victory. The thought was that he’d need to put Vettori away, something no one has been able to do. While he didn’t manage to do that, he did deliver one of the most memorable beatings in the history of the UFC. That’s not a hyperbole. Most impressive about it from Cannonier’s side is that he had no signs of slowing down, despite participating in a five-round UFC fight. Given Cannonier has been more of a measured UFC fighter over the course of his career, that’s a bit of a shock. 

Cannonier still needs to wait for Robert Whittaker and Drisuc Du Plessis to resolve their differences next month. Should Du Plessis win, he’s likely up next to challenge Adesanya for the title. However, if Whittaker wins, Cannonier will likely become the front-runner. While Cannonier has a loss to Adesanya under his belt, Whittaker has two. Plus, Cannonier looks like a vastly improved version of the guy who challenged Adesanya just a year ago. After that loss, I didn’t think I’d find myself enjoying the possibility of seeing that UFC fight again. And yet, here I am. 

Pat Sabatini 

Just a year ago, Sabatini had the look of a dark horse in the featherweight division. Then he ran into the emotional tornado that was Damon Jackson and all his momentum came to a sudden halt. Sabatini was largely forgotten about, looking like he was about to become another of a myriad of names middling within the deep featherweight division. This being his first UFC fight back from the loss to Jackson, Sabatini put on the most dominant performance of his career, smothering Lucas Almeida for the entirety of the contest. 

I’m not bold enough to declare Sabatini is going to become a contender in the featherweight division. His striking and athletic exploits are at least a step below the best in the division. However, he did exactly what he needed to do to perk up interest in him. Had he defeated Jackson last year, he probably would have set himself up for a ranked opponent. I don’t think he gets a ranked opponent in his next contest, but he is right back where he was going into the Jackson fight. Given how lopsided that loss was, that’s a hell of an accomplishment. 

Manuel Torres 

Given the amount of talented young UFC fighters coming through the lightweight division, it takes something special for the UFC to put a particular talent on a faster track up the ladder. Torres pulled out a very special finish when he caught Nikolas Motta with a brutal elbow in the midst of an exchange. It’s rare that a step-in elbow puts a fighter out cold. A spinning back-elbow frequently gets the job done, but a step-in elbow? And yet, Torres did it, picking up an extra $50K in the process.

There are still concerns about Torres going forward. For instance, he has very little experience outside the first round and this was another UFC fight that didn’t leave it. Nevertheless, he did respond well to adversity when Motta hurt him shortly before the end arrived. Torres responded well, tried to make the fight dirty, and succeeded in securing the victory. Thus, while there are still valid concerns about Torres, it can’t be denied that he looks like he’s going to be around for quite a while. 


Arman Tsarukyan 

To be fair to Tsarukyan, he was put into a no-win situation. No one wants to fight him. He doesn’t have the name recognition of the top UFC fighters in the lightweight division, so they have no interest in participating in a fight against him, knowing full well he’s capable of beating them. Those below him in the rankings don’t appear anxious to fight him either as it’s hard to look good against Tsarukyan. Thus, while I’m happy to see Tsarukyan get a paycheck to fight Joaquim Silva, he needed to have a flawless performance for the UFC fight to advance him in the standings. That didn’t happen. 

Arman Tsarukyan was put in a no-win situation at UFC Fight Night: Vettori vs. Cannonier
IMAGO / Diego Ribas

Tsarukyan did end up securing a violent stoppage over Silva, but it came with roughly a minute to go in the fight. Plus, he was rocked by Silva in the second. At that point, Tsarukyan would need a KOTY type finish if he wanted to change the narrative. His KO was brutal, but it wasn’t at that level. Thus, Tsarukyan calling out Makhachev is all for naught. It wasn’t enough for him to force his way into a fight with someone like Charles Oliveira or the winner of Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. Tsarukyan is treading water 

Christian Leroy Duncan 

Duncan didn’t get violently KO’d. He didn’t get used as a mop all around the cage either. And yet, he has to be one of the bigger losers on the night given he let a UFC fight that was incredibly winnable for him slip right through his hands. Executing a lot of big motions and spinning attacks, Duncan wasted a lot of energy through the opening round and a half. It was even earlier than that when Armen Petrosyan saw through the BS and began throwing straightforward punches and kicks that touched up and hurt Duncan at times. 

I’m not saying there isn’t a time and place for high-risk attacks, but Duncan was throwing those more than the basics. Even if they don’t land, they can be good to give an opponent something to think about, but it’s easy to snake through them if you anticipate them. I considered Duncan to be a smart fighter entering the contest, so I would anticipate he can use this as a learning experience. If not, my read on Duncan was completely off. 

Daniel Argueta 

In a situation strikingly similar to last week when Nassourdine Imavov was on his way to collecting a victory over Chris Curtis, Argueta was robbed of a win over Ronnie Lawrence. It was more egregious this week as Argueta had Lawrence wrapped up in a tight RNC, Lawrence with his arm in position to tap. Only Lawrence didn’t tap. Referee Keith Peterson grabbed Lawrence’s arm to see if he was still conscious. As Lawrence pulled his arm away to indicate he was still alert, Peterson interpreted it as a tap and called the fight. 

Credit to Peterson for acknowledging his mistake and calling the UFC fight a no contest, but it’s hard to see where Lawrence was going to escape. It effectively robbed Argueta of not just a win, but there’s a good chance he didn’t get his win bonus either. I’m sure matchmakers will interpret it as a win as they look to pair him up for his next UFC fight, but it does hurt his future paychecks as well. Remember, the UFC’s pay scale is affected by how many wins a fighter racks up. Lots of pain being felt by Argueta missing out on the win that was thisclose to being his. 

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About the author
Dayne Fox
Dayne Fox

Dayne Fox is a contributing writer and analyst for Bloody Elbow. He has been writing about combat sports since 2013 and a member of Bloody Elbow since 2016. Dayne primarily contributes opinion pieces and event coverage. Dayne’s specialties are putting together the preview articles for all the UFC events and post-fight analysis. Outside of writing on combat sports, Dayne works in the purchasing department of a construction company, formerly working as an analyst. He is also a proud husband and father. In what spare time he can find, he enjoys strategy games and is a movie enthusiast. He is based in Utah.

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