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UFC Vegas 18 capped off by pair of stunning knockouts

The latest UFC Fight Night is in the books, and viewers were treated to spectacular finishes from the card’s most promoted fights.

The bigger they are, the harder they fall

In the main event, Alexander “Drago” Volkov (33-8) picked apart heavyweight mainstay Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC), appearing to crush his dream of climbing back to the top of the division before retirement.

This was a completely one-sided affair as Volkov landed more than five times as many strikes as his opponent.

About halfway through the second round, the bloodied and battered Overeem could take no more punishment.

It seemed that no matter what Overeem did to protect himself, the 6-foot-7 Volkov’s strikes kept connecting.

“The Reem” was visibly hurting, turning his back to Volkov at one point, before another precise combination put the veteran down for good.

The two titan strikers exchanged respects after the fight.

“Drago”’s stoic body language after the fight indicated that he’s not done yet.

With back-to-back TKO victories in just three and a half months, arguably no one in the division has more momentum.

The Sandman puts Frankie Edgar to sleep in under 30 seconds.

Cory Sandhagen (14-2) submitted an early candidate for Knockout of the Year with a flying knee that instantly finished former champion Frankie Edgar (23-9-1), and it didn’t take long.

Before you could grab a drink and sit down the fight was over.

“The Sandman,” ranked No. 2 in the bantamweight division, before cementing himself as a championship contender. He even said as much after the fight.

“I’m a different monster than I was before I fought [bantamweight challenger] Aljamain Sterling,” Sandhagen told Daniel Cormier in the post-fight interview.

Sterling is set to face Petr Yan for the bantamweight championship at UFC 259 on March 6th.

“The winner of those two gets knocked out by me, in July,” he added.

Bold words from the 28-year-old, but he has certainly earned that opportunity.

As for Edgar, much is uncertain as to where his career goes after this tough loss.

Elsewhere on the card, we did see a seasoned fighter showcase he’s still got what it takes to make an impact.

Clay Guida (36-17), at age 39, defeated Michael Johnson (20-17) via unanimous decision (27-30, 27-30, 27-30).

Johnson, 34 himself, proved a worthy challenger when on their feet, but much of this fight was dictated by Guida’s trademark wrestling prowess.

Specifically in the third round, it appeared Guida might finish the fight thanks to a rear naked choke.

Though Johnson managed to escape, he was already behind on the cards and that near submission was just icing on top of the cake.

Having signed a new four-fight extension with the UFC before this fight, Guida won’t be going anywhere too soon.

Making his UFC debut, Manel Kape (15-5) was defeated by Alexandre Pantoja (23-5).

This fight resembled a tightly contested sparring session where both fighters displayed their talents without landing any crucial blows.

In the end, Pantoja’s early success with leg and body kicks, along with his overall activity won over the judges for a unanimous decision victory (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

Pantoja landed 26 more total strikes while throwing 149 to Kape’s 94.

While it wasn’t decisive, Pantoja relied on his fundamentals to frustrate his opponent and defeat the former Rizin Flyweight champ.

However, this is just the beginning for Kape and fans should certainly not write him off. Odds are this loss could be used as fuel Kape during training for future fights.

Another emerging lightweight added to his resume as Beneil Dariush (20-4-1) earned his sixth consecutive UFC victory.

The Kings MMA product upset Diego Ferreira (17-3), who entered on a six-fight winning streak of his own, via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 28-29).

This fight featured an electric first round where both fighters landed convincing blows and wrestled around the octagon. Ferreira appeared to have more left in the tank as the fight reached the end.

But, every time Dariush found himself in a compromising position, he responded with technical grappling which seemed to puzzle his opponent.

Both fighters looked impressive, meaning this is a huge win for Dariush.

Lastly, the main card opened with the Brazilian Danilo Marques (11-2) submitting Mike Rodriguez (11-6) by way of rear naked choke just before the second round horn.

Marques took Rodriguez down early and often, maintaining ground control almost the entire time.

He is off to a good start in the UFC and putting his opponent to sleep on the main card of a UFC Fight Night is a great way to earn confidence moving forward.

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