UFC Fight Night 129 Recap
May 20, 2018
By Brian Edwards
UFC 224 Recap · UFC Summer Notebook
Kamaru Usman improved to 8-0 in the UFC by routing fifth-ranked welterweight Demian Maia via unanimous decision (49-46, 50-45, 49-46) in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 129 headliner in Santiago, Chile. Usman, who will likely move up into the top five from No. 7 in the welterweight loop, hooked up his betting supporters as an enormous favorite in the -525 neighborhood.
Gamblers on the ‘over’ (2.5 rounds at a -125 price) were winners, as were those backing the proposition wager for Usman to win by decision for a +245 return (paid $245 on $100 bets).
Usman claimed he broke his right hand in the second stanza and his left hand in the third round. Nevertheless, he coasted to victory over Maia, who is fourth in UFC history with 19 wins in the Octagon. Usman consistently stuffed Maia’s takedowns and was too much for the Brazilian when the fight was standing.
With all that said, this certainly wasn’t a performance worthy of garnering Usman a title shot. He declined to call out any fellow welterweights in his post-fight interview with Jimmy Smith inside the Octagon.
Maia lost for the third straight time since ripping off a seven-fight winning streak to earn a crack at the 170-pound belt. You would think it might be time to talk retirement at the age of 40, but he has three fights left on a contract he recently inked with the promotion.
In the co-main event, Tatiana Suarez dusted Alexa Grasso by rear-naked choke midway through the opening round. Suarez posted the easy victory as a -600 ‘chalk, cashing tickets for prop bets on her to win by submission (+1350!), inside the distance (+220) and in Round 1 (+475).
Suarez, who won TUF 23 two years ago, remained unbeaten and improved to 3-0 in the UFC. Grasso fell to 2-2 in the UFC.
The light-heavyweight division is in dire need of an influx in talent, and the promotion may have this loop’s rising star in Dominick Reyes. The 28-year-old former defensive back as a college football player at Stony Brook improved to 9-0 with a first-round KO of Jared Cannonier.
Reyes hooked up his supporters as a -220 favorite. The ‘under’ (2.5 rounds at -105) was a winner along with props for Reyes to win in Round 1 (+275), inside the distance (+115) and by TKO/KO (+200).
Reyes has eight first-round finishes in his nine-fight career. All three of his UFC finishes have come in the opening stanza. He KO’d Joachim Christensen in his UFC debut and submitted (RNC) Jeremy Kimball in his second Octagon outing.
Reyes polished off Cannonier with a walk-off left uppercut. He called out 15th-ranked Jordan Johnson in his post-fight interview, so look for that matchup to get scheduled here soon.
In a bantamweight showdown, Guido Cannetti won a UD over Diego Rivas as a +155 underdog.
Andrea Lee didn’t disappoint in her debut in the UFC womens’ flyweight division. Lee defeated Veronica Macedo by UD in the Fight of the Night as a -340 ‘chalk.’
In the main-card opener, Vicente Luque ended Chad Laprise’s three-fight winning streak with a first-round KO that started with a short left counter and subsequent punches on the ground. Luque cashed tickets as a -215 favorite, while bettors on the ‘under’ (2.5 rounds, -125) were winners.
The Prelims headliner saw Michel Prazeres beat Zak Cummings by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) as a +165 underdog. Cummings was the victim of an accidental headbutt late in the opening round that opened a cut just above his left eye.
In a pick ‘em bout in the flyweight division, Alexandre Pantoja beat Brandon Moreno in a lopsided UD (30-26, 30-27, 30-26). Pantoja improved to 3-1 in the UFC, while Moreno lost for a second straight time after winning in his first three UFC outings.
Claudio Puelles and Gabriel Benitez bagged both Performance of the Night bonuses. Puelles was down 20-17 on all three scorecards going into the third and final round in the card’s lid-lifter on UFC FightPass. Although his face was wearing the damage inflicted by Felipe Silva, Puelles pulled out a shocking comeback by submitting Silva with a kneebar midway through the third.
Puelles rallied into the win column as a +255 underdog. Silva landed 54 more strikes than Puelles in the gut-wrenching setback.
Benitez starched Humberto Bandenay via first-round KO as a -155 favorite. Benitez got the early finish with a slam and subsequent punches in the featherweight scrap.
Other winners at UFC Fight Night 129 included Frankie Saenz, Enrique Barzola and Poliana Botelho.
**B.E.’s Octagon Nuggets**
-- The Octagon will be in Liverpool for Memorial Day Weekend. Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson will face unbeaten Darren Till as a -170 road favorite. Till, the Liverpool native, is in his second main event after scoring a first-round knockout of Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone in Poland last October.
-- UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley claims he’s starting to train Floyd Mayweather Jr. in MMA this week. What do I make of this? Nothing other than Floyd keeping his name in the news.
-- Don’t ask me why but it was announced during UFC Fight Night 129 that the Holly Holm-Megan Anderson women’s flyweight bout has been bumped up into the main card for UFC 225. A heavyweight showdown between Alistair Overeem and Curtis Blaydes will now serve as the Prelims headliner on Fox Sports 1.
-- Dennis Burmudez vs. Rick Glenn has been added to the UFC Boise card.
-- A women’s bantamweight fight between Bethe Correia and Irene Aldana has been booked for UFC 227.
-- The UFC re-signed John Dodson last week.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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