Monday Morning Hangover: It was a new blood coming out party at UFC Argentina

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Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone as UFC Fight Night 140 blew the roof off Parque Roca Arena last Saturday night (Nov. 17, 2018) as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its first visit to Buenos Aires, Argentina.

There were plenty of fighters left licking their wounds, including Neil Magny, who was knocked out cold by Santiago Ponzinibbio after getting worked over for the better part of four rounds (see it again here). And Darren Elkins, who was finished by Ricardo Lamas in their Featherweight affair (highlights).

But it was the new blood that made their presence felt inside the Octagon.

When the promotion invades a country for the first time, it opens up opportunities for some home-grown talent or general newcomers to get their chance to shine. At this event, five fighters were making their Octagon debuts, with four making good on the opportunity with Anderson dos Santos as the lone loser.

Getting his first taste of a win on the grandest mixed martial arts (MMA) stage was Jesus Pinedo, who took out Devin Powell via unanimous decision to push his win streak up to seven in a row. Also, Laureano Staropoli earned his sixth win after handing Hector Aldana his second straight defeat inside the eight-sided cage. That said, it didn’t come easy as it was Staropoli’s first time going the distance.

But the two UFC rookies who picked up the biggest wins were Ian Heinisch and Johnny Walker, both of whom were coming out of Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series (DWTNCS). For Ian, his chance came after Tom Breese was forced out of his Middleweight showdown against Cezar Ferriera just two weeks from fight night. “The Hurricane” jumped at the opportunity, despite the short notice.

It was a tough-fought contest for 15 minutes, but Ian did enough to impress all three judges, pushing his record to 12-1 while earning his fourth straight victory. Not bad for an Octagon rookie taking on a longtime veteran with 14 fights under the UFC banner.

The biggest shocker of them all, though, was Johnny Walker absolutely obliterating Khalil Rountree. The towering Light Heavyweight pretty much had his way with “The War Horse,” who was looking to capitalize off his biggest win in his prior outing, knocking out Gokhan Saki in round one.

After eating a hard kick to the thigh early on, it was all Walker from there, as he was light on his feet and very agile for a 205-pounder standing at 6’6”. After measuring up his opponent, Walker landed a clean high kick and followed up with a two-punch combo that led to the clinch. From there, Walker clipped Khalil with a hard elbow to the temple. A few seconds later, he did the same, dropping Rountree like a sack of potatoes and then finishing him off with two punches on the ground (relive it here). Quick work for the Brazilian bomber, who upped his winning streak to seven.

With the UFC jitters out of the way, each man will look to keep it going in their sophomore effort, but until then, they can enjoy their “W’s” for the time being and sit patiently by the phone for their next chance. Who do you think will have the most promising UFC career moving forward?

For complete UFC Argentina results and coverage click here.




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