Lando Vannata proves he belongs at 145 lbs
The UFC returns to Houston, Texas for UFC 262 tonight, May 15, 2021, where the vacant UFC lightweight championship is up for grabs between top ranked contenders Charles Oliveira (3) and Michael Chandler (4).
The only champion the division has seen in three years in Khabib Nurmagomedov. Now, since he vacated his title, we get to see ‘Do Bronx’, who’s on an eight-fight win streak with seven finishes, fight for his first world title opposing former six-time Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who’s on a three-fight KO streak.
Co-headlining the event comes another bout between top ten lightweight contenders, this time former interim champion Tony Ferguson (5) and the surging Beneil Dariush (9), who’s on a six-fight win streak.
The preliminary co-main event came in the featherweight division between flashy striker Lando Vannata and Olympic freestyle wrestler Mike Grundy.
Vannata made his presence known in his UFC debut by nearly knocking top contender Tony Ferguson out back when Ferguson was on his hot streak. He of course lost that fight, but KO’d 22-0 professional kickboxer, Shotokan karate and Taekwondo black belt John Makdessi with a spinning wheel kick in his next fight.
However, Vannata went 0-2-2 over his next four, and he’s gone 2-2 since then.
Grundy on the other hand has only fought twice thus far in his UFC tenure, TKO’ing Nad Narimani and losing a unanimous decision to Movsar Evlovev. This fight goes on of two ways: Vannata out-strikes Grundy, or Grundy can out-wrestle Vannata.
Continue reading to see how this featherweight bout went down:
Lando Vannata (11-5-2) vs. Mike Grundy (12-2)
Official Result: Lando Vannata def. Mike Grundy via split decision (29-28, 27-30, 30-27)
Vannata comes out using his beautiful footwork. Grundy tries to close the distance immediately and gets caught with a nice right hand. Vannata is doing a good job of stuffing the takedowns and using his strikes.
Grundy catches a head kick thrown by Vannata and takes him down momentarily, but Vannata is right back up. Grundy lands a couple nice quick overhand rights, but hasn’t followed it up with anything else yet.
Vannata’s takedown defense is looking great thus far, defending seven of the Olympians nine attempts.
Grundy comes out looking for the takedown again once round two starts. He has Vannata up against the fence, but is unable to secure it. Grundy does however land a nice knee on the break.
Vannata is doing a great job with his fluent striking, switching stances while he’s striking, like he always does.
Vannata lands a nasty combination followed by a head kick at the end, but Grundy stays in there.
Grundy tries hard for another takedown to start round three, and is again denied in his attempt. He shoots in for another one and eats a vicious knee to his face for his troubles, but he just ate it and kept pressing forward.
Grundy secures double underhooks and has Vannata pinned up against the fence, but Vannata reverses the role and slams Grundy to the mat. He didn’t have him down long, about 30 seconds, but it sent a big message.
Vannata used his footwork and beautiful striking to continue picking Grundy apart for the rest of the fight, landing a number of punches in his combinations that he ended with either knees or head kicks.
Grundy landed a few more right hands, but ultimately got pieced up tonight. The one scorecard is asinine, but nonetheless, Lando Vannata is back in the winners circle.
I became a fan of combat sports when I was 12 years old. I was scrolling through the channels and landed upon versus, where WEC was televised. Urijah Faber fought Jens Pulver for the second time that night. That’s the first fight I saw, and the fight that got me hooked on the sport. Since then, the sport has grown so rapidly, and my goal is to enlighten everyone on what’s going on in the sport today.