Ngannou vs Gane
UFC
Grappling has always been an integral part of mixed martial arts and what has differentiated it from other combat sports. Of the eight current UFC champions, five are jiu-jitsu black belts and one is a judo black belt. Alexander Volkanovski, Aljamain Sterling, and Karmaru Usman also have backgrounds in wrestling. This trend has been consistent throughout the history of mixed martial arts. Royce Gracie, Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, and many other champions had stellar takedowns, control, and submissions on the mat.

UFC 270 featured a headlining bout between Francis Ngannou and Cyril Gane, two former training partners turned foes. The co-headlining bout was another championship bout between Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo, their third time squaring off in the UFC. The following is an examination of the fights where grappling was a key component that led to victory.

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Kay Hansen

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Kay Hansen

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 270 opened with a flyweight bout between two jiu-jitsu purple belts in Jasmine Jasudavicius and Kay Hansen. Jasmine made her way to the UFC via the Dana White Contender’s Series, where she won a decision over Julia Polastri. She came into the fight with a distinct height and reach advantage that she used to land punches on the feet. Kay felt the pressure on the feet and attempted to take the fight to the mat, but Jasmine countered very well and took Kay down from a body lock. In round two, Kay started strong with a takedown, but Jasmine executed a beautiful sweep from butterfly guard shortly after. Kay worked her way back to the feet but Jasmine landed a takedown to end the round. The third round played out on the feet, but it was the grappling of Jasmine Jasudavicius that gave her the edge and a big UFC win.

Vanessa Demopoulos vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez

Vanessa Demopoulos vs. Silvana Gomez Juarez

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Vanessa Demopoulas came into her fight with Silvana Gomez Juarez having lost three of her last four fights, including her UFC debut in August 2021. Silvana Gomez Juarez had won three of her last four and was looking to use her excellent striking skills to add a UFC victory to her record. The Argentinian native was having success early on against Vanessa, using her reach advantage to land strikes. About two minutes into the fight, Silvana landed a huge right hand that dropped Vanessa, and the fight appeared to be all but over. Vanessa was down but far from out, as she put Silvana in her closed guard and immediately began attacking an arm bar. Silvana defended well, and stacked Vanessa to prevent her arm from being extended. Vanessa countered beautifully, however, under hooking Silvana’s leg, sweeping her, and finishing the arm bar to get the victory.

Cody Stamann vs. Said Nurmagomedov

Cody Stamann vs. Said Nurmagomedov

Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

In the second fight of the main card, Cody Stamann took on Said Nurmagomedov. Both athletes came from a grappling background, with Stamann wrestling for Grand Valley State University in Michigan and Said having grown up grappling in his home country of Dagestan. The fight started with Said landing multiple strikes. Cody didn’t seem to like them and shot a takedown on Said, which he countered with a guillotine that ended the fight. The submission came just 47 seconds into the fight, and Said improved his UFC record to 4-1.

Like most UFC events, grappling played a huge role in the success of the winning fighters. Look for more of the same on upcoming fight cards.

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