The UFC is back and better in 2024

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UFC Lightweight Jim Miller Post Fight Presser. Photo by Scarlet & Gray Free Press // Jero Guerra.

The UFC Vegas 84 card opened the 2024 calendar year on Jan. 13 for a highly anticipated, action packed year for the organization. Entering into fight night at the Apex, the original co-main event between Matheus Nicolau and Manel Kape was scrapped from the card due to Kape weighing in three and a half pounds over. 

Although over a majority of the fights ended via TKO, four fighters stood out to earn a performance of the night bonus: Marcus McGhee, Bruno Ferreira, Jim Miller, and Magomed Ankalaev.

Joshua Van defeats Felipe Buena by TKO at 4:31 of Round 2

“The Fearless” Joshua Van opened 2024 with a signature finish in the first UFC card of the year. 

The 22-year-old began slow in the first minutes of the opening round, but he flipped the switch ending the first round on top in the ground game. Van’s momentum carried into the second round and ended the fight with a total of 154 strikes and 83 significant strikes. 

“I watch Petr Yan a lot,” Van said. “And Jon Jones, his IQ is high…I want to be the first Myanmar champion.”

The ground and pound finish elevated the Houston fighter’s undefeated record in the UFC to 3-0.

Nikolas Motta defeats Tom Nolan by TKO at 1:03 of Round 1

NO TIME WASTED!

Motta, who fights out of Las Vegas at Xtreme Couture, bounced back from his loss back in June 2023 with a highlight reel finish. The 30-year-old Dana White Contender Series alum now evens out his UFC record at 2-2 and a 14-5 overall.

“[Sean] Strickland gave me good advice…he told me about having fun, and be yourself,” Motta said. “He showed me how simple things can be.”

Jean Silva defeats Westin Wilson by TKO at 4:12 of Round 1

This 145-pound bout was pure dominance by the Brazilian native. 

Silva, a DWCS alum, proved his worth in his UFC debut with 25 significant strikes recorded.

“We knew what was going to happen, we knew how he was going to walk,” Silva said. “Nothing is a coincidence, we trained everything.” 

The striking masterclass demonstrated quality over quantity. 

Farid Basharat defeats Taylor Lapilus by unanimous decision [30-27]

Welcome to the Basharat show.

“I think the Basharat show is you’ve got two guys who are two of the most complete fighters in the UFC in the world of MMA,” Basharat said. “We are the definition of the new age of MMA.”

The 26-year-old earned the nod from the judges with a convincing ground game display as Basharat recorded almost seven minutes of ground control time. 

The Xtreme Couture fighter continues his winning streak from the contender series to remain undefeated in the UFC, 12-0 overall.

Marcus McGhee defeats Gaston Bolanos by TKO at 3:29 of Round 2

Marcus “The Maniac” McGhee displayed great striking power and effectiveness in his third straight victory in the UFC.

“I want to show humility goes a long way,” McGhee said. “You forget about those 10 years behind the scenes where everything wasn’t working out. When you weren’t getting three finishes in the UFC and bonuses and all this extra stuff wasn’t working out. You are barely making ends meet but you still gotta show love and humility like all that stuff plays into who I am and I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

65-of-74 of McGhee’s total landed strikes were recorded as significant strikes. The 33-year-old remains undefeated in the UFC at 3-0 and 9-1 overall.

Preston Parsons defeats Matthew Semelsberger by unanimous decision [30-27]

Preston “Pressure” Parsons, living up to his nickname, applied the pressure in every aspect of the welterweight bout.

The 28-year-old found himself back in the win column as he now sits 2-2 in the UFC and 11-4 overall.

Waldo Cortes-Acosta defeats Andrei Arlovski by unanimous decision [29-28]

Waldo “Salsa Boy” Cortes-Acosta danced his way to victory.

Although the 32-year-old did just enough in this fight to get the favor of the scorecards in this heavyweight bout, he did not end the fight leading in any major category outside of head strikes, 24 to 13.

The contender series alum is now 4-1 in the UFC and 11-1 overall.

Brunno Ferreira defeats Phil Hawes by KO [Flying Knee] at 4:55 of Round 1

HULK SMASH for Brunno “The Hulk” Ferreira.

Although undersized in the 185-pound division, the Brazilian native brought his power and showed it all as it was needed for only one round.

The 31-year-old contender series alum climbs to 11-1 overall and 2-1 in the UFC.

Mario Baustista defeats Ricky Simon by unanimous decision [30-27, 30-27, 29-28]

A striking clinic was delivered by Bautista.

The 30-year-old outstruck Simon by more than double, 118-52.

The MMA Lab product is riding a six-fight winning streak to climb to 14-2 overall and 8-2 in the UFC

Jim Miller defeats Gabriel Benitez by submission [Neck Crank] at 3:25 of Round 3

40-year-old Jim “A-10” Miller displayed great veteranship in the ground game with incredible positioning and ground control time, a total of almost four minutes.

“I can turn it on for 15 minutes, I can turn it on for 25 given the opportunity,” Miller said. “It’s all the things you guys don’t see…it’s all the little things.”

Miller earned his twenty-sixth UFC win in his forty-third outing. Miller fought in UFC 200 and he hopes to fight at UFC 300 in April at T-Mobile Arena. 

Magomed Ankalaev defeats Johnny Walker by KO at 2:42 of Round 2

ONE, TWO, GOOD NIGHT!

The 31-year-old, who is on a 10-fight winning streak, took over the second round after a close first. Ankalaev produced a lethal one-two combo that sent Walker against the fence defenseless. 

“I wanted to send a message. I wanted to stand up and knock him out and that’s what I did,” Ankalaev said. “I know [Alex Pereira] has been knocked out before as a middleweight, so imagine what’s gonna happen if I meet him at light heavyweight. Trust me he’s not going to feel comfortable there.”

This victory minimized any doubt from the two’s first meeting back in Oct. 2023 that was ruled a no contest due to an accidental illegal knee. Now, Ankalaev has the opportunity for UFC gold as the lightweight division’s top contender against champion Alex Pereira, potentially at UFC 300. 

Up Next

The UFC will cross the northern border to host UFC 297 on Jan. 20 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada,which headlines middleweight champion Sean Strickland defending UFC gold against the South African contender Dricus Du Plessis. 

The next card in Las Vegas is scheduled on Feb. 3 at the UFC Apex.

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