Boxing fundamentals and takedown defense proved crucial as Sean Strickland earned a split-decision win in the main event of UFC Vegas 47 at the UFC Apex.

Strickland outpointed Jack Hermansson over the full five-round duration, polling scores of 49-46, 47-48, 49-48 from the octagonside judges after a calm, controlled performance against the former Cage Warriors middleweight champion. The lone dissenting card, from judge Sal D’Amato, raised eyebrows, as Strickland’s victory looked assured from the moment the final horn sounded.

The key to Strickland’s success was his jab. The American worked well behind it as he outstruck Hermansson through the overwhelming majority of the fight, while also completely nullifying his opponent’s takedown attempts.

Eight times Hermansson shot in for takedowns, and eight times Strickland fended off the threat as the fight was kept exclusively as a stand-up contest. And with the fight firmly in the striking realm, the American used his skills to outstrike Hermansson and claim the win, then called for a shot at the winner of the upcoming middleweight title clash between current middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and former champ Robert Whittaker.

In the co-main event, Diaz brothers protege Nick Maximov continued his unbeaten start to life in the UFC with a hard-earned split-decision victory over Punahele Soriano.

Soriano started the better of the pair, but Maximov grew into the contest the longer it went on, and the Stockton fighter leaned on his wrestling and grappling skills to help shut down Soriano’s power striking and claim the second victory of his UFC career to extend his perfect professional record to 8-0.

Also in action was undefeated Kazakhstani contender Shavkat Rakhmonov, who improved his perfect professional record to 15-0 with a stunning knockout of Carlston Harris.

Rakhmonov looked as relaxed as can be as he started the bout, and it didn’t take him long to find his range as he made his power felt with some sharp, slick strikes.

A spinning back kick to the body clearly hurt his man, but despite following up with a superb judo throw takedown, Harris did an excellent job of battling back to his feet.

But it was only a temporary reprieve, as Rakhmonov unleashed another stunning spinning technique, as a spinning wheel kick connected to the side of Harris’ head, sending him down to the canvas.

Some straight, heavy-duty ground strikes swiftly followed as Rakhmonov knocked out his man to register his third straight victory under the UFC banner.

Rising middleweight talent Brendan Allen stepped in on just five days’ notice to defeat Sam Alvey in their light heavyweight matchup, while Bryan Battle outpointed Tresean Gore in a battle between former rivals on The Ultimate Fighter.

Also on the card, Julian Erosa thrilled the crowd inside the UFC Apex by edging Steven Peterson via split decision after a back-and-forth war.

But things were much faster for Chidi Njokuani, who announced his arrival in the UFC with a 16-second knockout of in-form Canadian Marc-Andre Barriault on his spectacular octagon debut.

UFC Vegas 47: Official Results

Main Card

  • Sean Strickland def. Jack Hermansson via split decision (49-46, 47-48, 49-46)
  • Nick Maximov def. Punahele Soriano via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 29-28)
  • Shavkat Rakhmonov def. Carlston Harris via knockout (spinning wheel kick and punches) – Round 1, 4:10
  • Brendan Allen def. Sam Alvey via submission (rear-naked choke) – Round 2, 2:10
  • Bryan Battle def. Tresean Gore via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Julian Erosa def. Steven Peterson via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)

Preliminary Card

  • John Castaneda def. Miles Johns via technical submission (arm-triangle choke) – Round 3, 1:38
  • Hakeem Dawodu def. Mike Trizano via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Chidi Njokuani def. Marc-Andre Barriault via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:16
  • Alexis Davis def. Julija Stoliaranko via unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-27)
  • Jailton Almeida def. Danilo Marques via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 2:57
  • Philip Rowe def. Jason Witt via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:15
  • Malcolm Gordon def. Denys Bondar via TKO (arm injury) – Round 1, 1:22