Georgian light heavyweight Roman Dolidze returned at UFC Vegas 16, where he faced off with Brazil’s John Allan. Dolidze has been part of a wave of Georgian fighters taking the UFC by storm, including Merab Dvalishvili and Giga Chikadze. Allan (fully John Allan Arte), meanwhile, was making his return after a one-year suspension for banned substances — which saw his last victory overturned to a No Contest.
Dolidze opened the action Saturday with a body kick, followed by a high kick. Both men clashed with body kicks and followed that with an awkward exchange before crashing to the mat. Dolidze worked from guard and Allan stayed busy from the bottom. Dolidze dropped in for a leg lock and Allan rolled to defend. Dolidze looked to have had it tight for a moment before Allan broke free and got back to his feet.
Once standing, Allan moved forward with a front kick followed by a leg kick, then landed a nice jab. Allan’s best moments were unquestionable in the standup. Dolidze answered back with his own jab but Allan continued to push forward. Dolidze fired off a pair of upper cuts followed by a leg kick and Allan slipped away to avoid most of the damage — but Dolidze caught Allan and sent him to the mat. Dolidze dove in for the leg lock again but Allan again escaped, and for a moment was on top. However, Dolidze broke free and the round came to a close with Allan on the mat and Dolidze standing over him in a stalemate.
Dolidze went to the body at the start of the second round with a body kick. Allan answered back with a leg kick and both men fired off overhead punches. Allan landed a stiff right but Dolidze stayed in the pocked and shot the take down when Allan moved forward. Dolidze landed the take down and went to work from side control, while Allan tried to tie in up and looked for his own opening. As solid as Allan had looked on the feet, the Georgian fighter was especially strong in the grappling department. Dolidze began to landed punches and knees on Allan; for a moment he threatened to get mount but Allan defended well enough to keep him in place. Dolidze leaned back and looked for the leg lock again but with only 30 seconds left in the round, Allan broke free.
The third saw John Allan moving forward early. Dolidze fired off a 1-2 combination. Allan landed a leg kick, while Dolidze answered with a kick of his own. Allan then got off a right hand that Dolidze slid out of range from. Allan kept moving forward as the round progressed, and Dolidze used his movement to keep distance. Eventually, Dolidze shot in for the take down; Allan defended and landed a punch on the break that looked to have hurt Dolidze. Dolidze went for another take down but Allan reversed it and put Dolidze to the mat for a moment. The two returned to their feet before Dolidze converted a take down of his own, but Allan ended up on top. Dolidze worked to reverse position and worked from half guard to finish out the round, and the fight.
Heading to the scorecards, it felt like an easy 29-28 win for Dolidze. An argument could have been made for a 30-27. So it was something of a surprise to see the fight judged a split decision, with one judge seeing it for Allan. Still, the right man won in the end.
Official Result: Roman Dolidze def. John Allan by Split Decision (30-27, 28-29, 29-28)