UFC Vegas 37: Three Takeaways From Smith vs Spann

Arman Tsarukyan and Christos Giagos, UFC Vegas 37
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 17: (L-R) Opponents Arman Tsarukyan of Armenia and Christos Giagos face off during the UFC Fight Night weigh-in at UFC APEX on September 17, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

2. Arman Tsarukyan continues to be the real deal.

Whenever a fighter comes in on short notice outside of the UFC against a known commodity, we tend to get destruction. Most great fighters are already signed to the UFC, and if they’re not, it’s hard to get them to come in on short notice to fight a ranked opponent. If they have any name value at all, they tend to have leverage. However, that’s not always the case.

Arman Tsarukyan agreed to fight Islam Makhachev on a month’s notice in April 2019, for his UFC debut. Despite being a massive favorite, Makhachev got all he could handle from the 22-year-old Tsarukyan. And although he came up short after a competitive 15 minutes, Tsarukyan proved he belonged in the UFC. However, since that fight, he’s proved he belongs in the rankings too.

Following the Makhachev fight, Tsarukyan would dominate lightweight mainstays Oliver Aubin-Mercier, Davi Ramos, and Matt Frevola. Then Tsarukyan was matched up with Christos Giagos at UFC Vegas 37, in what seemed like a mismatch to many. Giagos was a talented fighter, but Tsarukyan was ranked and on a tear. Most people thought that Tsarukyan was going to smash him badly, and he did.

This one went according to the script. Tsarukyan smashed his opponent as badly as we would expect of any top-15 fighter against someone well below him. He also got his long-awaited UFC finish by stopping Giagos quickly in the first round. Tsarukyan called out Dan Hooker following the fight, and he honestly deserves that type of fight. He’s proved to be the real deal in every-outing so far, and he’s still the only fighter since 2015 to show any sort of resistance to Makhachev.


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