UFC Vegas 64: Grant Dawson Submits Olympian Mark Madsen

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 05: (L-R) Grant Dawson punches Mark O. Madsen of Denmark in a lightweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 05, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Grant Dawson put forth the finest performance of his career at UFC Vegas 64, defeating Olympic wrestler Mark Madsen with wrestling of his own.

Highly-touted wrestling prospects Grant Dawson and Mark Madsen faced off at UFC Vegas 64. Dawson came in with a bright future and only one loss and one draw on his record. Meanwhile, Madsen entered the fight with an undefeated record, several Greco-Roman wrestling World Championships medals, and an Olympic Greco-Roman wrestling silver medal for his country, Denmark. However, he needed to start making a run for the title quickly at 38 years old.

His opponent was ten years younger; Dawson, now at a new gym in Kill Cliff MMA, is known for his rear-naked chokes. On the other hand, Madsen is obviously known for his Greco-Roman style takedowns. As a result, it was interesting to see if their wrestling would cancel out and to see who would have the advantage if indeed it did hit the ground. Additionally, the pound-and-a-half weight miss from Dawson could be a factor, though he did take the fight on short notice.

The fighters came out and Madsen quickly rushed forward and landed a flurry of strikes that sat Dawson awkwardly down to his butt. Dawson tried to get a takedown from there but Madsen stuffed it and landed hard hammerfists. Then Dawson tried again. This time was able to get in deep on the hips of his foe with a folk-style double leg, something Madsen would not have seen in Greco-Roman wrestling, and completed it.

Now on the mat, Dawson quickly used his grappling to pass guard and take the back of the Olympian. He was able to get both hooks in and then switched to a tight body triangle, the position that Dawson specializes in. Minutes passed as the pair handfought and Dawson tried to sneak a choke under the chin. Madsen was so occupied with staying out of the submission that he was unable to do anything to clear the body triangle and get back to his feet. His defensive strategy paid off though as he was able to survive for more than four minutes until the bell rang. Despite reacting badly to damage early on, Dawson won the round with his effective grappling and a smattering of ground and pound. That early strike from Madsen saved him from giving up a 10-8, surely.

The second round started with cagey striking. Dawson tried for a low single leg but Madsen was able to pull away and get out once. The second time Dawson succeeded in pushing Madsen to the fence and getting a better grip on the single leg. Madsen almost succeeded in kicking out a few times, Dawson only had a grip a few inches above the foot, but he stayed on it like a dog with a bone and was able to get Madsen to the mat. Dawson settled in half guard but Madsen was able to scoot and get his back up to the fence. However, halfway through the round, Dawson flattened the Dane out again and got back in half guard. This round, Madsen was able to keep from giving up his back, but was unable to get back to his feet without turning his back to Dawson. So, once again, Mark Madsen stayed in a bottom position for the vast majority of the round. His BJJ had clearly not caught up to his wrestling as his guard was quite passable and he was unable to use his legs to make space to get back to his feet.

Grant Dawson opened the final round with kicks, to the legs and teeps to the body. He then got a bit fancy with a spinning back kick to the body even. One leg kick took Madsen off his feet and the follow-up punch seemed to stun Madsen. Dawson kept slamming leg kicks into Madsen, who had no defense for them. After just over a minute, Dawson landed one that made Madsen fall to the ground. The Kill Cliff MMA prospect got on top of Madsen once more, and then switched to a back take. Exhausted and beat up, Madsen was unable to defend the choke this time and Grant Dawson quickly locked up his patented rear-naked choke, continuing his impressive undefeated run in the UFC and ending the career-long undefeated record of his opponent. Dawson was so impressive that this could even earn him a top-fifteen opponent in his next fight.

Grant Dawson def. Mark Madsen by Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) in Round 3 (2:05)