UFC 154: What We Learned from Antonio Carvalho vs Rodrigo Damm

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UFC 154: What We Learned from Antonio Carvalho vs Rodrigo Damm
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

One man's misfortune often benefits someone else.

In the event of Nick Ring's unfortunate inability to compete this evening, Antonio Carvalho and Rodrigo Damm were given a boost from the Facebook preliminary card onto the FX portion of UFC 154.

Both men won their most recent bout in the UFC via first-round stoppage and entered this fight looking to continue building momentum.

Ultimately, this fight was contested exclusively in the standup department, with Carvalho winning a split decision after three rounds of action.

What we'll remember about this fight:

The endless and brutal supply of kicks that Carvalho landed on Damm.

The left leg of Damm was swollen and bruised by the midpoint of Round 1. Each time that the kick landed, you could hear commentator Joe Rogan audibly flinch in empathy.

What we learned about Antonio Carvalho:

That he knows how to stick to a game plan.

With his opponent possessing superior grappling credentials, Carvalho was smart to ignore his own jiu-jitsu prowess in lieu of a kickboxing based strategy. The leg kicks were enough to slow down the attack of his opponent.

We also learned that Carvalho has a little bit of trouble pulling the trigger after receiving power strikes. The second round saw Damm scoring with shots and the Canadian growing tentative in his striking.

What we learned about Rodrigo Damm:

That he isn't scared to stand and bang.

Despite having his leg lit on fire by a series of kicks, Damm pushed forward and continued to strike instead of looking to take this fight to the canvas and utilize his world-class jiu-jitsu.

With heavy pressure, Damm could have stolen this fight (depending on how the judges viewed the attack). Octagon control belonged to Damm for the final two rounds and he displayed much more aggression towards the end.

What's next for Antonio Carvalho:

With some momentum on his side, Carvalho has shown that he is worthy of his roster spot.

It would be interesting to see how well his jiu-jitsu would hold up against another quality grappler. Personally, I'd like to see him square off with Rani Yahya.

What's next for Rodrigo Damm:

Damm showed serious toughness in this fight by refusing to slow down, despite being left with a flat tire after the first round.

In the ultra-competitive featherweight division, there is no guarantee that an Ultimate Fighter: Brazil contestant will get another contest.

But if he does, he should face someone like Felipe Arantes.

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