5 Key Moments: Anthony Hernandez

UFC
February 16, 2024
Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight contender Anthony Hernandez is an athlete born with a fighting spirit.

Hernandez (11-2) has finally found his footing in the UFC after treading through choppy waters since appearing on Season 2 of Dana White’s Contender Series. Banking on a four-fight win streak, the 30-year-old, who admitted that he lost sight of the goal in the past, has rediscovered his focus.

Besides that, “Fluffy” credits his two children as the inspiration behind making the Octagon walk for a higher purpose. Occupying the No.15 spot in the middleweight rankings, Hernandez was scheduled to face Ikram Aliskerov on Feb. 17 at UFC 298. Unfortunately, Aliskerov withdrew due to a staph infection and was replaced by Roman Kopylov (12-2). With that, let’s take a look at five defining moments of his career:

Explosive Start

Hernandez began his professional mixed martial arts journey competing for West Coast FC and Global Knockout. In his first five fights, Hernandez ran through his opponents like a blazing wildfire, scoring five first-round finishes. This included four guillotine-choke submission victories and one knockout triumph.

Triumph Over Allen

Few fans know that Hernandez has a win over current No.7-ranked middleweight contender Brendan Allen. In a pivotal clash at LFA 32 under the Legacy Fighting Alliance banner, Hernandez claimed the vacant middleweight belt with a lopsided unanimous-decision victory over Allen. “All In” faded late in the fight, allowing Hernandez to pick up the pace and score decisively. With this victory, Hernandez was crowned the LFA middleweight champion.

First UFC Conquest

UFC Shenzhen hosted a colorful middleweight clash between Hernandez and Ju Yong Park on Aug. 31, 2019. The clash saw “Fluffy” rebound from a Round 2 submission loss to Markus Perez in his UFC debut. Park found his mark in the striking range, precisely with his boxing, forcing Hernandez to resort to takedown attempts. While he was met with resistance, Hernandez persisted and secured a takedown. In the second round, the 30-year-old capitalized on a takedown, transitioning to half guard and sinking in an anaconda choke, clocking the submission victory at 4:39 of Round 2.

Valor Prevails Over Experience

It takes a combination of skill and valor to eclipse the master of a discipline in their own craft. That was the narrative scripted at UFC 258 when Hernandez defied the odds to submit submission grappling legend Rodolfo Vieira with a guillotine choke at 1:53 of the second round. Hernandez flipped the script and overturned the initial onslaught forced on him where Vieira mounted him and sought submissions.

The submission-heavy approach took a toll on the Brazilian and Hernandez capitalized, pouring in thudding shots only to be saved by the bell. As the second round progressed, “Fluffy” maintained the pressure, forcing a labored takedown attempt from his opponent. Hernandez opted for an anaconda choke but flipped it to an arm-in guillotine, walking away with perhaps one of the biggest bragging rights victories of his career.

First TKO Victory in UFC

In his most recent Octagon outing, Hernandez toed the line with Edmen Shahbazyan at UFC Fight Night 223 on May 20. Shahbazyan found success with his jab, peppering at will, but Hernandez persevered. The California native had to tough it out and fight through a tight guillotine choke attempt. As the second round progressed, Hernandez found an opening for a takedown and capitalized on that position to land ground-and-pound strikes. By the third round, Hernandez’s momentum surged, swiftly chasing takedowns and unleashing heavy strikes, prompting the referee to halt the fight at the 1:01 mark of the third round.

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/5-Defining-Moments-Anthony-Hernandez-192626

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