Brendan Allen Dominates UFC Vegas 82 Main Event, Submits Submission Specialist Paul Craig

Brendan Allen and Paul Craig, UFC Vegas 82
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 18: (R-L) Brendan Allen punches Paul Craig of Scotland in a middleweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on November 18, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Middleweights Brendan Allen and Paul Craig both made their first UFC main event appearance at UFC Vegas 82.

Allen has positioned himself as a potential future title challenger with his 10-2 UFC record and six-fight winning streak. The Louisiana native has an incredibly well-rounded skillset, able to finish the fight with his fists or his jiu-jitsu. He ran into a man who is much the opposite, a lethal weapon with his BJJ but with less than stellar striking, the Scotsman Paul Craig. Craig had been a light-heavyweight his whole career until he moved down in early 2023. His first middleweight fight was a success as he finished fellow BJJ ace Andre Muniz. The ‘Bearjew’ looked to continue that and push into the top end at 185-lbs.

The fight began as a low-paced striking match; Allen landed a few decent punches and missed some bigger ones. He clinched up with Craig a minute in and landed some knees but Craig pushed Allen to the fence and went for a takedown. Allen responded with a hip throw that placed Paul firmly on the mat. Brendan almost got back mount but settled in half-guard. Craig went for a calf slicer from bottom which almost gave Allen a chance to get a rear-naked choke, but he instead went for a leg lock which gave Paul a chance to get to his feet. However on the feet Allen just lifted and threw the Scotsman to the mat again. Allen got on top in the guard of Craig and used the can opener to make him uncomfortable while controlling him until the end of the round.

An early striking exchange went Allen’s way in round two and that caused Craig to simply pull guard, which Brendan Allen obliged. From on top he landed a big elbow that split open Paul’s eyebrow. Blood flowed onto the mat as Allen completed a strong pass to half-guard and then full mount. Craig managed to regain half-guard, which saved him from the arm triangle attempt that Allen put on him. Despite failing at his submission, Allen still rained down sharp elbows and short punches while maintaining a low and heavy top control. Brendan got a late back-take and choke attempt, which was halted by the end-of-round buzzer.

The third round began with Allen smacking Craig with a right hand. Allen crashed into the clinch and locked up a guillotine choke. He dropped down on it but Craig got his head out. However the Scotsman was wilting by this point and Allen easily transitioned to a back take. The rear-naked choke came quick and Paul Craig was forced to tap.

A six-fight winning streak gives Brendan Allen one of the best arguments at a title fight if he can get one more win against a top-five contender. He has finished five out of six fights on this winning streak and will surely find himself with a significantly higher ranking at middleweight come the rankings update on Tuesday.

Official Result: Brendan Allen def. Paul Craig by Submission (rear-naked choke), Round 1, 0:38