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Lando Vannata is Stayin’ Alive

The 1970s were far out. A psychedelic decade of groovy human history. Afros, bell bottoms, and Saturday Night Fever reverberated through the walls of happening places like the legendary Studio 54 disco night club in New York City. Lando Vannata, who goes by the alias “Groovy” is as flashy as a disco ball, sufficient in unusual footwork and spinning techniques inside of the UFC Octagon. While countless fans jive with the enthusiasm “Groovy” Lando brings to the cage, Vannata has trapped himself into a status of Stayin’ Alive.

From 2012 to 2016, Vannata racked up an imposing 8-0 professional record in various smaller promotions including the notable Japanese MMA promotion Pancrase. All but one of Lando’s fights in that timeframe ended in finishes with a mixture of punches and an assemblage of submissions. The highlight of those beginning stages was when Vannata took on Ramico Blackmon at TSE: Rocky Mountain Rubicon 2, and defeated him via TKO inside of one round to become the Top Shelf Entertainment Lightweight Champion. Die-hard fans of MMA were all passengers aboard the soul train for Lando that was steamrolling with no aim of being stopped.

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At UFC Fight Night 91, Michael Chiesa was forced to pull out of a fight with #3 ranked Lightweight Tony Ferguson. Lando took the fight on a 14-day notice and produced one of the best first rounds in recent UFC history, almost finishing El Cucuay and dropping him multiple times with strong straight left punches and a well-placed head kick. Lando’s crisp head movement and elite footwork threw Ferguson slightly off guard, but Tony ultimately made his way to the ground, subbing Vannata in the second round with an extremely tight d’arce choke. While it was a loss for Lando, it was a great display of skill and earned both men a fight of the night bonus.

A post shared by Lando Vannata® (@groovylando) on Feb 5, 2019 at 4:41pm PST

Lando continued to dazzle fans into his ensuing fight with John Makdessi at UFC 206. The timing of his precision striking left fans in reverence as he finished Makdessi with an exhilarating walk-off wheel kick that earned him his second consecutive performance bonus in the UFC. Unfortunately, that victory was Lando’s only UFC win to date. Since that time, he has lost 2 decisions and fought to a draw twice. The only shining significance in that stint was earning two further Fight of the Night bonuses, giving him 4 bonuses out of his 6 UFC fights. While skilled, fans began to question the solidification of a contender they once placed on Vannata and even began thinking if his elite showing against Tony Ferguson was a flash in the pan due to the inability to change game plans on short notice from Chiesa to the unknown.

Vannata will be taking on UFC newcomer Marco Rosa on the upcoming UFC 234 card as the main event of the Fight Pass early prelims. An outstanding finish as the (-380) betting odds favorite should solidify his meriting spot on the roster. A loss here could bring his UFC career to an unanticipated demise. Although fans tune in to see his unusual style, wins and the way a fighter delivers wins seem to be the driving force that allows fighters to have stability in the UFC and in rankings. Starting a UFC career as a co-main eventer and ultimately sinking to a Fight Pass slot would have many fighters uncertain of their UFC career. As long as Lando delivers a big win, he has a big enough name and an appealing style to ensure his spot within the company.

A post shared by Lando Vannata® (@groovylando) on Jan 21, 2019 at 10:13am PST

Lando Vannata is an absolutely dynamic mixed martial artist. Jay Jay Walker from the 70s hit television show “Good Times” would say he is dynamite. While it hasn’t been all “Good Times” for the young MMA career of Lando, the UFC should be thinking Ain’t we lucky we got ’em. Everything is groovy when you move the hardcore fans. We’ll be there for ya Lando, this career is more than a driveby and we dig it.

Follow Rory on Twitter: @RawrEWreckz and on YouTube here.

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