Time out. Let’s take a breath and review shall we?
Friday September 2, 2016— UFC 200 was less than two months ago. There have been a plethora of fight cards since then and so I thought now would be a good time to take stock, before the crazy roller coaster continues. There have been a number of noteworthy events, some upsets and some new contenders have emerged.
So UFC 200 gave us a rather pointless match but one that will have drawn large numbers to the PPV in Lesnar v Hunt. With Lesnar having failed a drug test it all seemed moot, even though at the time it was interesting to watch. Then we had Jose Aldo convincingly beat Frankie Edgar to at the time set up a rematch with ‘The Notorious’ Connor McGregor. Finally a new UFC women’s Bantamweight champion emerged from the shadow of her predecessors with an annihilation of Miesha Tate and potential huge paydays await Amanda Nunes.
The following week gave us Fight Night 91 where Tony Ferguson had to weather a storm against the unheralded Lando Vannata after he was called up as a late replacement for Michael Chiesa. In the main event John Lineker used his ridiculous punching power at Bantamweight to get past the highly durable Michael McDonald to seal his place among the contenders at Bantamweight and climb to No7 in the rankings.
Next up was UFC on Fox 20 where the new UFC Heavyweight golden child Francis Ngannou made short work of Bojan Mihajlovic. Edson Barboza put on a kicking clinic against veteran and tough as nails Gilbert Melendez. The highlight came in the main event when Holly Holm put on one of her worst displays with some appalling striking accuracy. Of 231 strikes thrown she landed on 73. Valentina Shevchenko moved into the limelight with the win, but the main talking point is how far Holm has fallen since she burst into stardom by knocking out Ronda Rousey. If she does not win her next fight, she may never climb anywhere close to the title picture again.
UFC 201 was all about Robbie Lawler after several fights fell by the wayside with fighters having to withdraw through injury. The event was further depleted due to Justin Scoggins having to pull out just two days before the event as he was having difficulty cutting weight. This resulted in fans who were excited to see popular fighter Ian McCall feeling even more hard done by. The main takeaways were the return to form of Erik Perez and Jake Ellenberger beating Francisco Rivera and Matt Brown respectively to upset the form books. In the co-main event Karolina Kowalkiewcz put an end to the hype behind Rose Namajunas edging a split decision victory. The main event saw Tyron ‘The Chosen One’ Woodley blast Lawler to the mat with a powerful right-hand and finished him with punches before the referee had to wave it off.
Following that came UFC Fight night 92 which came and went with little fanfare. Unsurprisingly Thales Leites submitted the overmatched Chris Camozzi although he did make it to the third round. The co main event saw Dennis Bermudez get a much deserved unanimous decision against Rony Jason and the main event brought the whirlwind kicking machine Yair Rodriguez win a tought but warranted split decision over the equally as entertaining Alex Caceres.
Then came the Granddaddy of them all in the form of UFC 202 and promotional stars Nick Diaz and Conor McGregor. Pleasingly the main event lived up to the hype which is more impressive as it sounds. Both men put on a gargantuan effort but McGregor got the win (just) on the judges score cards. That sets them both up nicely for a rubber match down the line but for now Mr McGregor has other business to take care of. All that remains to be seen is whether that business is at what weight class. In the co-main event Anthony Johnson knocked Glover Teixeira out in 13 seconds and with it one of his teeth, which I can only assume is still travelling into space as he hit him that hard. Elsewhere the ever popular Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone stopped always tough Rick Story and Cody Garbrant became an instant contender as he not only beat Takeya Mizugaki in the first round but then cleverly started a feud with Domonick Cruz to generate more headlines for himself.
That little run of events has just culminated with UFC on Fox 21 which was an outstanding card. BJJ expert Damien Maia solidified his spot as championship calibre material when he submitted Carlos Condit in under two minutes, possibly sending him into retirement. Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis seems to have found a new lease of life in the Featherweight division by impressively defeating Charles Olivera. UFC and Dancing with the Stars golden girl did a passable impression of the Karate Kid with an outstanding switch kick KO of Bec Rawlings and Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon opened up the main card with an outstanding display of grit, determination and technique which we all knew they would.
This run shows no sign of slowing down as in the next three weeks brings us fight cards headlined by Arlovski vs Barnett, Miocic vs Overeem and Poirer vs Johnson. Then we can all catch our breath for a few weeks until Michael Bisping takes on Dan Henderson once again, this time with the middleweight title on the line on October 8th.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the golden age of UFC and MMA is now. Enjoy it, but savour it, for it may not last forever.
By: Chris Hunt
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