The Aftermath of UFC 224

UFC 224 in Rio de Janeiro exceeded expectations with the quality of fights, impressive submissions, and jaw dropping knockouts. Here’s your wrap up (spoilers below) and what’s next for the winners and losers. For the official results, bonuses and Reebok Sponsorship Payout you can go here.
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Vitor Belfort vs. Lyoto Machida 

Initially, this was a boring fight as both guys were feeling each other out which is expected from the veterans and former champions. First round goes to Machida, 10-9. Second round, in the words of Joe Rogan “HE FRONT KICKED HIM IN THE FACE!” which ironically was said the last time Vitor was kicked in the face by Anderson Silva. Lyoto landed a front kick to the chin of Vitor and no follow up strikes were needed. What’s next? Vitor retired after a 22 year MMA career. Machida then called out former UFC Middleweight Champion, Michael Bisping. Bisping has stated on his podcast that he is “probably retired” so I doubt that happens but I could realistically see a fight against #8 ranked middleweight, Dave Branch.
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John Lineker vs. Brian Kelleher

This was a great fight! Technically, there’s not a lot to break down here but this was a fun one! John landed shot after shot by pressure and pursuance and eventually landed a clean left hook to the chin of Kelleher. As far as the future of both fighters, I think it’s back to the prelims for Kelleher which could be a good move to build his name and gain more quality wins. For Lineker, a fight against Dominick Cruz would make sense if he wants to earn a title shot in the near future.
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McKenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper

For many, this fight lost some of its hype when Dern missed weight by seven pounds but at least the the magical place called the internet made it fun with the memes and nicknames. This was a short fight. Dern landed a right hand that dropped Cooper which ultimately led to the rear naked choke to secure the win for Dern. The UFC has some important decisions to make regarding the future of these fighters. For Cooper, she hasn’t had a great UFC career and I imagine the UFC would have to consider cutting her from the roster if she lost this one but considering she took the fight against Dern after missing weight, hopefully we see her again soon. For Dern on the other hand, the UFC needs to decide on her future in the women’s strawweight division. Missing weight by two or three pounds is an understandable amount but seven pounds is simply unacceptable. Do they force her to 125 or give her another opportunity at 115? Time will tell but I hope they give her another shot at strawweight to keep her stock up.
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Kelvin Gastelum vs. Jacare Souza

This was possibly the biggest fight on the card in regards to the rewards and consequences associated with the future of the division. Jacare took Kelvin to the ground early, landed some elbows, and transitioned in and out out of mount with ease. Second round is where KG took over and landed some heavy shots even dropping Souza in the round. Third round was more of the same as the second. Ultimately Kelvin out boxed Souza and stuffed 10/11 takedowns in the fight. Gastelum seems to be the #1 contender for the title following the bout between Robert Whitaker and Yoel Romero at UFC 225 in Chicago. For Souza? No clue. This is a familiar feeling for Jacare. Seemingly one fight away from a title shot and then being defeated.
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Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington

This fight went as expected for much of the MMA community. Nunes started with the leg kicks early causing some serious bruising to Pennington’s lead leg. Rounds 2-5 were all similar with Nunes putting on a show and Pennington showing she’s tough. Following round 4 going into round 5, Pennington told her coaches she was done and wanted no more. Her coaches insisted she stay in the fight. For the sake of professionalism, I will hold my thoughts on this for my podcast. Nunes ultimately took the back of Pennington and rained punches leading to the TKO victory. For Pennington, she needs recovery time and not a fight anytime soon. For Nunes, please MMA Gods if you are reading this, Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg is the fight to make.

For more in depth breakdowns, opinions, interviews, and fight predictions, go check out my podcast “Concussion Discussion with Austin Sherlock” on iTunes, YouTube, Castbox, and Spotify. Like the Instagram page@theconcussiondiscussion

Thanks for reading, until next time fight fans.