UFC 221 Winners and Losers

Perth, Western Australia, Australia (Sun, February 11, 2018)– UFC 221 took place at Perth Arena in Perth, Western Australia, Australia. The main card aired on pay-per-view while the prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.

For the official results of the event you can go here for the bonuses and Reebok Sponsorship Payout you can go here. Below you will find a recap about the winners and losers from the event.

Winners:
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Yoel Romero: After an absolute stunning knockout win over Luke Rockhold, the UFC Middleweight division finally seems to have some normalcy. Although he missed weight by nearly three pounds, he is the clear #1 contender for the Middleweight title in a second fight with the Champion, Robert Whittaker. Yoel has proved himself as the only fighter in contention in a muddy and confusing division. The rematch will be interesting as Romero’s biggest flaw in the first fight with Whittaker was his conditioning in the later rounds. Romero stayed composed, relaxed, and conserved his energy in the bout with Rockhold, proving that he made the necessary adjustments in his next bout for the championship.
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Curtis Blaydes: Curtis Blaydes has a misleading record in the UFC. After losing his UFC debut to recent title contender Francis Ngannou, Blaydes has been on an absolute tear, going 4-0. (1 No Contest) Following the loss to Ngannou, Blaydes hasn’t exactly had the “who’s who” of competitors. This win over Mark Hunt cements his future in the top five in the Heavyweight division and promises more challenging fights. Curtis later called out Francis Ngannou for a rematch.
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Tai Tuivasa: Tai Tuivasa certainly impressed in his UFC debut with an impressive knockout win over the durable Rashad Coulter. Tiuvasa scored another win over Cyril Asker via TKO at UFC 221. While his two wins are not against the premier Heavyweights in the organization, the 24-year-old has many years to assert himself as a top contender in the division. The UFC Heavyweight division needs some reinvigorating and Tuivasa made that clear on his way out of the octagon by drinking a beer out of a shoe, in which Australians call a “shoey”. I know that I will tune in again to see that.
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Jussier Formiga: Jussier Formiga is another fighter who has a misleading UFC record. His only UFC losses include bouts with John Dodson, Joseph Benavidez, Henry Cejudo, and Ray Borg; all who have competed against the census greatest pound for pound fighter Demetrious Johnson in title fights. Formiga has victories over fellow flyweight contenders and title challengers and this victory shows that he is still in the conversation of a future title fight with DJ, who to date, has convincingly cleaned out the Flyweight division.
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Ross Pearson: Let’s all be honest, Ross was fighting for his contract with the UFC. Pearson hasn’t looked great in his last few bouts but this win solidifies his role as a gatekeeper at 155.

The Middleweight division: This is probably my biggest winner on this card. The card was a bit lackluster in regards to star power but at least the UFC Middleweight division finally has some clarity. After GSP left the division in disarray and frustration, it seems the division finally has clear way forward and money fights and comebacks are out of the question for the time being.

Losers:

Luke Rockhold (Obviously): Rockhold clearly had some questions coming into this fight. Rockhold was knocked out in the first round by long time contender Michael Bisping on just 11 days notice. Following the loss, he defeated former WSOF champion, David Branch, in a bout where ring rust was obvious as he took some heavy shots but ended up victorious. Rockhold looked good all three rounds before catching a hook and a subsequent brutal uppercut from Romero, ending his hopes of becoming the interim Middleweight Champion. Rockhold now faces a challenging way forward. He could continue competing in the Middleweight division but only facing top contenders or he could make his move to Light Heavyweight. Rockhold is known to have tough weigh cuts and with Daniel Cormier gone for the foreseeable future, Rockhold could have some success at 205.

Mark Hunt: Oh man, where do we start? Mark Hunt is a true pioneer and model fighter for many. His record may come off a bit salty to the casual MMA fan but his resume speaks for itself. Coming into the fight ranked at #5, Hunt had to win this fight to remain in contention for the title. Unfortunately, he was overwhelmed by superior wrestling and pressure. This will certainly not be the last we see of Hunt but at his age, this may have been his last shot at the road to the Heavyweight strap.

The UFC: The UFC has had a tough calendar year. Although Dana White claims 2017 was their most successful year, the ratings beg to differ and this was card was no different. Don’t get me wrong, UFC 220 was a great card but it lacked star power like many cards in 2017. UFC 221 was no different; a cancelled headliner followed by missed weight and no belts. Hopefully UFC 223 will initiate the hype machine for 2018 but time and Khabib’s health will tell.


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