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4/18/16: Top Takeaways From Saturday’s UFC on Fox 19 Event
Following major UFC events, we’ll be discussing the five biggest highlights, moments, or takeaways from the weekend’s fights. Today’s top five focuses on Saturday’s UFC on Fox 19 event from Tampa, Fla.
5. Glover Teixeira looks more dangerous than ever: It’s a combination of Rashad Evans not looking all that great since returning from injury and Glover Teixeira carrying bricks in those hands, but the Brazilian’s KO win on Saturday was a statement. He’s still got some aspects of his game that make beating Jon Jones and possibly Daniel Cormier an uphill climb, but he’s got the aggression and power to do significant damage to most. A fight with Anthony Johnson could be stellar, and Teixeira could earn himself another crack at the title with a win over “Rumble”
4. John Dodson remains legit in move back to bantamweight: The TUF 14 bantamweight winner and two-time Flyweight Title challenger is going to be competitive back at 135 lbs. He hurt Manny Gamburyan badly with a couple of quick-succession jabs with very little behind them, and that opened up that ridiculous onslaught of uppercuts against the cage. With a KO win already under his belt over former champ T.J. Dillashaw, there’s no need to slow things down with Dodson. Throw him in with the division’s best from here on out and lets see what he can do.
3. Don’t let Michael Chiesa take your back: Michael Chiesa won the live season of The Ultimate Fighter by choking Al Iaquinta unconscious with a rear naked choke. In eight fights since then, he’s added six more wins, four of them by that same submission hold. In 14 career wins, eight of them have been finished by rear naked choke. This is not a man you want on your back. Beneil Dariush’s fatal mistake in that fight on Saturday was thinking he could get to his feet to buck Chiesa off, but Chiesa is incredibly adept at getting that submission hold once he’s in that back mount position, and he showed he doesn’t even need to get his arm under an opponent’s chin to make them submit. That’s a dangerous, dangerous weapon to have, and it’s bringing him right into the top ten as we continue on in 2016.
2. We need a five round Thug-Tornado rubber match: Rose Namajunas and Tecia Torres had a very good, mostly entertaining rematch on Saturday night, with another close decision once again deciding the outcome. Namajunas edged it this time to even things up between them, but there was absolutely a case for Torres taking the nod. The two are very talented, quite evenly matched, and extremely entertaining, and yet it’s not quite clear which of them is truly the better fighter in 2016. Coming in I felt it was Rose who had improved more, and that still seems to be the case, but Torres has the strength and power in her striking game to make things much murkier. A five-round fight to settle things makes for a good headliner on a Fox Sports 1 or UFC Fight Pass event this summer.
1. Tune up fights are a good thing: Khabib Nurmagomedov was out of the cage for two years due to injury, and the tune up fight he wound up with against Darrell Horcher could have been the best thing for him on his way back. He got the feel for everything in the cage again against a relatively “safe” – as far as that’s possible in MMA – opponent. Contrast that with Rashad Evans, who returned last fall after almost two years out due to injury, only to get out-worked by Ryan Bader before then getting decimated by Teixeira on Saturday. Age plays a factor here certainly, but Nurmagomedov may have had much more trouble with originally schedule opponent Tony Ferguson, and it was good for him and his run in this division that he got a fight like he had Saturday out of the way.
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