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4/26/16: Top Individual Performances From April 2016’s MMA Schedule
There weren’t a ton of great overall fights in April, but with the month’s schedule complete, today I look at what I thought were the five best individual performances – be it via quick finish or an overall effort – for the month. Have others that stand out to you? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org!
5. Glover Teixeira knocks out Rashad Evans (UFC on Fox 19): Though this may have had as much to do with Evans’ decline, this was still a statement making KO from Glover Teixeira. The Brazilian had been on his way back up after consecutive losses to Jon Jones and Phil Davis, but the brutal nature of this finish in particular is as much of a sign that he’s among the elite in the division as anything else.
4. Edson Barboza upsets Anthony Pettis (UFC 197): Barboza took full advantage of Pettis fighting considerably gun-shy, but it could very well be that his attack forced some of that on the former UFC Lightweight Champion. No matter what happened with Pettis, it was Barboza’s continuously violent kicks that dictated much of the bout, and he kept pressuring Pettis with combinations, more kicks, and more than enough offense to clearly take his biggest win to date.
3. Michael Chiesa submits Beneil Dariush (UFC on Fox 19): Chiesa lost the first round to Dariush. Then he did what he does best in the second: got Dariush’s back, kept full control, locked on a choke that wasn’t even under the chin, and forced the tap. That was an absolutely incredible finish for the Ultimate Fighter winner, and one of the best highlights of the month.
2. Andrey Koreshkov dominates Benson Henderson (Bellator 153): Henderson came into the Bellator cage for the first time hoping to prove himself better than Bellator’s welterweight field. Well, the former UFC Lightweight Champ was not. Andrey Koreshkov had such a one-sided, entertaining, and highly effective attack against Henderson; it was an illuminating performance from the man who had been dominated by Ben Askren in his first title fight less than three years ago, and showed how far he’s come in his career at only 25. It was evidence Henderson likely belongs at lightweight, and a sign of how underrated Koreshkov had been into that fight card.
1. Demetrious Johnson breaks down Henry Cejudo with knees (UFC 197): The only Flyweight Champ the UFC has ever had hit his eighth straight title defense in a performance as impressive as anything else seen during the month of April. Johnson got up quickly from the sole takedown the Olympic gold medalist was able to score, and Johnson’s superior Muay Thai attack was on full display from there. The varied angles with which he delivered knees and elbows to Cejudo in such a short time frame was masterful, and he completely broke the until-then undefeated challenger. Incredible work from one of the best fighters in the world.
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