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5/9/16: Top Takeaways From Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 87 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 Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 87 event from Rotterdam.
5. Jobbers still needed in MMA: Light heavyweight Tom Lawlor had an excellent response to Germaine de Randamie’s win over Anna Elmose, addressing the fact that sometimes non-contender level fighters are a necessity in this sport, himself included.
— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) May 8, 2016
Championship level fighters need to be able to beat the best of the best to stand out, sure, but giving them fights against overmatched opponents lets them shine in ways those competitive matchups may never allow, and let’s the UFC then build them up off of highlight-reel performances. That happened with de Randamie on Sunday, and gives her a massive boost into her next matchup.
4. MMA fighters are inhuman: Josh Emmett not only won his extremely short-notice debut over Jon Tuck, he did so after badly breaking his finger in the second round. It’s yet another reminder of how much of a mental difference there is in those stepping into the cage for a living and those who can’t imagine doing so. Want further proof, check out the result for yourself: (click this link at your own peril – GRAPHIC!)
3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz is a contender: 30-year-old strawweight Kowalkiewicz is good. Damned good. She’s entertaining as all hell when she gets going, as she did for the final 12 minutes of her 15 minute bout with Heather Jo Clark, and her striking game is good enough to hang with anyone in the division. If her takedown defense remains on point against better competition in that regard, she’s going to be fighting for that title within the next couple of years. She’s that impressive, and don’t be surprised to see her follow through on the promise shown thus far.
2. Gunnar Nelson’s not a lost cause: Nelson continues to be a bit of a perplexing competitor, but when he’s competing at his best there are few who can match him. Yes, he’s dropped a couple of decisions to good fighters, and the loss to Demian Maia stands out as a potential ceiling for him, but what he did against Albert Tumenov shows there’s still plenty to be encouraged about when it comes to his game. As dominant and intriguing as you can ask for on the ground, a primed and prepared Nelson competes with anyone at 170 lbs, and hopefully he can find some consistency in his game in the near future.
1. Anything can happen at heavyweight: Stefan Struve decimated Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, who knocked out Alistair Overeem, who knocked out Struve. Struve holds a stoppage win over Stipe Miocic, who headlines next week’s UFC 198 event in a title fight against Fabricio Werdum. This heavyweight field is ridiculous, in that it seems very possible that any one competitor can beat any of the other contender’s on any given night. Overeem’s likely poised to fight for the title next later this year, and Struve’s win over Silva keeps him in line as future contender in his own right.
[Andrei Arlovski art by Grant Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
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