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8/2/16: Top Five Fights, Finishes, and/or Performances From MMA’s July 2016 Schedule
July was an insane month in MMA, with six UFC events, three title changes, and even more from other major organizations as well. With the month now concluded, today I list out my top fights, finishes, and/or performances from this crazy stretch of action.
5. John Lineker puts Michael McDonald away: Former flyweight contender John Lineker has been a beast since moving up to bantamweight. He was already thrilling to watch at 125 lbs, but taking the detrimental weight cut out of the equation has him looking as good as he ever has. That was on display in South Dakota at UFC Fight Night 91 when he trucked former title challenger Michael McDonald, and that extremely impressive first round finish ranks as one of the best highlights of the month.
4. Amanda Nunes destroys Miesha Tate to take UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title: On the biggest stage possible at UFC 200, Amanda Nunes forcefully took the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship from Miesha Tate. The Brazilian challenger was crisp and technical in her striking attack, rushing Tate with overwhelming output before getting her back and locking on the fight-finishing choke. It was a completely one-sided performance, Nunes looked incredible, and she’s now the fourth woman to hold that belt in less than a year.
3. Michael Page breaks Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos’ skull with a flying knee: Perhaps the most devastating finish of the month came at Bellator 158 in London, where Michael “Venom” Page added to his highlight reel. Timing a takedown attempt perfectly, Page wrecked Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos with a flying knee to the forehead, a blow which fractured Santos’ skull. That injury would need a seven hour surgery to repair, and though Santos believes he’ll fight again perhaps by the end of the year it was a devastating finish. The sound of the flying knee landing and the images of Santos’ skull afterward won’t easily be forgotten.
2. Tyron Woodley knocks out Robbie Lawler to capture UFC Welterweight Title: The final moment of the July 2016 schedule was one of its best and most shocking, as Tyron Woodley knocked Robbie Lawler out to take the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 201. The overhand right delivered by Woodley was well set up, and Lawler went down in a heap when it landed. It was all the more stunning because of the wars we’ve seen Lawler in as of late, not to mention the fact that he’d not been knocked out since Nick Diaz stopped him 12 years ago. It’s an incredible win for Woodley, and a crushing loss for Lawler.
1. Eddie Alvarez takes out Rafael dos Anjos to capture UFC Lightweight Title: Even more shocking than the last main event of the July UFC schedule was it’s first, as Eddie Alvarez completely shocked all but his own friends and family by demolishing Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 90. Alvarez’s prior UFC performances had given no hint whatsoever that he still had this type of fight in him, but after getting cracked by an early right hand from dos Anjos he stormed back with a fury. In a fantastic flurry of strikes down the first round stretch, Alvarez hurt dos Anjos badly and never gave him a moment to recover. The assault wouldn’t stop until the ref made it stop, and Alvarez kick-started the run of three title changes in the month.
[Photo (c) Joshua Dahl via USA Today Sports]
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