UFC 206 may not have been a pay-per-view blockbuster, but those who choose to put their money down last night were treated to a night of memorable, exciting fights and some highlight-reel-worthy finishes.
Most notable was the absolute barn burner between veteran featherweight Cub Swanson and the up-and-coming “Korean Superboy” Doo Ho Choi. Swanson won a unanimous decision in a wild fight that saw both men nearly finish the other, and also saw Choi in particular withstand immense punishment from Swanson only to continue fighting back. Chan Sung Jun may be known as “The Korean Zombie,” but he may have to share the moniker with Choi after last night’s brawl that many are calling Fight of the Year.
Not to be outdone were Donald Cerrone and Matt Brown, two men who are no strangers to the kind of back and forth tilt that preceded them. They had a back and forth of their own that would have been Fight of the Night on almost any other card. Cerrone finished Brown with a walk-off head kick seconds into the final round.
The main event had less fireworks but saw a dominant performance by Max Holloway in TKO’ing a depleted Anthony Pettis, winning the Interim Featherweight Championship and securing a title fight with Jose Aldo. Pettis, who missed weight by three pounds, was admittedly not fit to be fighting at 145 and also broke his right hand in the first round, opening the door for Holloway to take over the fight and finish Pettis with a flurry of strikes late in the third round. Pettis said afterward in the post-fight Octagon interview with Joe Rogan that he’ll be going back to 155 as the weight cut just doesn’t suit him physically.
It may not have been seen by as many as a blockbuster PPV line-up, but UFC 206 may go down as one of the company’s legendary shows.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: My immediate reaction to the Swanson-Choi fight was that it was one of the great fights in UFC history, and after a few hours sleep, I feel the same way. How Choi survived the onslaught of offense Swanson brought him, I’ll never know. Such a great fight. Go out if your way to see it if you missed it.
The idea of Aldo vs. Holloway doesn’t do much for me right now. It’s amazing how UFC was able to kill off any interest in this division through the stripping of Conor McGregor. I’m a little surprised how quiet McGregor was the day of the fight, I would’ve thought he would have had something to say about the fight to crown a (sort of) champion in the division he still feels he is reigning over.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Fight Night bonuses went to Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi for Fight of the Night and to Max Holloway and Lando Vannata for Performance of the Night. All four take home an extra $50,000.
-UFC 206 drew a sellout of 18,057 fans with a paid gate of $2,429,300 Canadian dollars ($1,843,101 USD). Considering the loss of the original main event and early GSP speculation, that’s a huge win for UFC.
-Dana White pitched the idea of Aldo vs. Holloway at UFC 208 on Feb. 11 from Brooklyn, but Holloway said at the post-fight press conference that he may want more time and doesn’t want to miss out on Christmas and his son’s birthday only for Aldo to pull out.
-If you weren’t sure if everything Conor McGregor does is for show or not, check out this picture he tweeted of himself on a private jet reading a newspaper… upside down.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/10: Anthony Pettis explains why he couldn’t make weight for tonight’s title fight (w/Cervantes Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)