UFC 207 was this past Friday, and it was a wild event. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD: Ray Borg vs. Louis Smolka
Borg came in heavy, which is disappointing because he’s done that before. He needs to tighten that up and make sure it doesn’t happen again. On the good side, though, he had a pretty dominant performance here. He controlled Smolka throughout and dictated what happened on route to the convincing decision win. If he can get his weight-cutting on point he can make a title run.
This fight sucked. I might have been more impatient than usual while watching this fight because I was really looking forward to the top fights, but nobody has time for this stuff. There was a lot of nothing going on. Kim won the majority decision, but neither guy looks all that great coming out of this fight.
GOOD: T.J. Dillashaw vs. John Lineker
Dillashaw was all over Lineker from the start, peppering him with shots, getting takedowns, and working some effective ground-and-pound. Lineker wanted Dillashaw to stand and bang with him, but Dillashaw chose not to because he wanted to keep his consciousness. Dillashaw took the fight to Lineker and put a beating on him. Lineker showed good toughness to keep fighting, but it was clear that Dillashaw was the better fighter. He should get the next Bantamweight Title shot, he certainly deserves it.
GOOD: Cody Garbrandt vs. Dominick Cruz
Cruz was defending his UFC Bantamweight Championship, and this fight didn’t go at all how I thought it would. I had questions about how Garbrandt would respond if the fight got to the championship rounds. He was extremely impressive. His best round was the fourth round, where he knocked Cruz down repeatedly. He also showed no respect at all for the power of Cruz, showboating and clowning around over and over throughout the fight. I’m not a huge fan of that, but it is what it is. I guess when you’re that impressive you can do whatever you want. Garbrandt just completely shut Cruz down for long stretches of the fight. I know I’ve already used this word before a few times, but Garbrandt was just so impressive. He did to Cruz what no one has been able to do, he made him look mortal.
Garbrandt won the UFC Bantamweight Championship with this victory and it’s possible you do an immediate rematch Cruz, but I think giving T.J. Dillashaw the shot makes more sense. Put Cruz in a number one contender’s fight, but I don’t think you give him the shot over Dillashaw.
GOOD/UGLY: Amanda Nunes stops Ronda Rousey
Nunes decimated Rousey, stopping her in 48 seconds. I have no idea what Rousey was doing. She stood with Nunes even after she was getting cracked. Rousey’s face was as red as a beet, Nunes was laying a whipping on her, but she still was trying to stand with her. I don’t know if that’s her coaches telling her to stand with Nunes, Rousey’s self-confidence in her own striking ability, or a combination of both, but it didn’t work and was baffling.
I’ll be the first to call a fight boring, but if it’s a smart fight strategy I can’t complain too much. This was the exact opposite. Nunes has the clear advantage on the feet and Rousey has the clear advantage on the ground. Why she didn’t do everything she could to get the fight on the ground is mystifying. I understand wanting to stand with Nunes and test yourself, but that goes out the window the first time she busts you one in the chops. At that point, you got to do everything possible to get the fight on the ground.
I think this is the end for Rousey. The UFC needs her more than she needs them. She can do movies or TV or whatever she wants. She doesn’t need to keep fighting. If she does choose to keep fighting, though, she absolutely needs to change coaches. Whatever her coaching team is doing now isn’t working, and when things go wrong, you need to make changes. If she went to a team that could teach her how to be a better striker, I think she could come back and win some fights, but is she going to want to do that? I don’t think so; I think she’s going to walk away.
As for Nunes, she moves on. I’m not sure who her next challenger will be, but I hope she earned a lot of fans tonight. She’ll need that because the UFC completely bungled the buildup to this fight. All the focus was on Rousey. A lot of times they didn’t even mention the name Amanda Nunes. The complaint isn’t that the focus was primarily on Rousey. She’s marketable and a known commodity. Her name carries weight and has crossover appeal. The complaint is that the focus was entirely on Rousey, and had no mention of Nunes.
The unmitigated arrogance of Dana White after the fight was incredible, as he was trying to defend the buildup to this fight. At one point he even said: “I could have spent $100 million on advertising, and nobody would still have known who Amanda was. After tonight, everyone knows who Amanda Nunes is now, okay?”
Saying that is so ridiculous. It’s laughable. It’s so mind-boggling stupid that it defies all known laws of reality. Amanda Nunes was, and still is, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. A title she won at UFC 200. That’s a show that did over a million buys. This event will probably do about the same, maybe a bit more. Regardless of if it does a bit more or a lot more, UFC 200 did over a million buys and was a big event. If no one knows who Nunes is after that event, isn’t that the fault of the UFC? And doesn’t that show how bad they can be at promoting?
Again, to make it crystal clear and so no one can misunderstand my words, I don’t fault the UFC one bit for making Rousey the focus of the buildup. She’s a much bigger name than Nunes. However, we’re talking about a 99-1 focus split at best here. I saw plenty of ads that didn’t even mention the name Amanda Nunes, let alone show her face. A better split would have been something like 70-30, or even 80-20. Hell, a 90-10 split would have been better than what they did.
I know that it’s also the fighter’s responsibility to promote themselves and to make a bigger name for themselves, but they shouldn’t have to do it alone. I think the UFC has gotten spoiled by the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, fighters who have transcended the sport. They didn’t even use their favorite go-to technique of “show clips of fighter while an announcer talks about how their one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world” that they love so much. I guess we’ll see in the next title defense from Nunes and what the buyrate for that show is just how poorly the UFC mismanaged this. I suspect greatly.
UGLY: No farewell for Mike Goldberg
UFC 207 was the last UFC event for Mike Goldberg. If you watched the show, you wouldn’t know that, though. There was absolutely zero mention of that throughout the night. This is also mind-boggling. Whether you like Goldberg or not as an announcer, the man was there was for almost 20 years. That doesn’t warrant a farewell? Look, I never cared much for Goldberg as an announcer, but you have to respect what he did for the company. For most people, myself included, he is the voice of the UFC. He’s been a part of so many great moments in UFC history that he’s always going to be linked to the company. For the UFC to not even acknowledge on the broadcast that this was Goldberg’s last event just comes across as petty.
I don’t know the reason why Goldberg is leaving, but what’s clear is that whatever the reason is, the UFC doesn’t like it. That can be the only explanation as to why they refused to even mention it. I don’t care if Goldberg is leaving for Bellator and will be on their next show, he still deserved a proper sendoff. I’m not saying that they should have had a long video montage or rained confetti from the ceiling, but at least give him 30 seconds to say something. That would have been more fitting than doing nothing for him. Goldberg was loyal to them when he had a chance to screw the company over. I guess they can’t be bothered to return that loyalty. That’s something that current employees will likely remember in the future.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: Latest setback for Velasquez just another hindrance to what could have been an all-time top tier career
Comments and suggestions can be emailed to email@example.com and you can follow Frank on Twitter at @hydenfrank.