UFC 214 was this past weekend and most of the fights were exciting. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD – Volkan Oezdemir stops Jimi Manuwa: Oezdemir is rapidly climbing the light heavyweight rankings and it’s because of performances like this. He hurt Manuwa with some nice punches, then pounced and landed some big shots for the knockout win. Big-time win for Oezdemir. He said after the fight that he wanted the winner of the main event. I’m down with that. Why not? It’s not like there’s a bunch of guys more deserving ahead of him.
GOOD – Robbie Lawler vs. Donald Cerrone: These guys went at it with a lot of aggression. Lawler won the first round while Cerrone won the second. Then, in the third round, Lawler got even more aggressive and that gave him the decision victory. Both landed (and took) big shots to the other. We were all expecting a good and fun brawl and that’s what we got. Lawler isn’t likely to get a title shot next, not with Georges St. Pierre waiting to fight for the title he never lost, but one more solid win will likely give him the next title shot. And at the same time, what happened a few fights after this one casts major doubt on whether GSP will fight for the Welterweight Title next. To be continued, as they say. This was a really good fight.
GOOD – Cris Cyborg stops Tonya Evinger: Cyborg dropped Evinger immediately but stayed patient. She might have been able to finish the fight right there, but she also might have gotten herself into trouble, so she did the wise thing and tried to pick her spots. Evinger is extremely tough. She was taking some huge shots from Cyborg, but kept coming. She also had her leg tore up with some nasty kicks, but she kept coming. It was a real display of heart. Cyborg was too much for her, though, as she pummeled her throughout the fight. Finally, in the third round, Evinger succumbed to the overwhelming power of Cyborg and got stopped. It was an impressive display by Cyborg as she becomes the UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion. I don’t know who’s next to face her, but whomever it is is going to have to bring something special to the table if they want to beat her. Another good fight.
UGLY – Demian Maia vs. Tyron Woodley: Let’s just be blunt: This fight sucked. It was so horrendously boring that a discussion about shoes my friends were having was way more interesting. A conversation about freaking shoes was more interesting than this crap. Woodley fought smartly in that he refused to engage Maia on the ground, but it was also quite dumb because fights like this go a long way towards ruining whatever starpower you have. It’s already caused Dana White to say that Woodley won’t fight George St. Pierre next, which is the big-money fight Woodley was wanting. Woodley has so much talent that it makes it all the more frustrating when he does this. He’s a lot better than this. I’m not saying he should have finished Maia, but he could have done a lot more. Hell, this fight broke the record for fewest strikes attempted in a five round fight. That’s… not good.
Woodley should have been much more aggressive. Maia is no threat to him on the feet, so why not engage more? It’s smart to not fight him on the ground, but the advantage Maia has on the ground is the same advantage Woodley has on the feet. Woodley absolutely could have gone after Maia and picked him apart with his striking. He didn’t, though, and chose to not really do much of anything. There’s staying patient and then there’s entering a comatose state, and that’s what Woodley did here. This was one of the worst fights of the year.
GOOD – Jon Jones stops Daniel Cormier: Cormier probably won the first two rounds. Jones was landing a lot, but Cormier was doing more damage. He was looking really good and having success. In the third round, though, Jones got him with a head kick, then finished him off with a flurry that forced the ref to step in and stop the fight. That was incredibly impressive. To finish a fighter the caliber of Daniel Cormier, and reclaim the UFC Light Heavyweight Title while doing it, is another in a long list of impressive things Jones has done.
Jones was very gracious after the fight, which was a good thing because Cormier was so distraught it was hard to watch. It also seemed as though they buried any bad blood between them, but we’ll see. Cormier has a long road back if he ever wants another title shot. The good news for him, though, is that the Light Heavyweight Division isn’t all that deep so it’s certainly possible.
I’ll wait to make any proclamations about where this puts Jones on the list of the all-time greatest because you never want to get caught up in the moment, but this is definitely a high point in his career. This was a a great moment and a fantastic way to end a (largely) tremendous card.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: HYDEN’S TAKE: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 114 including Weidman vs. Gastelum fallout, Elkins vs. Bermudez
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