UFC 219 was this past weekend. Let’s get right to the rundown.
GOOD- Neil Magny vs. Carlos Condit
I do not who that was in the cage, but he did not look like Carlos Condit to me. He seemed passive and lacking urgency. Magny controlled him for nearly the entire fight. I do not know the reasons, but I think something was a little off about him. Magny fought well and looked good, he looked strong. Neil Magny won the decision. Good win for him.
GOOD- Cynthia Calvillo vs. Carla Esparza
Calvillo came out in the first round looking good, but Esparza turned it on in the second and third rounds and started getting takedowns and kicks and such.
Calvillo was still landing some shots, but the takedowns by Esparza likely won the decision for her.
BAD/GOOD- Dan Hooker submits Marc Diakiese
This was a dull and boring fight for the most part. Both guys were very tentative and there just was not much going on. The fight overall was BAD but Hooker locked in a nice submission early in the third round so that was GOOD.
GOOD- Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barboza
Nurmagomedov fought like a man possessed. Maybe it’s because he has not been in the cage much in the last few years, but he was on fire here. He completely and utterly dominated Barboza. This was not close, this was not a controlling win, this was a beatdown. Nurmagomedov laid out an ass-kicking on Barboza. He showed toughness, but Barboza was completely overmatched and overwhelmed. This was a statement win for Nurmagomedov.
The problem for Nurmagomedov is the repeated pullouts, cancellations, and injuries that he is responsible for. He’s fought three times in four years. That is not going to instill confidence with regards to the UFC. Conor McGregor can get away with not having fought in the UFC for over a year because he brings in huge money. If you are not worth the trouble or hassle you create, you do not get away with as much. It’s just like with Colin Kaepernick in the NFL, if you are not worth the headache, you will not be around. It is not quite the same, Nurmagomedov is one of the best lightweights in the world, but it is the same idea. It is not fair, but life is not fair. If you’re a big star, you get away with more.
Luckily for Nurmagomedov, there is an easy solution. Fight again, and do it quickly. Have what is for him a lightning-fast turnaround and fight again in three months. The opponent is almost secondary because the intention of this would be to show that Nurmagomedov is capable of not being on the shelf longer than a can of dented tomatoes. Win one more time and then he can talk all he wants about getting a title shot and doing this and doing that.
However, if Nurmagomedov can’t make this turnaround and has to pull out due to an injury or a bad weight cut or something, then it’s time to be quiet. If you can’t actually get in the cage on a consistent basis, no one wants to hear from you.
The circumstances are different, but Nurmagomedov is like Jon Jones. The only person capable of beating him is himself. He has a stellar 25-0 record, and no one can touch him. If he ends up fighting the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson or the UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, they’ll be pelted with questions about how they can beat this guy. How can they do what no one else has been able to do? It’s highly unlikely that the UFC gives him a title shot based off of this win alone, though. Again, because he is only fought three times in four years. That’s not going to get it done for them. But if he wins again in March, it becomes so much harder to deny Nurmagomedov a title shot. I hope he does fight again soon. I’d love to see him in a title fight.
GOOD- Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm
Holm came out firing and she was bringing the fight to Cyborg, but as the fight wore on, Cyborg started pulling away. She was landing more shots, the heavier punches, and was her usual aggressive self. They both showed great toughness. Holm was not having as much success as she did early, but she kept coming. Cyborg was starting to put it on her, but she refused to give up. She didn’t seem psyched out at all, in fact, she looked ready to go from the opening bell.
I liked this fight a good deal, it is just a shame that the women’s featherweight division isn’t all that deep. We will probably end up seeing a rematch before too long, which I am largely fine with. I give credit to Holm for not being overwhelmed by the reputation of Cyborg, but she got that reputation for a reason. Cyborg is one of the best fighters in the world, and she showed that again here. She dominated a good fighter in Holly Holm. This was a great way to end the year, the main events delivered in a big way. Here’s hoping that 2018 is a good one.
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