UFC 221 was this past weekend. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD- Tyson Pedro submits Saparbek Safarov
Pedro had a little difficulty defending the wrestling of Safarov, but he made him pay when it counted. Pedro locked in a kimura while defending a takedown and forced the tap. Nice win for Pedro.
GOOD- Jake Matthews vs. Li Jingliang
This was a fairly wild fight. Matthews was in control for most of the fight, but Jingliang kept coming. Jingliang did get away with a bad eye poke, though. You have to take a point for that, at least, if not issue a post-fight fine. Quite frankly, it was so blatant and ridiculous that the referee needs some discipline as well.
Not as much as Jingliang, of course, who should have a permanent mark on his name because he could have blinded Matthews. Unfortunately, Matthews won the decision anyway, so this will likely be forgotten quickly, but it really shouldn’t be. Anyhow, this was a good win for Matthews.
GOOD- Tai Tuivasa stops Cyril Asker
Tuivasa landed some devastating elbows that took a tremendous toll on Asker. There’s no question Asker is tough, but you can only take so much damage before you fall. Big win for Tuivasa and a scary outcome for the rest of the division.
GOOD- Mark Hunt vs. Curtis Blaydes
The story of this fight was the wrestling of Blaydes. He just kept taking Hunt down over and over. Sometimes he wasn’t able to do much with the takedowns but other times he was able to land some big shots. Hunt had some good moments in the first round, where he hurt Blaydes, but the second and third rounds belonged to Blaydes. He came through with a dominant wrestling performance and got the decision victory.
GOOD- Yoel Romero stops Luke Rockhold
Romero missed weight, so only Rockhold could win the Interim UFC middleweight championship. The first round was slow and, to be blunt, boring, but Romero picked it up in the second round. Romero was landing all kinds of shots and had Rockhold in trouble for a while there. In the third round, Romero rushed forward and plastered Rockhold with a powerful left hand. He got him a few more times before the ref could jump in.
This sets up a rematch between Romero and UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Yeah, Romero missed weight but it was a short notice fight for him so you kind of overlook it a bit. I think also the emphatic nature of this win makes it hard to deny Romero. His fight previous to this one was against Whittaker and it was a close one. They went to a decision, which Whittaker won.
So, this is an interesting and highly anticipated fight. Hopefully they can get the fight done as quickly as they can, so the division keeps moving. Of course, there has to be recovery time and all that stuff, but I think everyone is hoping to see Romero-Whittaker II sooner rather than later.
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