The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale and UFC 226 were both this past weekend and there was some bigtime history made. Let’s get to the rundown.
The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale
GOOD- Roxanne Modafferi stops Barb Honchak
Modafferi got mount in the second round and started raining shots down on Honchak. She was able to withstand and defend for a while but eventually Modafferi was just landing too many shots and the ref had to step in. Good win for Modafferi.
GOOD- Alex Caceres vs. Martin Bravo
These guys went at it for the full fifteen minutes, with Caceres getting the split decision victory. Caceres landed big shots, Bravo landed big shots and they both showed good toughness. Nice win for Caceres.
GOOD- Brad Katona vs. Jay Cucciniello
This was the TUF 27 Featherweight Tournament Final so both guys were prepared for war. They fought on the feet and on the ground, with Katona doing more and getting the decision victory. Good win for Katona.
GOOD- Joe Giannetti vs. Mike Trizano
This was the TUF 27 lightweight tournament final. It wasn’t as good as the featherweight final but it was fine. Trizano won the split decision victory. Nice win for him.
GOOD- Israel Adesanya vs. Brad Tavares
Tavares had success in the first round, but after that it became more and more apparent that Adesanya figured things out and started unleashing strikes on Tavares, bloodying him up. To be honest, we didn’t really need the fourth and fifth rounds in this fight, but Tavares did some good toughness during those rounds. Good win for Adesanya.
Khalil Rountree Jr. stops Gokhan Saki
Rountree caught Saki with a powerful left hand that ended the fight about ninety seconds into the first round. Big win for Rountree.
GOOD- Anthony Pettis submits Michael Chiesa
The first round was close, I felt Chiesa did more but I could easily see Pettis having gotten the nod there. In the second round, though, Pettis came out firing and dropped Chiesa then switched to an armbar to force the tap not quite a minute into the round. Good win for Pettis.
GOOD- Mike Perry vs. Paul Felder
This was a nice solid fight, Perry was more aggressive and that won him the decision. Felder was his usual tough self, but he just didn’t do as much. Nice win for Perry.
UGLY- Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis
This fight sucked. I don’t know what Ngannou was doing, it seemed like he was having an out of body experience. He just didn’t do anything. I don’t want to criticize Lewis too much because there’s only so much you can do if the other guy won’t engage, but this was a horrible fight. It’s an insult to call it a fight, it was basically a sparring match. And a crappy one at that. I’ve seen better fights in those wedding dress video things.
The only thing as bad as this fight was the post-show press conference when Dana White said about Ngannou- “I think his ego ran away with him, big time. I can tell you that his ego absolutely did run away with him.” Do you think or do you know? I hate when people do that. It’s like when someone says they could care less if something happens. Admittedly, this is a fairly unimportant language gripe, but this “fight” put me in a bad mood lol.
GREAT- Daniel Cormier stops Stipe Miocic
I know both guys have power, but I was fully expecting this to go the full five rounds. The toughness of both men is well-known so when Cormier dropped Miocic in the first round and finished him, that was an incredible moment. This was for Miocic’s UFC heavyweight title so Cormier is now a two-division champion, along with his UFC light heavyweight yitle.
After the fight, Cormier called out Brock Lesnar, who was sitting cageside and entered the cage to shove Cormier and cut a promo, so this fight is either signed already or will be signed shortly. That pretty much answers the question of which title Cormier will vacate, as he’ll surely vacate the UFC light heavyweight title here soon.
I do have a couple of questions about this, though. Does Luke Rockhold moving to light heavyweight have anything to do with this? What about Cain Velasquez? The whole reason Cormier moved to light heavyweight in the first place was because Velasquez is at heavyweight. Does he think he’ll retire before Velasquez is able to return? That’s a possibility considering Velasquez has been out of action for over two years now. At this point, it seems like he’ll never get off the milk carton and actually fight again. For the record, I hope so because I want to see the best compete, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Cormier previously said at the beginning of this year that he’s going to retire in March 2019, when he turns 40. That’s probably two fights at most, so if one of them is Lesnar maybe he figures his last fight would be against someone other than Velasquez?
Setting aside the questions, there are a few things we know for sure now.
Daniel Cormier is one of the greatest fighters ever in MMA. This isn’t news, but Cormier always had the specter of Jon Jones hanging over his head. His second loss to Jones was overturned because Jones tested positive for PEDs but his first loss to Jones remains. We don’t know if Jones was on something at the time so we can’t talk as if he was. As far as history is concerned, that’s a legitimate loss. However, I think this win, and the various drug test failures Jones has had, overshadows that loss now.
Before this fight, we were all talking about Miocic as the greatest heavyweight in UFC history. Cormier just took him out. I have no doubt that Miocic will return better than ever, but this was an incredibly impressive win for Cormier. He could retire right now and go down as one of the greats.
Cormier can only add to his legacy at this point, not detract (outside of a PED failure or something that, which would be mind blowing in its improbability). The only man who’s ever beaten him is either the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time or a drug using scumbag who’s broken a litany of rules to get to where he was, or maybe he’s both. That’s the only guy who beat him.
Even if Cormier loses his next fight, I don’t think that takes away anything from what he’s been able to accomplish in his career. He’s already one of the greats, a loss doesn’t take that away.
Cormier has proven what he can do, over and over again. I’m just glad I’ve been able to witness most of these things. I don’t know what the future holds for Cormier, but I’m excited to see whatever it is.
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