HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC Fight Night 135, plus 2 big fights announced

Frank Hyden MMATorch contributor

Justin Gaethje (photo credit KyleTerada © USA Today Sports)

UFC Fight Night 135 was this past weekend. Let’s get to the rundown, plus talk about some recently announced fights.


UFC Fight Night 135

GOOD- Eryk Anders stops Tim Williams

Anders started slowly but then ramped things up and eventually got the finish late in the third round with a huge head kick. Bigtime finish there and a nice win overall.

GOOD- Deiveson Figueiredo stops John Moraga

Figueiredo had success throughout the fight but in the second round he started dropping Moraga before finishing him off with a big body shot. Huge win over a tough guy who was ranked a lot higher than he was.

GOOD- Bryan Barberena stops Jake Ellenberger

Barberena dropped Ellenberger about halfway through the first round and then pounded him out for the stoppage victory. Good win for Barberena.

GOOD- Jake Ellenberger retires

Ellenberger announced his retirement after the fight. He’s had his struggles, but he’s also had his triumphs. Kudos to him for a good career and I hope he enjoys retirement.

GOOD- Cortney Casey vs. Angela Hill

This was a really close fight between two tough competitors. They both had good moments during this fight and Casey ended up getting the split decision win. Nice win for her.

GOOD- Michael Johnson vs. Andre Fili

This was another really close fight. Johnson looked good in the first round but seemed to tire after that. I thought Fili did just a bit more to get the decision, but Johnson was the one who got the nod and walked away with the split decision victory. Nice win for Johnson but he’ll have to work on his conditioning if he wants to keep winning.

GOOD- Justin Gaethje stops James Vick

It took Gaethje less than ninety seconds to pummel Vick into unconsciousness. He caught him with a big right hand that just immediately turned out the lights. Big bounce back win for Gaethje, who had lost two in a row coming in. This wasn’t as epic as some of his other fights have been, but it’s a lot better for his health. Good win for Gaethje and a great way to end the card.

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Thoughts on upcomming fights

There’s been two big fights announced this past week that I want to comment on.

Cyborg-Nunes

The first has been expected for some time but it’s UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg defending her belt against bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 232 on December 29th.

This is a huge fight for a couple of reasons. One, any Cyborg fight is a huge deal as she’s must-see-TV. Two, Nunes is a great challenger. She’s shown she can get it done on the ground as well as on the feet. Three, this is another champion vs. champion superfight. Nunes has a chance to become a dual division champion.

It sucks that we must wait another four months for this fight, but that’s my natural desire to see big fights as soon as possible talking there. I always get a little paranoid that some injury will pop up or a freak occurrence will lead to a fight being cancelled. That’s why I’ve never been in favor of trying to position fights at a certain time or anything like that. I think you book a fight as early as you can and worry about the promotion and stuff later.

Ferguson vs. Pettis

The second big fight is Tony Ferguson vs. Anthony Pettis at UFC 229 on October 6th.

This is a weird booking as Ferguson should be in a title eliminator fight against Dustin Poirier, or already getting the next lightweight title shot. Ferguson has won ten fights in a row. Ten. That’s a record and is more than worthy of getting a title shot.

I get the hesitancy to book Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov for the hundredth time but it’s the fair thing to do. Of course, Nurmagomedov has to get through Conor McGregor at UFC 229 first, but if he does, Ferguson should be there waiting for him. I love Dustin Poirier as a fighter but how can you argue with ten straight wins? Poirier has won four fights in a row, with a no contest against Eddie Alvarez in there as well.

As for Pettis, he’s 3-5 in his last 8 fights, what does Ferguson really gain from beating him? At the same time, Pettis is a very dangerous fighter. Perhaps this fight is just a way for Ferguson to get back into action and if he wins, he does get the next title shot? Then the question becomes, what about Poirier? He’s not going to get the next, next title shot so he would have to fight again and win again in order to get a title shot.

Ferguson has a better resume, but I also think that Poirier has a good enough resume to warrant getting a title shot. That’s why I thought they would match these two to determine who gets the next title shot.

Hopefully we get some clarification on this stuff soon, but I am very happy to see Ferguson getting back into action against an opponent like Pettis and I’m very glad to see a fight the caliber of Nunes-Cyborg formally announced as well. A big year for fights gets even bigger.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank

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