UFC 232 was this past weekend and it featured some huge title fights. Let’s get right to the rundown.
GOOD- Alexander Volkanovski stops Chad Mendes
Mendes had some nice moments during this fight, but Volkanovski was just better. He ended up stopping Mendes towards the end of the second round with a big flurry and repeated shots. Good win for Volkanovski.
GOOD/BAD- Ilir Latifi vs. Corey Anderson
Both guys were out there working but the fight was just meh. It was fine, but it wasn’t anything special by any means. Anderson won the decision and works his way a little higher in the rankings but this win won’t do much for him in the long-run. Still, nice win for Anderson.
GOOD- Michael Chiesa submits Carlos Condit
I don’t know what alien lifeform is impersonating Condit but he’s just not the same man whose nickname is Natural Born Killer. That seems like a lifetime ago. He’s obviously been on this slide for a while now but it’s still stark to see him now compared to his past successes.
As for Chiesa, he wins in his move up to welterweight and maybe he has some good success in this division? He certainly has the tools to win and go pretty far. A title shot is a long way off but we always need new contenders. Good win for Chiesa.
GREAT- Amanda Nunes stops Cris Cyborg
This was for Cyborg’s UFC Women’s Featherweight Title and Nunes took it in decisive fashion. She took a big shot from Cyborg and responded by dropping Cyborg twice before knocking her out with a flurry. Unreal. There’s a reason she’s called Cyborg and that’s because she’s looked invincible. Nunes beat her in less than a minute. To be fair, both fighters throw heavy leather so an early knockout isn’t super shocking but it is surprising to see Cyborg beaten like this. Nunes is now a two-division champion, with this belt and the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title as well, and she’s been hugely impressive. I don’t know who is going to beat her. I say that a lot about a lot of different people but this feels special. If she had out-pointed Cyborg or something, or caught her with a submission, it’s different. But to knock her out cold like this, that’s a scary sight for anyone who could possibly end up fighting Nunes at some point. This was a super impressive victory. What a way to end the year for Nunes.
GOOD- Jon Jones stops Alexander Gustafsson
This was a good fight and display from Jones, as he stopped Gustafsson not quite halfway through the third round. It was a good win and Jones claims the UFC Light Heavyweight Title again. Jones is perhaps the most polarizing figure in MMA and possibly the entire sporting world. He’s also a perfect example of the old phrase “The only one who can beat him is himself”. It always seems like it’s something with this guy. He would be on the short list of greatest fighters ever if he didn’t keep getting in his own way. Whether it’s failed drug tests, run-ins with the law, his public behavior and statements, etc, it’s always something.
Jones is a tremendous fighter, there’s no question about that. It’s the other stuff that’s a problem. For example, it wouldn’t surprise me if a month from now we hear that Jones has failed another drug test. Or been arrested for something. That stuff is very possible. I hope not, I hope he gets and remains clean and stays clear of trouble, but you can only change so much. Barring some huge shift in your life, you are who you are. We’ll see, but I will be rooting for Jones to do well.
As for Gustafsson, it’s time to start over at square one. In my opinion, he’s gotten a fair amount of leeway in the division because he may or may not have outpointed Jones in their fight over five years ago. I don’t want to sound harsh and I know he’s battled injuries but, including this fight, he’s only fought six times in those five years and he’s 3-3 in those fights. To be fair, those three losses are to Jones, UFC Heayvweight Champion Daniel Cormier, and Anthony Johnson. At the same time, though, your best ability is availability, especially in the UFC’s eyes. We’ll just have to wait to see how that shakes out, though. I hope he has continued good health moving forward and is able to put together a sustained run of excellence.
This was a really good way to end the year for the UFC. They have issues moving forward, but they also have a lot of good things going for them. As long as they keep the focus on the action inside the cage, they’ll do well. Hopefully, they make that their New Year’s Resolution.
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