HYDEN BLOG: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from UFC 234

by frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor

Feb 9, 2019; Melbourne, Australia; Israel Adesanya (red gloves) gestures to Anderson Silva (blue gloves) during UFC 234 at Rod Laver Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 234 was this past weekend. There was a last minute fight cancellation involving UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker, who was supposed to defend against Kelvin Gastelum, but Whittaker had to pull out due to a hernia. Obviously, that sucks, but the show must go on. Let’s get to the rundown.

UFC 234
GOOD/BAD- Jim Crute stops Sam Alvey
There was some controversy as Crute landed a good shot, the ref started to jump in or something so Crute walked away. However, they restarted and then the ref officially stopped the fight. It was really weird but I’m going with a GOOD for Crute’s good work in the cage and BAD for the ref’s bad job here.

GOOD- Montana De La Rosa submits Nadia Kassem
De La Rosa took Kassem down immediately in the first round and went to work. Nothing huge landed or anything, but a good job by De La Rosa to grind Kassem down. As the second round started, De La Rosa again took Kassem down immediately and ended up locking in a submission to get the win. Good win for De La Rosa.

GOOD- Rani Yahya vs. Ricky Simon
Simon dominated Yahya in this fight on route to a convincing decision victory. He was better in all aspects. His wrestling, offensively and defensively, as well as his striking and grappling were on point. Good win for Simon.

GOOD- Lando Vannata submits Marcos Mariani
They exchanged a bit on the feet before Vannata took Mariani down. Vannata then worked some ground-and-pound, including some big elbows, before locking in the submission to get the win. Good win for Vannata.

GOOD- Israel Adesanya vs. Anderson Silva
One thing I want to say right off the bat, I was wrong about Silva’s chin. I didn’t think he’d be able to take a lot of shots from Adesanya but he did. Insert your own PED joke there if you want but man, he held up a lot better than I thought. Adesanya won the decision as he’s just the better fighter now. There wasn’t a question of that heading into this fight, the question was more of whether Silva would be able to summon up the magic one more time. He couldn’t, and that’s why he lost. It was there for a tiny bit here and there, but it wasn’t sustained or consistent. That happens to every athlete, the fact that Silva was able to hang with Adesanya says a lot about him and where he’s at these days.

As for Adesanya, he fought smartly here. He didn’t really take any huge risks. If he had pressed forward, he probably could have finished Silva, but he might also have been caught with something and finished himself. He deemed it not worth it and it’s hard to argue with that. This fight had a feeling of inevitability to it, but it had just enough doubt to keep me interested. It’s a good win for Adesanya. It’s not a statement-making win but it’s a good, quality win.


BAD – Robert Whittaker’s bad injury luck continues
Whittaker’s string of bad luck continues on the injury front. He had knee problems, then a stomach issue involving a staph infection and this hernia/multiple internal organ problems. It just sucks because here’s a guy who’s ready to fight and he’s got to back on the shelf repeatedly. These last two problems have been serious, which obviously goes well beyond sports situations and such, and you just hope we can see him fight again sometime. He’s only fought once in the last 18 months and who knows how long it’ll take him to recover and get well enough to fight again?

To be blunt, this sucks. He’s a good fighter and I like watching him fight. It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway) that MMA fans everywhere are wishing Whittaker a full recovery and hoping he can get back into the cage sooner rather than later. This show was pretty good overall, but anytime you lose a title fight, the show is weaker. It’s no offense intended to those who competed tonight but title fights generally involve two premier fighters going at it in a high-level fight. Also, it seems the UFC Middleweight division has been in a bad spot for quite a while now. Let’s all hope that things get back to a more normal and expected place here soon.

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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