By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist
UFC 261 was yesterday and it featured three big title fights, some explosive finishes, and a nasty injury. Let’s get to the rundown.
GOOD/BAD- Anthony Smith beats Jimmy Crute by TKO injury
They were exchanging throughout the first round, with Smith getting a little bit of the better of it. Crute got a couple takedowns late but injured his foot and the cageside doctor stopped the fight between the first and second round. Injuries always suck, hopefully Crute can recover quickly.
UGLY- Uriah Hall beats Chris Weidman by TKO injury
Weidman threw a leg kick that Hall checked and Weidman’s leg snapped, just like Anderson Silva’s leg snapped when Weidman checked his kick years ago. This is a horrible injury, one you hope he can make a full recovery from. He should, but you never know how someone’s body reacts to something like this. He’s only 36 years old so he’s young enough to recover and come back to fighting if he wants but that’s a decision for another time. The injury happened so early that the fight can’t be judged.
GOOD- Valentia Shevchenko stops Jessica Andrade
Shevchenko landed some nice punches early in the first round, then a takedown. Andrade was able to get up eventually but it wasn’t long before Shevchenko got her down again. The second round saw Shevchenko get another takedown. Andrade got up only to get taken down again, that’s when Shevchenko unloaded with big right hands and elbows and got the stoppage to successfully defend her UFC Flyweight Championship. Shevchenko has now won seven fights in a row and looks really tough to beat. Two of her three losses have come to UFC Bantamweight and UFC Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes. I don’t know who’s next for Shevchenko but they’re going to have a hell of a time beating her. Good win for Shevchenko here.
GOOD- Rose Namajunas stops Zhang Weili
Namajunas regained the UFC Strawweight Championship with this win. They came out a few strikes early but then Namajunas caught Weili with a great headkick, straight to the face. She jumped on her and threw a couple hammerfists and then the referee jumped in not quite 80 seconds in the first round. Weili was protesting the stoppage and insisting she was fine but she was wobbly, I thought it was a good stoppage. Namajunas improves to 10-4 while Zhang loses for only the second time in her career, each loss bookending 21 straight wins. Zhang will be back but it’s going to be hard to beat Namajunas, who seems to get better with each fight. Good win for Namajunas.
GOOD- Kamaru Usman stops Jorge Masvidal
Usman got his first takedown in the first round off of a missed Masvidal knee. They traded elbows before Masvidal got up, hitting a flying knee as the round ended. The second round saw both men throw some strikes but nothing of not until Usman destroyed Masvidal with a huge right cross that ended things just over one minute into the second round. Usman successfully defended his UFC Welterweight Championship with this win. He improves to 19-1 and hasn’t lost in eight years. He’s also finished three of his last four opponents with strikes. Masvidal drops to 35-15 and that stupid BMF belt should be going home with Usman because he straight up Deebo’d Masvidal. I mean, he hit Masvidal so hard he knocked all the moisture right out of him. If you haven’t seen it, go check it out. You can probably find a meme about it.
Masvidal is tough, though, and he gave all credit and respect to Usman afterwards. Which I thought they weren’t going to interview guys who just got knocked out? Anyway, Masvidal is tough because that was a hit that could break your jaw. Good win for Usman.
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