HYDEN BLOG: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly from UFC 279

By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch Senior Columnist

After a wild day that saw the card get completely rearranged at the
top, UFC 279 delivered some fun action and a finish I had never seen
before. What happened? Let’s get to the rundown.

UFC 279
GOOD- Johnny Walker submits Ion Cutelaba
They exchange head kick attempts before Cutelaba gets a takedown.
After a little bit of ground-and-pound they grapple a bit before
Cutelaba stands. However, Walker slams him down to the mat and starts
hunting submissions. After a bit, Walker locks in a rear-naked choke
and Cutelaba is forced to tap a little over four and a half minutes
into the first round. Walker improves to 19-7 while Cutelaba drops to
16-8-1 with 1 No Contest. Good win for Walker.

GOOD- Irena Aldana stops Macy Chiasson
They trade leg kicks for most of the slow-paced first round. Chiasson
tries for a takedown but Aldana turns it into a submission attempt but
can’t get it and the round ends. The second round opens with Chiasson
being aggressive and she gets a takedown. She’s all over Aldana and
lands a bunch of elbows but she can’t get the finish. The third round
sees them trade some more strikes before Aldana fights off a Chiasson
takedown attempt but she falls back to invite her in, looking for the
submission victory. As Chiasson stands over her Aldana crushes her
with a heel to her right floating rib and the fight is over as
Chiasson crumples in agony. Crazy, I’ve never seen anything like that
before. Aldana improves to 14-6 while Chiasson drops to 8-3. Good win
for Aldana.

GOOD/BAD- Daniel Rodriguez vs. Li Jingliang
Rodriguez was originally scheduled to fight Kevin Holland while Li was
originally scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson until all the weigh-in
drama happened. Rodriguez attacking with punches and kicks early. Li
fights back with kicks of his own, to the legs and the body. Li really
turned it on at the end of the round with those kicks. Rodriguez with
some kicks while Li attacks with strikes. The crowd is upset because
they’re mainly just sparring. They trade more strikes for the rest of
the second round. The third round opens with more kicks from each man.
Neither seems committed to going for the win, they both seem content
to spar. The crowd doesn’t like it and I’m not the biggest fan but the
fight ends and Rodriguez wins by Split Decision. I think Li should
have won but this isn’t the first time I disagree with the judges.
Rodriguez improves to 17-2 and has won 4 fights in a row while Li
drops to 19-8. Good win for Rodriguez.

GOOD- Khamzat Chimaev stops Kevin Holland
Holland was originally scheduled to face Daniel Rodriguez while
Chimaev was scheduled to face Nate Diaz. However, Chimaev was ordered
to stop his weight cut by a doctor and everything got thrown into
disarray and that’s how we got to this matchup. As for the fight,
Chimaev gets an immediate takedown but Holland scrambles well. It’s
not enough, though, and Chimaev goes for a submission. Holland tries
to escape but Chimaev locks in a D’arce Choke and Holland has to tap a
little over two minutes into the first round. Chimaev looks pretty
unstoppable and remains undefeated at 12-0. Holland drops to 23-8 with
1 No Contest. Chimaev needs to get whatever issues led to him having
to stop his weight cut dealt with because he looks like he needs a
title shot here soon. Good win for Chimaev.

GOOD- Nate Diaz submits Tony Ferguson
Diaz was supposed to face Chimaev, who came in way over weight after
having his weight cut stopped by a doctor and Ferguson was originally
scheduled to fight Li Jiangling until all the weigh-in drama. They
trade strikes early and often, as you would expect. Ferguson is
utilizing more kicks here. The first round ends as Diaz lands some
nice punches. The second round opens with them continuing to pick each
other apart. Ferguson is mixing in some good punches with his kicks.
He’s also working the body well. We move to the third round as
Ferguson continues landing his kicks and Diaz starts to taunt. Diaz is
walking through the kicks to try to get at Ferguson. Diaz’s punches
are now seeming to have more of an effect than Ferguson’s kicks as the
round ends. The fourth round opens with Diaz landing some kicks of his
own. Ferguson is still working the body but then he decides to shoot
in and gets caught in a guillotine. It’s tight and Ferguson has to tap
out not quite three minutes into the fourth round. Diaz improves to
21-13 while Ferguson drops to 25-8 and has lost 5 straight fights.
Good win for Diaz.

GOOD- Nate Diaz wins his potential last fight
This was the final fight of Diaz’s contract. He could re-sign but that
doesn’t seem likely. Not that I would be stunned if he did come back
for at least one more fight but we’ll have to wait to see if that
happens. I’ve always liked Nate as a fighter. I appreciate his
willingness to scrap and throw hands with people. He’s 37 years old so
he can keep fighting if he wants but he seems to have a major problem
with the UFC. So maybe he goes elsewhere?

UGLY- Backstage altercations at the pre-fight press conference
Security had to intervene as Khamzat Chimaev and Kevin Holland were
jawing at each other backstage. After security got them separated,
Chimaev then got into it with Diaz. You can look it up for yourself if
you want but the UFC using this in the hype package makes the whole
thing seem contrived. It seems legit but anytime stuff like this is
used by a company to hype something it makes you question it’s
authenticity. There’s also elements of “Hold me back!” with the guys
involved calling each other out but no one actually doing anything.
It’s a decades-old tactic and I guess it adds a little juice, which is
why it’s still used.
I only sort of question the legitimacy of the fighters doing this, it
just makes me wonder if the UFC wasn’t hoping it would happen and
maybe even doing a little bit to ensure it did. All right, I’ll take
my tinfoil hat off now.

My new fantasy book is now out. It’s called Kingdom of Zarias: The Steep
Price of Revenge
. It’s the second book in my epic fantasy Kingdom
of Zarias series and follows the adventures of the Summers siblings as
they seek revenge for the wrongs inflicted on them. This book also
introduces lots of other characters as the scope of the world
continues to expand. There’s lots of action, magic, and monsters in
the Kingdom of Zarias. It’s like a tabletop game in novel form. It’s
on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and many other places. If you’re
interested, I would greatly appreciate it if you would check it out
and support me. Also, here’s the link to my new Compendium book about
the Kingdom of Zarias series- KoZ Compendium Thank you
very much, have a good day.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to me at
hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow me on Twitter at @hydenfrank.
Thanks for reading and have a good day.

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