Let’s take a look at UFC 226 and who should be feeling good, bad and hiding in shame
UFC 226 is in the books, and we’ve had some time to digest the results and get a better handle on our feelings. It was a show that will be remembered for Daniel Cormier becoming the Champ-Champ as well as planting a foot solidly in the GOAT conversation. However, there is a lot to look at, so let’s break it down. Let’s look at the good, the bad and the so very ugly.
Daniel Cormier makes his dream a reality!
Daniel Cormier walked into the T-Mobile Arena with the Light Heavyweight belt around his waist. He walked out with it still there, and the Heavyweight title over his shoulder to boot! That’s right, DC not only won the super fight for the ages, the finished Stipe, in the first round, with a right hand! I couldn’t feel better for DC or worse for Stipe. Having Brock Lesnar call Stipe a “piece of sh*t” moments later into the mic was an insult to injury. Truth be told, Lesnar will sell a ton of tickets, but he will be smacked down by either Stipe or DC.
Anthony Pettis gets his Mojo back!
I think most people felt that Pettis had more than his hands full heading into a fight with Michael Chiesa. When Chiesa missed weight and Pettis was facing an even larger opponent, I felt he could get stopped early. However, he did what he needed to do in order to survive on the ground in the first round, and then in the second, he dropped Chiesa with a solid shot. Before Chiesa knew what was going on, he was caught in Triangle slash Armbar and tapping out. It’s a HUGE win for Pettis who is searching for the former self who won the Lightweight championship. That win was a big step towards that.
Khalil Rountree ladies and gentlemen!
The PPV kicked off with a fight between two violent strikers when Rountree met Gokhan Saki. The odds were heavily in Saki’s favor and most expected to see a righteous knockout. They got one! However much to people’s surprise, it was Saki on the canvas looking up at the lights. It took just over 90 seconds for Rountree to take Saki apart with an overhand left and then about seven left hammerfists. It was sudden, it was violent and it was great. Rountree has stopped 3 of his last 4 opponents via TKO in the first round.
Mike Perry almost lost to a one-armed man!
Mike Perry and Paul Felder had a violent, bloody fight. However, Felder badly injured his right arm in the first round and was basically a one-armed man for the rest of the fight. Even with that significant disadvantage, he was able to stay in the fight and be competitive. Ultimately, Felder lost a split decision to Perry, who for all his bravado needed to try and finish things when he had Felder unable to throw punches or defend takedowns with his right arm.
Michael Chiesa’s bad weekend.
Chiesa has lost two fights in a row now and was defeated by a dolly through the bus window at UFC 223. He was seemingly on the verge of huge things but back to back losses, combined with missing weight and telling Ariel Helwani that the cut almost killed him doesn’t put him in a good place. Seemingly Chiesa is heading to 170 pounds, and perhaps the lack of cut will help his performance. During his face-off with Pettis, he was heard telling Anthony that he’d be heading to Bellator. Hmmm, pot meet kettle?
Raphael Assuncao can’t win, even when he wins.
I’m not even kidding here, Assuncao must have run over Dana White’s dog. No matter what he does, or who beats it never seems to be enough to get him a title shot. I think it’s unfair to keep him away from the title simply because he’s not the most popular choice. He’s not tremendously exciting, or charismatic. That said, he’s good at the only thing he should have to be good at, fighting. Give the guy a title shot already. He’s getting the serious Demain Maia treatment. He’s won 11 of 12. The loss was to champion TJ Dillashaw, but he also holds a win over Dillashaw as well. He deserves a shot at the title.
The So Very Ugly
What if the two most violent heavyweights fought, and well, didn’t actually fight?
Anytime you have Joe Rogan, a UFC commentator repeatedly saying it’s the worst heavyweight fight he’s ever seen, it’s not good. I think Derrick Lewis and Francis NGannou combined for a total of 31 strikes landed. Over three full rounds. That’s horrendous. That’s like five each per round. Wow. Francis NGannou landed one strike in the first round. He simply would not engage. He was scared and it showed plainly in his style and on his face. It’s one of the worst fights I’ve ever seen, and with expectations so high for that fight, it felt doubly horrible.
Daniel Cormier: “Brock Lesnar, get your ass in here.”
Brock Lesnar and Daniel Cormier had what could only be called a spectacle in the Octagon after DC became a simultaneous two-division champion. It was a moment that should have been all about DC and the truly amazing achievement, but they sold the moment and it was stupid, and choreographed and laughable. We all know DC and Brock Lesnar will do monster dollars…but we’re six months from it, Saturday night should have just been about DC.