I don’t know about you, but after watching these fights, I’m exhausted. What a fantastic pay per view start to the new year. The UFC was in Boston for a pair of title fights with similar story lines: the seasoned veteran takes on the young and unproven upstart. There were a lot of questions going into the fights. However, all of those questions were answered on the side of the reigning champs, who not only showed toughness, but showed their experience.
The biggest question on everyone’s mind was how Stipe Miocic would handle the scariest mother fucker in the UFC, Francis Ngannou. Turns out he’s not so scary. Ngannou landed some decent shots, but Miocic landed his own, and THEN took over the fight completely on the ground. Francis was absolutely exhausted, but Jimmy Smith said it best after the fight: he showed he doesn’t even have the fundamentals for anything outside of striking. Miocic was only in real danger once or twice during the fight, whereas Ngannou was constantly on the defensive or getting dominated on the ground. Stipe Miocic not only proved how much of a badass he is, but also broke the record of heavyweight title defenses. In my mind, he the GOAT. ….Now we just need a healthy Cain Velazquez….
This next one was the one I was most nervous about. My fellow Louisiana boy, Daniel Cormier, has had an interesting career. I know he was heartbroken after his last loss to Jon Jones, only to have his world turned upside down again when Jones tests positive for a banned substance. Cormier is given the belt again and has to defend it against a guy with heavy hands and a meteoric rise to the title in Volkan Oezdimier. I had no idea how it was going to go, and I was scared to death for one of my favorite fighters. Luckily, I didn’t have much to worry about. DC not only was better on the ground, he was better on the FEET. He ends up in a beautiful crucifix position while Volkan is just eating punches until the ref stops the fight. Who knows what’s next for the champ, either. Maybe Jon Jones comes back sooner than expected, maybe Alexander Gustafson gets healthy very quickly. If you ask me, I want to see him take one more fight against Stipe for the heavyweight title. DC said he doesn’t want to fight at 40, and he only has little over a year left. That’s a super fight that needs to happen.
For me, the fight of the night is a no brainer. Calvin Kattar and Shane Burgos was fireworks from beginning to end. Kattar was throwing perfect jabs while Burgos was landing some damn fine body shots. Oddly enough, it was Kattar who was wearing more blood going into the third round. I thought for sure that Burgos had the advantage in terms of power, and then holy shit an uppercut from nowhere takes out Burgos legs and Kattar pounces. This was such a fun fight to watch, and I can’t wait to see both of these guys back in the octagon.
Speaking of finishes, how about Rob Font getting it done against Thomas Almeida. Almeida can be unpredictable at times, but Font kept his head about him until the right moment. They mentioned Rob Font lives only like ten minutes from the stadium, so hw about a finish victory in front of the hometown crowd? Get that man into the top 10 and get him a fight ASAP.
This next one could very well be the knockout of the year. Sabah Homasi and Abdul Razak Alhassan had already fought once, and Alhassan won in a VERY controversial stoppage. But both of these fighters agreed to a rematch, and Alhassan sure as fuck wasn’t going to leave any doubt this time.
I mean god damn. That was a hit. Sign that man up for more high profile fights.
I also have to mention those scrappy little flyweights on the card, too. They are always near and dear to my heart. This time it was Dustin Ortix over Alexandre Pantoja. Pantoja was a crafty mother fucker, but Ortix got the nod from the judges because of his pressure and his action while in the clinch and on the ground. Pantoja didn’t do a whole lot besides look for a submission, and I think the judges were looking less for control and more for action.
There’s also some fights you may have missed early on. The most exciting of those definitely goes to Julio Arce vs Dan Ige. Arce was able to shut down the takedown attempts from Ige and land constant shots all through the fight. Ige was at a decided disadvantage on the feet, and just didn’t have an answer for Julio Arce’s striking.
And you can’t have a highlight article without mentioning this. Gleison Tibau was just minding his own business making his return to the octagon after a suspension, when all of a sudden Islam Makhachev punches him in the face.
What’s that? The Russian trains with Khabib Nurmagomedov? Oh, sorry Gleison. You maybe should have picked someone else to make your return against.
ANYWAY! I had fun, and I’m really looking forward to the next few main events we get. I know we don’t always get marquee names on every card, but there are so many exciting fighters in the UFC now I feel like its an embarrassment of riches. We only even have to wait until next weekend to get Derek Brunson vs Jacare Souza, and the best nickname in the UFC: Andre “Touchy” Fili vs Dennis Bermudez. See you soon.