In hindsight, it’s easy to say Miranda Maverick shouldn’t have taken this fight. She stepped in, on about a month’s notice, to replace a reportedly injured Maycee Barber, who gave Maverick her first UFC defeat back in July, but gets mostly dominated.
“How you feel right now,” Maverick’s coach starts to say between rounds, but she takes it as a question. “I’m losing,” she answers. She does good at limiting “damage”, but it’s Blanchfield’s offense; takedowns and ground game; that does her in.
Michael Chandler comes close to a TKO victory in the very first round of this fight, but Charles Oliveira survives. What happens early in round two is akin to Oliveira; “the number-one submission guy in the history of The UFC”; being submitted by Chandler, the “gorilla”.
Oliveira lands a left to Chandler’s face that puts him on his ass. He (Chandler) spins back up only to get caught again, with the same punch, a few seconds later. Down he goes again and Dan Miragliotta’s seen enough, which makes Oliveira the new Lightweight Champion.
This would be an amazing showcase for Khamzat Chimaev if not for Li Jingliang’s defensive skills. The way Chimaev holds him up in the air like a rebellious toddler and slams him to the ground, all while talking to Dana White, is certainly, as Paul Felder suggests, impressive, but Jingliang is able to survive for a couple of minutes.
Chimaev is a scary prospect. He’s currently the most hyped “phenom” in The UFC. This victory puts him near the ranks of the top lightweight, not to mention welterweight and middleweight, contenders. He says he’s come to “kill everybody” and, considering his ten-fight MMA win streak; all early finishes; he might not be playing.
After his last five fights, including surprising wins over Dominick Reyes and middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, I thought Jan Błachowicz would beat Glover Teixeira relatively easily. What happens is the opposite. Błachowicz predicted a second-round finish and he was right. This makes Teixeira, at 42, the oldest-ever UFC champion after Randy Couture.
Daniel Cormier makes it seem like this wasn’t close. His objections after the fight suggest there’s something wrong with the judges, but, while I think Miranda Maverick won it, I would’ve been okay with the decision either way. Her pressure gives her the first round, but she can’t keep it up. By round three, she seems to be nearly exhausted as Maycee Barber puts it on her.
“I definitely had a good fight with her,” Barber says in her interview; Daniel Cormier is all smiles in her face; and I agree, though the ending seems a bit anticlimactic. I’ve been anticipating this bout since UFC 260 and I wanted two more rounds dammit. If it were a five-rounder, perhaps Barber would’ve finished her. Perhaps not. Miranda Maverick is a tough girl.
Ever since this fight, the third and hopefully final in the Dustin Poirier versus Conor McGregor trilogy, was announced, I thought it was a bad idea. McGregor, who’s “won exactly one fight since Barack Obama was president”, didn’t deserve an immediate rematch with the number one title contender. I also figured it would end like the previous one with McGregor getting finished early.
To his credit, he sort of finishes himself by breaking his own leg or ankle after probably fracturing it during the barrage of outside leg kicks he starts the fight with. Still, though I was actually rooting for the fallen Irishman to win this bout and reclaim his former UFC glory, it’s hilariously ironic to see him being rolled out on a stretcher after he predicted that exact scenario for Poirier.
The most poignant moment happens several minutes before when the Notorious one, in terrible pain and grasping onto what’s left of his pride, yells to the officials to make sure this loss comes with the asterisk of being a “doctor stoppage!” He then goes on, in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, to throw angry jabs at Poirier and his “little ho” wife like the villain in a superhero comic.
Despite Jake Paul, this has got to be one of the best events in the history of The UFC. Every bout on the main card ends early either shockingly or spectacularly. The first two are TKOs in the loosest sense. Anthony Smith continues the trend of leg kick finishes after a doctor steps in to give an injured Jimmy Crute the MMA equivalent of a sobriety test, which he fails. Uriah Hall, in a surreality destined to be a viral sensation, breaks Chris Weidman’s leg the same way he (Weidman) broke Anderson Silva’s.
Jéssica Andrade’s loss to Valentina Shevchenko, a traditional TKO by strikes, serves as a bit of an intermission as its the one fight that ends as expected. Then, just when you think you can breathe again, Rose Namajunas shocks the world by knocking out Weili Zhang with a first-round head kick; the aftermath of which provides the most endearing moment of the night. “I’m the best,” Namajunas chants just before becoming champion and weeping with the belt around her waist. Joe Rogan apparently cries too.
The main event was unwarranted; Jorge Masvidal didn’t deserve another title shot and I figured he’d lose again, even with a full training camp; but Kamaru Usman delivers a surprisingly impressive finish by knocking him out with a punch to the jaw. If you hadn’t been putting respect on Usman’s name up to this point; the crowd boos not only him but also Weili Zhang on their way to The Octagon; it’s about time you start. The Nigerian fighter is on his way to becoming, much like this UFC event, one of the best ever.
You know you’ve been hit hard when you have to wait till Bruce Buffer officially announces the results to find-out how long your fight lasted. That’s the situation Khama Worthy finds himself in after getting “caught” by Jamie Mullarkey in the very first round. UFC 260 would, in fact, be a night of finishes if not for Miranda Maverick; I’d love to see this woman fight Maycee Barber; earning a decision victory over Gillian Robertson.
Sean O’Malley is still undefeated (ha) with a relatively easy win over a much smaller Thomas Almeida. The knockout comes in the third, but he could’ve pulled it off in the first if not for his showboating antics. Tyron Woodley lets his hands go fast and early on Vicente Luque, damn-near knocking him out at one point, but Luque hits back. I really wanted Woodley to win here as a fourth consecutive loss probably ends his UFC career.
I didn’t really care who won the main event, but I would’ve bet on Francis Ngannou; the “scariest contender” in the organization. Stipe Miocic, who’s a bit overrated with all the heavyweight “goat” talk during the build-up to this bout, finds that last bit out the hard way. “Out cold”, Joe Rogan declares, though I’m not sure if he’s referring to Stipe’s loss of consciousness or how wrong Ngannou did him by punching him in the face like that.