He said he believed he would “make this fight look surprisingly easy” and that’s exactly what he did. If you didn’t think Jon Jones was the (UFC) “goat” before, you better think again. He’s also my second favorite fighter after Anderson Silva; Jones’ second favorite fighter after himself.
I was doubtful about his chances in this Heavyweight debut; Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski lost their win streaks after going up a weight class; especially when I saw him looking pudgy after taking off his shirt outside the Octagon, but he makes short work of Ciryl Gane.
“What a crazy decision,” Joe Rogan exclaims in response to Cody Garbrandt suddenly going from pro MMA fighter to sloppy street brawler near the end of Round 1, but what he probably wanted to say was “stupid”.
It was apparently an emotional (angry) reaction to an inadvertent headbutt that made Garbrandt go wild; trading punches hard and fast with little to no defense; which results in his third knockout loss in a row.
Israel Adesanya’s first UFC loss came at the hands of Jan Błachowicz, but that didn’t really count. He stepped up to test himself in a new weight class and got outwrestled, but his belt wasn’t on the line. This; getting Technically Knocked Out by Alex Pereira; is his first real defeat and it’s sort of surreal. Even the commentators can’t seem to believe it as the normally elusive Stylebender gets pummeled by what may as well be the final boss in a video game.
To Adesanya’s credit, he looks to be on his way to another decision victory; he wobbles Pereira at the end of the first round and, perhaps taking a cue from Błachowicz, even goes on to mix in some ground work; until that fifth and final round when he gets a kick checked and tumbles backward. That marks the beginning of the end as Pereira backs him up against the cage and almost leaves him “Frozen like” he did in their last kickboxing bout.
This bout gets rather interesting about two minutes in, at least for us perverts, as Amanda Ribas mounts her opponent in what looks like a creative lesbian sex position and dominates her for the rest of the round. It’s Marina Rodriguez’s turn in Round 2 as she collapses Ribas with a punch to the jaw.
What happens next is quite odd. Herb Dean rushes in while Rodriguez continues to punch Ribas as if he’s about to stop the fight. Rodriguez apparently thinks he does as she starts her victory walk before realizing it’s not over. Cue comical exclamations from the commentators as Ribas gets hit twice more.
Aljamain Sterling earned himself a lot of detractors after faking a concussion and winning the Bantamweight belt via DQ. The stupid dance he does here after another questionable victory; we eventually learn TJ Dillashaw took this fight with a shoulder injury; does him no favors.
Not that Dillashaw isn’t to blame. “I completely blew my shoulder out at the end of April”, he reveals in his post fight interview, “It probably dislocated a good twenty times in training camp”. Why he wouldn’t simply postpone the bout till he has a better chance at a victory is beyond me.
I could’ve made a lot of money on this fight if I were a gambler. I figured Sean O’Malley; one of the best pound-for-pound punchers (strikers) in the UFC in regard to technique, accuracy and power; would win when it seems most fans were counting him out. The thing is, he doesn’t really win.
The official judges give him a victory, sure, but I disagree with the decision. It’s a relatively close fight and his strikes seem to hurt Petr Yan more than Yan’s hurt him; O’Malley lands a “huge” head kick in round three; but I think Yan edges it with his wrestling, takedowns and control time.
Sean Strickland seemed on the verge of finally becoming a star in The UFC after stealing the show at the 276 Press Conference. Full of wisecracks and knowing how close he was to a title shot; Alex Pereira has clearly been put on the fast track to one; he seemed more interested in taunting Israel Adesanya about getting “slept” by Pereira than Pereira.
“Focus on this guy”, Champion Adesanya warned, “Cause, trust me, he will sleep you if not.” Strickland laughed it off. Cut to Pereira landing a left hook and, well, sleeping him “in the very first round”. It’s a shot to the chin, but it’s Strickland’s bonehead that made him think it was a good idea to stand right there in front of one of the best strikers in the division.
The most entertaining round of this fight for me is the second, which jumps off when, just as Joe Rogan is about to suggest it, Mackenzie Dern pulls guard against the cage and goes for a standing Kimura. She eventually brings Tecia Torres down to the ground; commentator Paul Felder makes a funny “weight” joke here; which results in a sexy tangle that lasts to the horn.
The betting odds for this bout were so ridiculously in favor of Khamzat Chimaev; it seems most fans thought he’d “smash” Gilbert Burns in the very first round; that even given a hard-fought victory, his hype train takes a massive hit. It’s actually the loser (Burns) whose stock goes up as he makes what seemed like an unbeatable enigma look human.
Of course Chimaev deserves a lot of credit for proving himself against a top contender. Burns is number two under champion Kamaru Usman and, though this is a damn close fight, the winner of which could’ve went either way, Chimaev beats him by unanimous decision. That’s quite a feat for someone who’s relatively new to the world of UFC.
Johnny Walker fights usually end with him either knocking someone out or getting knocked out and this bout is no exception. Jamahal Hill finishes him with a punch to the forehead, of all places, which, after being dropped twice by Ryan Spann when they fought, suggests he simply can’t take a punch. Perhaps it’s that same brain defect that makes his body react in cartoonishly amusing ways. Here he goes unconscious after a delayed back flop à la Ric Flair.