Four out of the five main card fights ended via finish, while the prelims (which always find ways to be awesome) sported a total of two. Yet, I’d argue that up to the last 2 preliminary fights, it was still a very entertaining undercard. Not too many shenanigans, so… let’s get on with things.
Alright, let’s jump right to my picks. Then, we’ll chat about this, that and the other.

For your reference, my picks:

When we saw Adesanya back on UFC221, I agreed with the many people who saw a resemblance to Jon Jones. Of course, I had my reservations, and the opponent wasn’t exactly one who’d threaten a MW title any time soon, but… it cannot be ignored. He even gave us a hint of takedown defense, though again, the opponent was not a good enough test. Brad Tavares was a positive indication on Israel’s part, but Derek Brunson… #6 ranked MW, an All American wrestler and a guy who arguably beat Anderson Silva… As far as defensive wrestling goes, Adesanya made a statement, and capped it with what might be his most impressive striking showcase in UFC to date. I’m on board the train.
0 for 1
I’ll go ahead and admit that it took me time to recall these two guys when doing my picks, and I went with Roberson more based on record and “gut feeling”. The fight itself was not spectacular, but most fun to watch. I have a feeling Marshman held back just a tad, but no surprise, considering the effective counters Roberson threw every chance he got. I guess that’s what won Roberson the fight – effective striking.
1 for 2
I nearly had to eat some crow… I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was recovering from a migraine, home with the kids, or just getting old and developing memory holes, but I completely put aside Jared’s dubious TDD “game”. I remembered him bigger (which he was… of course he was… he cut to 184.5… duh) and stronger. Man, the power is still there and that gave me the pick, as Branch was doing everything right, just up to that jack hammer he walked into. Cannonier isn’t challenging the title in the foreseeable future, but he’ll bring that force into any competition, and he looks so much better, so much healthier at Middleweight. Kudos to him.
2 for 3
Chris started this fight beautifully. I saw 2 possible scenarios for a Jacare win (which I predicted). One was a very strong blow from the Brazilian that would wobble Chris and allow him to get to the ground, and the other was that this blow would be enough… What Chris did so well for most of the first 6 minutes of the fight was throw a very effective jab. Accurate, stiff, and more importantly – doubled, tripled and quadrupled. From this range, Jacare’s power and any chance of a takedown were null and void. Jacare went to the body, and moved, patiently, taking the shots. Had this fight went on this way, Weidman would’ve celebrated in his home town and make a case for title contention soon. However, for some reason (not his corner who urged him to do the same) Chris stopped pumping that jab, and Jacare went in, for a dog fight. Weidman, with solid technical skills had the lower hand in these exchanges and Jacare started establishing himself, winning the second. More of the same in the third led to that KO (which for inexplicable reason, the ref didn’t see…). I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Jacare, and isn’t happy for the guy.
3 for 4
What happens before a fight like this is, more often than not, my buddies desperately trying to cast a little doubt in my assertion that DC will win it easily. “Punchers chance” and “Lewis has that KO power” are common arguments, and “DC might make a mistake”. Yes. that accounts for the 0.0000261% chance Lewis actually had to walk out of this with the belt. Just like the chance Matt Serra had against GSP any time after he beat him that one time. Actually… Matt Serra had WAY more skills and attributes in that comparison than Lewis had, coming in. DC is not on a different level of MMA to Lewis’s. in each and every parameter (minus power), DC is on a different plain, different planet, different universe. In a way, Cormier actually did even better than I thought he would. I thought he’d try to move Lewis around a little before changing levels (Lightspeed for Lewis, and most HWs) and taking him down. But hey… Cormier is just so much better, it wasn’t necessary. And in fact, it was the smarter thing to do. Take away the power, by forcing the Black Beast to try to hit him from his back. Tiring him by forcing him to carry all of that weight. None of this is Derrick’s fault. One does not simply get a title shot and says “No, thanks”, and there was absolutely nothing Lewis could’ve done differently. He will continue to be a fan favorite (including yours truly), and DC will continue to cement his legacy as one of MMA’s biggest legends.
4 for 5

Well. It was somewhat of a sleeper card, which performed well above the credit fans gave it, and only my lack of conviction in Adesanya (for the last time) had me miss a perfect score. I’ll take 4 out of 5 though any night.

Aaaaand NEW:

  • Looking at the Middleweight division, one has to consider Israel Adesanya a title contender pretty soon. We all have some very interesting possible match ups for the rising star (Romero? Rockhold? Jacare?…). I’m very excited to see what’s next. Having dealt very well with Brunson’s wrestling, I’d mostly be interested in upping the ante in that department (which should tell you who I’d pick) and see where the limit is. If there is one…

Aaaaand STILL:

  • And while one star is just hitting his prime, another is in preparations for retirement. Cormier is just under 40 years of age, and I cannot fault him for wanting to secure his future and his legacy. At this age, and in this profession, money is very important and this money will come from a fight with Brock Lesnar. Facing a wrestler of Brock’s magnitude and size, along with being a former UFC champion, would help establish Cormier’s place in MMA’s history. I’m saying this to clarify that I do not see anything wrong with the way Daniel is thinking.
  • Stipe Miocic lost a fight by TKO. It was not a split decision that screamed “immediate rematch”. So in that sense, I also see the logic. I think Lewis was inserted into the mix, to make the Lesnar fight more “digestible” – not being the first title defense.
  • I do see a problem (surprise, surprise) with the way the UFC is handling this though. Starting with the shameful way Miocic was treated while still nursing his head, having just being knocked down and out. On with his apparent disappearance off the face of the earth, as far as the UFC is concerned. We are talking about the fighter with the most successful HW title defenses in the history of this organization.
  • So what would I have them do? I’d let DC beat Lewis then face Stipe for the belt. Secure a HUGE pay-day for DC – BECAUSE HE DESERVES IT, and not because the gate was big, or the PPV sales record would be broken. Wanna have a Lesnar fight after that? Fine. Do that without burning one of the best HW in history.
  • Not much else to say today.
Performance of the night: A couple
Israel Adesanya demolition of Derek Brunson

 

Jacare knocking out Chris Weidman

 

Fight of the night: Chris Weidman Vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

 

And a VERY honorable mention to Lando Vannata Vs Matt Frevola.

 

Don’t forget to check out Combat Docket for more good reads and post UFC230 fallout.


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