For the longest time, UFC 238 flew right under my radar. That was until they announced Cowboy Vs. Ferguson. This fight was scheduled to “save a dull card” apparently. So, I went and looked at the scheduled fights and realized that, although “The People’s Main Event” will certainly bring the buzz to Chicago, the card is full of gems as it is. I thoroughly enjoyed it for the most part.
Alright, let’s jump right to my picks. Then, we’ll chat about this, that and the other.
For your reference, my picks:
This fight went pretty much as I imagined it. I thought Ivanov might actually be able to take Tai down a couple of times though, and gave him the edge based on that. Other than that, it was – as expected – a sluggish slug fest (well, for their respective cardio). You have to respect these guy’s chins… they took and dished some jackhammers that landed clean, and with the exception of a couple of momentary wobbly legs, both held their own. Blagoy landed a little more, so I agree with the judges’ decision, and take the 1.
1 for 1
Having watched all of these guys’ fights, I told everyone who’d listen, not to tune in just for the next bout… Two guys who can end a fight at any given moment, who keep working towards that end constantly, who have hearts and chin. Rivera opened the fight really well, attacking Yan’s leg, staying in perpetual motion and landing to different parts of the body and head. Yan stayed relaxed, kept moving forward found his target with the short shots, more often than the big swings, and near the end of the first, caught Rivera flush near the fence. A few more seconds and… Who knows… who cares… we gots ourselves a fight! Second round was almost a copy of the first, ending with another near finish for the Russian. Form an MMA point of view, this fight was the best on the card – top to bottom. Did it trump the others for FOTN? Wait and see…
2 for 2
The people’s main event. The fight most fans waited for. It had anything an MMA fan wants (and then some…). Cowboy started much faster than he normally does, perhaps thinking to capitalize on another infamous slow starter, or just wanting to establish something. It seemed to have worked – to an extent. Tony was waiting, timing, and thinking. Cowboy landed, but when Tony went to his corner, it was fairly clear he was far from distraught. The plan was in motion, and he knew what he needed to do. He came out to the second, guns a-blazing. Tony gave us a perfect Tony round. Everything this guy lands is sharp, crisp, hard and many times surprising (though we shouldn’t be surprised after 11 straight wins). But more than anything – it’s economic. Wonder why Tony never tires? Sure, great cardio. But how about landing percentage. He lands a scary amount of his strikes, and even if he misses the original target, the strike still lands on something, whether an arm, shoulder or hip. Power that comes from both strength and technique. Everything was set up for Tony re-establishing himself for championship, when the bell rang… Tony was in mid combination, and the last punch landed flush on the nose (which looked broken for the better part of the round). It looked bad, but not intentional. Cowboy, having some breathing problems did the wrong thing and tried to clear it, immediately shutting his right eye. Fight over. I love Cowboy. He is a favorite of mine since WEC days, and only GSP is higher on my list. But there was simply no other thing to do, other than stop the fight and call it a TKO. There’s life after fighting, and Cowboy must have remembered that, as soon as he glimpsed his son. Now, having learned that he also suffered an orbital fracture it’s even clearer.
Since I chose not to choose a winner for this fight…
2 for 2
I have to admit I smiled when I saw this matchup. All due respect to Jessica, I didn’t really see this as a fair fight. Sure, it’s MMA and everything can happen on a given night, but Valentina is on a different level, on pretty much every aspect of this sport. I didn’t see even one place, where Eye might have the edge, or even ground for that matter. I can’t say I saw an early stoppage, but I did imagine a very dominant win for Shevchenko. Think round 1 and getting worse by the minute. The end reminded DC of the trap Jones set for him in their last fight, and for a good reason. Beautiful finish.
3 for 3
Honestly, I picked Moraes because I wanted him to win. Why? I’ll elaborate on that further down the post. Hopefully you all read, as you should always, Benjamin Abrigo’s technical preview. The fight started as I’d imagined. Moraes trying to utilize his advantages, and doing fairly well. But only that. Cejudo came in in the second and got to work. For the most part, people who have to talk about cardio, have issues in that department, and Cejudo, having decided to just get in Marlon’s face, relentlessly pushed him with everything he had. I’m very impressed with his game, and the execution. Beating Moraes is very nice. Finishing him is an awesome feather in his cap.
3 for 4
I did think Tony would win, but I will never pick against Cowboy. That leaves me with 3 out of 4 which is a huge improvement over the shameful display of 237…
The new champ champ is Henry Cejudo and kudos to him. I have much respect for him, and his accomplishments, and I wish him success in his future endeavors. That said, how can you stand in that cage, being watched by Daniel Cormier, and call yourself the greatest fighter in combat sports?… Listen, a gold medal is more than awesome. It is truly a proof of greatness, especially in a sport like wrestling. Now, let’s talk a little about MMA. Yes, Henry our friend, found success in that area too recently. He beat DJ, which is very well played, TJ (+juice) and now Moraes. I applaud all of these performances. But let us get back down to the ground and look just outside the cage, and see a nice guy with a goatee, smiling at us. Henry, meet Daniel. Daniel is the heavyweight champion of the UFC, with wins on almost every active HW in the world worth a mention. Daniel was also the LHW champion of the UFC, who defended that belt too, against far tougher competition. His only losses? To Jon Jones, another martial artist who is still way greater than Henry. Not to mention Georges St. Pierre. So come on Henry, enjoy your success, I honestly wish that one day you will become what you say you are (though in Flyweight and Bantamweight, it would be a hell of a task), but until then… please… just focus on fighting… let the hands talk and rest that over active mouth of yours a little. It just makes me pick against you on principle…
Talk about mouths… we had a few call outs last night. Aljamain Sterling beat Pedro Munhoz in a stellar performance. He didn’t settle for the W, but went all in. Petr Yan went through the aforementioned war with Rivera and came out victorious. Both called out for a title shot against (as it turned out) Cejudo. But Cejudo? He called out an injured, semi-retired legend, a retired (until very recently) legend, and if we’d had more air time, likely Jon Jones… Now, assuming we don’t go with fantasy fights, who would you go with? Both have solid cases, and both fights will have their respective appeal. I’d personally go with Aljo first, just for the texture of the fight, with more movement and perhaps some unpredictability. But either one will make me a happy camper.
I live in Guadalajara, Mexico and as such, I follow the career of Alexa Grasso pretty closely. It was pretty disappointing thus far, as I knew there’s talent there, but something was always missing since she made her UFC debut. I was worried that this was heart… she demonstrated serious challenge with engagement, which was surprising because she has the skills. All of this made me tune into 238 with a gnawing fear that this might be a fight where she would simply be outclassed. BOY, was I wrong. I loved her approach, her continuous output, forward movement. All this against a fighter who fought well against some of the top fighters in 115. She owned this fight from bell to bell and looked confident, competent and crisp. I’m not going to go overboard here with excitement, but I really enjoyed this fight, and hope that it will give her that boost, that seemed to have been missing for a while now.
We all know that UFC had issues with Mighty mouse. We all know that they had (and perhaps still do) issues with Tyron Woodley. These guys weren’t as “magnetizing” or “best sellers” as UFC hoped they would be. But Tony? Tony is different… Tony is the bee’s knees. So why, UFC, why did Tony not get the title shot upon his return? All due respect to Pettis. Ignoring this for the time being, why not Conor? Why is Tony not deserving that red panty night? Are you not entertained? Tony was the interim champ and did not lose that belt. I really hope this changes in the very near future, when Dana announces the plans for Ferguson’s next fight.
Valentina Shevchenko will very likely turn into the longest reigning women champion, and should be able to set the bar at a nearly untouchable number. She is way above her division at this time, and unless someone new comes in soon, I don’t really see real competition thrown at her.
Sometimes – and this is becoming more often – Rogan simply cannot hide his bias, which can be fairly irritating. For anyone watching the early prelims fight between Angela Hill and Yan Xiaonan, this should have been very obvious… after almost every exchange, in which Yan landed 3 or 4 to Angela’s 1, he would congratulate Angie for her “beautiful left” or “Good right”… it was so annoying to hear him literally coach her on her early triangle attempt. It is one of the reasons I prefer it when he is not on mic duty…
It’s still fun to watch Eddie Wineland fights. You know what you’re about to get, and with the addition of Grigory Popov, and his impressive chin, this made for a crazy fun fight.
And last but not least, how good is Nina Ansaroff? How good is training with Amanda Nunes? Something is done right for a while there, and I’m impressed with her every time. This was a very predictable fight, yet, I don’t think Tatiana would take a heck of a lot out of it. Yes, she was able to control (especially the first two rounds), but hardly any damage. On the feet, the edge belonged to Ansaroff, and Tatiana who will very likely meet a strong striker in her next fight, will be tested at the highest level. I am not completely off the Suarez train. By no means do I think she is not a very good contender. But Nina made her look more human. This should be a driver for Tatiana (as well as for Ansaroff, who we know can show improvements) on her way up.
Well. This was UFC238. Let’s look at
Performance of the night:
Tony Ferguson causing damage:
Valentina Shevchenko going up, Eye going down:
Fight of the night:
Jimmie Rivera Vs Petr Yan:
Tony Ferguson Vs Donald Cerrone:
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