The last UFC event of the year is over and it was a very good one. Two epic title fights – each in their own way – and three excellent fights to top it off.
Amanda Nunes(w) vs Ronda Rousey
Let’s start at the top: Ronda Rousey loses, again. In all honesty, the fight was hard to watch. It appears that she didn’t make any improvements in the year she took off. Her head was a stationary target for Amanda Nunes to tee off on. Which with her boxing and power quickly brought the fight to a stoppage. Is this the end of a career? Who can tell, but if Ronda wants to continue fighting, she will need to get a better trainer than she currently has.
All props go to Amanda Nunes. She was the underdog despite her well-roundedness and proved everybody who doubted her wrong tonight. You could see how quickly the crowd started supporting her. Maybe now the UFC will realize that she is a very marketable person who can talk well, even if she has a bit of accent. Anyway, she did exactly what she was supposed to do. I think that the first right hand she threw hurt Ronda and it all went downhill for her from then.
Another fact worth mentioning is the difference in their pay: Rousey got $3 million disclosed pay while Nunes only got $100k show and $100k win. But, as the champion she also got PPV points, so she earned a good bit more.
Dominic Cruz vs Cody Garbrandt(w)
In the co-main came perhaps the biggest surprise of the card. Not only did Cody Garbrandt beat Dominic Cruz, he dominated him for five rounds and won a decision. And the way he did it was spectacular. A few people were aware of his amateur boxing record – 32-1 – but no one expect him to have such good footwork and head movement on top of the power we already knew he had.
It was a performance reminiscent of Anderson Silva. It wasn’t completely one-sided: Cruz got some good shots in too and stayed in the fight till the last bell. Now we know just how ridiculous his chin and recovery are. He was knocked down 4 times in one round(a UFC record!) and still came out game for the next.
What will surely make him even more fans was his post-fight speech at the press conference. Very humble in defeat, like a true champion.
TJ Dillashaw(w) vs John Lineker
TJ Dillashaw unsurprisingly used his longer reach and footwork to outpoint and defeat John Lineker. The improvements from TJ’s fight against Dominic are visible, he is much more active and the timing on his takedowns is not getting scarily close to perfect. Lineker never got a chance to get in close and land the body shots that he wanted, as Dillashaw kept him on the outside with kicks and distance management.
It is possible that he will be the next one to challenge for the bantamweight title. Although Garbrandt said that he would like to give Cruz an immediate rematch(which is appealing, but perhaps not entirely warranted), this is probably the fight to make right now.
Dong Hyun Kim(w) vs Tarec Saffiedine
Dong Hyun Kim did like I predicted and dominated the fight with his grappling. Most of the fight took place along the fence in a clinch war, where Tarec Saffiedine was surprisingly effective against the Judo player. It was a close fight and a hard one to score(Joe Rogan had it for Saffiedine), but in the end the Dong walked away with the victory.
Loius Smolka vs Ray Borg(w)
In the first fight on the main card, Ray Borg dominated the fight, using his ground game and BJJ to control Louis Smolka and rain elbows and punches down on him. Impressive performance that puts Borg among the current rising stars in the UFC.
All in all, one of the best card of the year. While it won’t contend for the top spot, I can comfortably say without looking back that it made the top 10.
If you liked this article, make sure to like and share on social media right below :).
Follow us for more daily UFC fight coverage, including betting guides, fight analysis, news and much more.
And Happy New Year!