A fight weekend where four titles were to be on the line, long held dream matches were to be finally had and records were to be broken. Well, we got that, just in a way that no one thought it would happen.
The weekend started on Thursday Night – UFC FIGHT NIGHT: dos Anjos V Alvarez. A strong showing from the undercard to the main event, the night ended like few would have thought.
The main card started with a fight that was basically over before it began, Joe Duffy and Mitch Clarke ended 25 seconds into the first round after a mistake from Clarke allowed Duffy to take his back and submit him to a lightening fast rear naked choke.
Next up was Alan Jouban versus Belal Muhammad, a 3 round dog-fight that ended in Jouban picking up the decision victory unanimously.
The third fight on the main card was Derrick Lewis against Roy ‘ Big Country ‘ Nelson. Another three round fight that went to decision, Big Country was well held by Lewis who, as the fight went on, ran a clinic on Nelson to secure the win.
Then, in the main event, former two-time Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez completely upstaged the former champion Rafael dos Anjos forcing a stoppage with a minute to go in the first round. A clinic of striking, speed and power, Alvarez walked in with little chance and walked out on top of the Lightweight division.
Watch the highlights here
We then move onto Friday – THE ULTIMATE FIGHTER 23 FINALE fight card. This card was promising the culmination of a long running feud between the women’s Stawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha. The two, coaches on the most recent season of the ultimate fight are not fans of one another, and after fighting once before a few years back, it was a chance to see where they were both at. Also on this card was to be the crowning of the male and female winners of the The Ultimate Fighter – titles to be decided in bouts between Andrew Sanchez and Khalil Roundtree and Tatiana Suarez and Amanda Cooper.
Before that could be decided, the start of the main card, like the night before was over before it really began. Joaquim Silva defeated Adrew Holbrook in 34 seconds with a flurry of deadly punches. Doo Ho Choi ran a similar clinic on Thiago Tavares inside three minutes of the first round of their fight.
Then before the main three fights, Will Brooks, former Bellator Lightweight Champion made his UFC debut against Ross Pearson. A fight that went the distance, Brooks prevailed in a unianimous points decision victory. Soon after he dropped long time Bellator rival and new UFC Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez’s name in the press confrence.
The first of the main three fight on the card saw Tatiana Suarez face Amanda Cooper for the title of The Ultimate Fighter. Initially an even contest, Suarez prevailed in 3:43 with a strong D’Arce choke.
Following that, Khalil Roundtree and Andrew Sanchez fought for the title of the male Ultimate Fighter. A fight that went the distance, Sanchez had a strong showing and previaled in a unanimous, one-sided points victory.
The main event, a rematch of the fight that Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha had in 2014 was thought to be the one that could see the Jedrzejczyk finally knocked off her perch. However, in a fight that went the distance, Jedrzejczyk prevailed in a decision. A tough fight, Gadelha had Jedrzejczyk on the ropes for the first two rounds, but the Polish striker’s power just got too much in the final three rounds. To add insult to injury, Gadelha faces a medical suspension which would see her out until 2017 with a potential right-thumb fracture which would require 185 days of rehabilitation.
Check out the fight highlights and a bit of their history here;
Then onto the Main Event of the Weekend – UFC 200. Hyped as the biggest event ever, the lustre petered out when Jon Jones was pulled from the event. Still a strong card, the promise was there.
The undercard was a serviceable display, with all fights going the 3 rounds distance. There was strong showings from bright stars; Sage Northcutt, Kelvin Gastelum and TJ Dillashaw which will all put them in good positions moving forward. Dillashaw especially who’s win over Raphael Assuncao puts his back in the first position to fight Dominic Cruz for the Bantamweight title.
Then the Main Card began with the return of arguably the greatest Heavyweight fighter of all time, Cain Velasquez. Taking on Travis Browne, it was far from an easy fight for Velasquez on paper, coming of neck issues, but, he did not miss a beat. Strong, clean and clinical, Velasquez finished the fight in with 3 seconds left in the first round.
The next fight on the card was for the interim Featherweight Championship. Former Champion Jose Aldo went through a five round war with Frankie Edgar. With current Champion Connor McGregor watching on intently, Aldo prevailed in a decision victory which could have really gone either way.
Following that fight was the short notice, 3 round fight between the light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and his new opponent, Anderson Silva. This fight was only going to go one of two ways, it was either going to be a 3 round war of attrition on the ground, or Anderson was going to knock Cormier out early. As it turns out, it was the former. Cormier used his wrestling background and grounded out a victory that he needed after the crazy 3 days he had.
Then, it moved onto what was arguably (After Jones was pulled) the biggest fight on the card, Mark Hunt versus the returning former Heavyweight Champion and current WWE superstar, Brock Lesnar. Much like the Cormier/Silva fight, there wasn’t too many options for an outcome. It was either going to be a distance fight, a Hunt walk-off KO or a wrestling and ground and pound clinic by Brock. Again, this fight went the distance, but Lesnar controlled it from the outset, showing that even after five years, he is still a bad man.
Then, the final fight of the weekend, and the final title fight – Women’s Bantemweight Champion Meisha Tate defended her title against a viscous finisher in Amanda Nunes. Tate being a warrior, she was expected to win, however, Nunes stunned her with strong right and left hands before, in a stroke of irony, submitting her with the same choke to win the title that Tate did not four months earlier.
With a fourth champion in nine months, the Women’s Bantemweight division is under a constant state of flux, with no fighter able to find a level of consistency similar to that of Ronda Rousey. A roller-coaster year for the division, it could follow this trend for a while, but with the imminent return of Ronda Rousey, the division will improve, and no doubt, become more chaotic.
Three nights. 36 fights, three title fights, two new champions, the return of a former champion and the emergence of Gastelum, Northcutt and return to the title picture for Dillashaw. UFC 200 was a big event, perhaps not as big as they were hoping, but, there is no doubt it will go down as a big success in the history of the company.
Attention now turns UFC 201: Lawler and Woodley and then onto UFC 202: Diaz McGregor, which is an event which could surpass 200 for delivering on the promise.