MMA Talk of the Weekend
UFC 205: Alvarez vs. Mcgregor
History's been made and records been broken on this night but mainly — first ever MMA and UFC event in New York and — Conor McGregor (21-3) becoming the first fighter to hold two UFC titles at the same time. The 28-year-old Featherweight Champion easily knocked out the defending Lightweight Champ Eddie Alvarez (28-5) in the second round without really breaking a sweat. He was patient, seemingly understands that this isn't his usual weightclass, utilised his lengthy range and countered with extreme precision. Alvarez was knocked down almost every time he got hit by his Irish opponent. Absolute dominance by now UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champion.
The main card was really worth the price with three title fights and I really enjoyed almost every fight. The co-main event title fight between defending Welterweight Champ Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) and Stephen Thompson (13-1-1) went down to a very interestingly rare decision that even Bruce Buffer had to correct his announcement in the cage. Thompson showed a lot of heart by surviving the onslaught by Woodley in round 4 but Woodley somehow was able to do less than Thompson in some of the other rounds which allowed the judges to score a majority draw. Woodley's not happy about that but at least he's got to keep his title belt. Why? Simple — challenger has to win the bout to win the title. Draw means that the champ successfully defended his title.
Whereas for Women's Strawweight Champ Joanna Jędrzejczy (13-0), her 4th title defence went all five rounds too but it was quite an easy decision for the judges as the challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1) only managed to get Jedrzejczy in trouble once while being totally outclassed in almost every aspect in the entire bout. Former Women's Bantamweight Champ Miesha Tate (18-7) announced her retirement in the cage right after being dominated and defeated by Raquel Pennington (9-5) whom she once mentored in The Ultimate Fighter. I am not surprised due to her inconsistent performances against top contenders and how emotional she gets every time she disappoints herself. But hey, not many fighters gets to retire as a former UFC champ.
And finally, former Middleweight champ Chris Weidman (13-2) against freestyle wrestling Olympian Yoel Romero (13-1) in an apparent title eliminator bout. I thought Weidman probably had the better score until Romero landed a flying knee out of no where in the third round and knocked out the hometown boy. So I guess it might be Romero against the Middleweight champ Michael Bisping (30-7) in a future card.
ONE Championship: Defending Honor
So Shinya Aoki (39-7), one of the world's best grappler in MMA, had his 9-win streak ended and lost his Lightweight title. It's his first loss in ONE Championship and his first loss since losing to, guess who, Eddie Alvarez back in 2012 in Bellator (BFC 66). And who's this guy who beat him? Was it an America, Brazillian, Russian, Japanese? Nope. It was a Filipino. Eduard Folayang's (17-5) his name and he's a striker.
Aoki started the bout immediately with what he does best, as always — close in without attempting a single strike and hug the shit out of his opponent till he gets a takedown and skillfully transitions into a deadly submission. But oddly, Folayang was able to defend and escape from Aoki's crazy grip and advantageous positions a few times. In the third round. Folayang got out of Aoki's sloppy double leg attempt and landed a knee to his head. He followed up with some punches and one more knee to the head before Aoki simply curled up and waited for the referee to save him. Has Aoki aged? Is he getting too predictable? Was his loss due to inactivity (fought in ONE only twice in the past two years before this)? Or was he just too careless? Whatever it was, take nothing away from the performance by Folayang, the new ONE Lightweight Champion of the World, the South East Asian who beat Shinya Aoki.
In the co-main event, it was a rematch between defending Featherweight Champ Marat Gafurov (15-0) and former champ Narantungalag Jadambaa (12-5). This fight ended very, very far from a surprise. The Russian defeated the Mongolian contender pretty much the same way he did the first time — rear naked choke — and not to mention, three rounds earlier than before. It was Gafurov's 6th straight win with the same bloody submission finish. Can any current ONE Welterweighters beat Gafurov? I highly doubt it (sorry, Ev Ting). This division needs to start to get a bit more exciting. Somebody please give this guy a real challenge please! Somebody who could prevent their back from being exposed, at least.
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