Well, folks, the fights of UFC 241 have come to pass and man were we treated like royalty. The spectacle in the octagon last night was such a sight to see, and I have an idea of what happens next.
Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch
This Middleweight bout got the main card off to a hot start. In the opening round, Heinisch landed a brutal head kick knocking Brunson down, and I honestly thought it was over. Brunson got to his feet, fought back and managed to survive the round. Somehow, he flipped a switch in round two. Brunson completely took over from here, dominating with physicality. The fight went the distance and Brunson won by decision.
Yoel Romero vs. Paulo Costa
Well, fight-fans, this fight was everything we could have hoped for and more. Romero and Costa weight toe-to-toe in virtually every aspect. Romero had the edge in total strikes, significant strikes, and the one takedown. However, Costa won by unanimous decision.
All three judges scored the fight 28-29, 28-29, 28-29 which shows just how close this fight was. We can debate the victor all we want to, but what’s done is done. A more intriguing question remains: where do we go from here?
What’s next for Middleweight?
Yoel Romero was ranked the number two Middleweight before last night, and Paulo Costa was ranked at seven. The loss obviously drops Romero out of the top three and Costa will rise, but who will Costa fight next? There is already a Middleweight title fight scheduled for October 5th, and it will be one hell of a fight when Robert Whittaker defends the title from the Stylebender himself, Israel Adesanya.
I predict Costa jumps the rankings to
number three and Kelvin Gastelum jumps up one spot to number two. These two
will fight for the opportunity of a title shot against whoever wins between
Adesanya and Whittaker. Regardless of who it is, the next two potential
Middleweight title fights are going to be amazing.
Gabriel Benitez vs. Sodiq Yusuff
This was an impressive KO win by Yusuff. Just over four minutes into the first round, Benitez was dropped with a right hook and finished with a series of punches. Yusuff looked very impressive, as he rode a four-fight win streak into another victory. He is now 3-0 in the UFC with three KO/TKO victories in his last five professional fights.
Where to in Featherweight?
I personally think Yusuff has been impressive in his professional career, and I would love to see him matched up against a very formidable opponent. I say give him a fight against the Korean Zombie! That would be an exciting fight to watch. Chan Sung Jung is currently ranked the sixth overall Featherweight, and I think Yusuff has earned a tough fight.
Anthony Pettis vs. Nate Diaz
This was the fight of the night for me. I was so excited to see Nate Diaz fight again and he definitely did not disappoint. Diaz dominated this fight with almost triple the strikes and double the number of significant strikes over his opponent. He had one takedown to go with it as well. There were four moments in this fight where I looked at my wife and yelled, “Oh it’s OVER!” only to see Pettis escape to guard or Diaz wiggle out from a choke attempt.
Diaz won on a unanimous decision based off the scores 28-29, 27-30 and 27-30. In all three rounds, he could have finished Pettis had the rounds lasted an extra forty seconds. This wasn’t a tremendous failure on Pettis’ part either. He’s a solid fighter and a tough competitor who didn’t go down without a fight (quite literally).
Now what for Welterweight?
In his post-fight victory interview with Joe Rogan, Diaz commented that he would like a match with Jorge Masvidal. Check out the full clip below:
Now I originally wanted to see Colby Covington take on Masvidal for the opportunity to challenge Kamaru Usman for the belt, however, I truly don’t see that happening now.
Colby Covington has taken on this character of the obnoxious, cocky American and realistically, it’s selling very well. Fans enjoy hating someone, especially someone who’s super talented and can back up his game. I believe Covington is going to get the title shot against Usman. I also think seeing Masvidal vs. Diaz would be an epic showdown! I’m a big fan of both fighters so that one would be especially exciting.
Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic
This rematch was everything I thought it was going to be. Cormier knew he wasn’t going to have another simple victory over Miocic, and Miocic treated Cormier with respect after figuring out the hard way that he had knockout power. The Heavyweight Championship match started about as predictable as possible. Cormier came out of the gate firing on all cylinders. He was throwing huge shots and had one extremely impressive takedown where he held Miocic mid-air for about four seconds.
The two big men battled back and forth until the fourth round when Miocic figured out how to win this fight. He started throwing low left hooks to Cormier’s body. He connected on many of them for about a minute straight and landed one straight to the center of Cormier’s gut. This one took Daniel’s wind. He slipped the next one backing into the cage, but it was over from there. Miocic had him exactly where he wanted. He landed two huge shots to the face and Cormier dropped. Miocic finished him with some very heavy-handed blows to the face. Herb Dean stopped the fight and Miocic was re-crowned the Heavyweight Champion.
Where does this crazy Heavyweight division go from here?
You already know what I’m going to
say. We absolutely NEED to see Francis Ngannou get a title shot. The man has
some freakish knockout power and deserves a rematch with Miocic.
As badly as I want to see this rematch, I’m not sure this is how it will go down. There’s been talk circulating of Jon Jones going up to Heavyweight to challenge for the title. This is where things get interesting. If Jones does indeed go up to Heavyweight, does he get a straight path to Miocic? I don't subscribe to that.
I think it would be amazing to see Jon Jones against Francis Ngannou. I said before that Thiago Santos’s insane knockout power could have been the first to take down Jones, and now there is another who can do it. Ngannou has that same power. If they make this Heavyweight super-fight, then I am one-hundred percent on board with it. The winner of this match will get the title shot against Miocic!
It’s still a great time to be a fight fan, what do you think? Who would you like to see get a title shot? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned for our next breakdown!
Featured Photo: NY Times