Last night's UFC 248 in Las Vegas was nothing short of spectacular. Witnessing greatness, skill, and overall entertainment was truly extraordinary.
What did we learn from last night?
Firstly, in the Lightweight division, Beneil Dariush impressed the hell out of me. An impressive attack on the cage gave Dariush an advantage to grab Drakkar Klose's back. Klose rose and stood on his feet with Dariush on his back for the final 2:30 of the first round and he was almost finished.
I swear I thought it was over. I could not believe Klose was able to last that long, let alone Dariush was able to hang onto his back for that long using only his legs. It was an extreme example of finding absolutely any way to win.
Then we move into the second round which was a total striking war that ended with an insane flow of strikes and Klose being sent to the upside-down.
How incredible was that exchange? Beneil Dariush is here people, and he is about to make a big splash in the Lightweight division. I'm not sure what is next in store for him but I do know this man has talent, poise, and had us all acting like this:
This easily would have been fight of the night, except for the fact that we witnessed what could easily be argued as one of the best fights of all time a short time later.
Enter: Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
What better way to celebrate International Women's Day weekend than with an all-time classic bout in the Women's Strawweight division. This fight was absolutely ridiculous from the start and it did wonders for women's MMA across the globe.
This fight was a banger, and I mean that quite literally because the total strikes were well over 700. I could not take my eyes off the screen during this fight. It felt as if at any moment this fight could have been ended on a vicious knockout, but that was not the case. This fight went the distance and entertained us thoroughly until the very end.
I originally predicted Joanna was going to come out on top in this one but I have never been so happy to be wrong. Zhang Weili has made a huge fan in me after last night and her previous KO of Jessica Andrade in under a minute.
Every single round was a barrage of trading hit after hit. These two women were so perfectly matched and it truly showed.
For five full rounds we witnessed an all-out war and it was clear this decision could have gone either way. No matter who you were rooting for, there was no way you could be angry at this decision. Weili came out on top, retaining her championship belt and it might have had something to do with her causing more damage to Joanna's face.
Regardless, this was a fight we'll remember for a long time and what a wonderful moment for women's MMA everywhere.
Then came the Middleweight main event of the evening and after being spoiled by the women's fight, I know we were all expecting another crazy match. This match could not have been more of a dull affair.
The match began like this for two minutes straight without a single strike:
When the action finally started, it was nowhere near what any of us expected. They traded some shots, weaker than they ever have before, landed some of them and virtually put on a sparring session for the world to see. I instantly thought to myself:
Are they pissed at the UFC and trying to send a "Hunger-Games" kind of message?
There were several chances when I thought this fight might actually open up and get hectic. We've seen both of these guys throw down some hard hits before and they just did not crank it to eleven in this one.
This fight went the distance and overall I didn't think there was any argument to give the decision to Romero. He essentially did the bare-minimum to survive Izzy and that's never enough as I've said countless times:
In Lightweight, Beneil Dariush deserves to be ranked. His showing was far too impressive for anyone to discount and it would be a tremendous disservice to fighting fans to keep him off the rankings boards.
In the Women's Strawweight division, Zhang Weili is no joke and not to be taken lightly. This is easily the best fight in Women's MMA history. This is easily the best fight of 2020 so far as well. Could this be the greatest fight ever? I'm not sure of that but the argument for it isn't out of the question.
I'm not quite sure what's next for Zhang, but wouldn't it be amazing to see her and Amanda Nunes go head-to-head at catch-weight? We can dream can't we?
Finally in Middleweight, this fight probably shouldn't have been scheduled. If Paulo Costa didn't get injured that could have been the fight to make. It's so odd to discuss it like that though because so many people were looking forward to this match. On paper and historically, this fight was going to be an all out Endgame war! We were not given that at all. Izzy was overly cautious and didn't want to get anywhere near Yoel. Simultaneously, Yoel didn't utilize his wrestling skills and it continues to baffle me as to why not?
I was so excited for this match and was extremely let down as I'm sure most of you were too. At least we had the women give us one hell of a show to make up for it. Maybe next time, Izzy can be a little more aggressive and actually defend his title rather than avoid it and bank the points.