UFC Orlando ended up being a hell of a wild experience. The cardboard began with a bang, dragged slightly, after which wrapped up with seven straight finishes to make for a thriller all the best way to the ultimate body. Stephen Thompson and Kevin Holland placed on one of many UFC’s most inventive placing wars, Rafael dos Anjos confirmed Bryan Barberena why he was a champ, Sergei Pavlovich gave the heavyweight elite one thing to mull over within the coming months.
So, is Thompson ‘again’ as an elite fighter at 170 lbs? Is RDA actually going to persuade Conor McGregor to struggle him? And can any of the highest 5 flyweights be prepared to take a danger on going through Matheus Nicolau?
To reply these questions—and far more—I’ll be utilizing the basic Silva/Shelby struggle reserving methodology from the UFC of years previous. Which means pitting winners towards winners, losers towards losers, and equally tenured expertise up towards each other. Hopefully, by following that mannequin, a couple of of those bout concepts will really make it off the web page and into the Octagon. Now, let’s get to the fights!
In quite a lot of methods it’s arduous to know what to make of this struggle as a marker of the place Stephen Thompson sits within the welterweight division proper now. He actually nonetheless has the implausible timing and footwork that has made him such a dynamic risk for therefore lengthy. However Holland was additionally in a position to monitor him down with quite a lot of wild photographs, and take him down with some properly timed responses to Thompson’s punch entries too. Had Holland needed to do extra grappling is that this nonetheless a struggle Thompson would have received?
On the very least we all know that ‘Wonderboy’ can nonetheless be pure motion in fights that preserve him precisely the place he desires to be. The trick is to determine simply what these are. I wouldn’t thoughts seeing him tackle Jorge Masvidal once more, however getting Masvidal again within the Octagon looks like quite a lot of effort nowadays. The opposite title then that springs to thoughts is Michel Pereira. He’s big and rangy and has sufficient energy to harm Thompson at any second, however has the identical sorts of technical gaps Holland confirmed in prolonged mixtures. And he’d in all probability preserve it standing. Thompson vs. Pereira looks like a enjoyable placing battle for the previous title contender.
If it’s arduous to know what to make of this for Thompson, it’s doubly tough to see simply what’s happening with Kevin Holland nowadays. The ‘Trailblazer’ has talked quite a bit about retirement recently and if his efficiency right here is something to evaluate by, he was quite a bit much less eager about profitable than he was in having enjoyable. As soon as he injured his hand and the struggle stopped being an excellent time, Holland appeared like he didn’t have a lot curiosity in competing in any respect. Is he going to return again to MMA after months on the sidelines? Can he be a prime 10 welterweight if he’s not that involved about getting his hand raised? Break day and a step again are so as. Every time (or if) Holland does return, fights towards Michael Chiesa, Max Griffin, or possibly even Khaos Williams all appear to be first rate concepts. Contemplating what sort of bouts he’s after, I’ll say e book Holland towards Williams and allow them to throw palms.
RAFAEL DOS ANJOS
This second journey as much as welterweight for the previous light-weight champion acquired off on simply the appropriate foot for Rafael Dos Anjos. So long as the struggle was standing, Barberena saved issues scrappy, however as soon as RDA began getting takedowns he turned it right into a landslide in a rush. Barberena simply couldn’t sustain with Brazilian’s grappling and tapped to a neck crank after giving up again management in spherical 2.
After the bout, RDA had only one factor on his thoughts: an opportunity to regain a previous promise, a bout towards Conor McGregor. The 2 males had beforehand been matched up again in 2015, again when RDA held the belt. An harm to dos Anjos put the brakes on the struggle although. McGregor went on to struggle Nate Diaz as an alternative, whereas RDA misplaced his title to Alvarez. So far as the 38-year-old Kings MMA expertise is worried, the bout makes excellent sense. For McGregor, its any considered one of 10 completely different alternatives he can select from. I kinda doubt it’s the most probably choice. I’d like to see RDA get McGregor, however a struggle with Vicente Luque feels extra probably and in addition a ton of enjoyable.
Matheus Nicolau couldn’t have adopted the sport plan higher if this struggle had been scripted. He saved on the again foot, pressured Schnell to attempt to stroll him down, and caught him with heavy counters each time the American let his palms go. The consequence was a bevvy of knockdowns and an eventual KO on the again of an enormous overhand proper. That win places Nicolau squarely ‘within the combine’ on the prime of the flyweight division. Bouts with Kai Kara-France, Alexandre Pantoja, or Brandon Royval would all be smart subsequent choices. Pantoja might be ready for an opportunity at gold, and Royval simply acquired pulled from a struggle on account of harm, and Kara France is ready to struggle Alex Perez. Assuming KKF vs. Perez goes ahead then put Nicolau in with the winner. Whoever comes out of that with their hand raised might be firmly in title competition.
It appears like we’ve acquired a brand new heavyweight contender on our palms. Tai Tuivasa might not have fairly made all of it the best way to the highest of the mountain but, however he had positively turned himself into considered one of heavyweight’s most harmful males. Pavlovich went on the market and bulldozed him prefer it was nothing in any respect. Sadly, with the best way the division is true now, simply what that traces him up for is anyone’s guess. Is Stipe nonetheless combating? Will Curtis Blaydes settle for a bout with one other lower-ranked opponent? Is Francis Ngannou ever coming again? Is Jon Jones going to make his heavyweight debut? All questions, few solutions. One individual I don’t have questions on, nonetheless, is Ciryl Gane. A struggle between Pavlovich and Gane looks like it could completely be should see, and will make both man prime of the heap for each time the UFC figures out what to do with that belt.
Even when it hadn’t been on brief discover, this felt like an enormous step up for Roman Dolidze. Jack Hermansson has earned his stripes on the prime of the middleweight division with years of managed, offensively numerous performances. He’s the type of fighter that hardly ever makes massive errors—an enormous ask for a fighter like Dolidze who tends to depend on creating chaos. That stated, Dolidze discovered his second within the second spherical. Hermansson took him down with a simple double however discovered an aggressive guard sport that he wasn’t in any respect ready for. Armbar to triangle to leg lock to calf slicer, to again mount and GnP all within the span of about 20 seconds. Not lengthy after and the ref was waiving off the struggle. An enormous victory for the Georgian that rockets him into the highest 15. After the bout he known as out Khamzat Chimaev. Any probability that struggle occurs? No. However how a couple of struggle with Andre Muniz? I’d purchase that.
For one thing of a shocking change, Philip Rowe really regarded nice popping out of the gate towards Niko Worth—exchanging the ‘Hybrid’’s wild combos for laser sharp 1-2s within the pocket. It’s the second spherical the place issues began to get slightly bushy, with Worth touchdown repeatedly as he pushed the tempo. Rowe had his personal massive moments, however when Worth began hurting him in spherical 3 it appeared just like the struggle was over. Rowe rode out the blitz although, and once they acquired again to their ft his opponent was completely gassed. A couple of big proper palms later and Philip Rowe walked away together with his third straight UFC win. That ought to preserve him completely on monitor for an additional motion struggle on his means up the welterweight division, and there’s one other lanky sniper on the market that I’d like to see him face. Ian Garry has been wanting implausible in his brief Octagon profession. Garry vs. Rowe could be an amazing bout to see whose the rangiest man at 170 lbs.
A spotlight efficiency from Angela Hill, who put her foot on the fuel early towards Emily Ducote and by no means let up for a second. Ducote discovered factors to land arduous 1-2s and catch Hill on the counter, however issues acquired particularly ugly within the clinch, the place Hill landed crushing knees again and again. That’s two straight victories for Hill who appears to nonetheless be very a lot within the prime of her profession and prepared for an additional excessive degree check. Unforunately for her, except she desires one other newcomer like Luana Pinheiro or Piera Rodriguez there aren’t many prime 15 fighters Hill hasn’t already confronted. Rematches with Amanda Lemos or Michelle Waterson wouldn’t be a horrible concept, however I say give Hill an opportunity to tackle Mackenzie Dern. Dern nonetheless wants extra seasoning to actually compete with the elite. For Hill, it’d be an amazing probability to make a title run. Hill vs. Dern is an efficient alternative for Hill to take one other cost on the prime of the 115 lb division.
OTHER BOUTS: Bryan Barberena vs. Francisco Trinaldo, Matt Schnell vs. Tim Elliott, Tai Tuivasa vs. Alexander Romanov, Jack Hermansson vs. Imavov/Gastelum loser, Eryk Anders vs. Dusko Todorovic, Kyle Daukaus vs. Wellington Turman, Niko Worth vs. Takashi Sato, Emily Ducote vs. Mizuki Inoue, Clay Guida vs. Ricky Glenn, Michael Johnson vs. Nasrat Haqparast, Marc Diakiese vs. Christos Giagos, Jonathan Pearce vs. Andre Fili, Darren Elkins vs. Charles Rosa, Natan Levy vs. Nikolas Motta, Genaro Valdez vs. Erick Gonzalez, Francis Marshall vs. William Gomis, Marcelo Rojo vs. Lucas Alexander, Yazmin Jauregui vs. Cory McKenna, Istela Nunes vs. Melissa Martinez