So I’m back again with some analysis from all things UFC 250, this time the event won’t be taking place in Florida or in a big empty arena for that matter. Instead, the location is the fight capital of the world, Las Vegas, Nevada, the venue on this occasion is the UFC Apex. The plan to forgo the arenas for the Apex is a smart one on the part of the UFC. They have done it in the more recent UFC Fight Night events and without the audience, it is the correct decision on so many levels.
The fighting was up close and personal due to the smaller octagon, the atmosphere was much improved without the vastness of the empty arena surrounding the area where the action is taken place. I think this will be the way forward for the UFC over the coming months, I think with the lack of ticket revenue this will save Dana White and Co. a not so small fortune until things return to normal. Now that’s my two cents out of the way, I’m going to pick up the action in the late Prelims.
Maki Pitolo (U.S.A.) def. Charles Byrd (U.S.A.) — (TKO RD2 Referee Stoppage)
In what was a good showing from Pitolo who pretty much had the better of his opponent from the off, dominating the earlier exchanges in the first round. Then in the 2nd round after a clever trip to take Byrd down, Pitolo seized on the opportunity, pouncing on his opponent, finishing him off with some solid hammer fists to cause the ref to say enough is enough and stop the fight. There is not much else to add here, it wasn’t a very entertaining fight just a very assured performance from Pitolo to ensure he went home with the victory.
Cody Stamann (U.S.A.) def. Brian Kelleher (U.S.A) — (Unanimous Decision — 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
After the death of his younger brother, Cody Stamann did his memory proud and put on a really well-rounded display. Stamann showing to everyone that his fighting acumen is every bit as fierce as his warrior spirit. With Kelleher coming off a 3-fight win streak Stamann was never going to have it all his own way. It was a close back and forth affair but it seemed that Stamann just had the edge on Kelleher in terms of pressure and stamina, doing enough to seal a well-deserved win on the scorecards.
Ian Heinisch (U.S.A.) def. Gerald Meerschaert (U.S.A.) — (TKO RD1 — Referee Stoppage)
This one didn’t run long with Meerschaert never really getting a chance to get going. He got caught cold with a massive overhand right to start it all off for Heinisch, before he proceeded to swarm all over his opponent to get the quick finish, making short work of his veteran challenger. Heinisch looked good, strong, and never seem to waste any motion in seeking and destroying Meerschaert. He was full value for his win and could be a real test for anyone going forward.
Alex Caceres (U.S.A.) def. Chase Hooper (U.S.A.) — (Unanimous Decision — 30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
I think this fight can easily go down as the poorest booked match on the card. Caceres was way too experienced for someone like Hooper to take on in just his 2nd UFC fight. I think Dana Wight made a big error here, putting Hooper in against Caceres. It was a very uneven contest with Hooper taking far too much punishment for a guy his age, he will need to improve his stand up game massively in the coming years to make a breakthrough at the top end of the division. Caceres moved in and out of range excellently, bossing the fight for the most part and always looked as though he was getting the big W.
With the kick-off of the Main Card, it didn’t take long for the action to get going. The commentary team on this one was Jon Anik, Joe Rogan, and Daniel Cormier. The trio is so much fun together, the way they rife off each other adds to every event they work on. They looked much more comfortable in their surroundings on this outing, I think the more intimate settings for the event helped them with this to no end. They didn’t seem as awkward and I think this is just another sign of us as a society moving in the direction of adapting to this new normal. Anyway, time to get to the big fights of the night so here we go.
Sean O’Malley (U.S.A.) def. Eddie Wineland (U.S.A.) — (KO RD1)
Everyone was interested to see how O’Malley faced a tougher test, this time in the shape of the ever durable Eddie Wineland. The question was if the hype behind O’Malley was real and how would he swim in deep waters with a veteran like Wineland. Well, the answer was he can swim and swim well, O’Malley capped off a confident performance with a huge statement, winning the fight with a brutal right-hand finish, walking off in style, all the way up to the higher rankings of the Bantamweight Division.
Neil Magny (U.S.A.) def. Anthony Rocco Martin (U.S.A.) — (Unanimous Decision — 30-27, 30-27. 29-28)
What started as a close contest with Rocco Martin getting the better of the opening exchanges, landing some good shots, and pushing Magny back against the cage but that would change as the rounds wore on. Magny once again showed to everyone how good his engine is, he keeps moving, coming forward, making the octagon big and tiring out his opponents. This time was no different and Magny ran out as the rightful winner of this one. He was especially impressive in the final round and I think he could definitely fight this way for the full 25 minutes if he had to and is a real threat to anyone in his division.
Aljamain Sterling (U.S.A.) def. Cory Sandhagen (U.S.A.) — (Submission RD1 — Rear Naked Choke)
This one didn’t last long which was a little disappointing considering how good the talent on show was. After some nice movement early on Sterling quickly took Sandhagen’s back and that was all she wrote from there. Sterling got into the backpack position he loves so much and brought Sandhagen down and after a short exchange manged to sinch in the rear-naked choke for the submission victory. Sterling looked good in his win over Sandhagen and must have one eye on the upcoming Yan Vs Aldo matchup for the recently vacated title.
Cody Garbrandt (U.S.A.) def. Raphael Assuncao (BRA) — (KO RD2)
When Sean O’ Malley took out Eddie Wineland he must’ve thought he was a shoo-in for the performance bonus but then in steps Cody Garbrandt. Returning after 3 straight knock out defeats Garbrandt had a lot o prove. The former champion looked perfect, his speed and movement were outstanding, the low calf kick was constant and fierce. Then to round it all off, he came out of nowhere after a clever level change to end the fight right on the buzzer for the end of round 2 with a mind-altering right hook. This was an exciting night, Cejudo’s retirement has seemed to reinvigorate the rest of the Bantamweight Division and it should be interesting to see who faces who next.
Featherweight Division – Title Fight
(C) Amanda Nunes (BRA) def. Felicia Spencer (CAN) — (Unanimous Decision — 50-44. 50-44, 50-45)
In the night’s main event Amanda Nunes once again put the MMA world on notice by becoming the first 2-weight world champion to successfully defend both titles in different weight classes. Nunes put in another dominant performance, her strength and conditioning looking much improved showing that she is still getting better, which is a frightful thought for her challengers. Nunes looked so relaxed and owned Spencer from start to finish, the only bright spark for Spencer is that she has now gone the distance with both Nunes and Cris Cyborg, which will help her a lot in the future.
Spencer is so tough, taking big shots throughout the fight from the champion. Nunes showed how polished she is though and almost allowed Spencer off the last round, by just grounding her and staying in mount for the most part. The Lioness is the perfect fighter, she has reached a level where she is breathing the rarest of rarefied air. She is out on her own now and I’m sure she is curious about what is next for her on her remarkable journey to the UFC Hall of Fame.
In what was a big night for the Men’s Bantamweight Division, we saw a lot of the exciting potential fights that lay in wait for the future, Sean O’Malley’s performance was a standout but Garbrandt’s momentous return was the highlight of the night for me. His finish was insane and will be shown on highlight reels for years to come. I think a future fight between the two looks like it may be on the horizon and I think it would be an excellent matchup, the only concern being that it might be too early for O’Malley at this stage of his career.
The lingering question from the night has to be what is next for Amanda Nunes. She is so dominant and has already cleaned out two weight classes. I for one am so very interested in seeing where she goes next, maybe a third super fight with Valentina Shevchenko but I’m not sure if Nunes wants that fight considering she has already beaten her twice. In her post-fight interview she didn’t mention retirement and it would be a travesty if she did because she is only 32,.although she is running out of opponents. You never know maybe we will see Rhonda Rousey come out of retirement and lace up her gloves one more time.
Anyway, that is my round-up of last night’s action and I hoped you enjoyed reading. For now, I bid you goodbye, but I will be back again for UFC 251, I can’t wait to hear from you and what your thoughts are for the futures of the Bantamweight Divison and for the G.O.A.T Amanda Nunes.