UFC 184 – a fight card ravished with injuries and disappointing title fight cancelations, yet one that still managed to beat low expectations with a mixture of surprising results and exhilarating finishes. The crowning jewel of the event was women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who she certainly lived up to her billing as one of the promotion’s biggest stars.
However, the fight card did little other than showcase Rousey’s sublime athletic talents, even though the stage was set for a former boxing star to share the spotlight. It was one of a few disappointing occurrences throughout the evening of fights, and leads us into an analysis of the real winners and losers from Saturday night’s PPV event.
Ronda Rousey continues to leave viewers in awe and admiration with her remarkable performances and stunning finishes; Saturday night’s victory may be her most dominant one yet. Rousey was prepared for Zingano’s quick-attack and immediately flipped over and locked in the submission in fourteen seconds flat. Not only does that tie the fastest submission finish in UFC history, but it is also the quickest ever finish in a championship fight, and beats her previous record of 16 seconds. If we add up the math, her last two fights lasted a combined 30 seconds, which is simply phenomenal for one of the UFC’s biggest stars. Little more can be said other than we are witnessing one of the great athletes of a generation – sit back and enjoy it while it lasts.
Jake Ellenberger snapped a three-fight losing streak on Saturday night to end a dry spell that dated back to 2013. The ‘Juggernaut’ earned the win in emphatic fashion, as he finished the fight with a north-south choke that had Koscheck foaming from the mouth before he decided to tap. While the win was not against an opponent with much value in the welterweight rankings, it certainly served the purpose of cementing his spot within promotion.
Tony Ferguson extended his impressive UFC win streak to four straight with a quick rear-naked choke against durable veteran Gleison Tibau. Ferguson was the better fighter in all areas; he outstruck Tibau, dropped him, and then swarmed for the submission finish moments later. Given that his only loss in the octagon came against fellow surging lightweight Michael Johnson, Ferguson will likely get a step up in competition in his next fight. With victories against the likes of Yves Edwards, Danny Castillo and Abel Trujillo prior to Saturday night, he has certainly earned the move up.
Roan Carneiro made an emphatic return to the UFC with a quick finish of Munoz in the opening round of their featured prelim. Not only did he lock on a tight rear-naked choke to finish the veteran, he loosened his grip once he realized that Munoz was unconscious and brought it to the referee’s attention. Carneiro is now on a six-fight win streak that includes three in one night at the BattleGrounds MMA one-night tournament last October. It will be interesting to see who he is matched up with next in the middleweight division.
Tim Mean looked phenomenal in his preliminary match-up against Dhiego Lima. Following two decision wins in his last two octagon outings, Means looked aggressive against Lima and peppered him well-placed shots to the chin and body until it became clear that the end was near. From there, Means stalked the Brazilian until he dropped him and forced referee Herb Dean to mercifully step in and bring an end to the proceedings. The ‘Dirtybird’ is now on a three-fight win streak and looking better in each outing.
Cat Zingano appeared beside herself in her post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, and rightfully so; she neither lived up to her potential, nor did she implement the strategy that would have benefited her against the champion. In short, it was a terrible showing from one of the top talents in the division, and an anticlimactic conclusion to a fight that many hoped would have been more competitive than Rousey’s last two fights. Unfortunately for Cat, it was even shorter.
Holly Holm needed to shine in her UFC debut to truly sell a future match-up against Ronda Rousey and she failed to do so in her featured co-main event against Raquel Pennington. While she managed to earn a split decision victory, and one ridiculous 30-27 scorecard, it was not the sort of performance that would help stake her claim at the title. Although most believed that Pennington could bother Holm with her grinding style, few expected her to tag the former boxing champion repeatedly and leave her with a bloody nose. Holm may personally want to take her title run in gradual steps, but her age coupled with a lack of significant title challengers for Rousey, makes this a time sensitive matter for the UFC.
Josh Koscheck lost yet another UFC fight on Saturday night when Jake Ellenberger submitted him in their feature fight on the main card. The former title challenger remains winless since 2012 and has now lost four consecutive fights in the UFC. There is little doubt that Koscheck should put an end to his long career after this fight, as it is clear that the welterweight division passed him by several years ago.
Referee Jerin Valel displayed a level of incompetence that was exceptionally appalling, even by MMA standards. Although he was looking directly at Munoz when Carneiro applied the finish, he still looked bewildered when the Brazilian alerted him that his opponent was already unconscious. It was a shockingly poor implementation of a referee’s main responsibility: the health and safety of the fighters. When are referees going to face the consequences of their actions, or lack thereof?
Mark Munoz looked terrible in his third consecutive loss under the UFC banner. Once again, he was unable to land a single strike before being steamrolled in ferocious fashion. Given that the referee displayed a remarkable level of incompetence by not noticing Munoz lose consciousness, it was a difficult fight to watch. It is highly unlikely that Munoz will get another shot in the UFC, and he should seriously consider retirement to conserve his dwindling health.
UFC Heavyweights were nothing short of an embarrassment on Saturday night. Ruan Potts did everything you shouldn’t do in an MMA fight, including run away from your opponent, and it served as a reminder of the appallingly shallow talent pool in the UFC’s heavyweight division. While Derrick Lewis eventually put Potts out of his misery, it did little to raise his own stock, or even liven up the crowd in attendance. Apart from the fighters that populate the Top 10, the UFC is certainly struggling to fill their fight cards with worthwhile heavyweight fights.
James Krause was quite vocal about his displeasure with being placed on the Fight Pass portion of the preliminary card. Given his performance on Saturday night, it appears that it was the right decision by the UFC. Krause looked far from his best during the fight, and while he snatched one of the three scorecards, he did not do enough to earn a clear decision. He is earned consecutive losses for the first time since joining the UFC back in 2013, and will be under significant pressure to maintain his spot on the roster.
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