UFC 200 ended up being a rollercoaster of an event – starting off really strong, stalling in the middle, falling off for a bit, and then finishing on an exciting note. Some fighters out-performed and defied the odds, while many others lost by the narrowest margins. Here are the winners and losers for UFC 200: Tate vs. Nunes.
Amanda Nunes started the week as the underdog in one of two championship fights, smacked in the middle of the PPV. She ended the week as the new UFC Bantamweight Champion and the winner of the main event of UFC 200. Nunes took the fight to Tate right away, tagging her with punches and finishing her on the ground with a choke. It was complete domination in the few minutes that the fight took place, and was enough to prove that Nunes is the best female Bantamweight fighter in the world. She’ll have to test herself against Holly Holm or Ronda Rousey to earn the full respect from fans, but she now holds the power as UFC Champion.
Brock Lesnar was a winner before the fight even started, earning a reported $2.5 million for the fight against Mark Hunt. He’s an even bigger winner after turning back the clock and defeating the Super Samoan. The win now puts Lesnar in the Top 10 of the Heavyweight division in 2016, which is a crazy thought. He also avoided getting knocked out, which is great for his WWE career. Overall, the night went perfectly for Lensar, with little damage and another W on his small professional record.
Jose Aldo looked as though the fight with Conor McGregor never happened. He was in top form tonight against Frankie Edgar, moving out of the way of most of his strikes while landing with crisp punches and well-timed knees. After the fight he called out The Notorious One, and based on his performance, I think most fans would say that he deserves the rematch. For now, Aldo can be happy with the fact that he has gold around his waist again – even if it is an interim championship.
Cain Velasquez stormed through Travis Browne in his return after losing his UFC Heavyweight Championship. Velasquez showed off some new moves, clipping Browne with a spinning heel kick and following up with a swarm of punches. The fight was eventually stopped when Browne quit defending himself. Velasquez needed to remind the division that, when healthy, he can finish any fighter in a round and still has plenty of great performances left in the tank.
Other winners: Joe Lauzon, Julianna Pena, Kelvin Gastelum, Jim Miller and Gegard Mousasi.
Miesha Tate had a lot to prove in this fight against Amanda Nunes. There is the saying that you are not a champion until you defend your belt. Tate was coming off a win against a champion who never defended her belt. For Tate to step out of Ronda’s and Holm’s shadow, she had to show the world that she could be a dominant champion. She didn’t do that, and ended up losing in a very harsh and violent way. It was a soul-crushing fight for the short-lived champion.
Mark Hunt had almost everything to lose in this fight, other than a solid paycheck. If Hunt won the fight, it would have been more a testament to how Lesnar does not belong in the cage anymore. With a loss, Hunt showed a weakness to wrestling and a hesitance to throw punches. It’s also a tad embarrassing for Hunt to lose against a fighter making his return after four-and-a-half-year layoff and a minimal training camp. Hunt looked like he never got comfortable in the fight and now sits at 2-3 in his last 5 fights, and at the bottom of the Top 15 rankings.
Johny Hendricks has been on a large fall from grace since losing his championship to Robbie Lawler. A win over Matt Brown was followed by his first stoppage loss in his MMA career at the hands of Stephen Thompson. He has now dropped back-to-back fights for the first time in his career with a unanimous decision loss to Kelvin Gastelum. Hendricks also missed weight for the fight, and now with 3 losses in 4 fights, Hendricks could be considering a move to Middleweight where he would be significantly undersized.
Diego Sanchez is the last active fighter from Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. Although Sanchez has been in many wars, there hasn’t been a whole lot of talk surrounding retirement. The likely reason for this is Sanchez’s perfect record of not getting knocked out or finished by strikes. While Lauzon didn’t knock Sanchez out completely, he took a prolonged beating that forced the referee to stop the fight. This could be the beginning of the end of a long and very notable career.
Other losers: Cat Zingano, Thiago Santos and Takanori Gomi.
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