UFC 207 is in the books, and Amanda Nunes starched Ronda Rousey in a way that suggests that Rousey had no business being in the same state as her, let alone the same cage. All of the other UFC 207 main card bouts leading up to the main event went the distance, and Nunes finished off the PPV by KOing Rousey in 48 seconds for a successful first defense of her women’s bantamweight title. Rousey was hurt inside of 20 seconds and just kept taking brutal punch after brutal punch after brutal punch. This was a sparkling performance from Nunes and one that all but assures that we never see Ronda Rousey compete in this sport again. We knew Rousey was an awful striker and a ruinously bad defensive one, but that was just a complete and utter humiliation.
Meanwhile, Cody Garbrandt stunned Dominick Cruz to become the new UFC men’s bantamweight champion. It was a sublime performance by Garbrandt, whose power posed huge problems for Cruz, as he was dropped several times in round 4 and Cruz was the one who struggled to hit Garbrandt, instead of the reverse. I always thought that Garbrandt’s best shot to win was in the first 7-8 minutes, but he basically won the fight in rounds 3-4, and his boxing pedigree worked wonders for him both offensively and defensively. Bravo to Garbrandt on a sensational, upset victory. No one has ever beaten up Dominick Cruz like that before.
More thoughts on tonight’s card:
- How will we view Ronda Rousey’s legacy? Because she went from global sensation to systematically destroyed twice in over a year. The media blackout obviously didn’t work for her. This was just staggeringly non-competitive. We saw her reign of dominance for years and how it captivated an audience and turned her into a superstar, but that may very well be a distant memory given how the peak of her drawing power coincided with her getting viciously knocked out, her glaring flaws exposed for the world to see.
- That was a really nice moment in the post-fight interview with Garbrandt, as he wrapped his new belt around his 10-year-old buddy Maddux Maple, a leukemia survivor who was with Garbrandt during the pre-fight walkouts. Joe Rogan even interviewed young Maddux with the title around his waist. I know Garbrandt isn’t the world’s most popular fighter, but that was right up there with Junior dos Santos did for nine-year-old Breno after JDS beat Frank Mir at UFC 146.
- This was the best month ever for Urijah Faber. Wins his retirement fight, then watches Dominick Cruz lose a mere two weeks later. (I’m half-joking, of course.)
- The UFC didn’t really do any special sendoff for Mike Goldberg, who signed off for the final time tonight, and while I’m no fan of Goldberg, he’s been with the company since the 1990s, so apart from his little speech in the end credits, it was a little disappointing to me that the UFC just buried their head in the sand. Not surprising, but disappointing.
- TJ Dillashaw just put a whoopin’ on John Lineker and won a lopsided unanimous decision. Lineker wasn’t even remotely competitive after the 1st round, as Dillashaw won the striking battles and then schooled him on the mat. It was a complete performance that showed a massive gulf in class between the two. I cannot wait for Garbrandt vs. Dillashaw (which damn well better happen next).
- Dong Hyun Kim beat Tarec Saffiedine by split decision in a boring fight. I had Saffiedine winning, but as usual, he just doesn’t do enough to convincingly win bouts, and I don’t feel like elaborating on this fight any further. It was bad.
- Ray Borg looked phenomenal tonight against Louis Smolka. He soundly outgrappled the Hawaiian, showed off very improved striking, and was just a constant whirlwind of strikes, transitions, submission attempts, and he completely exhausted Smolka by round 3. This really sets Smolka further back in the flyweight division, whereas Borg, who admittedly missed weight for the 2nd time in a year, gets himself back on track after the loss to Justin Scoggins.
- I thought Neil Magny outworked Johny Hendricks from his back in rounds 1 and 3, twice putting him in triangle chokes and elbowing him repeatedly. The crowd disagreed with me (and the 3 judges, who unanimously had it for Magny), but it’s a rather unimpressive win for Magny, and another loss for Hendricks, who missed weight for this and has now lost 3 in a row. I’m not sure we see him in the UFC again.
- Antonio Carlos Junior won a stinker of a fight over Marvin Vettori through takedowns in rounds 1 and 3, and merely not getting finished in round 2, which Vettori dominated. There were 3 eye pokes (2 by Antonio, 1 by Marvin) in the 1st, so that set the tone for the quality of this one.
- Alex Garcia flatlined Mike Pyle with a right hand, and it honestly was difficult to watch. It was a hell of a knockout shot, but Pyle is 41 years old and has a history of brutal knockout losses, so I have to think tonight was the final fight of his career.
- The Golden State Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals. This has nothing to do with the fights … just wanted to say this one last time in 2016, and to make sure you were all still paying attention.
- Niko Price, who entered tonight’s fight having won only 1 of his previous 8 fights by submission, completely worked over Brandon Thatch on the ground before winning with a nice arm-triangle choke. Price got his BJJ brown belt, while Thatch will presumably get his UFC pink slip.
- Tim Means quite obviously illegally knees Alex Oliveira twice in the head while his knee is down. Oliveira can’t continue. No debating the outcome, right? Wrong. Dan Miragliotta called those knees “accidental” when they weren’t (and Means admitted as such), and Joe Rogan and Marc Ratner made a giant shit sandwich of the entire situation by insisting the strike was legal. THIS WAS NEVER THE CASE. I am fuming at the sheer incompetence of everyone involved, especially Ratner, who honestly shouldn’t work another event when he’s the one who’s supposed to know the rulebook. And no, the knees that Means threw aren’t going to be legal in the new unified rules of MMA, either. I like Tim Means and wish those strikes were legal, but they aren’t, still won’t be come 2017, and that should’ve been a DQ, with ZERO debate. I’m baffled at what transpired. It was treated like the first ever illegal knee in UFC history.
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