UFC 223: Khabib vs. Iaquinta results and post-fight analysis

The first thing I want to say is that Joe Rogan was completely insufferable tonight in in his UFC 223 coverage, but he ramped…

By: Tim Burke | 5 years ago
UFC 223: Khabib vs. Iaquinta results and post-fight analysis
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

The first thing I want to say is that Joe Rogan was completely insufferable tonight in in his UFC 223 coverage, but he ramped it up even more in the main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Al Iaquinta. I understand that part of his job is to build a narrative, but spending two rounds talking about how disappointing Khabib’s striking was – while he was winning both rounds in easy fashion! – was just ridiculous.

For the first two rounds, Khabib dominated on the ground. For the next two, he decided to stand and bust Al’s face up with jabs. Rogan spent those ten minutes describing how underwhelming he was while propping up Iaquinta, who was landing a few punches here and there but was hardly doing much. Then the final round started, and while Rogan was in the middle of diminishing Khabib’s standup some more…Khabib went bonkers with a bunch of creative striking and a flying knee before getting a takedown.

Rogan went completely silent for thirty seconds. No praise for that. No acknowledgement. No nothing. It just took away from my enjoyment of the fight completely. Announcers are supposed to enhance the experience, not create a narrative that clearly isn’t what is playing out in front of them.

With that being said, props to Al Iaquinta for going all five rounds with the best lightweight in the world. He did what he could, showed a lot of heart, and upped his stock. I hope he got a fat check too.

  • I had it 48-47 for Joanna Jedrzejczyk. I know I’m in the minority on that. I have no problem with Rose Namajunas winning, because the fifth was very close in my eyes. But I thought Joanna clearly took rounds three and four, and that the announcers were playing up what Rose was doing in the fifth way too much. It looked to me like she was out-landed about two to one in the final round. Thug Rose landed some harder shots, but I gave it to Joanna by a hair. My opinion doesn’t matter though – the judges saw what they saw, and Rose is still the champ.
  • I also might be alone in this opinion, but I didn’t think that fight was anything too special. It had a lot of action of course – it certainly wasn’t bad. But there are many hailing it as the best women’s MMA fight of all time, and I don’t even think it was the best women’s MMA fight on the card. I found Kowalkiewicz vs. Herrig to be more entertaining than that.
  • Renato Moicano straight dominated Calvin Kattar. After eating one hard punch early, he landed about 3500 leg kicks, none of which Kattar did anything about. When he switched stances, Moicano just kicked the hell out of the other one. Moicano pieced him up pretty well with his hands too. Great performance from an underrated featherweight.
  • I don’t have enough cool words to describe Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Kyle Bochniak. As Joe Rogan says, Zabit is absolutely a “world class fighter” (he said that a lot tonight), and he will fighting for the featherweight title one day. The stuff he can do in the cage is absurd. That trip in the second round? Who the hell can pull that off in high-level MMA? That was nuts. He’s extremely fast with his spinning attacks and he does a ton of creative stuff. He’s must-see TV.
  • But so is Kyle Bochniak. He took everything an elite-level fighter had for him, and just continued to punch his own chin and beg for more. Did he win? No. Was it particularly close? No, not until the very end. But with 15 seconds to go he threw caution to the wind, touched his own chin and threw down, hockey fight style, with Zabit until the final horn. Neither man buckled. But it was an awesome spectacle, and he deserves a ton of credit for having a ridiculous amount of heart and tenacity. And speaking of heart, apparently Zabit broke his hand warming up BEFORE THE FIGHT. And then fought like that. That’s crazy.
  • Both of those just jumped onto my short list of favorite fighters.
  • I don’t like to say fighters should are “done” or should retire, but Joe Lauzon may have been in one too many wars in the cage. He had about three minutes of fighting spirit, and then he got his butt kicked. Chris Gruetzemacher took his time and brutalized Lauzon to the point that both of his eyes were shut before the fight was stopped at the end of the second.
  • I should make it clear that the fight was stopped by Lauzon’s corner, and it was absolutely the right move. It should happen more often in MMA. I know that fighters want to leave it all out there, but I think the boxing mindset of saving your fighter from themselves to let them fight another day is a much better way to do things. Thank you, Joe Lauzon’s corner.
  • Karolina Kowalkiewicz is so much fun to watch. Everyone seems to think she’s just a striker, but she’s got chops on the ground too, trying some funky stuff out in her fight with Felice Herrig. She also overwhelmed Herrig on the feet, leaving her with an exasperated look on her face at times after eating elbows and knees. I can see giving Herrig the third because she hurt Kowalkiewicz late, but there’s no way she won either of the first two rounds and shouldn’t have been given a scorecard. Nonetheless, the right fighter won by split decision.
  • Wow, did Olivier Aubin-Mercier ever step up to the plate tonight. He landed a huge shot to Evan Dunham’s liver (or ribs at least), and then pounded him out in under a minute. He was a very underrated fighter before, and now he’s on the map. He’s also a pretty entertaining interview.
  • Ashlee Evans-Smith’s pace was too much for Bec Rawlings. Rawlings seemed to get her timing down about halfway through, but she still couldn’t land enough to take rounds. That’s Rawlings’ fourth loss in a row now, and probably her swan song in the promotion.
  • Devin Clark and Mike Rodriguez got the card off to an average start. It wasn’t all that exciting, but a seemingly-fading Clark recovered to dominate the third round and earn a decision win.

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