Jon Jones had an entire event moved to a different state for him, but he made it worth it. Jones redeemed himself with a thorough and convincing stoppage victory over a game Alexander Gustafsson to regain the UFC light heavyweight title he never lost in the cage.
Jones used a solid kicking game to largely negate Gustafsson’s vaunted boxing, keeping him out of range and frustrating him. After taking the first two rounds with more accuracy and the ability to hurt Gustafsson’s legs with the kicks, he took over in the third. Getting a takedown, he expertly moved onto the Swedish fighters back, flattened him out, and knocked him unconscious with huge strikes.
He mentioned in the post-fight interview that range was very important to him tonight, and it showed. Jon Jones is back atop the 205-pound division, and we’ll have to see if a certain former LHW champ, Daniel Cormier, is game for a third fight with the man he’s already lost to twice.
- I am in a state of shock. I would have not called that in a million years. Cris Cyborg showed no respect for Amanda Nunes’ power at all, and it got her iced in under a minute. After eating a couple of shots, Nunes used her accurate hands to piece Cyborg up quickly. She had her in huge trouble after maybe five or six punches, and she went down to a knee. Then back up, then back down. She was basically out against the cage, and then Nunes finished her with one of the prettiest parting shots I’ve seen in a long time.
- There is absolutely no doubt that Nunes is the female GOAT now. She beat Cyborg and Ronda Rousey in under a minute each. There’s no argument for anyone else. None.
- Carlos Condit is one of my favorite fighters of all time. I don’t like watching him lose. But that is increasingly becoming the case. Michael Chiesa looked big at 170, brought his wrestling game, and locked on a strange kimura to hand the NBK another loss. I’m happy for Chiesa, but watching your heroes fail can be difficult.
- Corey Anderson put together a good enough performance to beat Ilir Latifi. It certainly wasn’t amazing, but his chin held up against the rock-handed Swedish fighter and his superior cardio made all the difference.
- Welcome to featherweight contendership, Alexander Volkanovski. The former rugby player took the best that Chad Mendes had, weathered a storm, and came back to stop the former multiple-time title challenger by overwhelming him with strikes. It was a gritty, commanding performance that will wake people up to him in a huge hurry. I’d like to see him fight Brian Ortega next, personally.
- Walt Harris vs. Andrei Arlovski happened. Yup, sure did. It was horrible, and a fitting end to the Fox era. Harris won, but let’s face it – no one really won.
- Megan Anderson and Cat Zingano was just getting started, and then it was over just like that due to an errant toe in the eye on a kick. It was kind of heartbreaking watching Zingano just stay against the cage, not moving, with her eyes closed. I doubt she suffered a serious injury, but it was just the impact of the potential great moment being taken from him in such a weird way that froze her in that spot. Good win for Anderson obviously, but it didn’t really answer any questions about either lady at 145. I’d like to see a rematch.
- Petr Yan is a beast. He beat the holy hell out of a very game Douglas Silva de Andrade and got the TKO victory. But what I want to talk about is Andrade’s corner. They stopped the fight at the end of the second round, knowing how damaged their fighter was and saving him from himself. This is absolutely something we need more of in MMA. His corner should be commended for going against the grain and not letting their fighter take more than they need to. There’s no shame in corner stoppages in boxing. There shouldn’t be in MMA either.
- Ryan Hall’s nickname, The Wizard, is very apt. He pulled off what might have been the best submission of 2018 with a rolling heel hook on B.J. Penn. You can say what you want about Penn’s recent MMA career, but he’s still a top-flight grappler and he got submitted in an instant for the first time in his career. That was a truly amazing finish, one that will rightfully take its place on MMA highlight reels everywhere.
- Nathaniel Wood said himself that he had no intention of grappling with Andre Ewell, but when you have such a large advantage in that area, you kind of have to. Ewell was completely ineffective off of his back, and Wood scored a late submission with some nice moves.
- Uriah Hall’s nickname should be Hail Mary. Because it was a hail mary shot that let Hall escape with a win over Bevon Lewis after being largely dominated over the first two rounds. He caught him with a thunderous right hook that ended the fight, just like that. After the fight, he showed off how classy of a guy he is with his words to Lewis and his post-fight speech about his sister’s depression. No matter what you think of Uriah Hall as a fighter, he’s a quality human being.
- Curtis Millender and Siyar Bahadurzada put on a very good show in their welterweight fight, cracking each other with big shots and showing off great chins. In the end, Siyar tired a bit and Millender turned it up late, which got him the victory.
- In the first fight of the night, Montel Jackson got a nice submission win over Brian Kelleher in front of approximately seven people.
About the author