I haven’t done an analysis post in a while, and I’m pretty happy that it just happened to be tonight that I got back on the horse. Like Daniel Cormier said, I had already written Leon Edwards’ obituary. Literally. I had this all finished up, half way through the fifth round, so I could post it immediately after the card ended. Obviously, it’s taken a few more minutes, because I had to delete everything I wrote about the main event and start all over. Because of one head kick. At 4:04 of the fifth round of UFC 278.
This was the perfect example of why this is my favorite sport in the world. You never know what’s going to happen. Edwards was actually fighting a great fight against Kamaru Usman – it just happened to be against the best guy in the world. Well, he WAS the best guy in the world. But after a strong first round, Usman put it on him for the next three and a half rounds. Edwards was going to drop a decision. But one great feint and one of the best head kicks ever and Birmingham (and Jamaica) have a world champion now.
There will obviously be a third fight. And Usman might get his title back. But wow, that was a moment I’ll never forget. That just made Edwards’ entire journey worth it. And Dana White said they might do the third fight in Wembley Stadium. How crazy would that be? With all due to respect to Michael Bisping, that would be the biggest fight in UK history. Amazing.
- Luke Rockhold and Paulo Costa was one of the weirdest fights I’ve seen in many years. But it was also somehow extremely captivating. Rockhold’s nose blew up right away and it shot his cardio. Even though his hands were at his hips for half the fight and he looked like he was barely alive, he still threw a ton of spinning attacks, staggered Costa on multiple occasions, and managed to reverse position on the ground multiple times. Costa was visibly gassed as well late in the second round, but he was still in way better shape than Rockhold. Rockhold managed to take top position with a few seconds left in the fight, and instead of hitting him, he just wiped the blood from his face all over Paulo’s face. Who does that? Regardless, while I’ve never been a big fan of Rockhold at all, that 15 minutes of strangeness was one of the gutsiest things in all the time I’ve been a fight fan. I respect the hell out of you, Luke Rockhold. Enjoy retirement.
- I’m the world’s biggest Jose Aldo fan, but I’m also a fan of Merab Dvalishvili. I didn’t really want to see this fight because I didn’t like the idea of either of them losing. Well, Scarface lost. Because he didn’t do enough. Merab couldn’t take him down a single time, despite trying approximately 29 times. But Aldo was gunshy on the feet, showing flashes of the Aldo of old with a few leg kicks and deadly knees but not doing nearly enough to take rounds. He’s still a legend. But it was just one of those frustrating performances that makes you wonder how much he has left in the tank.
- Lucie Padilova was just sort of going through the motions, winning most of her fight against Wu Yanan. Then out of nowhere, she took her down and turned into a maniacal killer, dropping savage elbows that ended the fight in just a few seconds. It was kind of scary but very impressive.
- Tyson Pedro put it on an a very outmatched opponent and finished him in 65 seconds. Not much of a surprise for a 7-1 favorite.
- Alexander Romanov had a huge first round against Marcin Tybura, but he blew his gas tank. I personally thought the first round should have been 10-8 Romanov and it should have been a draw, since Tybura did enough to take the final two. But two judges didn’t think the first was that dominant for some reason. Go Utah I guess?
- Jared Gordon did what he had to do to take out Leo Santos. It might have been the most pedestrian fight of the night, but it was pretty clear that Santos was done cardio-wise pretty early. As is expected for a 42-year-old. Gordon didn’t exactly fight safe, but he didn’t put himself in danger either. Big win for him.
- I don’t want to be too disrespectful of any fighter, but Luis Saldana is either crazy or dumb. Or both. He had Sean Woodson dead to rights, dropping him twice even though he started clowning after the first knockdown. All he had to do with nothing illegal and land maybe two more punches on the ground and he gets a first-round win. Instead, he knees him in the head on the ground, giving Woodson another chance, and then does pretty much nothing for the next 11 minutes. It was ridiculous. And that was like the third weirdest fight on the card.
- Ange Loosa and AJ Fletcher was kind of strange. Fletcher got off to a good start, the Loosa started taking over. Fletcher rallied and landed a ton of shots, and then…they both totally gassed out. The third round was absolutely useless. Loosa got the win because he just laid on Fletcher for the last four and a half minutes. A win’s a win, but that’s not the way to impress a crowd or your bosses.
- Amir Albazi’s submission skills are extremely impressive. He went from takedown to back to choke in less time it took to write this sentence.
- Aoriquleng is technically brilliant. He did a great job of putting it on Jay Perrin for two and a half rounds, but he got badly buzzed in the last 30 seconds. He managed to hold on to take the decision, but Perrin showed a lot in that fight too.
- Victor Altamirano was losing, and then he wasn’t. After getting touched up by Daniel Da Silva early, he managed to rebound nicely and the two men put on a hell of a fight for three and a half minutes or so. In the end, Altamirano came out on top and I’m quite interested to see what he can do in the flyweight division.
About the author