What a weekend that was! Over the three night stretch of fights, the Brain managed to do pretty well and went 11-4. The Heart didn’t fare so well and only managed a 7-8 record. With only one more event this year, the win is already secured by the Brain with a 42-17 overall record. The Heart trails by 13 with a 29-30 record. Luckily for the Heart, the records will reset in 2016. Let’s take a look back at UFC Fight Night 80, TUF 22 Finale, and UFC 194 for the 10 biggest moments.
Hall Cruises Past Lobov to Take TUF 22 Crown
Lobov seemed to have no answer for Ryan Hall. Lobov couldn’t get anything going on the feet and spent almost the entire fight on the ground trying to defend submission after submission. Hall did a great job of minimizing Lobov’s strengths. He was able to get Lobov in many bad situations, but was never able to find the finish. The result of this one never seemed to be in doubt once the fight started. In the end Hall won (30-26, 30-26, 30-27) to win the TUF 22 Lightweight crown. I personally wasn’t impressed with how many people looked on this season of TUF, but I think Hall could end up doing alright.
Sterling Stays Undefeated with Submission Win
A fight between the #5 and #10 ranked bantamweights flew under most people’s radar this weekend. Part of that is due to the number of high profile fights we had over the three days, the other part being that this fight was relegated to the prelims of the Fight Pass only UFC Fight Night 80. That part is baffling to me as Aljamain Sterling looks to be a star in the making. Sterling managed to look good against the dangerous Johnny Eduardo. He was able to get the fight to the ground and delivered some hard ground and pound and quickly capitalized on Eduardo leaving his neck open and sunk in the guillotine choke to elicit the tap from Eduardo. Sterling certainly appears to have all of the physical tools necessary to go far in the division. I think the fight to make after his win over Eduardo is against fellow undefeated prospect Thomas Almeida.
Romero Ekes Out Split Decision Win
Romero came out strong and came extremely close to finishing Souza in the first. Unfortunately, that seemed to take a lot of energy away from Romero and Souza came back in the second round, and clearly took the third round against a very tired Romero. I personally thought Souza should’ve won this fight or at worst a draw, but the judges disagreed. Souza will still likely fight someone towards the top of the division. With the win, Romero is likely looking at a title shot against the newly crowned champ Luke Rockhold.
Namajunas Derails VanZant
With so much hype surrounding VanZant a lot of people didn’t see this coming. While I thought Rose could win this fight, I certainly didn’t think she’d do it by absolutely dominating VanZant. Namajunas was able to completely shut down VanZant’s game. Namajunas lit VanZant up on the feet and controlled her on the ground as well. VanZant was completely outclassed (which she herself admitted). Both fighters are extremely young, so there’s a chance we’ll see these two go at it again at some point in the future. For now, VanZant goes back to the drawing board. I could see her getting matched up with Calderwood, which is who she was supposed to fight originally. It’s also possible she gets matched up with someone like Moroz or Aguilar.
The Northcutt Hype Train Continues to Roll
We saw how Northcutt was able to overcome adversity in this fight. He was taken down early in the first round and was on his back for most of the round. He was able to avoid most of the damage on the bottom. After a surprise standup Northcutt was able to get a takedown of his own and land a few punches. In the second, Northcutt was able to adjust in the second round and catch Pfister with a guillotine as he was coming in for a takedown. Northcutt has now won his first two fights in the UFC. Next up for Northcutt is likely another fighter pretty far down in the division. Some people have a problem with him getting so much attention while fighting the bottom of the division. I have no problem with how the UFC is doing this. The UFC realizes they have a potential star in Northcutt, but they also know that he is extremely early in his MMA career and has a long ways to go.
Ferguson Taps Barboza in Bloody Affair
Both fighters refused to back down in this contest. Each fighter absorbed significant punishment and by the end of the fight both fighters were a bloody mess. In the second round, the slippery Ferguson was able to capitalize on a failed takedown attempt by Barboza. Ferguson was able to submit Barboza halfway through the second round. Barboza has now lost two of his last three, but his job should be secure due to him being an exciting fighter. Ferguson has now won seven in a row and should get a top 5 opponent next. He could possibly get a rematch against Michael Johnson (assuming he gets past Nate Diaz) or even a fight against the winner of the Anthony Pettis/Eddie Alvarez fight.
Holloway Continues Climb up Featherweight Ladder
Holloway won his eighth straight with a clear decision win over Jeremy Stephens. Holloway controlled most of the action and was able to avoid Stephens’ power shots throughout the fight. Holloway has truly developed into an elite level fighter. I think a fight with former champ Jose Aldo would be a fantastic matchup. The winner of that fight would likely get a title shot.
Edgar KO’s Mendes
Edgar was looking to win in emphatic fashion to solidify his chance for a title shot. He did just that! If there was going to be a KO in this fight almost no one (including myself) expected it to come from Frankie Edgar. There was good work from both fighters early, but a perfectly placed counter left hook sent Mendes crashing to the mat. Mendes got back up immediately as McCarthy intervened, but Mendes was clearly out, so great stoppage by McCarthy. Unless the UFC ends up opting to give Aldo and immediate rematch, Edgar’s next fight should no doubt be for the title.
Rockhold Batters Weidman to Become the New Middleweight Champion
Through two rounds of this fight, I had the scorecards even. I gave Weidman the first round and Rockhold the second round. Things in the third were fairly close until Weidman decided to try a spinning kick. Rockhold was able to take Weidman down and absolutely brutalize Weidman. Dean was extremely close to stopping the fight, but Weidman managed to survive until the end of the third. While Weidman was able to answer the bell for the fourth round, it was clear the damage in the third definitely took its toll on him. Rockhold was able to take him down with relative ease and pounded away on Weidman until Dean decided to mercifully waive off the fight. Outstanding showing by Rockhold to become the new middleweight champion. Up next for Weidman is possibly a fight against Jacare Souza. The winner of that fight would immediately be right back in the title picture. Up next for the new champ is likely a fight with Yoel Romero.
McGregor Shocks the World
The fight we were all waiting for finally happened, and even though it lasted only 13 seconds, I still feel it was worth every penny. I heard a lot of people after the fight talk about McGregor’s KO being lucky or a fluke. McGregor threw that counter left hook with the intention of hurting Aldo. It was perfectly placed and did the job it was intended to do. I don’t see the luck in that. With that punch McGregor proved to most doubters that he is indeed “for real”. Several options await McGregor next. The most likely to me is a fight with Frankie Edgar. He’s more than earned his shot. They could also give Aldo an immediate rematch, but I’m not sure the UFC really wants this option. The third option is to give McGregor an immediate lightweight title shot versus the winner of Saturday’s Dos Anjos/Cerrone fight. No matter which fight ends up happening, you can pretty much guarantee that as long as McGregor is involved it’s going to do big business for the UFC.
Be sure to check back for the final Brain vs. Heart picks of 2015, which will feature and excellent FOX card headlined by Rafael Dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone for the Lightweight Championship!
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.