The Brain had a one win lead heading into the weekend. After the dust had settled, the Brain maintained the one win lead, but neither the Brain nor the Heart did very well. They both only managed to go 2-3. That brings the overall records to 44-32 for the Brain and 43-33 for the Heart. There were plenty of big name fights, upsets, and highlight reel finishes, so let’s look at the top 5 moments of UFC 198:
- Maia Gets Closer to Title Shot with Sub of Brown
Maia committed to a keeping the fight on the ground against the dangerous Matt Brown. Through three rounds of action, Maia constantly took Brown down and attempted to lock in a submission. Brown did an excellent job defending throughout the fight, but with less than a minute to go in the third round, Maia was able to get his hand under the frustrated Brown’s neck and lock in the rear-naked choke for the tap at 4:31 of the third round. Brown has now dropped three of his last four fights. Brown has a fan-friendly style and his job should definitely be safe. He’s had a similar slump before and Brown followed that up with seven straight wins. He should get a fairly “easy” tune-up fight to get back on track. Maia has now won five in a row including wins of Magny, Nelson, and now Brown. I wouldn’t be surprised if his next fight is against the winner of the Lawler/Woodley fight at UFC 201.
- Lil Nog Stops Cummins Late in First
Cummins looked solid early, but Nogueira forced the fight to stay on the feet. Nogueira landed a solid hook and then followed up with more hard shots. Cummins was clearly hurt, but was able to survive and get back up to his feet. Nogueira continued his attack to finally end the fight for good. Cummins has now lost three of his last four all by TKO. These setbacks definitely hurt Cummins chances of climbing up the ladder. I think he needs a couple top 15 fighters before he tries to fight someone inside the top 10 again. Nogueira snapped a two fight skid, and at least temporarily staved off retirement questions from media and fans. I really don’t see Lil Nog fighting anyone ranked too high anymore, but I still think he has the urge to push on.
- Cyborg Makes Quick Work of Smith
Cyborg finally made her long awaited UFC debut and she made sure not to disappoint. Right from the start, Justino landed some hard shots. A game Smith was able to eat them, but Cyborg kept coming forward with big shots. Finally a left and right from Justino dropped Smith. Cyborg followed with a few hammerfists and the referee jumped in to stop the fight. It may have been a slightly early stoppage but Smith was clearly hurt. While the loss definitely isn’t what Smith was hoping for, she should get credit for stepping up to face Cyborg. Smith is incredibly tough and her 8-7 record doesn’t accurately reflect how good she is. She’ll definitely get another chance in her own weight class this time. Cyborg has said she plans to return to Invicta and presumably defend her title. I think Cyborg’s toughest opponents are currently in the UFC. So I could definitely see at least one more 140 pound catchweight between another tough bantamweight. I don’t really see Cyborg ever actually dropping down to 135, because if she was ever going to do it, I think she would have against Ronda.
- Souza TKOs Belfort in Dominant Performance
Souza dominated Belfort from start to finish in this one. He got Belfort down early and went to work with elbows that cut Vitor open. Souza then tried to lock in a sub, but Belfort was able to escape. However, Souza continued his attack with brutal shots and the referee finally steps in to halt the action. Outstanding work from Souza who left Belfort a bloodied and bruised. Vitor has now alternated wins and losses in his last four fights all ending in TKO. It’s pretty clear that while Belfort is still dangerous, that age is starting to catch up to him. He can still be a top 10 fighter, but he definitely needs a win. He should be close to a title shot, but he likely needs one more win. If Bisping isn’t next in line for the winner of the Rockhold/Weidman rematch then I really think that is the fight to make. If Bisping does get the next title shot, then Souza will likely take another fight with a top 10 fighter, possibly Whittaker.
- One Punch Earns Miocic Heavyweight Title
Werdum tried to come out aggressive and it ended up costing him. Miocic was ready with a solid counter right. Werdum continued forward and was again met with a hard right counter. The perfectly placed shot sent Werdum slumping to the canvas. Miocic is now the new heavyweight champion and halts any talk of Werdum having a long title reign. Werdum shouldn’t be too far away from another chance as long as he can win two or three in a row. Assuming Miocic didn’t suffer any injuries in his win, he’ll look to defend his new title. Alistair Overeem has won four in a row and seems like the obvious choice to get the next title shot. That would be an excellent matchup between two extremely tough heavyweights.
Be sure to check back in two weeks when the UFC returns for the action-packed Fight Night 88. The main event is a clash between two fast rising undefeated bantamweights Thomas Almeida and Cody Garbrandt.
Any questions or comments? Hit me up on Twitter @IAMMAEverlast or comment below.