The Brain went 4-2 on UFC Fight Night 86, while the Heart went an abysmal 1-5. That ties things all up at 29-22 apiece. With five heavyweight fights on this card, it’s no surprise that the majority of the highlights involve the heavyweights. Let’s look at the top 5 moments of UFC Fight Night 86:
- Taisumov Picks Up Fourth TKO in a Row
Taisumov returned from a 10 month layoff to continue his TKO streak. Hadzovic proved to be a game opponent, but Taisumov would get the better of the striking exchanges. Taisumov was able hurt Hadzovic and followed up with a massive uppercut that sealed the deal. He seems to have a bright future ahead of him and I’d like to see a step up in competition for his next fight.
- Ngannou Continues to Deliver
Two babies (given that both are under 30) of the heavyweight division were paired against each other. Ngannou and Blaydes are both relatively new to MMA, but both have shown promise. On Sunday, Ngannou proved he was the better fighter of the two. Blaydes was able to take him down on a couple occasions, but Ngannou was able to get back to his feet both times rather quickly. On the feet, Blaydes seemed to be throwing with more power, but Ngannou was the faster fighter and was able to avoid shots while landing his own. Ngannou continued to attack the swelling eye of Blaydes and after the second round the doctor called the fight due to Blaydes being unable to see. Blaydes can rebound and come back as a better fighter. Ngannou will likely see a decent bump in competition as the division is rather shallow. He still has room to improve, but he definitely has potential.
- Cannonier Gets Brutal Finish
Cannonier was on the wrong end of a KO finish in his UFC debut against Shawn Jordan. He made sure Asker was on the receiving end this time around. Asker seemed to be the aggressor out of the gate but a huge left hand from Cannonier changed everything and sent Asker crashing to the mat. Cannonier followed with some vicious elbows to seal the deal. The KO gave Cannonier his first UFC win and was also good enough to receive a Performance of the Night bonus as well.
- Lewis Blasts Gonzaga
Gonzaga was able to get Lewis to the ground early in the fight, but somewhat surprisingly Lewis was able to work his way back to his feet. There were a few punches landed by both fighters in the round, but Gonzaga tried to keep Lewis pinned up against the cage as much as possible to prevent Lewis from throwing bombs. Lewis was able to land a vicious combo that knocked out Gonzaga. Lewis followed up with a couple more bombs before the ref is able to stop the fight. Lewis picks up another impressive KO win inside the Octagon. I’m not sure where Gonzaga goes from here. He’s lost four of his last five, the last three all coming by way of TKO. Lewis clearly wants to fight Roy Nelson, and from the sounds of it Nelson is more than willing to oblige. The fight makes sense for both and that first round should be absolutely crazy while it lasts.
- Dos Santos Shines in Vintage Performance
A different Dos Santos showed up in the Rothwell fight. The battle-worn Dos Santos that we’ve seen the past few fights was nowhere to be seen. In his place was the vintage Dos Santos that won his first ten fights in the UFC and captured the UFC Heavyweight Championship. The first round was fairly close, but Dos Santos really started to pull away after that. He continually circled around the cage not letting Rothwell have a stationary target to try and hit. Dos Santos did an excellent job of using his boxing and landed more body shots than I’ve ever seen. Rothwell may not have won, but he deserves credit for hanging in there and never quitting. I would’ve liked to seen him at least attempt a takedown, but I’m sure the body shots took a toll. The loss for Rothwell here is tough since he likely would’ve earned a title shot with a win, but he doesn’t drop too far in the rankings. Dos Santos picked up the much needed win, and although Rothwell was likely looking at a title shot, Dos Santos still has some work to do before he’ll get another one. The winner of the Arlovski/Browne fight is about the only fight for Dos Santos that makes sense at the moment.
Be sure to check back on Friday for UFC on FOX 16, which features a light heavyweight fight between Glover Teixeira and Rashad Evans. The co-main event is a fight between veterans Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida. The main card also features the return of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
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