In what was billed as the biggest event in UFC history, there was a lot that happened. I was able to start watching the evening with TJ Dillashaw getting a win after his tough loss to Dominick Cruz. It was a great performance with TJ looking great and proving that he is still in the mix for a title shot soon. TJ was probably the least questioned of any of the fighters on this card coming off of a loss, but still had something to prove.
Kevin Gastelum and Johny Hendricks put on a heck of a show. Johny landed the only take down in the fight in the second round, which is probably the one round that he won on a single judge card. One judge scored it 29-28 in favor of Gastelum and the other two judges had it 30-27 for KG. Kevin was able to put together the best striking performance of his career. Some real fireworks started in the last 30 seconds of the fight as both fighters traded in a heated exchange that was intense to watch knowing Johny’s power, but KG hung in the pocket and looked to come out with the cleaner shots.
The next fight was a good scrap with Cat Zigano and Julianna Pena. The fight started with Cat being able to control the fight on the ground and Pena only able to muster a reversal and 3 significant strikes in the round. But the fight turned and Pena was the one in control for the rest of the fight, out striking Cat 129 to 23. All three Judges scored it 29-28 for Pena.
Cain and Rhonda Rousey’s boyfriend was the first fight of the main card. Cain Velasquez was coming off of a very big loss to Fabrcio Werdum were he was picked apart on his feet. Werdum is considered one of the best jiu jitsu for MMA fighters in the world, it was expected the Cain would would have the advantage standing. When he didn’t we all wondered if he was as good as we all thought. Cain then promptly reminded us all how good he is and scary he can be on any given night. He showed us a new technique that he had not previously shown us from him in the octagon and spinning heel kick. It was the beginning of the end for Travis Browne after that.
Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar went the distance. Jose Aldo was masterful in this fight. He looked like the best Aldo that I have seen in the octagon and he is ready for the rematch with Conor if it comes. I am glad that he had the chance to erase the last image that we had of him over extending, getting caught and hitting the canvas. Interestingly, Jose only threw two leg kicks in the fight and both seemed to be very effective. If someone would have told me that he won 48-47 on one card and 49-46 on the other two and only threw two leg kicks, I would have called them crazy. But it happened. It was closer than the 49-46 appeared as Aldo was able to steal rounds that were dead even with effective flurries at the end of a couple rounds. I picked Frankie for this fight, but before the fight I tweeted this.
This will be a great rematch, I just hope it happens soon while Jose is locked in and ready to go.
At this point in the night it feels like fights have been going on forever and the main event was coming up. And if not for the fact that it was a 3 round fight, it felt that big. Anderson Silva making it to this fight on two days notice is worthy of some massive respect. I won’t take credit for predicting how this fight would go, because any even casual fan could see this one coming. What I didn’t expect is how fired up this crowed would be to see Silva do well. Every time the fight was standing, there was electricity in the air. When Daniel Cormier was doing what we all knew he would do and laying on top of Silva trying to ground and pound him the crowed was incensed.
This was my favorite tweet of the night. Cerrone is one of my favorite fighters and I am so happy that he was his normal self being a fan of fighting and leading the chant. With 35 seconds to go in the fight Silva was standing and threw a liver kick that hurt Cormier and instantly grabbed Silva and pinned him to the cage. For a moment there was a flash of excitement in what was otherwise a one sided fight. I wrote about this still being good for Silva in my post yesterday and it was. He walked out of the cage, on two days notice and lasted 15 mins with the light heavyweight champ of the world. He then had some interesting things to say after the fight that I will cover in my next piece.
Really though. That was not the main event. We still have two more fights to cover.
Brock Lesnar is back. What does that mean, we have no idea. He is going to take it one day at a time is what he said to Rogan after his 29-27 unanimous win over Mark Hunt. He looked like he was in over his head in the second round, but after he secured a take-down in the third, he was dominate. He earned a 10-8 round from all three judges and was back with a victory after four and half years off.
Finally the final fight of the night.
Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes was a great fight and a terrific performance by Nunes. She is historically a fast starter that fades at the end of fights, while Miesha starts slow and picks up steam as she goes. I predicted that Tate would be able to withstand the quick start and defend her belt, but Nunes was too much. In what looked like an illegal knee that started the final exchange after replay, it missed. The shots she landed were all legal and very effective. Ending with Miesha giving up her back and getting choked out.
Bigger than the fight in my opinion was the fact that a women’s fight was the main event of the biggest UFC fight ever. At UFC 100 seven years ago, there were not even ladies in the UFC.
I will try to get something up shortly covering the pressers.