After beating Eddie Alvarez, Conor McGregor won the Lightweight title to go with his Featherweight title. Before the fight, Dana White said that if he won the fight, he would have to give up one of the belts. Do you think he should give up a belt or should he be allowed to defend both? Vote below:
The co-main event saw Holly Holm (C) defend the bantamweight title for the first time against Miesha Tate (#2). The match saw Holm trying to avoid being taken down, whilst Tate tried to avoid initiating too much against a good counter-striker in Holm. Round 2 saw Tate take Holm down and control the position well, threatening with a choke towards the end of the round, whilst Rounds 1, 3 and 4 saw a striking contest on the feet that Holm seemed to be having the better of, although Rounds 1 and 3 were close (4 was a bit clearer in Holm’s favour). Holm seemed to be doing enough in Round 5 to keep Tate away and keep the title, but Tate shot for a takedown and in the scramble got Holm’s back; Holm stood back up and tried to throw Tate off, but Tate was able to hold on to the choke she had and take Holm back down, with the fight ending moments later as Holm was choked out.
The main event saw Conor McGregor take on Nate Diaz at short notice (McGregor V Dos Anjos having been cancelled due to an injury to Dos Anjos) at Welterweight, two weight divisions up from where McGregor is champion. There were plenty of striking exchanges in the first round and McGregor seemed to be getting the better of them, opening up a cut above Diaz’s right eye. McGregor was looking to make use of uppercuts and seemed to keep his hands down in defence, preferring to rely on reflexes to avoid punches. The second round was similar until Diaz landed a good shot on McGregor’s chin, forcing him back. Diaz pressed forward and landed more strikes with McGregor against the cage, but he was able to get out. Diaz continued pressing forwards when the action returned to the centre of the Octagon and McGregor changed levels, looking for a takedown. Diaz defended well and ended up in top position and unleashed some ground and pound; McGregor looked to avoid this but only succeeded in giving up his back, allowing Diaz to sink a rear naked choke that resulted in McGregor tapping.
The results make for an interesting future in the UFC. Tate’s victory gives her the championship. I think Holm is entitled to a rematch as I had her ahead on the scorecards, with Tate only able to win by stoppage. However, the future of Ronda Rousey is still unknown and Rousey and Tate having fought twice before and Rousey has won both times. McGregor’s stated aim of adding the Welterweight title to his collection (he stated he was contemplating doing that after having beaten Dos Anjos) now looks less likely, but his next fight will surely still be a title fight even after the loss to Diaz; the only question is whether it will be for the Lightweight title against Dos Anjos or a defence of the Featherweight title. Following McGregor’s loss, Jose Aldo has already demanded a rematch again and is pushing for the fight to be at UFC 200. With UFC 200 fast approaching (and undoubtedly being a big milestone), I think that the UFC will want it’s two most marketable stars on show and will look to have Tate V Rousey for the Bantamweight title and Dos Anjos against McGregor for the Lightweigh title; this would give them the return of one of their marketable stars in a title match and a chance for their other highly marketable star to become a champion in two different weight categories.
The main event at UFC Fight Night New Jersey saw Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson (#2) take on Ryan ‘Darth’ Vader (#4) in the Light-Heavyweight division. The fight was short, with Bader shooting for a takedown. Rumble avoided it and gained position and started to work. Bader had Johnson’s arm locked up, but when Johnson got it free and had Bader against the cage, he was unable to unleash some ground and pound that resulted in a knockout victory inside 90 seconds. Unsurprisingly, he reminded the winner of Daniel Cormier (C) and Jon Jones (#1) that he would be waiting for them.
The co-main event saw Chris Weidman (C) take on Luke Rockhold (#1) for the Middleweight title. The first round was a close one, in which Weidman started strong with some grappling, but Rockhold came back into the round towards the end. However, Weidman seemed to have done enough to claim the round. Round 2 was a clearer round, with Rockhold finding success with his strikes. Round 3 looked to be a reversal, as Weidman found success with strikes, particularly body kicks. The round changed when Weidman attempted a wheel kick that was slow and that he seemed unsure of and Rockhold took full advantage, taking Weidman down, establishing a dominant position and unleashing a minute of ground and pound that was surprisingly not stopped by referee Herb Dean. The fourth round proved to be the final one, with Rockhold taking Weidman down and unleashing more ground and pound, forcing Dean to step in and give the victory (and title) to Rockhold.
The main event was the long awaited Featherweight title match between Jose Aldo (C) and Conor McGregor (IC). The match had originally been scheduled for July, but Aldo pulled out with a rib injury, resulting in McGregor fighting Chad Mendes and becoming the interim champion with victory. The match proved to be a record breaker as McGregor claimed victory in 13 seconds with a left hand that knocked out Aldo. Referee John McCarthy was rushing over to call the fight off as McGregor landed a couple of hammer fists on the prone Aldo.
It will be interesting to see what happens next; McGregor said that he would step up to lightweight after winning the featherweight title and beat the winner of Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone, who fight next week. There have already been words exchanged between McGregor and Cerrone, so it is likely that if that happens, it would be another huge event for the UFC. Aldo, in his post-match interview, wanted a rematch, but McGregor has announced that he wants his first title defence to be in Ireland against Frankie Edgar.
The co-main event saw Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler take on #2 Rory MacDonald. The fight started in a cautious manner, with both fighters working their way into it; I think Lawler just shaded the round with slightly better strikes. Round 2 was quite similar, but Lawler was a clearer winner of the round as some clean lefts opened up MacDonald. Lawler continued his good work in the third, but MacDonald had a fantastic closing minute and wobbled Lawler with some head kicks and could possibly have ended the fight if the round had gone on for an extra 30 seconds; I gave the round to MacDonald. The fourth round remained close, but MacDonald started well and his head kicks remained a constant threat and probably won the round. Going into the final round, I had it level at 2 rounds apiece, so it was a crucial final round, with the winner of the round probably being declared the winner via the judges. However, the fight did not reach the judges as a series of punches from Lawler to MacDonald’s already broken nose put him down and saw Lawler retain the title after an excellent, but brutal, fight.
The main event saw Chad Mendes (#1) fight Conor McGregor (#3) for the interim Featherweight title after the Champion, Jose Aldo, pulled out of his scheduled fight with McGregor. The first round was quite close, with McGregor landing strikes and taunting Mendes, but Mendes took McGregor down in the last minute and might just have shaded the round as a result. Mendes took McGregor down early in the second round and stayed there for most of the round. When it returned to standing, McGregor put Mendes down with a series of punches and became the Interim Featherweight Champion.
UFC 189 was a strong card with 5 excellent fights, none of which required a decision from the judges. In the Welterweight division, Lawler V Hendricks 3 seems likely, although after his fight with MacDonald, there is likely to be strong demand for Lawler V MacDonald 3. There had been a lot of build-up to Aldo V McGregor and with McGregor now the interim champion and Aldo the champion, that fight will happen and surely be even bigger than it was ahead of UFC 189.
UFC 187 saw a double-header for the main event, with Chris Weidman defending the Middleweight title against Vitor Belfort, whilst Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier fought for the vacant UFC Light Heavyweight title.
Weidman successfully defended his belt, finishing the fight in the first round with ground and pound after taking Belfort down. Belfort had success early and cut Weidman with a flurry, but when the fight went to the ground, Weidman was in complete control and referee Herb Dean had to step in.
Johnson started his fight with Cormier well, landing a big right that put DC down. However, Cormier was straight back up and Johnson looked to repeat, but missed, allowing Cormier to take advantage and control the fight with his wrestling. The start of the second saw some kicks exchanged before Cormier was able to take Johnson down again, spending the rest of the round threatening Kimoras and getting in some ground and pound. A visibly exhausted Johnson came out in the third round and Cormier was soon in control and able to get Johnson’s back before applying a choke and submitting Johnson to win the fight and the title. Immediately after the match, Cormier told former champion Jon Jones that he was waiting for him. However, I would like to see his defence against Alexander Gustafsson.
A special mention to Travis Browne and Andrei Arlovski for an amazing fight in the heavyweight division. It was all over in the first round, but some huge punches were exchanged. At one point, Browne was in trouble against the cage, but managed to put Arlovski down. Arlovski recovered and managed to finish the fight against the cage as the referee stepped in, with Browne wobbling all over the place. Arlovski’s recent run, coupled with this impressive display, could see him in line to face the winner of Cain Valasquez V Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188.