UFC 221: Yoel Romero and New Blood Dominates
UFC 221 was not without it’s usual drama. First, middleweight champ, Robert Whittaker, was plagued with injuries. “Bobby Knuckles” blew out his hamstring, an abscess became infected, and he contracted chicken pox all in one camp. After Yoel Romero, the #1 contender, was tapped to replace Whittaker for the event, he missed weight (187.7 lbs) and became ineligible for the interim title on the line against Luke Rockhold. That being said, many people wrote this card off as likely to be a bust. UFC, instead, delivered a night of great nights with tons of new blood to look forward to…
Israel Adesanya has arrived!
Dana White always has his eyes peeled for freshman talent. Israel Adesanya is that fresh talent. Adensanya has a combined MMA, Muay Thai, boxing, and kickboxing record of 81-6-2 coming into this night, being undefeated in his MMA bouts (12-0). “The Last Stylebender” did not let us down on this night. Rob Wilkinson, who was coming off a loss last September, was his victim. Adesanya finished him off in the second round, completely dominating Wilkinson in both rounds. There are levels to MMA, and Adesanya is clearly way ahead of his experience. With a striking style similar to Jon Jones and Anderson Silva, Adesanya is incredibly fun to watch fight and will be someone to keep an eye on in the future. Look for the UFC to challenge him a bit more in his next outing.
Israel Adesanya’s potential next opponents: Omari Akhmedov, Gerald Meerschaert
Tyson Pedro rebounds against Saparbek Safarov
Tyson Pedro had his hype train derailed in his second fight in the UFC against Ilir Latifi last September. This time, the Australian native was right at home in Perth. Pedro made pretty quick work of Saparbek Safarov, executing a beautiful kimura in the first round. Light-Heavyweight is a pretty sparse division at the moment, and it looks to be on hold for a while while champ, Daniel Cormier, returns to heavyweight to fight champ Stipe Miocic. That will give the time for fresh blood, like Tyson Pedro, to rise in the rankings, and get a few more quality wins under his belt to contend for a title shot. Aussies’ record on the main card? 1-0
Saparbek Safarov’s potential next opponent: Marcel Fortuna, Jarod Cannonier
Tyson Pedro’s potential next opponent: Gian Villante, Misha Cirkunov
Li Jingliang’s eye gouge does not phase Jake Matthews
We all saw it. Li Jingliang CLEARLY tried to hurt Jake Matthews, not to mention Jingliang grabbing Matthews’ glove as well. Matthews showed incredible grit and promise in his pretty young UFC career. At one point, I’m pretty sure he lowered his hands and just ate some of Jingliang’s punches to show how much of a badass he truly was (hint: Jake Matthews is very much a badass). Ultimately, Matthews and Jingliang received the Fight of the Night bonus, with several knockdown’s a piece. Oh, and did I mention Matthews is from Australia? Aussies are now 2-0 on the main card.
Li Jingliang’s potential next opponents: Court McGee, Lyman Good
Jake Matthews’ potential next opponents: Loser of Cowboy Cerrone and Yancy Medeiros, Belal Muhammad
Can anyone make it out of the first round with Tai Tuivasa?
The answer to the question above? No. Tai Tuivasa was 6-0 coming into the night, with 6 first round finishes, including a corner’s stoppage. After UFC 221, he’s now 7-0 with 7 first round finishes. Tuivasa is more young talent that the UFC has acquired. Cyril Asker, who has twice the MMA fights as Tuivasa, was not on the same playing field as Tuivasa. Asker didn’t have time to get hardly anything off on Tuivasa. It was pretty wild to see such a beat down like this in the Octagon. Tuivasa will most likely fight a ranked fighter next and will look for a new first round finish yet again. Tuivasa is also, you guessed it, Australian. 3-0.
Cyril Asker’s potential next opponents: Allen Crowder, Dmitry Poberezhets
Tai Tuivasa’s potential next opponents: Andrei Arlovski (after the Struve fight at UFC 222), Shamil Abdurakhimov
Curtis Blaydes upsets the Super Samoan on his home turf
Australia suffers their only loss on the card here. MMA legend, Mark Hunt, looked to have Curtis Blaydes on the ropes in the first rounds, landing nuclear bombs that Hunt knowingly possesses. But then, Blaydes, like a true contender, made adjustments, and took over the rest of the fight. We all know Hunt doesn’t have the cardio he used to. So Blaydes wrestled Hunt to death, landing eleven takedowns on the night. Hunt is still a terrifying man, but Blaydes showed he belongs in the elite heavyweight fighters by beating the #5 contender. Blaydes is more of that young blood that the UFC is looking for. Sadly the Australian fighters fall to 3-1 on the night.
Mark Hunt’s potential next opponents: Winner of Struve/Arlovski, Loser of Volkov/Werdum
Curtis Blaydes’ potential next opponents: Lewis/Tybura winner, Cain Velasquez
Yoel Romero makes another dead body…
After missing weight and taking the short notice fight against Luke Rockhold, many people counted out Yoel Romero. Oh, how that was a bad move. Just a fair warning, Romero just decides if he can’t kill you in the third round, you would classify as “lucky.” Ask Chris Weidman, Loyoto Machida, Tim Kennedy, Derrick Brunson, and now, Luke Rockhold. All third round finishes by Romero. Rockhold didn’t push a fast pace attack the whole fight and allowed Romero to keep his stamina later in the fight. Consequently, Romero made Rockhold pay with that sweet chin music. Hugging Rockhold, who is a sore loser, after the fight was the icing on the cake. Romero, being such a nice guy, probably had nothing but good things to say about Luke, but kissing him on the cheek a couple times was weird.
Never the less, Rockhold seems to not have his heart in fighting, while Romero is on the collision course for a rematch with champ, Robert Whittaker. Also, we will give Whittaker a “no contest” on the night, making Aussies 3-1-1 on the night.
Luke Rockhold’s potential next opponents: Jacare Souza, Chris Weidman rematch
Yoel Romero’s potential next opponent: Robert Whittaker
Also, here’s a new technique for you guys to start practicing:
With UFC 221 in the books, we look forward to UFC 222. After a night of fantastic fights, the next card, which has been plagued with replacement fights and drama has a lot to live up to. What was your favorite moment of UFC 221?