UFC 229 Biggest Winner and Losers
The Karate Hottie was put on the big stage at 229 and showed us why in a big win for her career. Although not a hugely flashy win, Waterson was written off by many in the MMA community in this fight, and coming out as a victor only furthers her good situation. Waterson is beloved by many and that means she can put eyes on the television when she’s in the cage, big moment seized by the Karate Hottie.
Reyes has been a much needed hype train at light heavyweight. This was his first real test though in a savvy, dominant veteran that is OSP, and Reyes passed with flying colors. Not only did Reyes win, but it was taken to decision which in a weird way was what we needed to see out of him rather than the 1st round KO. OSP is dangerous, and that danger doesn’t disappear later in the fight, and Reyes dominated from start to finish. For those who didn’t believe in this hype train, all aboard!
With so many winners from this past weekend, Luque was debated on being left off this list, but I couldn’t do it. Luque is a complete and utter beast of a welterweight. Luque may have fought a newcomer but he did what was expected and he can’t be faulted for that. I expect a top 15 opponent for Luque next, maybe even top ten, this guy is a finishing machine and its time we give him a very tough test in this stacked division.
“My balls are hot.” Well the Black Beast sure got everyones attention, and what a card to do it on. The last time we saw this man was a snooze fest Vs. former terrifying turned scared Francis Ngannou, and it seemed as though Lewis was going to be taken to a dull unanimous decision loss. Then again this is fighting, and with KO power in every move he makes, Lewis reminded us just how dangerous and powerful he is with a KO win in the last 30 seconds after essentially losing for 3 rounds. Fast forward a day and Lewis is now headlining MSG Vs. Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight belt. I think this could be a nightmare matchup for the big man, BUT we just saw him win a fight on one punch, so I am not setting anything in stone just yet.
Tony Ferguson is insane, I’ve come to that conclusion, but wow do I love every second of it. Ferguson in all honesty should no doubt be next in line for that belt, especially with the Dustin Poirier injury news. The only thing stopping him now is Dana White’s fear to make that matchup a 5th time, after seeing the result the first four times. Ferguson is 6 months removed from a gruesome injury , did no PT, doesn’t spar, and yet he looks like he hasn’t missed a step. Pettis even caught Ferguson, and how does Tony respond? He starts doing “Showtime” moves and buys himself time. Tony is insane, but wow I need him Vs. Khabib so badly.
McGregor did it all to try and get inside the Russian’s head, but even if he did it only made this bear want to beat him even more. Nurmagomedov dominated the Irish star, trash talked him in the cage and took him down at will. This man is now 27-0, and may be the greatest Lightweight of all time. The antics after the fight were unnecessary, but they happened, both parties are at fault and lets move on from it. I am sure their will be a rematch due to how much money it could bring in and disgusted Dana will use the post fight brawl as a promo video. Anyways lets not take away from what was a dominant performance for the champ. Lets also not forget that the one big stand up shot came beautifully from Khabib who faked a shoot and caught McGregor with a right. In all honesty who can actually stop this man? The bears couldn’t.
Volkov performed well, in fact take out the last 30 seconds of the fight and he is the unanimous winner of this contest, that all changed with one swing. Volkov was on the receiving end of a vicious KO by Derrick Lewis and while Lewis will now headline UFC 230, Volkov and his impressive fight will be remembered as “Trump told me to knock this Russian the F*ck out.” Tough ending to an otherwise impressive contest for Volkov.
Ovince Saint Preux
OSP is a fan favorite in the division, always impressing with his overall game in the cage. This was not one of those impressive performances. It seemed as though OSP was the young prospect without experience while Reyes was the contender looking to move up in the rankings back to title contention. This was a tough one for OSP, and this loss almost secures him as a gate keeper for the foreseeable future in my opinion. Although the division is light and a win or two could put OSP right back into contention but after that performance it is hard to think of him as a title challenger anytime soon.
Now before I get comments about why Pettis doesn’t deserve to be in this column let me say this, Pettis doesn’t deserve to be in this column, BUT he is. Pettis had a huge oppurtunity when wobbling Ferguson but couldn’t take advantage. Overall Pettis grew his stock even more, he fought hard against arguably one of the toughest matchups in the division. The overall reason I put Pettis in this column is the lack of consistency we have seen out of him at 155. Given he has had to take on some extremely tough opponents but this division is stacked and Pettis needs to string together wins in order to stay ranked in this division. Pettis overall though may not be much of a loser after all of this, he put on a short war with Ferguson for the fans and had his hand not been broken who knows what could have happened.
Lets not act like McGregor lost all his stock with this loss, he didn’t. McGregor is still miles above anyone else including Khabib in ability to sell PPV’s and be a huge draw, but this one definitely lowers his stock a bit in my mind. McGregor talked ALOT leading up to this fight, and the bus incident, and come fight night he looked nothing like himself. Given Khabib almost makes everyone look nothing like themselves. After 2 years off I think fighting Khabib for the welcome back fight was a huge mistake. McGregor needed a tune-up fight, that still could have sold huge numbers. McGregor is already asking for the rematch and I think he will get it, eventually. Give me a fight before that though, a McGregor Vs. Diaz 3, McGregor Vs. Geathje something that can help the Irish striker get his mojo back in the cage, Khabib is just to good of a fighter to take years off from this sport and walk back in to that Russian. So overall McGregor loses, another tap, but lets see how he responds to this. We saw it with Diaz, fans turning on him in defeat but he came back better and more prepared to avenge the loss, Khabib is a different animal though, this is just going to have to be a waiting game for now.
Author : Joe McDonagh (Joe_mcdonagh6)