After a long week full of breaking news, controversial occurrences, and incredible fight cards two nights prior, International Fight Week culminated with its marquee event on Saturday night, UFC 200. With a few new production elements on display, color added to the Reebok fight kits, and a yellow mat in the Octagon, the stage was set for a special event. While the dust settles from the whirlwind of the weekend, can we truly say that UFC 200 delivered on all of its promises as a blockbuster event?
Contrary to the beliefs of some, Saturday’s event proved to be a special evening. For true fans of the sport of MMA, there was perhaps only one name on the entire fight card of UFC 200 that was not instantly familiar. As the evening progressed through the course of a twelve-fight card, you got the recurring feeling of “Wow! What a sick fight this next one will be!” While that anticipation may or may not have been fulfilled, it was revived after each fight due to the incredible talents scheduled to grace the Octagon.
The entire Fight Pass Prelims delivered with first round knockouts to set the stage for the remainder of the evening. Jim Miller destroyed Takanori Gomi, who seemed off his game earlier in the week during Ultimate Media Day. Gegard Mousasi was scheduled against Thiago Santos, which based on the latter’s recent Octagon success should have been a decent matchup, yet the talent gap between the two men was apparent very early on as Mousasi steamrolled his way to victory. Despite his intensity throughout interviews all week long, Diego Sanchez found himself without his mouthpiece that was removed by vicious strikes from Joe Lauzon just before the referee would call a stop to the bout.
Two former champions competed on the Fox Sports 1 Prelims; one who’s career has hit a very rough patch since losing his title and the other who simply found himself on the wrong side of a very close decision. Johny Hendricks doesn’t seem to be the same guy who arguably beat Georges St. Pierre. The focus of making a weight limit he probably shouldn’t be fighting at is severely hindering his in-cage performances. As confirmed by his coaches and nutritionist just a couple of weeks prior, Johny’s recent fights have truly been with the scales. While the simple answer would be moving up to the next weight class, Johny is one of those “tweener” guys who would truly benefit from a weight class between the 170 and 185-pound limit, as he’s undersized compared to the elite in the middleweight division. After suffering a hard-fought loss to Kelvin Gastelum on the night, it will be interesting to see how Johny moves forward.
For one of the most lasting memories of the card, we jump forward to the Pay-Per-View portion of the card for everyone’s fight of the night, Jose Aldo versus Frankie Edgar. Thirteen seconds after the opening bell of his previous fight, Aldo was staring at the ceiling while Conor McGregor was “making it rain” while straddling the top of the cage. Since that moment, Aldo has been incredibly focused on proving that was a fluke occurrence…and, boy, did he ever. Jose Aldo looked incredible over the course of five rounds against former Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar, one of the toughest men to enter the Octagon. Physically Aldo looked much better than in his bout with Conor, probably due to less stress from an extensive, strenuous press tour. Not dealing with McGregor’s mind games also helped the new Interim Featherweight Champion prepare properly to put on a performance to remind everyone of his unique talents.
UFC 200 also proved that once you’ve reached a certain level of reverence, wins and losses don’t matter. Well, that is at least true when you take a fight on two day’s notice against the Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. Anderson Silva not only got a pass on his loss, he also received some of the loudest cheers of the evening after the completion of the third round for making the fight competitive during the striking exchanges. Of course, DC would impose his will in the wrestling game. As he said in the post-fight presser when asked about why he was booed by the fans who didn’t like Cormier avoiding striking with Silva, “I would say to you, ‘You go stand in front of Anderson for 15 minutes if you have the ability to take him down.” Completely justified, completely reasonable, and quite frankly, completely expected from the champ. Considering the cluster of stress that Cormier dealt with during fight week with Jon Jones testing positive and being pulled from the fight, it’s not a surprise that Cormier would simply do what he needed to do in order to have his hand raised. Mission Accomplished.
Brock Lesnar returned to the Octagon after a five-year layoff and perhaps looked even better than before against Mark Hunt. A fight that was very briefly billed as the main event once Jon Jones versus Daniel Cormier was scrapped, was moved back to the co-main slot once Anderson Silva stepped in to face Cormier. The analysis on this fight didn’t run very deep. If Brock could complete takedowns without getting clipped by Hunt, he would win the fight. Brock completed a few takedowns. Brock won the fight. Five years removed from his previous bout and having only trained for six weeks, Brock returned to smash one of the top heavyweights in the world. Will we see Lesnar back in the Octagon again? Hopefully so after that performance.
While some fans began to exit the arena after witnessing Lesnar’s victory, there was still one more fight on the card, and it was for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes. Just like Hunt vs. Lesnar, this fight saw its share of shifts in placement as the drama of the week played out, but ultimately ended in the top spot. Nunes said before the fight she believed she had all the tools to beat Miesha, and she was certainly correct. The tool of destruction that spelled the beginning of the end for Tate, was a knee that landed flush on the nose, possibly breaking it, but certainly stunning the now-former champion. Nunes wasted little time following up and quickly found herself locking in a rear-naked choke to earn the victory, and the right to be called Champion. Nunes projected herself intro the title fight triangle of Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Holly Holm, and emerged with the gold. Amanda Nunes is the first openly gay UFC Champion, an accomplishment she said she is very, very proud of.
For an event that had so much uncertainty over the past few days, it was all-in-all a great way to cap off International Fight Week 2016. Yes, the main event wasn’t perhaps what you would expect to carry a card of the highest magnitude, but the preliminary card was one of, if not the best, of all time. If you were to tell me that this three-card week would produce two new champions, a few incredible performances, and intense emotional drama, I’d be very pleased with those results.
*Live Updates* UFC Gdsank Official Results
The UFC hosted their second event in the country of Poland, as UFC Gdsank took place at the Ergo Arena. The card was headlined by a welterweight fight between Donald Cerrone and Darren Till.
Cerrone (32-9) was coming off a close unanimous decision loss to former 170-pound champion Robbie Lawler in July. It was the only time in “Cowboy’s” MMA career that he had suffered consecutive losses.
Till (15-0-1) improved his undefeated record in September, defeating Bojan Veličković by unanimous decision. It was a case of old school vs. new school in this headliner, as the up and comer Till hoped to secure the biggest win of his career over Cerrone.
MAIN CARD – UFC Fight Pass – 8PM BST
- Donald Cerrone (32-9) vs. Darren Till (15-0-1) – Welterweight bout
- Result: Darren Till def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (punches) Round 1 – 4:20
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz (11-2) vs. Jodie Esquibel (6-3) – Women’s strawweight bout
- Result: Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Jodie Esquibel via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jan Blachowicz (20-7) vs. Devin Clark (8-2) – Light heavyweight bout
- Result: Jan Błachowicz def. Devin Clark via SUB (rear-naked choke) Round 2 – 3:02
- Oskar Piechota (10-0) vs. Jonathan Wilson (7-3) – Middleweight bout
- Result: Oskar Piechota def. Jonathan Wilson via Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
*Watch* Bellator 185 Weigh in: Live Stream, Results
Watch the live weigh-ins for Bellator 185 here.
Gegard Mousasi takes on Alexander Slemenko live this Friday night October 20th at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville CT. This is the first appearance for Mousasi in the Bellator cage as he looks to secure a title shot with a win over the very tough former Bellator champion Slemenko. Joining these men of the main card will be a pair of welterweights as Neiman Gracie from the famous Gracie BJJ family takes on Zak Bucia in the co-main event.
Full Weigh-in Results: (Updated in real time)
Gegard Mousasi (185) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (186)
Neiman Gracie (170.5) vs. Zak Bucia (170)
Heather Hardy (126) vs. Kristina Williams (126)
Ryan Quinn (155.5) vs. Marcus Surin (155)
Ana Julaton (125.5) vs. Lisa Blaine (122)
Jordan Young (200) vs. Alec Hooben (194)
Costello van Steenis (185) vs. Steve Skrzat (186)
Vinicius de Jesus (170) vs. Joaquin Buckley (171)
John Beneduce (154.5) vs. Dean Hancock (155)
Timothy Wheeler (144) vs. Pete Rogers (144)
Don Shainis (150) vs. Matthew Denning (149)
Frank Sforza (149) vs. Vovka Clay (150)
Kevin Carrier (156) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (153)
John Lopez (126) vs. Billy Giovanella (125)
Bellator 185- How to Watch, Times and Fight Card
Bellator is once again heading to Mohegan Sun in Uncasville Connecticut, and this time they are bringing with them one of the most anticipated former UFC fighter turned Bellator stars’ debut. Gegard Mousasi will be making his first appearance in the Bellator cage against a former Bellator champion in Alexander Shlemenko. Although this event has lost some of its star power over the last several weeks, it is still stacked and you can bet that the main event will bring some fireworks.
Earlier in the month, it was announced that King Mo had suffered an injury that had forced him out of his co-main event fight with former middleweight champion Liam McGeary. Bellator worked quickly to secure a replacement opponent for McGeary in Bubba McDaniels. Unfortunately for McDaniels and the fans alike, McGeary had later suffered an injury of his own and the fight was removed from the card.
This left a spot open in the co-main event slot, which would be filled by a welterweight matchup between Brennan Ward and David Rickels. Just four days out from the fight, Bellator announced that Ward had also become injured and the fight has been removed from the card as well. The main card has been shuffled around and the welterweight bout between Neiman Gracie and Zak Bucia will now serve as the co-main event.
Main Card- Spike TV (US/Canada) Spike UK (UK)- 9 pm EDT, 6 pm PDT, 2 pm UK
- Middleweight Main Event: Gegard Mousasi (42-6-2) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (56-9, 1 NC)
- Welterweight Feature Bout: Neiman Gracie (6-0) vs. Zak Bucia (18-8)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Heather Hardy (1-0) vs. Kristina Williams (Debut)
- Lightweight Feature Bout: Ryan Quinn (13-7) vs. Marcus Surin (4-0)
- Women’s Flyweight Feature Bout: Ana Julaton (2-2) vs. Lisa Blaine (1-0)
Preliminary Card- Live Stream (MMA Latest New)- 7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT, 12 pm UK
- 195 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Jordan Young (6-0) vs. Alec Hooben (5-3)
- Middleweight Preliminary Bout: Costello van Steenis (8-1) vs. Steve Skrzat (8-9)
- Welterweight Preliminary Bout: Vinicius de Jesus (5-1) vs. Joaquin Buckley (7-1)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: John Beneduce (2-1) vs. Dean Hancock (2-1)
- Featherweight Preliminary Bout: Timothy Wheeler (1-4) vs. Pete Rogers (2-4)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Don Shainis (3-1) vs. Matthew Denning (5-6)
- 150 lb. Catchweight Preliminary Bout: Frank Sforza (6-0) vs. Vovka Clay (3-2)
- Lightweight Preliminary Bout: Kevin Carrier (Pro Debut) vs. Jose Antonio Perez (Pro Debut)
- Flyweight Preliminary Bout: John Lopez (6-4) vs. Billy Giovanella (9-5)
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