Recapping: UFC 259 Main Card
UFC 259 sure as hell did not disappoint, from the excellent non-stop action in the prelims to the epic main card. It was all around an amazing event well worth the $70. The main card was just surprise after surprise making it show the hype surrounding the weekend was correct. With 3 title fights and something happening for the first time in UFC history it was an event that should easily raise the standards for any coming in the future.
Thiago Santos vs Aleksandar Rakic: I will admit the first fight of this stacked main card was very disappointing for what it could of been. Two amazing strikers that just refused to strike with each other and basically ran around each other for 15 minutes. When you have a fight that’s hyped up to be this incredible striking match and they end up only landing 111 strikes all together that makes it a very lame and disappointing fight. The first round was dead even at 15-14 on strikes with Rakic winning the round. Round 2 was actually a somewhat decent round with the striking being more profound with it being 18-24 on strikes but once again Rakic winning the round. So it went into the 3rd round with Santos needing a finish to get the win and keep himself alive in the title contention of the stacked division. He put up a really good fight and absolutely dominated Rakic in the 3rd round landing 28 strikes to Rakic’s 12. But with no finish it wasn’t enough for Santos to win and Rakic would end up taking the unanimous decision victory with the scorecards being 29×28, 29×28 and for some reason 30×27. But even with the snoozefest of a fight it’s a huge victory for Rakic putting him in serious title contention and if I had to guess most likely setting up a fight with Glover Teixeira.
Islam Makhachev vs Drew Dober: There really isn’t much I can say about this fight it was just pure dominance by Makhachev. It wasn’t even surprising to see it go down this way either it was pretty easy to guess, dominant grappler Makhachev who’s coached by one of the most dominant grapplers of all time in Khabib. The first round was just the beginning of the end for Dober, he gets taken down pretty quickly and just absolutely smothered on the ground. Right at the end of the round Makhachev got a mean Arm Bar locked in on Dober that he just barely got out of but it appeared to injure Dober’s arm pretty bad as he wouldn’t strike with it the rest of the fight. 2nd round was more of the same as Makhachev landed a takedown early and sat on Dober the entire time, landing 52 strikes compared to Dober’s 2. Once again the 3rd round was just more of the same, getting an early takedown and a minute and a half in he gets an insane triangle choke from half guard causing the tap and giving Makhachev the extremely dominant win. The only fight I see happening for Makhachev is him going up against Tony Ferguson, Tony is coming off a bad loss against Oliveria and it would be the perfect matchup for Islam to get to the top of the division as it’s what he deserves. I really wouldn’t doubt to see Makhachev holding up that Lightweight belt in the next couple years, his grappling is insane and it’s clearly something that can’t be stopped easily, especially since he has Khabib in his corner.
Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling: That was not at all how I expected the fight to go even without the ending. It was a dominant and extremely technical performance from Yan ending with an extremely dumb move. Round 1 started off with Aljo putting up an insane pace just running around and wildly throwing at Yan. What I really didn’t expect from this fight was for Yan to actually continuously go for takedowns and attempt to get some ground strikes on Aljo. Petr actually almost got Aljo out pretty quick in the first round when he landed a nasty punch that knocked Aljo down. Otherwise round 1 was pretty close and from what I’ve seen and heard the judges gave it to Aljo because of the 34-14 striking dominance. Round 2 was a lot different though, Aljamain was already looking fatigued and getting exhausted, besides the one takedown from Yan it was nearly dead even, but again it looked like Aljo won the round. Round 3 was bad for Aljo, he outstruck Yan but lost badly in the one spot you wouldn’t expect him to lose badly giving up 3 takedowns in the round while he’s still only landed one the entire fight. By then he was looking completely gassed out and exhausted and he easily lost the round. The 4th round was even worse then the previous with this time being out struck to, but things weren’t so great for Yan by the end. At the end of the 4th Yan lands a takedown from the clinch in the center of the octagon, the ref Mark Smith yells out grounded as it they had the 1 hand grounded rule in place for the fight. When grounded there’s certain strikes and moves an opposing fighter can’t perform. With 1 knee still on the mat for Aljo, Yan supposedly asks his corner what he should do with his corner responding (according to what Khabib heard) “Go for a Knee”. I don’t know if it was just misunderstanding or miscommunication but Yan goes for the illegal knee and absolutely decimates Aljo. Sterling topples onto the octagon with the ref pausing the fight, Aljo attempted to get up after a couple minutes and immediately fell back down pretty much confirming he couldn’t get back up, ending the fight.
After a few minutes of reviewing the replay Bruce Buffer comes out; while Yan is holding his left hand up thinking he won, and announces that the winner by DQ due to an illegal knee is “And New! Bantamweight Champion of the world, Aljamain “Funk Master” Sterling!”. With Aljo clearly confused as to why he won he immediately takes off the champion belt and goes to talk with Joe Rogan for the post-fight interview. He was clearly frustrated as he didn’t want that to be the way he won and he later comes out and says via Instagram he thought it should’ve been a no contest. This definitely brings some extra intensity and story line to the already stacked division as a rematch will for sure take place in 6 months time. That is one fight I cannot wait for as this fight was already incredible until the illegal knee took place. After the fight there were some major words said from fighters Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw, Cejudo said Via Twitter “Hey Yan, you kneed me to come back to save this division. That knee was more illegal than TJ Dillashaw’s urine. Aljo, your defense was worse than the Capitol Building. I’ll make all of you Bend the Knee..legally of course. #YouAllSuck”. Dillashaw said via twitter, “And the Oscar goes to @FakeMaster for best actor in a Title Fight and Petr Yan needs a crash course in the rules of a sport he was once champion in. Hey Petr now you’re a cheater too, bitch.” With Dillashaw already confirmed coming back and the possibility of Cejudo coming back those words bring some serious Bad Blood into the already intense division. Should be very fun to see what ends up taking place in the division and that rematch should be one hell of a fight.
Amanda Nunes vs Megan Anderson: Honestly this fight went about how everyone expected and I’m not going to say much about it. Nunes absolutely demolished Megan in every way imaginable. In just 2 minutes Amanda lands 19 strikes while Megan only landed 2. Amanda gets an easy take down and immediately puts her into an insane Inverted Triangle – Armbar getting an almost instant tap from Megan. It was pure domination once again from Amanda and it seems to be that she doesn’t know how to age or get worse. She said in the post fight interview that having a Daughter has made her even better and even more motivated then she has ever been. At this point I don’t think anybody throughout the women’s divisions can even come close to beating her, the strength and just absolute technical power is miles better then anyone else. The only person who I think can come somewhat close is Valentina Shevchenko, who has been beaten by Nunes twice. It’ll probably be a little while before we see Nunes again but I cannot wait to see her dominate someone once again.
Jan Blachowicz vs Israel Adesanya: This fight was incredible and to be honest who thought it would be bad. It was an all around technical masterpiece of a fight with never ending action. The first 3 rounds were pretty much all the same, just pure striking with a little bit of grappling in the 3rd round. The big thing Jan did right in this fight was being able to check the devastating Leg Kicks of Izzy. That was Adesanya’s game plan going into the fight and not being able to really do much with the strike clearly effected him. The 4th and 5th rounds were also pretty much the same, very heavy ground dominance from Jan which really showed the weight advantage was a factor, he landed a takedown each round and was able to heavily strike while in the top position landing somewhere around 80-90 strikes from that position. Overall it was kind of surprising to see Izzy dominated like this, but in the end he wasn’t taking advantage of a lot of mistakes from Jan and he took his first career loss in the biggest moment of his career. The scorecards are the interesting part of the Unanimous decision win by Jan though, they really made it seem like Jan ran away with the fight even though he never did, having 2 49×45 and 1 49×46 cards. Both the 49×45 judges had round 5 as a 10-8 round which is really what made it look bad, but all 3 judges only had Izzy winning 1 round. Adesanya plans on going back to middleweight now so it should be interesting to see if his dominance continues in that division, he also didn’t rule out a return to LHW in his post-fight interview.
With the awesome main card now in the history books, it will be very fun to see some of the storylines that come out it, like the Aljo vs Yan rematch, Will Nunes ever lose, or how dominant can the Legendary Polish Power of Jan Blachowicz be at the top of the division. It was an epic card that was well worth the $70 and rewatching it today, it was even better the second time. That could’ve very well been the best card of the year and I’m super glad I got to experience it!
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