UFC 206 came in as the summer blockbuster nobody knew they wanted. Sure it wasn’t about an arrogant scientist who learned to care about more than just the scope of his superpowers. And no one wears costumes to overcome the sinister sky hole.
Instead 206 went old school on us MMA fans, showing us we didn’t need the fancy pants Comic Con heroes. We thought we wanted Marvel. We were handed Crimson Tide instead. If you click on that link and don’t find that more exciting than the new Spider-Man trailer, then we are no longer friends.
Oh right. The fights...
Max is an excellent fighter. Shows you can be in a striking battle & don't need to be all bloody/bruised after. Clean performance. #UFC206— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) December 11, 2016
Max sailed away with this one. Finally, Phil and I got a Pettis fight right. Holloway fought predictably. Which is to say, holistically to his strengths, and without ever losing his composure. Max was a little more restrained than usual, but that’s all the more impressive. Pettis is not a guy you stop with strikes. Until last night, it had never happened. But with patience, and precision, Max broke Anthony down literally and figuratively.
Okay so maaaybe I was wrong about Conor staying at Featherweight. Or impressively wrong. But Aldo vs. Holloway is the superfight I never I knew I desperately needed.
Showtime in Limbo
Pettis' career is as good as stuck. He won't contend again at 155. He can't make the cut to 145.— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) December 11, 2016
Good question Mookie. Allow me to retort. Pettis, despite getting stopped for the first time in his career, actually looked good IMO. At least in the context of who he was facing. On paper, Max was just a nightmare matchup; his movement, angles, and reach made it impossible for Pettis to plant his feet and look for openings.
But he took a round off Holloway (I’d have to rewatch the first, but that was my impression on first viewing), and did a much better job of angling for strikes. Pettis has always been swift on his feet. But he’s rarely turned that swiftness into fluidity linking into attacks. He was fluid, and that adjustment didn’t always work for him. He got countered more than usual, but it felt like a necessary step towards staying relevant.
Cerrone scrambled Brown's signals with that 'let's be friend's shit' to start the third round. Great subterfuge from Cowboy. #UFC206 pic.twitter.com/xlnt3Ht2JW— Brian Oswald (@briancoswald) December 11, 2016
Donald Cerrone and Matt Brown had a hard act to follow (which we’ll get to). But both guys managed to stay upright despite being bruised to the body, and put on a hell of a show. It was that rare action packed but technical fight. Modern science needs to explain how Cerrone does it, but the guy continues to improve at a higher weight, and is just one more high profile win from actually being talked about as a welterweight title contender (!).
Fuck FIGHT OF THE NIGHT this is FIGHT OF THE YEAR— Dana White (@danawhite) December 11, 2016
Dooho Choi vs. Cub Swanson turned out to be one for the ages. So much so that I believe Dana’s vulgar tweet is pretty much the most articulate way to talk about it. Dooho Choi ate punches like an anime character testing its psychokinetic superpowers. Cub just stood there, unflappable in his Chance Boudreaux-like attack. Hopefully Dana uses that Blackjack money to give them extra bonus money. If not leftover Blackjack money, surely he’s got stacks of high society for when some of his posterboys get into legal trouble. These men earned it.
Well looks like the MMAAA is finished. #UFC206— Matt Saccaro (@MattSaccaro) December 11, 2016
Despite Kelvin Gastelum being called ‘lazy’ by Tim Kennedy, it was Kennedy who seemed completely gassed mere minutes into the scrap. I don’t know that we had any real winners in this one. Gastelum is impressive when he understands that his jab is actually his best asset, but he’s still talking about staying at 170, which is less impressive given his history. And Kennedy was open all night. Granted, Tim has never been particularly great on the feet, but rarely has he looked that uncomfortable.
Best of the Rest
#ufc206 pic.twitter.com/xgmfR20egX— Lando Vannata (@GroovyLando) October 6, 2016
It was good to see Lando Vannata back in action. His bout with Tony Ferguson is still one of the most memorable bouts of the year for me. MMA fans have been curious about whether or not Lando was for real, or if Tony just took Vannata too lightly.
Best of all, nothing about Lando’s unorthodox attack feels nominal. In that sense, it was fitting that he beat John Makdessi, who uses his unorthodox attack to score. Lando uses his unorthodox attack to maim.
All in all, a successful night for UFC 206.