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UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey post-fight analysis in six easy tweets

Rousey getting knocked out again, Cruz losing the belt with an exclamation point, and Nunes with a coming out party...UFC 207 actually kind of had it all.

MMA: UFC 207-Nunes vs Rousey Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ronda Rousey managed to look even worse in brutal, agonizing defeat against Amanda Nunes than she did against Holly Holm for UFC 207. However it furthers the narrative that Rousey is done, or is “no longer fit to compete”, focusing on Rousey in the face of Nunes’ focus and determination feels like a red herring for now.

UFC 207 offered plenty of interesting storylines in its wake. Two champions won over a lot of people. Not only was Amanda Nunes a sheer delight on the mic, but even Cody Garbrandt, who I had written off as a lug of a personality with ill advised tattoos (this is still half true), ended up surprising with his pugilism as much as his personality.

A few other things happened along the way, none as interesting, but it was a compelling night all around. Which brings us to the tweetdown...

Bonanza Nunes

Nunes wasted no time exploiting Rousey’s deficiencies on the feet. As soon as she gave Ronda a leather lick of the gravy, the five knuckle train of violence followed. It wasn’t so much technical as it was propulsive. Amanda wasn’t about to be denied, even with PPV time dedicated to Pantene commercials trying to cast a follicle shadow. Nunes had a harder time with a bottle of champagne.

More importantly for Nunes, the ‘Lioness’ showed real charisma in the post fight festivities, sincere and affable with a sexual profile MMA culture has to awkwardly encounter. I wouldn’t call it a star making turn, per se, only because the power of the UFC machine tends to be slow going in this regard, but she went and “got some fans” the way Greg Jackson intended. Just naturally. So yea, Dana. I disagree that spending more money on Nunes wouldn’t have expanded her fanbase.

Expendables

First, a word about the fight. Rousey was predictably awful on the feet. Again, the lack of any real pattern specific adjustment against her opponent was front and center. Ronda kept moving in a straight line going forward, and then backward, and with the assembled head movement of a Super Chexx Bubble Hockey action figure.

A blistering knockout was the end result. To the second point, it’s a tricky business, speaking to someone’s psychology from the armchair. Yet it’s not hard to compare and contrast. In defeat, Dominick Cruz was his usual articulate self at the press conference, referencing the toughness of defeat as a feature of life. Rousey, meanwhile, just sort of exited stage left like the T-Mobile Arena had just broken out with the 28 Days Later virus.

There’s an obvious difference between these mentalities, which is what makes Rousey’s future so enigmatic. It’s not pause for concern for anyone except Ronda, but MMA fans will rightfully long for a training makeover.

Cruz Control

Dominick Cruz was the heavy favorite over Cody Garbrandt for plenty of good reasons, but the lack of Cody’s exposure against the kind of movement Cruz offered was the shakiest, because Cody was just so inexperienced. Yet it was Cruz who ended up looking rushed, awkward, and even panicked.

For me, the biggest shock was Cody’s ability to keep fluid movement while maintaining posture to counterattack and pressure. I knew he wasn’t flat footed, but Cruz has always been such a paragon of misdirection, it was hard to imagine Garbrandt keeping the specific focus required to efficiently land and defend.

Through it all, I found myself appreciating both fighters more. It wasn’t just Cody’s Pulitzer moment, handing over the belt to cancer survivor Maddux Maple. Although that was clearly the best. It was also Garbrandt calling out Dillashaw while kind of dismissing him. It was Cruz’ supernatural toughness. It was the elite talent on display, and even words exchanged between them, and from them following the fight. Kudos to all.

Ya’ll Must Have Forgot

You tell ‘em Roy. I mean, TJ. I didn’t think Lineker would win, but Dillashaw made elaborate work of him, putting the heat on him specifically in the second for an incredible display of ground and drowned (with punches). It was a great performance. He kept his movement more contained, but used it for maximum effect in intervals rather than intermission (sometimes I feel like Dillashaw might be just as good if his stances were orthodox). He called out Cruz, even going so far as to call the UFC “rigged” if he didn’t get the next title shot. At the press conference, Cody sounded optimistic. About fighting Cruz again. We’ll see if TJ changes his tune.

Long Stuck Dong

I can barely remember Dong versus Tarec. It wasn’t a great fight. Technical in spots, yet sloppy in spots (especially in the third round when they opened up in erratic fashion), I was surprised the fight took the barren twists and turns it did. In addition, Tarec deserved the win. Which I don’t think qualifies as a hot take. Dong was getting cracked despite his forward momentum in a bout no one will remember.

Resistance Was Futile

Impressive performance by Ray Borg, who made Louis Smolka look fairly inert. Smolka’s a solid talent, but his tendency to let the fight develop in front of him cost him in the face of Borg’s annihilation (or is that assimilation?).

Still, I want to talk about Mike Goldberg. Like everyone else, I’ve gone through my stages of grief over Goldie’s presence, hate signaling to my peers the way some have done toward me. I processed my grief with criticism as complex as a your mama’s so fat joke. I went through the ‘I can’t bring myself to care about Goldberg’ phase. And I’ve certainly endured the righteous outrage mode (as early as this month). But through it all, the UFC stuck with him. They flew him around the world, Joe Rogan stood by his man, and the rest of us accepted the reality of Goldberg in the booth.

Yet even I found it kind of sad, and distressing to see the UFC make no effort to thank the man for his service. However awkward, stilted, and bumbling, it was still service. For over a decade (!). And this is how the UFC repaid him? With the figurative equivalent of a cheap gold watch? Just saying: don’t be surprised if Goldberg returns to rig a public bus so that it explodes if it goes below 50mph.

I didn’t like you Mike Goldberg, but last night you deserved better.