The T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada was home to a good night of fights, with just one (T)KO, but four submissions and six decisions, including one split decisions and two draws. The card was marred with withdrawals; Abel Trujillo, Paige VanZant, Jessica Eye, Andrea Lee, Nik Lentz, Derrick Lewis and Mark Godbeer were all due to compete during this event but ended up not fighting for one reason or another, but the fights delivered, even after the disruption.
John Moraga came into UFC 216 as the second biggest underdog on the card. Moraga was 1-3 in his last four, and was facing an undefeated prospect in Magomed Bibulatov. This was a fight set up to give Bibulatov a name on his resume en route to a title shot against Demetrious Johnson. Problem is, no one told Moraga that.
Instead of padding Bibulatov’s record, Moraga put him to sleep early in the first round. An overhand right to the temple wobbled the Chechen, and a follow up left hook to the jaw collapsed him at just 1:38 of round one. Moraga got a little bit of job security with his win tonight, and a $50,000 bonus check to go with it.
Demetrious “Mighty” Johnson is now, officially, the most dominant champion in UFC history, with his victory over Ray Borg giving him the record for the most title defenses in the promotion’s history. The fight itself was exactly what we’ve come to expect from the man Joe Rogan called the greatest fighter in UFC history; Borg was controlled from bell to bell, beaten from pillar to post, and DJ capped it off with a sick suplex into an armbar that has to be seen to be believed.
The champ’s win was his 11th consecutive title defense, 15th UFC win and 27th career victory. Not bad for a guy who is still only 31. Tonight’s win also earned him a cool $50k in bonus cash for his efforts.
Lando Vannata and Bobby Green had an insane back-and-forth fight, ending in a draw due to an ill-advised flying knee by Vannata on a hurt and kneeling Bobby Green in the first round. The point deduction for that foul just upped the drama, and both men went out there and fought like lions for every second of every round.
The sheer effort both guys put into this fight was incredible, and the result was a treat for everyone fortunate enough to witness the spectacle. The UFC agreed, giving both men $50,000 in bonus cash for their blood, sweat and tears.