Anthony Johnson just fought the strangest fight. The UFC light heavyweight title challenger decided to wrestle the wrestler. We all know that Johnson has some wrestling cred, but Cormier is an Olympic-level wrestler and Rumble decided to clinch up and look for a takedown. When he fights at range, he beats people up. Instead, he fought Cormier’s game.
And he lost.
After a fairly uneventful first round where they both just clinched up (but Johnson did land some shots when he did have some distance and even broke DC’s nose), Cormier just took over in the second. Rumble just seemed to break after the seven minute mark, giving up his back and doing nothing as soon as Cormier landed dozens of punches. As soon as he was able to get the choke, Johnson tapped immediately. It was kind of sad. And we’ve seen it before.
After the fight, Johnson surprisingly retired, saying he was moving on to another job that has nothing to do with MMA. In a night of surprises and confusion, that might have been the strangest thing of all.
- Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi ended up in one of the weirdest situations you’ll ever see in MMA. Mousasi landed a knee that Dan Mirgliotta thought was illegal. The doctors came in and looked at Weidman. Mirg then looked at the replay, and changed his mind, but THERE’S NO REPLAY IN NEW YORK. So what do you do then? Weidman could have continued after all the time it took to figure it out, but it was a legal knee so it should have never been stopped in the first place. Mousasi got the win, which you could argue he probably would have got anyway because the knee destroyed Weidman. But that was so weird. The New York commission is concerned with fighter safety, and that’s fine, but them and Miragliotta made a mockery of a fight that Weidman was clearly winning up until then.
- I still can’t believe I just saw all that. I’m guessing we’ll see an immediate rematch.
- Well I didn’t think Cynthia Calvillo vs. Pearl Gonzalez belonged on PPV, but when they couldn’t book Tony Ferguson, that’s what they went with. I may have been wrong there, because Calvillo is quickly making herself a star. Her grappling and scrambling are so much fun to watch, and a second successive submission win made her look like a million dollars. Her post-fight interview was even better, channeling her inner Diaz - “I’m not surprised motherf--kers.”
- Thiago Alves turned back the clock tonight against Patrick Cote. That's the best I've seen him look in age. Hs kicks are always nasty, but his hands looked great as well - they have to be if you're going to drop a guy like Cote twice.
- Props to Cote, who retired after the fight. He helped to put Canadian MMA on the map and I was always a big fan. The guy made his debut against Tito Ortiz at 205 pounds on no notice, and even dropped him in the fight. His title fight against Anderson Silva at 185 was weird and disappointing, but it really was great to watch him reinvent himself as a welterweight and extend his career as a much more technical fighter and not just a brawler. Thanks for everything, Mr. Cote. You'll be missed.
- Holy cow, Charles Olivera. Would anyone have predicted that he'd come out and take Will Brooks down? It's easy to say that he's worked on his wrestling and it's much better, but taking down Brooks is a very difficult thing to do. And once he got him there, he used his octopus-like grappling to get to his back and sink a choke. Brooks tried to fight it off, but he was stuck. I'm not sure if Do Bronx can make a serious run at 155, but I certainly like watching his fights so it should be interesting.
- I had forgotten about how good Myles Jury is. His grappling is beautiful to watch, and Mike De La Torre was done as soon as Jury took his back. That was a great reintroduction to him, and it'll be interesting to see how well he can do at 145.
- Kamaru Usman totally dominated Sean Strickland, and I didn't see that coming at all. He hurt his eye early and it basically shut Strickland down. Usman was in total control on the feet and on the ground, and Strickland didn't come to fight until the last 20 seconds. Maybe he can take some solace in the fact that he wasn't finished, I don't know. But Usman looked incredible.
- Shane Burgos didn't seem to be worried about Charles Rosa's striking at all. His front leg got chewed up by Rosa and he throw a lot of spinning stuff, but Burgos just bided his time and waited to land the kill shot, which came in the third. He dropped Rosa with a ridiculous right hook, then put him down a couple more times before the fight was finally called off. Rosa bitterly complained, but he was done.
- Speaking of that, referee Todd Anderson acquitted himself very well in the fights he worked tonight. He stopped fights at the right time, and made a good call taking a point in an earlier fight where some refs would have let it slide.
- Patrick Cummins has a ridiculous chin. Jan Blachowicz absolutely blasted him early in the fight and he looked done, but he persevered and used his wrestling to totally control the next two rounds. It was kind of weird to see Blachowicz gas so fast like that in the second round - I always think a fighter has suffered a rib injury when that happens - but Cummins did what he was good at, and it got him a come-from-behind win.
- Wow, Gregor Gillespie is a monster. Taking a guy out in 21 seconds is impessive, and his striking looked amazing. He's 2-0 in the UFC now and looks to be a top prospect at lightweight. It was kind of funny watching Andew Holbrook complain about the stoppage, considering he was clearly knocked out.
- Desmond Green is smooth. His counter shots got the best of a wild Josh Emmett, and he can wrestle too. I personally wasn't outraged that Emmett got a card, as I actually scored the fight for him as well. I felt that Green started too late in the first, and didn't do much in the third at all. The announcing made it seem like Green was so far ahead based on stats, but it felt like a lot of that came in his dominant second round. Regardless, Green got the win.
- Katlyn Chookagian and Irene Aldana put on a good, close fight that featured a lot of nice striking. It really could have gone either way, but Chookagian took the decision. Aldana is still winless in the UFC, which is surprising to me.
- Magomed Bibulatov looked as dominant as most expected in his UFC debut, taking out Jenel Lausa with ease. About the only damper on things was him losing a point for repeated ball shots, but he looks to be a future contender in a weak flyweight division.