You can hate Tyron Woodley all you want. But you can’t criticize the man’s resume. Four times in a row he has defended the UFC welterweight title. Some of those defenses weren’t pretty. This one sure was.
After a tepid first round, Woodley opened the second with a huge right that dropped Till to his back. He jumped on him and landed some huge elbows and punches, and to Till’s credit, he weathered that storm. Unfortunately for him though, Woodley secured a D’Arce choke and forced the tap out of him.
That was Woodley’s first submission in a very long time, and he was given his black belt after the fight for it, which is classy. It looks like Woodley will probably fight Colby Covington next, so let the trash talking begin.
Let’s make no bones about it though - Woodley needs to do a few more things in the Octagon to be considered the best welterweight of all time.
- Jessica Andrade. Just wow. A one-punch KO is not a thing in women’s MMA, but it is to Andrade. And it came against a very durable former title challenger in Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Andrade turned her lights out with a lethal overhand right and likely earned herself a title shot in the process. Fight-ending shots don’t generally get me yelling or jumping out of my seat that often. This one did. I scared the hell out of my dog doing it too. I’m sorry Ms. Andrade - Carlos isn’t a fan. But I sure am.
- Zabit Magomedsharipov is a treasure that all MMA fans should covet. Who does things like that funky trip? A cartwheel kick to the back of the head? I’d say who does the stump puller knee bar submission that he used to finish Davis, but - well, it was the second one on the card! One in UFC history before tonight (Kenny Robertson) and now two in one night!
- Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson put on quite possibly the only bad fight on the card. They just didn’t put a lot into it, especially Dodson, and went to a dull decision that Rivera won. This did nothing to help either of their places in the bantamweight division.
- Abdul Razak Alhassan throws nuclear strikes for punches, and Niko Price’s face was in the way of them. 43 seconds. Night night.
- Tatiana Suarez put it on Carla Esparza like no one else has before. Well, one person has - Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who I want Suarez to fight next. But the Esparza that went close to even with Claudia Gadelha was nowhere to be seen tonight. Suarez took her down whenever she wanted, lit up her face with punches and elbows, and barely broke a sweat. It was thorough domination, and she might be the scariest individual at strawweight right now. Including Jessica Andrade.
- Aljamain Sterling and Cody Stamann put on a fun grappling match until Sterling took over. He got mount, then back control, and pulled off an even nastier version of the stump puller than Zabit did. Stamann must have a torn up knee. Beautiful finish, and completely necessary to get Sterling back on track.
- Geoffrey Neal absolutely destroyed Frank Camacho. After nearly finishing him in the first, he took his time in the second and got the advantage again. Camacho showed a lot of heart staying on his feet under the barrage of punches, but then he got totally wrecked by the mother of all head kicks. Out cold before he hit the floor. That could very well be the best knockout of 2018.
- Charles Byrd was dominating Darren Stewart until he wasn’t. All it took was one big shot from Stewart to throw off Byrd, and then he got destroyed by elbows. After a bad start in the UFC, Stewart has now put together two wins in a row - both in brutal fashion.
- I’m not sure if they put Diego Sanchez in against someone who probably doesn’t belong on the UFC roster just to get him a win or not. But Craig White fought terribly. How do you not try to get up at all for the entire fight? Sanchez is still a grappling animal, but all White was interested in was upkicking. It’s cool that Diego got a W, but it seemed like a showcase.
- I’m so happy for Jim Miller. I kind of wish the UFC played up his 30th Octagon appearance a bit more (the most ever), but he went out there and destroyed Alex White inside of 90 seconds. The idea of fighting 30 times in the UFC and still being relevant and competitive is just such a crazy thing. When you throw lyme disease on top of it? That’s just insane. Miller is universally liked in MMA circles because he’s such a nice guy, and no one deserves the victory more than him. Congrats, Jim.
- On any other card, Irene Aldana vs. Lucie Pudilova would have been a surefire fight of the night (and it might still be - the bonuses haven’t been announced yet). These two ladies engaged in a very fun technical brawl that left them both bruised and bloody. Both were landing huge shots, particularly at the end of rounds, and left it all out there. That was one of the better fights of 2018, but probably won’t get much play because it was so low on a card full of crazy finishes.
- In the opener, Jarred Brooks didn’t knock himself out this time and picked up a nice split decision victory over Roberto Sanchez. It was a good enough fight, but nothing special.