Kamaru Usman is still the king of the welterweights. But Colby Covington put up a hell of a fight. The whole UFC 245 main event was contested on the feet, and it was very back-and-forth. Both men landed a bevy of heavy offense and both men were bloodied. At times they just stood in the middle and engaged in a hockey fight. The bout was a huge spectacle, and we were all winners as fans.
I had it tied going into round five after four close rounds. Covington got off to a good start, and he might have been about three minutes from winning a world title. But Usman turned it up, clubbed Covington’s jaw that had been broken earlier in the fight, and took over. Covington got dropped twice in succession, and Usman pounded him out for a finish that many will find immensely satisfying.
Hate Colby if you want. You might not even like Usman. But you have to respect what they just did for 24 minutes.
- I found Colby’s schtick pretty entertaining tonight, actually. Coming out to Kurt Angle’s theme music (and the crowd chanted the YOU SUCK part! Brilliant!). His endless beaking during the fight, and smiling. And then when the referee warned them both for dirty shots, Colby chirped the entire time. I have to admit, I laughed.
- Alexander Volkanovski is your new featherweight champ, dethroning champion Max Holloway with a masterful battle plan - kick the legs. Alexander The Great landed more leg kicks that I ever thought possible in a fight, and mixed it up well with his hands as well. Holloway never really got going, and it’s understandable considering that Volkanovski destroyed not one, but both of Max’s legs. It was awesome to see.
- I am not sure how anyone could score that for Holloway. He clearly lost three rounds in my book, and the other two were close. I gave him four. A lot of people were complaining about the 50-45 score, but you know what? I can see it. It’s a possibility.
- Amanda Nunes faced adversity for the first time in a long time, and she ended up coming through on the other side with both her belts. But she had to wrestle to do it. After a 10-8 Nunes first, Germaine de Randamie beat her up on the feet in the second, so she switched to grappling and was largely successful with it. It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. She nearly got knocked out by a GDR upkick too, but managed to fall onto GDR and shake it off. Despite that, Nunes took a wide decision win.
- All those people that made fun of Jose Aldo for how he looked while making the cut to 135 should kindly shut up now. Aldo looked great in his fight with Marlon Moraes, and the two men put on a fun show. Both had big moments and showed off some great chins. Aldo never tired for a second. In the end, the fight was suuuper close and Moraes got the nod. I had it for Aldo, but I have no argument with the decision.
- Now that Aldo has shown that he can make 135 and look good, just imagine some of the matchups that could come out of this.
- I’m not going to say Urijah Faber’s comeback was a failure, because it wasn’t. He won a fight, and got a shot at a very, very good fighter in Petr Yan. And he showed a ton of heart in this fight. But Petr Yan beat the holy hell out of him from the second round on, dropping him with multiple shots and mangling his face with cuts and swelling. Early in the third, Yan hit a brutal head kick from in close that melted Faber. Yan wants a title shot next, and he deserves it.
- Geoff Neal is for real. He likely already was, with four UFC wins and a number next to his name coming in. But what he did to Mike Perry tonight will get a lot of attention on him. He cracked the extremely durable Perry with a head kick, which wobbled him. Instead of recklessly charging in, he backed Perry to the cage with long strikes, then landed two huge shots to the chin that put Perry down. He didn’t get up, and Neal became the first man to stop Perry with strikes. That was awesome.
- Wow, Irene Aldana nearly beheaded Ketlen Vieira with one of the prettiest left hooks you’ll see in combat spots. Vieira was losing the first round, but was still in the fight - until the last few seconds of the round. The she got destroyed by the hook. She also ate a MASSIVE shot on the ground to get the stoppage, which basically makes Aldana the number one contender at women’s bantamweight.
- Omari Akhmedov and Ian Heinisch are both seriously large middeweights, and they put on a decent big boy scrap tonight. Akhmedov landed some thudding shots, and Heinisch cracked him right back most of the time. Akhmedov was just the more active, powerful fighter overall and he took a decision.
- Matt Brown really didn’t look all that great in his return fight against Ben Saunders. Saunders probably set a record for the longest triangle choke held in UFC history in the first round, securing different variations for almost four minutes. Somehow, Brown didn’t really seem to be in any danger. After most of a rather pedestrian second round, Brown suddenly jumped on a prone Saunders and landed a massive elbow. A few more punches and it was done.
- 20-year-old Chase Hooper is certainly unique. He took two hard shots and ended up in a front choke right away, where he actually ran up the cage to try to escape. He eventually did, and smothered Teymur for a while after that. Teymur survived a dead-to-rights choke, but Hooper deftly switched to a mounted guillotine and pounded him out.
- He also posted this on Twitter, which I find pretty funny:
Thanks, Dad! Btw, where have you been? I said I didn’t like wrestling, and then you never came home?!?!? https://t.co/eXssxKBfAW— Chase Hooper (@chase_hooper) December 15, 2019
- Is it just me, or was Brandon Moreno channeling the Diaz brothers for the second half of his fight with Kai Kara-France? He was raising his arms, slapping his opponent, and showboating. It was great. And after a first round where Kara-France took it to him, Moreno’s striking looked ridiculously good from then on. Fast combinations, varied offense, and some power too. He rightfully took the decision in a great fight, one worth your time if you’re going to watch back.
- That was the best I’ve ever seen of Jessica Eye’s striking. She mixed it up beautifully against the tough Viviane Araujo, beating her up with leg kicks and a tricky right hand. Araujo had her moments, but that was a huge bounce back win for Eye.
- Holy cow does Punahele Soriano ever hit hard. He landed about four absolutely devastating left hooks in just over three minutes against Oskar Piechota, and every one hurt him. Two dropped him, and the final one was just ridiculous. He’s still a young in the game, but he looks like he has massive potential.