There was no champion crowned tonight in Norfolk. Deiveson Figueiredo did not make weight for his UFC flyweight title fight against Joseph Benavidez, which was a big disappointment to everyone involved. And to make everything even more confusing, he went out and knocked out Joe B.
Yes, there was a clash of heads that cut Benavidez open immediately. And yes, Figueiredo took advantage of that and finished the fight less than 20 seconds later. And yes, that does open the door for a rematch. Both men looked good at different times, and it seems like the headbutt did change the course of the fight.
But nothing got resolved tonight, and that might be bad for the 125-pound division.
- As expected, Felicia Spencer took it to the overmatched Zarah Fairn and got her out of there inside four minutes. Fairn actually had a couple of bright moments on the feet, but as soon as Spencer clinched and got a body lock takedown, it was as good as over. This could have been stopped way sooner than it was - the total opposite of the bout before it.
- What a wild couple of minutes in the Ion Cutelaba vs. Magomed Ankalaev light heavyweight bout. First of all, Cutelaba charged forward while his name was still being announced and chest-bumped his opponent, long before the fight had officially started. That was crazy. Then the actual fight was somehow even crazier. Ankalaev landed three or four head kicks and a body kick, which had Cutelaba wobbled. He never looked like he was totally out of it, and he was firing back with punches when...the referee stepped in and waved it off. Everyone was surprised, even Ankalaev. Cutelaba went bonkers protesting, while the crowd booed the hell out of it. It was an absolutely awful stoppage, and a sad ending. Both men deserved a legitimate conclusion to the bout.
- Michael Bisping asked Ankalaev if he’d like to run it back and he said he would do it whenever. But I doubt the UFC does that. Anakalaev is a prized prospect and they’re going to keep moving him forward, in my opinion.
- Wow, what a pretty short right by Megan Anderson. Nroma Dumont bullied her against the cage for a while, but all Anderson needed was a little bit of space, and Dumont was on her back and out from one shot. Just like that.
- With that being said, the shot at Amanda Nunes should easily go to Spencer. Spencer submitted Anderson inside one round nine months ago. Her only loss is to Cris Cyborg, and Spencer went the distance with her. The choice is clear.
- In the main card opener, Darrick Minner brought it for the first round against Grant Dawson. He locked up a few different guillotine variations and worked hard. Dawson took over very late in the round though, and started the second round just as dominant. Dawson got mount, then a choke a little over a minute into the middle stanza.
Preliminary Card (Mookie)
- Kyler Phillips’ UFC debut was super impressive. The bantamweight prospect dominated Gabriel Silva for a shutout decision that should’ve had at least one 10-8 score but somehow didn’t. Phillips whooped Silva standing, on the ground, basically everywhere. This division is just so stacked with talent.
- Tom Breese failed on a trip takedown against Brendan Allen and paid for it dearly. Allen worked him on the ground and finished the fight with an onslaught of strikes to score the first-round TKO. Allen then called out Trevin Giles for UFC 252, which is a fight I can get behind for this young prospect.
- Marcin Tybura took care of Serghey Spivac in a poor fight that featured a lot of clinching and lackluster grappling. It was the bad kind of unranked heavyweight “action.”
- Luis Pena may have won 30-27 against late notice replacement Steve Garcia, but the scores don’t reflect the fight. Garcia was on that “YOLO” gameplan and going after Pena early in rounds one and two before Violent Bob Ross’ superior grappling came into play. Even when Pena started round three with a flying knee, Garcia slapped on a triangle from his back in hopes of a miracle finish. Pena got the W but I loved Garcia’s fearless showing in defeat.
- TJ Brown was getting the takedowns as he pleased against Jordan Griffin, but he was also giving up his neck repeatedly and it finally cost him. That said, who could’ve seen a guillotine from bottom side control as the finishing move? What a way for Griffin to rally to get his first UFC win on three attempts. That was sick!
- Spike Carlyle walloped Aalon Cruz with a head kick initially, then some vicious elbows to stop a takedown. They looked illegal, and there will be an appeal by Cruz’s manager. In my view, they still look illegal but I think they were behind the ear and thus good. A billion follow-up shots ensued (double hammerfists!) and Spike gets in the win column in impressive fashion.
- Turns out Ismail Naurdiev’s wrestling and grappling is as bad as advertised. Sean Brady exploited it and won a unanimous decision. This dude is not cut out for the UFC almost exclusively because of that glaring weakness.