The stacked card formed by the UFC absolutely delivered in a crazy and controversial night inside the MGM Grand octagon. Johnson continues his reign on the flyweight division, taking care of Chris Cariaso within two rounds. Conor McGregor continues to grow his superstar status as he made easy work of the top five ranked Dustin Poirier in the first round. Donald Cerrone, Yoel Romero, and Cat Zingano also wound up victorious in what could have been considered one of the best cards this year for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Along with the conclusion, Cat Zingano is expected to fight Ronda Rousey in January; while Conor McGregor plans to fly to Brazil and attend the championship fight between Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo, which may lead to him challenging the victor at a later date. Card is up, the night is over, but the review is not over!
Demetrious Johnson defeats Chris Cariaso via Submission (Kimura) rd. 2 Probably the most expected result of the night, Johnson make quick work of Chris Cariaso. Johnson tooled Cariaso through the first round, picking his shots on the outside, and taking him down whenever he decided so; in the second it was just about the same, but found a quick opening to finish the fight. “Mighty Mouse” is undeniably one of the best pound for pound fighters in the organization, and just proved he was on another level of a fighter who has never beaten a flyweight inside the top ten before. It was questionable enough of why Cariaso was in there in the first place, Johnson did not allow the let down though, as he completely annihilated his opponent and now moves on to who is next.
Donald Cerrone defeats Eddie Alvarez via Unanimous Decision The best barn burner of the night came between these two as predicted in the earlier MMA Spotlight preview. Eddie Alvarez came out guns blazing, clipping Donald Cerrone with numerous shots inside, and upper cutting the “Cowboy” into a daze in the very first round. Cerrone answered in the second and third frames, finding range for his leg kicks, while landing crisp counter punches and knees on the inside. Cerrone looked like he was going to cruise into a technical knockout victory when he stunned Alvarez in the third round, but followed the newcomer to the ground and laid on top of him and allowed Eddie to recover. The fight itself was one of those most exciting of the night, and particularly deserved to be rewarded as such. This now puts Donald Cerrone in a situation to possibly contend for a title shot, and pushes Eddie towards the lower echelon of the ranks.
Conor McGregor defeats Dustin Poirier via TKO (Strikes) rd. 1 McGregor said it would be easy, predicted he would stop Dustin Poirier in the very first round; and then would wear a pristine suite to the post fight conference to celebrate his victory. “The Notorious” one was three for three in predictions, as he caught Poirier behind the ear with a left hand, which led to the demise of the fifth ranked featherweight. The Irishman’s star status is just too bright to ignore, the UFC has decided they are going to send McGregor to Brazil to greet the winner of the Chad Mendes versus the champion, Jose Aldo, fight; in turn would lead to a match up between Conor McGregor and the victor. After another impressive performance and first round finish, it is a fight that would benefit the company more and would be a top seller for any pay per view they put in on.
Yoel Romero defeats Tim Kennedy via TKO (Strikes) rd. 3 This light heavyweight bout was an incredible fight to watch, until the intermission between the 2nd and 3rd rounds hit. After seconds away from being stopped, Yoel Romero obviously needed time on his stool to recover for the final frame in between rounds; but his corner remained inside the cage past the limit of time allowed, and left the stool in there for Yoel for good measure. All in all the hurt light heavyweight might have gotten close to another full 30 seconds of rest time in between rounds, something Tim Kennedy was not so happy about. After the UFC light heavyweight got off his stool, he proceeded to stop Tim Kennedy in the third round, in which was well received by boos. After being finished in the third round, Tim Kennedy confronted Romero in the back and took to social media after the fight. In the MMA Spotlight’s opinion, Tim Kennedy has quiet an understandable argument to be had.
Cat Zingano defeats Amanda Nunes via TKO (Strikes) rd. 3 The long layoff to the cage seemed to hold no steam against Cat Zingano, as she cruised through the second and third rounds to defeat a tough as nails Amanda Nunes. Nunes proved to be a tough test in the first round, landing some heavy bombs in the guard, which looked like they could have possibly ended the fight. Zingano survived the early onslaught and dominated the final two frames, potentially landing her a shot at the bantamweight belt and Ronda Rousey. Zingano had Nunes in trouble in the third round, and started landing numerous unanswered strikes, which led to the ref stepping in. For now it quiets the buzz on a Carano fight with the champ, Zingano is the rightful number one contender and deserves her shot at Rousey in January.
In other notable fights, Dominick Cruz returned back to the octagon victorious and hopes to challenge T.J. Dillashaw for the bantamweight championship after decisively beating Takeya Mizugaki. Jorge Masvidal and Stephen Thompson were also victorious in some hard-fought bouts with their opponents of the night. Cruz went on to win one of the performance of the night bonuses on his way to his first win in almost three years.
Takeya Mizugaki defeated by Dominick Cruz via TKO (Strikes) rd. 1
James Krause defeated by Jorge Masvidal via Unanimous Decision
Patrick Cote defeated by Stephen Thompson via Unanimous Decision
John Howard defeated by Brian Ebersole via Split Decision
Jon Tuck defeated by Kevin Lee via Unanimous Decision
Cody Gibson defeated by Manny Gamburyan via Submission (Guillotine Choke) rd. 2
After an incredible showing in the United States, the organization goes back to Sweden, as Gunnar Nelson will main event in Stockholm against Rick Story. Another pay per view, another success for the UFC; for anything and everything for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, make sure to follow the Guardian Liberty Voice for all the mixed martial arts action.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
Follow Justin’s coverage in the MMA Spotlight section
Guardian Liberty Voice sports writer leading the coverage in MMA