Kamaru Usman VS Jorge Masvidal
The first card on the infamous “Fight Island” reached its conclusion, and fight fans were left with mixed feelings on the event. On 6 days notice, Jorge Masvidal took on welterweight champion Kamaru Usman. Masvidal also did not have his head coach, Mike Brown, in his corner for the fight due to a positive coronavirus test. Mike Brown was able to facetime in the corner in between rounds, however that can not possibly be comparable. Though Jorge did not come out on top, he still definitely came to win. Again, Masvidal proved that he is a top welterweight fighter, with an exciting fan friendly style. “Gamebred” had a definite striking advantage, though the overhand strikes seemed to create openings for “The Nigerian Nightmare” to clinch. The grappling abilities of Usman was to stifling for short notice challenger. Jorge admitted that cardio in the later rounds was simply not where it needed to be. The welterweight champion did not hide that this was going to be the strategy employed for this fight.
Kamaru Usman did exactly what he said he would. He is extremely dominant in clinch positions. The pairing between Usman and coach Trevor Whittman is exciting to see, and hopefully continues. After defeating Jorge Masvidal, Kamaru Usman has now won 12 straight fights in the UFC. This puts him just below Max Holloway, Demetrious Johnson, Jon Jones and Georges Saint Pierre at 13. The longest winning streak in the UFC is still held by former middleweight champion Anderson Silva at 16. It will be interesting to see how Kamaru Usman and Gilbert Burns / Leon Edwards match up.
Alex Volkanovski Vs Max Holloway
Max Holloway definitely improved his game plan coming into this title rematch. For the first two rounds, Holloway unleashed an arsenal of varied attacks whenever Volkanovski attempted to engage. Max also seemed to have a lot more power behind his strikes when compared to their first match. Overall, Max’s creative offense seemed to land more damaging shots throughout the entire fight. In the last two rounds however, Alex manged to put his combinations together more effectively and managed to score more frequently against the former world champion. The champion has a very active style, particularly against Holloway. He throws a plethora of feints and level changes to throw opponents off guard. He also attempted a lot of take downs in the last 3 rounds of the fight. Perhaps, the judges valued these factors heavily. Personally, I had the fight 3-2 for Max Holloway, but unfortunately for Max, that was not the end result.
The main takeaway from the fight was that no one really knows who the better fighter is without a third fight. Though, Holloway lost in the eyes of the judges, there is a definite case for a third bout between the two elite fighters. In the eyes of most fans, the two fighters are now 1-1. Unfortunately, there are a lot of contenders at the top of the 145 pound division. Volkanovski was also called out by Chan Sung “The Korean Zombie” Jung on Instagram.
In the post Jung wrote, “I am responding to yesterday’s title match against Volkanovski and Halloway. To be honest, it is shameful that Volkanovski is a champion of my weight class. Give him to me then you don’t need to worry about the judges decision. As you know, I won’t let the judges decide the result of my fight. I will finish him at the title match and that is what UFC fans want to watch.”
Petr Yan Vs Jose Aldo
First and foremost, the “Let the fighter die on his shield” ideology within the fight game is ridiculous. Refs need to recognize when a fighter is no longer adequately defending themselves. Aldo looked extremely good for the first few rounds. Petr Yan eventually wore down the former featherweight champion in the later rounds winning via TKO in fifth round. Aljamain Sterling would be an awesome match up for Yan. Sterling is on a 5 fight winstreak and has won 7 of his last 8 inside the octagon.
Jessica Andrade Vs Rose Namajunas
In the first of two rematches for UFC 251’s main card, Rose Namajunas defeated Jessica Andrade. In what should have been an unanimous victory for “Thug Rose” simply through tighter combinations right down the pipe. Jessica’s looping power punches found their target but not in the same frequency as those from Namajunas. After this fight, there is only one fight for Rose. It is time to make Rose Namajunas vs Weili Zhang.
Amanda Ribas Vs Paige VanZant
Not much to say in regards to the fight. Amanda Ribas simply dominated Paige VanZant and locked up a quick first round arm-bar submission. Ribas is a future title contender, perhaps at strawweight and flyweight. Amanda has wins over Emily Whitmire, Mackenzie Dern, Randa Markos, and now Paige VanZant. A large step up in competition against a dangerous striker would be a great test for this awesome prospect.
It was not a good night for Paige Vanzant. Massive respect for anyone who goes all in when betting on them-self. However, unfortunately in this circumstance she came up short. In the post UFC press conference Dana White said, “I like Paige. It’s like Blaydes – when Blaydes fought. When you talk all that stuff, ‘I’m not getting paid enough,’ and fighting inconsistently, one time in the last year, and then get smoked in the first round of the fight, she should definitely test free agency.” It sounds like the UFC will not be entertaining a massive pay increase for the 125 pound fighter. VanZant has also claimed that she makes more money promoting products on social media, than in fighting.
Though VanZant is a very popular fighter, who has broken through the MMA bubble, she still has lost 3 of her last 4 bouts. Perhaps, Bellator will offer a deal that will be mutually agreeable. A rematch with strawweight Bec Rawlings could be a fan friendly match.