Robert Whittaker vs Darren Till
What a high level MMA main event to finish off UFC Fight Night 174. Robert “The Reaper / Bobby Knuckles” Whittaker defeated Darren “The Gorilla” Till via unanimous decision. Both fighters left the cage a winner here. Till displayed tremendous striking and composure throughout the entire bout, and put everyone at 185 on notice. Even middleweight champion, Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya tweeted support for UK MMA contender. “I still wanna fight Till one day,” wrote Adesanya. “His striking is beautiful. Stay up Darren!” Whittaker managed to damage Till’s Knee during the fight, and it is uncertain when “The Gorilla” will be able to fight again.
A match between top middleweights Robert Whittaker and Jack Hermansson, would help create order among the title contenders at 185. As for Darren Till, the winner between Edmen Shahbazyan and Derek Brunson would be exciting, and it would keep Till fighting top competition.
Mauricio Rua vs Antonio Rogerio Nogueira 3
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua defeated Antonio “Minotouro” Rogerio Nogueira via split decision. This was the third time Shogun defeated Nogueira in a fight that truly could have gone either way. Both of these fighters are legends, and have put on amazing fights throughout the years and deserve all the respect in the world. However, that fight was a bit tough to watch. Both combatants looked slow and were absolutely exhausted going into third round. It is sad to see “Minotouro” lose in what was most likely his final fight inside the octagon. However, it is good to see him hangup the gloves at 44 years of age.
Fabricio Werdum vs Alexander Gustafsson
Unfortunately for Alexander Gustafsson’s heavyweight goals, Fabricio “Vai Cavalo’ Werdum still has some fight left in him. Werdum’s first round armbar over Gustafsson was not only an impressive victory for the 42 year old former champion, but potentially his last fight inside the octagon. Since was potentially Werdum’s last professional fight, it great to see him get the submission win.
Khamzat Chimaev Is A Monster
Khamzat “Borz” Chimaev is still undefeated after thoroughly dominating Rhys McKee and finishing the fight via TKO. He is now the record holder for the fastest turn around victory in the UFC after securing two wins within ten days. He previously defeated John Phillips via Bravo Choke at UFC on ESPN Kattar vs Ige. The welterweight is a dangerous problem for everyone in the welterweight division. In his last two fights, Chimaev has landed 192 total strikes while receiving just 2 strikes in return. That is absolute domination. Khamzat (2-0 UFC, 8-0 MMA) is looking for a third quick turn around and a step up in competition.
MMA Junkie’s John Morgan tweeted, “Chimaev’s team tells me UFC is already working on securing him a visa to U.S. Sounds like #UFC252 might be a little too soon, but targeting late August or early September to get this hot prospect back in the cage.
Preferably they continue to give “Borz” incremental more challenging and diverse matchups. He asked for UFC veteran Demian Maia, which would be a great step up in competition.
Carla Esparza vs Marina Rodriguez
Carla Esparza now has the second most wins in UFC strawweight history with eight. In a very competitive split decision victory against fellow strawweight Marina Rodriguez, the “Cookie Monster” is now on a four fight winstreak.
A rematch with Claudia Gadelha would make for a great fight. Gadelha defeated Esparza in a split decision victory, and is on a two fight win-streak.
Dan Hardy vs Herb Dean
Former welterweight title contender and UFC announcer Dan Hardy had choice words for the refereeing of Herb Dean. After two late stoppages on a single card, Hardy could not help but say his piece. Now, being a referee in any sport at the professional level, is a difficult job. Being a referee in the UFC requires an even more exceptional human, as the job is to protect professional fighters from each other and sometimes even themselves. Herb Dean is often lauded as one of the best refs in the game today. Many, in this instance however will also believe Dan Hardy was completely correct and justified in his assessment of Dean’s performance. Like many aspects of MMA, stoppages require a difficult, nuanced case by case assessment. Hopefully, as the sport evolves, we will continue to see improvements made in all areas.
Herb Dean made statement on his instagram regarding the stoppages. “If you know anythingabout fighting, a fighter got hurt, fighters get rocked all the time but we’re looking at his actions,” Herb Dean said. “He’s tracking his opponent. He knows where his opponent is. He’s put both arms in between him and his opponent. He’s lifted his leg up. Head off the mat. He’s doing everything I can ask for him to do to stay in that fight. There wasn’t a bad stoppage.”