UFC 206: 5 Takeaways From the UFC’s Cursed Show

December 12, 2016

Thankfully, UFC 206 is in the books. It was a cursed event, first fallen by Daniel Cormier’s injury, then an awkward/forced/contrived replacement title match, which fell apart when one guy missed weight.

Still, history was made at UFC 206. We may have seen at least three fighters move closer to the end of their careers, and the rise of a Cowboy, who is perhaps headed for a showdown with the champion in the desert in 2016.

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Despite the curse that loomed over UFC 206, we have several takeaways. Let’s dive in and explore them, with the precision of a Donald Cerrone head kick and the power of Kelvin Gastelum right hand.

5. Epic Tim Kennedy Fail

Tim Kennedy is dangerous with a gun in his hand. We all know that. He’s told us dozens and dozens of times. But these days he’s much less of a threat inside the Octagon.

Kennedy got knocked out and this time he has no excuses. Gastelum didn’t have any extra time and it’s highly unlikely he’s getting popped for performance enhancement drugs.

Kennedy has unfortunately morphed into the kind of fighter that looks good, but isn’t really that dangerous anymore inside the cage. He’s more show than go.

Kennedy might own a victory over UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping, but he’s a far, far away from being in title contention. Saturday’s fight was his first in two years, and whether it was rust or age, the 37-year-old couldn’t hang with Gastelum. It might be time for Kennedy to focus on his military career, or transition to a career in broadcasting, because this sharpshooter is throwing blanks inside the Octagon.

4. Matt Brown’s Clock Ticking

Everything about Kennedy also applies to Matt Brown. Once regarded as a tough, fierce fighter with championship potential, Brown is fading fast and might even find himself fighting in Bellator or the World Series of Fighting in 2017.

Let’s first start by giving him props for fighting the best talent in the division. He doesn’t run, or pick and choose his opponents. That being said, maybe he should. Brown has lost five out of his past six fights. Those losses came to world class fighters: Demian Maia, Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Jake Ellenberger and now Donald Cerrone. He has been submitted or knocked out in his past three fights.

Brown can’t hang with the top guys in the welterweight division. If Brown gets another fight in the UFC, everything will be on the line. Can you say CM Punk vs. Matt Brown? Loser Leave Town Match, WWE-style?

3. Donald Cerrone Deserves a Title Shot

Cerrone has lost to one guy during the past three years: Rafael dos Anjos. Everyone else has fallen victim to the Cowboy. Matt Brown was the latest casualty, via a vicious head kick. Cerrone is a popular, busy fighter who has earned the respect of the fans and his fellow fighters. Cerrone is hitting his stride and he would be a tough matchup for anyone — including welterweight champion Tyron Woodley.

2. Anthony Pettis, What Happened?

Let’s put Pettis in the same category as Colin Kaepernick and Cam Newton. We used to all say, “Wow, he’s going to be really, really good!” And then poof! Nothing.

Pettis shocked us all with his stunning upset victory of Benson Henderson to win the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 164, then followed it up with a submission victory over Gilbert Melendez. But ever since then — nothing. Airballs. Pettis has struggled with injuries and lately making weight. He’s lost a crazy four out of his past five fights. He’s quite simply not the same fighter. Pettis has fallen off the edge — quickly and forcefully, with a thud. Pettis says he’s going back to lightweight. That’s not really gonna help.

Good luck with that.

1. Max Holloway is Not a Real Champion

Not until he fights Jose Aldo. Holloway got luck because the UFC needed to a reason to pretend like UFC 206 was a big card after Daniel Cormier pulled out of the main event with Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.

This is all UFC’s fault. They let Conor McGregor fight for two titles in two different weight divisions, then, since he hasn’t defended the featherweight title, stripped him of it, then awarded the real title mysteriously to Jose Aldo. Then they let Holloway and Pettis fight for the interim title. This booking makes no sense. All we needed to further confuse this main event was James Ellsworth serving as special guest referee.

Props to Holloway for knocking out Pettis, but we will know the real champion once Holloway fights Aldo, and even then, one of those guys will be carrying McGregor’s belt. Thanks, UFC. Thanks for booking your entire promotion around one guy, one guy who isn’t fighting until next September.

Follow Joshua Molina on Twitter: @JECMolina.

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