UFC 219: Cyborg vs. Holm – The Aftermath

December 31, 2017

The final UFC event of 2017 took place on Saturday night. T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas played host to UFC 219: Cyborg vs. Holm. The 10-bout card drew 13,561 spectators and was headlined by the women’s featherweight title fight between champion Cris Cyborg and former bantamweight titleholder Holly Holm.

Eight of the 10 fights went to a decision, but the outcomes of every fight card have a ripple effect on weight classes. Who wins and who loses changes storylines, title pictures, and rankings. There’s always an aftermath.  Cris Cyborg punches Holly Holm at UFC 219 - UFC Photo

Cris Cyborg ended any argument about whom the greatest female fighter in MMA history is with her unanimous decision over Holm in the fight card’s main event. The UFC women’s 145-pound weight class was created for Cyborg and lacks depth, but that shouldn’t take away from what Cyborg has been able to accomplish.

The 32-year-old Brazilian hasn’t tasted defeat in 12 years. Her only loss came in her professional MMA debut back in May 2005. She’s essentially on a 20-fight consecutive winning streak. She’s been the top 145-pound female fighter for nearly a decade.

We’ve seen other high profile women’s MMA champions who debuted years after Cyborg already retire from the sport. Cyborg isn’t a shooting star that’s there one second and gone the next. She’s been here all along, and it doesn’t look like she’s going anywhere anytime soon.

The Conor McGregor Lightweight Logjam

The lightweight division has a logjam because the titleholder, Conor McGregor, has been inactive in MMA for 13 months, and counting. While “The Notorious” was cashing in close to nine figures boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr., the UFC 155-pound division has moved along but only to the doorstep of McGregor.

RELATED: UFC 219 Fight Highlight Videos

No. 2 ranked Khabib Nurmagomedov annihilated No. 4 ranked Edson Barboza in the fight card’s co-main event and put the pressure on McGregor to either return and defend his belt or relinquish it.  With Tony Ferguson holding the interim lightweight title and Nurmagmedov’s destruction of Barboza, something has to give.  

The fight promotion could strip McGregor of the 155-pound belt.  He was stripped of his featherweight title due to inactivity in 2016.  He could voluntarily relinquish the belt like Georges St-Pierre did with his recently won middleweight title, or he could defend it inside the Octagon.  Nurmagomedov’s win turned up the pressure on McGregor and the UFC to act.

Carla Espara Back in the Title Picture

Carla Esparza TUF 20 Finale Belt_7497-750Former women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza took another step closer to returning to title contention and halted the fast rise of previously unbeaten Cynthia Calvillo.  Esparza has put together back-to-back wins and showed off improvements in her striking and all-round game.  Calvillo entered the bout ranked No. 6 while Esparza was ranked at No. 9.  Calvillo’s path to the top just got longer.  Esparza will likely face a top five opponent in her next outing.  A third win in a row could earn her a title shot.

Carlos Condit’s Future and a Rising Star

Former interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit returned to the cage for the first time in 16 months to take on Neil Magny.  He ended up suffering his third loss in a row.  “The Natural Born Killer” has lost six of his last eight fights.  Condit entered the bout ranked at No. 8 in the 170-pound division.  The loss to No. 12 ranked Magny put Condit in the dreaded category of irrelevancy. 

On the preliminary fight card, light heavyweight Michał Oleksiejczuk moved from prospect to up and comer with his unanimous decision win over Khalil Rountree Jr. The Polish 22-year-old nicknamed “Lord” is now riding a 10-fight winning streak.  The win on Saturday should have made the rest of the division and the fight promotion take notice.  A top 10 matchup will show where he fits into the division.