UFC on FOX 17: Soooo … About Last Night

December 20, 2015

The year of 2015 has just about come to a close. No more UFC cards. No more Bellator cards. We finally have a bit of a break from mixed martial arts and I’m gonna be honest, I look forward to it. The breakneck schedule the UFC maintained this year was absolutely crazy and it’s easy to get burnt out quickly.

Last night, the year culminated with the main event between UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and Donald Cerrone. It was a helluva way to close a great night of fights. Dos Anjos successfully defended his title, ending Cerrone’s night in just over a minute. Unfortunately, the co-main event wasn’t as exciting because Alistair Overeem and Junior dos Santos were tentative for the first nine minutes of the fight.

With the event in the books, let’s talk about last night …

Always the bridesmaid

Donald Cerrone UFC 187 MD2 750You’ve gotta feel for Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. In the WEC, he was unable to capture the lightweight title despite having three opportunities at the belt. In spite of his lack of success in title fights, he still became one of the most recognizable fighters coming out of the organization when it was merged with the UFC.

In the UFC, he’s been given opportunity after opportunity to earn himself a shot at the lightweight title. And yet, he continued to come up short. It was only after putting together an eight-fight winning streak over three years that he was given a chance to take home some gold. His opponent? The last man to beat him, UFC lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos. Entering the fight, Cerrone seemed confident. It was finally his time. But 66 seconds later and the opportunity was squandered. Always the bridesmaid …

Gun-shy heavyweights and promises of action

dos-Santos-Overeem-a-UFC-146-presser-0312So much for those guaranteed fireworks, huh? The first two minutes of the fight saw a combined ONE MISSED KICK from both Overeem and dos Santos. ONE! These men are considered two of the most dangerous fighters in the heavyweight division, yet they were so tentative that the crowd was booing them 90 seconds into the fight.

With the lack of depth at heavyweight, it’s clear that they were fighting for a shot at UFC gold, so it’s kind of understandable that they’d not want to take any risks. But this is the entertainment business. Nik Lentz wins fights, but he’s never going to sniff a shot at a title because he’s BORING. Overeem scored a knockout and Joe Rogan asked him about a title shot. It’s a great question except for the fact that Overeem is a free agent. Go test the market, “Ubereem.”

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS!

Nate Diaz was the best version of himself last night. His boxing looked crisp and he was able to take Michael Johnson‘s head out of the fight after the first round. But that wasn’t the most impressive thing he did. No, that would be Diaz’s post-fight interview with Joe Rogan that was muted by the UFC production truck. Never change.

-Michael Johnson gave that fight away the second he started fighting Nate Diaz’s fight. He completely abandoned the leg kicks that were successful in the first round and every time Diaz taunted, he fell for it — hook, line and sinker. He’s going to be kicking himself for the next few weeks.

-It’s funny how a win can change a fighter’s fortune. After his bout with Kelvin Gastelum, there were calls for Nate Marquardt to retire. After his knockout of C.B. Dollaway last night, people are hoping he faces Dan Henderson.

-Tamdan McCrory is really fun to watch. His fight with Josh Samman was one of my favorite from the undercard. He’s a fighter that found a way to reinvent himself by taking time away from the sport for a couple of years. I don’t think he’ll ever challenge for a title, but I’ll tune in for his fights.

-Kamaru Usman is a fighter to watch. He’s possibly the best prospect coming out of The Ultimate Fighter in several years. He didn’t win pretty but if he continues to develop, you’ll know his name soon enough.

Conor McGregor has plenty of options but I’m not sure he moves up to lightweight after Rafael Dos Anjos’ performance in the main event. That’s an insanely dangerous fight and Dos Anjos proved himself to not just be a transitional champion.

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