Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up. It sure was a violent weekend in the world of mixed martial arts, with a lot of craziness happening inside the cages around the world. Did we see the greatest knockout in UFC history?
Let’s get into thoughts on the week that was:
Looking Back At A Crazy Weekend
- If you have been living under a rock and have yet to see the spin kick knockout landed by Joaquin Buckley on Impa Kasanganay, I suggest you go find it somewhere on the internet right now. It may have been the greatest knockout in UFC history, and at the very least, it is in the conversation. I suggest you even go back and watch the entire fight between the two as it was a lot of fun and you could see someone being finished coming.
Buckley’s KO is the fourth knockout in UFC history stemming from a spinning back kick to the head, per @ESPNStatsInfo. He joins Renan Barao, Uriah Hall, and Magomed Mustafaev. pic.twitter.com/8nzxfCMLEm
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 10, 2020
- You have to feel for Cory Sandhagen. He had an extremely impressive win over Marlon Moraes, finishing him in the second round. He proved he might be the third best 135-pound fighter in the world right now. However, you have to feel for him right now because typically when a guy wins a main event over the #1 ranked contender in a division by spinning wheel kick, they have the most talked about finish on the show. Alas, that isn’t the case here.
— InDepthMMA (@InDepthMMA) October 11, 2020
- Sandhagen’s win has to be some good news for Aljamain Sterling. The UFC has yet to officially declare Sterling as the official next challenger for Petr Yan and the UFC Bantamweight Championship. There was thought that an impressive win by Moraes could see him jump ahead of Sterling. Sterling should be named the next in line right now, and he really should have already been granted the shot regardless of how the Sandhagen-Moraes fight ended.
- However, if I am Aljamain Sterling, I’m still worried about two guys jumping ahead of me, and those two are TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo. Dillashaw’s suspension ends in January, and he never lost the UFC Bantamweight Championship inside the Octagon. It would be a bad look if Dillashaw gets an immediate title shot coming off a drug failure suspension, but it’s not like we haven’t seen this before. As for Cejudo, there have been rumblings that he is looking to return sometime in the near future. He never pulled himself out of the USADA drug testing pool, and, in unfortunate news for him, he and his girlfriend split up, which looks to have rekindled his interest in fighting again.
- By the way, there is some stiff competition for this title, but I believe the bantamweight division is currently the best in the UFC, just edging out the lightweight division.
- If you did not see Saturday’s UFC show, I suggest going back and watching it, especially if you enjoy some violence inside the Octagon. There were plenty of big knockouts on the card, and when Ben Rothwell and Marcin Tybura actually have a mostly entertaining fight, you know it was a good night.
- It’s good to see Edson Barboza back in the win column. You can make a strong argument that he should be on a three-fight win streak. He did look really good against Makwan Amirkhani, who should get props for taking such a tough fight on short notice against a dangerous fighter. Barboza is plenty capable of making a run at 145 pounds.
- Brian Ortega vs. Chan Sung Jung is finally going to happen this coming Saturday night, and I cannot wait.
- Another fighter you have to feel bad for is Mamed Khalidov. When he scored a switch kick knockout of Scott Askham at KSW 55 on Saturday afternoon, little did he know that his potential Knockout Of The Year would be surpassed.
Wow! Just incredible by Mamed Khalidov. Just wow pic.twitter.com/aYKQOqc0IO
— Jim Edwards (@MMA_Jim) October 10, 2020
- One of the big stories outside of the Octagon this week was Conor McGregor saying he has accepted a fight against Dustin Poirier, but that it must take place in 2020. I don’t expect that fight to happen in 2020 as the UFC seems adamant on it taking place on January 23, but they need viable main events for both UFC 255 in November and UFC 256 in December. They really should book that fight this year if they can.
- With Kamaru Usman not ready to return until early next year, I think the UFC should pivot away from Gilbert Burns getting the next title shot and book him in a fight with Leon Edwards. This is not a knock against Burns, but he only got the title shot originally because he was the only fighter willing to fight Usman on short notice, and also for a smaller paycheck than other potential opponents. He’s had a good run lately, but it still doesn’t feel like a true justified title shot.
- The UFC is looking at booking Jorge Masvidal vs. Colby Covington for UFC 256 in December. However, they are looking at making it the co-main event under Amanda Nunes vs. Megan Anderson. I personally feel that is a huge mistake as Masvidal is a bonafide star and draw, and him and Covington should be five rounds and promoted as a main event.
- With the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation announcing this past week that MMA events can have fans in attendance with up to 50% capacity at indoor events, it would not surprise me if there is a big run of MMA shows booked in the state of Texas. Whether the UFC is one of those promotions that book events in the state remains to be seen, but it is hard to rule that out as of now.
- Bellator ran a show this past Saturday, and they have so little momentum that you could’ve easily forgotten they did. Also, they need to keep Cheick Kongo and Tim Johnson out of main events, unless you want to cure some people’s insomnia.
- Did I mention I’m excited about Brian Ortega vs. Chan Sung Jung finally happening this coming Saturday?
Here are some fights I would book for the winners and losers of this past weekend’s UFC On ESPN+ 37 event:
- Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar
- Marlon Moraes vs. Pedro Munhoz
- Edson Barboza vs. Jeremy Stephens-Arnold Allen winner
- Makwan Amirkhani vs. Zubaira Tukhugov
- Marcin Tybura vs. Tom Aspinall
- Dricus Du Plessis vs. Dusko Todorovic
Coming Up This Week
The UFC is back for the fourth straight week on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi with UFC On ESPN+ 38. You may have heard that the main event sees Brian Ortega taking on “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. That has the potential to be the Fight Of The Year and has been over a year in the making. Also on the main card is Ciryl Gane vs. Ante Delija, Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jessica Andrade, Jimmy Crute vs. Modestas Bukauskas and Thomas Almeida vs. Jonathan Martinez. The entire show streams on ESPN+, with the main card at 7 PM eastern time and the prelims at 4 PM eastern time.
Bellator is back on Thursday with Bellator 249, their biggest show since moving to the CBS Sports Network. It is headlined by Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg defending against Arlene Blencowe. Also on the main card is Patricky Freire vs. Jaleel Willis and Ricky Bandejas vs. Leandro Higo. It airs at 10 PM eastern time on the CBS Sports Network.
Also streaming this week on UFC Fight Pass will be a pair of regional promotions, as CES 61 airs on Wednesday at 8 PM eastern time, and LFA 93 airs on Friday at 9 PM eastern time.
This Week In MMA History
On October 14, 2006, one of the biggest moments in UFC history took place with the crowning of one of the greatest champions in the promotion’s history. At UFC 64, Anderson Silva scored a first-round TKO win over Rich Franklin to become the new UFC Middleweight Champion, a title he would hold until UFC 162 in July 2013. It was just Silva’s second fight inside the Octagon, but he proved to be a worthy foe for the long-time champion Franklin, and Silva would go on to score wins in his first 16 UFC fights.
That was the second of two title fights on the show, as the co-main event saw Sean Sherk score an unanimous decision win over Kenny Florian to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion in what was the first lightweight championship bout since UFC 41 in 2003. The show was also notable for the UFC debut of long-time popular veteran Clay Guida, and also featured future UFC title challengers Jon Fitch and Yushin Okami.
You can watch UFC 64 on UFC Fight Pass here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/86002/ufc-64-unstoppable?playlistId=1860.