Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. There is a lot to get to so let’s jump right in.
Looking Back At The Week That Was
- Brian Ortega looked absolutely fantastic in his clear decision win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, in the main event of Saturday’s UFC show. After being out for nearly two years due to multiple surgeries, there was zero sign of ring rust. The fact that he won with his striking without ever having to use any of his world-class ground game made the dominance even more impressive. Jung just couldn’t get out of first gear due to the constant pressure and attacks by Ortega. This was a master-class performance by Ortega.
- Despite Dana White saying the winner of the fight between Ortega and Jung was going to get the next title shot at Alexander Volkanovski, I wasn’t fully convinced that would actually be the case with an Ortega win. Based on the performance, I’m 100% convinced he is the rightful next challenger for Volkanovski.
— MMA mania (@mmamania) October 18, 2020
- Also, Ortega shaving his head prior to weigh-ins? It one-hundred-percent had to do with making weight, despite what he says. He didn’t even shave it until he started the last bit of his weight cut, and as we’ve often seen with fighters with long hair, when you need just that little bit of extra weight to come off, the hair comes into play sometimes. It’s great that he’s donating the hair to Locks Of Love, but the timing of the shaving is extremely suspect. Plus, he immediately said he’s going to start growing it out right away. If you believe that shaving his head had nothing to do with making weight, then I have a gold boat to sell you.
- Go ahead and sign me up for Jessica Andrade as the next challenger for Valentina Shevchenko. Sorry, Jennifer Maia, I know you’re getting your shot, but Andrade vs. Shevchenko has for more intrigue. Andrade looked outstanding in her flyweight debut against Katlyn Chookagian and showed that her power still translates well with the move up in weight classes.
- Jimmy Crute looks to be a fantastic prospect at 205 pounds, a division that badly needs up-and-coming fighters in it. He has a lot of power and that knockout of Modestas Bukauskas was vicious.
- It was nice to see Cris Cyborg get her first submission win over Arlene Blencowe at Bellator 249 on Thursday, but the same problem still exists. There are no real viable challengers for her as she’s clearly above everyone in the division, and she’ll never get the chance to get another shot at Amanda Nunes, because she turned it down and got out of the UFC as quickly as possible.
- I’m really tired of media members asking Scott Coker about UFC fighters fighting Bellator fighters. Just stop. It is never going to happen. Ask questions that you can get real answers for. Those questions are useless.
- I’ll believe that Conor McGregor is fighting Dustin Poirier on January 23 when the contracts are actually signed. I do believe it will happen, but there’s a part of me that believes it won’t. I’ve said that it is a fight that Conor should take, but also that he doesn’t like looking backwards. I know he wants fans there and not being able to earn revenue from live gates right now is the only reason the UFC hasn’t been booking him, so unless that hurdle gets cleared, I’m still not buying it happening in January.
- It’s nice to see the UFC come to their senses and officially announce Aljamain Sterling as the next contender for UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan this past week. The timing of the announcement only shows that Marlon Moraes likely would’ve gotten the shot had he beaten Cory Sandhagen. Sterling should be thanking Sandhagen some more.
- We are coming up on the last week of Fight Island with UFC 254 on Saturday, and the last fight there should be a great one between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje. Unlike when they were getting ready to leave there in July, you knew they were going to be back rather quickly. Right now, there is no timetable on a return to Fight Island. A lot will depend on what happens both with the election and with how the U.S. continues to handle the COVID situation.
Here are some fights I would make for the fighters who fought at UFC On ESPN+ 38 on Saturday:
- Brian Ortega vs. Alexander Volkanovski
- Chan Sung Jung vs. Max Holloway
- Jessica Andrade vs. Valentina Shevchenko
- Katlyn Chookagian vs. Andrea Lee
- Jimmy Crute vs. Nikita Krylov
- James Krause vs. Anthony Pettis
- Gillian Robertson vs. Alexa Grasso
Here are some notable fight announcements from the past week:
- Makhmud Muradov vs. Kevin Holland, UFC Fight Night, October 31
- Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio Freire vs. Pedro Carvalho, Bellator 252, November 12
- Darrion Caldwell vs. AJ McKee, Bellator 253, November 19
- Joaquin Buckley vs. Jordan Wright, UFC 255, November 21
- Devin Clark vs. Anthony Smith, UFC Fight Night, November 28
- UFC Bantamweight Champion Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling, UFC 256, December 12
- Marvin Vettori vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, UFC 256, December 12
- Ricky Simon vs. Brian Kelleher, UFC Fight Night, January 16
- Jessica Eye vs. Joanne Calderwood, UFC 257, January 23
Coming Up This Week
- UFC 254 on Saturday, airing on ESPN+ pay-per-view, with a special main card start time at 2 PM eastern time. The prelims kick off on ESPN2 at 10:30 AM eastern time. Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje is the main event. Look for a “Guide To UFC 254” from me later this week with the full card.
- Taura MMA 10 takes place on Friday at 7 PM eastern time and features UFC veterans Rousimar Palhares and Sergio Moraes among the fighters on the 12-fight card.
This Week In MMA History
On October 23, 2010, a new era for the UFC Heavyweight Division began in Anaheim, California at UFC 121. Cain Velasquez scored a first-round TKO finish of Brock Lesnar to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion, fulfilling all of the potential that Velasquez had shown in his career up until then. Velasquez would lose the title a year later to Junior Dos Santos in his first title defense, but would go on to regain it and hold it for two-and-a-half years. This show was also notable for the post-fight “confrontation” between Lesnar and WWE star The Undertaker.
Also on the card, Jake Shields made his UFC debut, scoring a decision win over Martin Kampmann that would lead him into a title fight against Georges St. Pierre at UFC 129 in April 2011. It was also teacher vs. pupil as Matt Hamill defeated Tito Ortiz. This was one of the bigger UFC events of the year as it did 1,050,000 buys on pay-per-view.
You can watch UFC 121 on UFC Fight Pass here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/70695/ufc-121-lesnar-vs-velasquez?playlistId=1856.