Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look back at everything that has happened in the last week in the world of mixed martial arts. There was a lot going on as the MMA world heads into a holiday week, so let’s dive right in.
Looking Back at UFC 255
- Deiveson Figueiredo may be the final UFC Flyweight Champion in company history. He seems poised to go on a run similar to what Demetrious Johnson did when he was the flyweight king. Figueiredo might be the 2020 Fighter Of The Year and his reign at 125 pounds might be hard for anyone to conquer. He looked fantastic in making quick work of Alex Perez on Saturday and I’m not sure there’s any flyweight who is going to beat him.
- Figueiredo making the quick 21-day turnaround to defend against Brandon Moreno at UFC 256 on December 12 may seem crazy on the surface, and it is. Figueiredo does cut a lot of weight, and having to make 125 again in twenty days after being around 150 inside the cage is going to be quite the mission. Moreno doesn’t cut as much weight. Both men came out unscathed, and I hope they’re getting quite the payday to return so quickly. This is a chance for Figueiredo to make himself into a much bigger star.
- Figueiredo vs. Moreno is replacing Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling as the main event of the show, which was scrapped officially on Sunday morning, and it was the reason for putting Figueiredo vs. Moreno together. The reason for the cancellation has to do with Yan, though it’s not injury-related, nor anything related to visa issues, which was the rumored reason. No one is saying why, but the fight is currently expected to be re-scheduled for February.
- Valentina Shevchenko got the clear win over Jennifer Maia in the co-main event, but Maia put up a good fight and even got a round from Shevchenko, which seemed impossible going in. Shevchenko was clearly working out some cobwebs coming back from knee surgery, and she only got stronger as the fight went on. Maia showed a hole that can be exposed in Shevchenko’s game, but Shevchenko is smart and will patch those up. Shevchenko is clearly the best flyweight in the world and might be the best female fighter in the world.
- With that being said, Jessica Andrade has to be next for Shevchenko. She might only have one win at 125 pounds while others like Lauren Murphy are on win streaks, but Shevchenko vs. Andrade might be the best female fight that could be made out there. It has to be booked.
- Cynthia Calvillo took a risk in taking a tough fight against Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 255, and it didn’t pay off. Calvillo had a very disappointing performance and didn’t seem all there as the clear game plan to beat Chookagian wasn’t utilized. Chookagian did good, but again was hitting the air more than she was hitting Calvillo. Calvillo seemed to be more concerned with potentially fighting Shevchenko and Maia potentially missing weight than she was fighting Chookagian. Also, leaving Team Alpha Male looks to be the wrong move for her career.
- It really is the time for Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua to seriously start considering retirement. He said early in the week that it wasn’t even on his mind, but he didn’t perform all that well in losing to Paul Craig. Rua is a legend of the sport, but he just doesn’t have it any longer. I hate using the term “washed up,” but he looked worse than Anderson Silva did and Silva had a tougher opponent. The UFC may need to make the call here.
- Speaking of Silva, I was surprised that the UFC agreed to release him from the fight left on his contract, which allows him to fight for other organizations. Funny as it may be, after Silva said on November 1 that he was done, now that he’s free of his UFC deal, now he suddenly wants to fight again. Crazy how these things happen.
- It is time for Dana White to just accept the fact that Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired. Dana is the only person in the world saying that Khabib wants to fight again, and I get why he’s saying it- he and Endeavor had big plans for Khabib’s next fight. Khabib, however, reiterated again this week that he is done fighting and has no interest in returning. His words were 100% definitive. I also know Dana doesn’t want to be pressured to make the fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier a title fight, but the division needs to move on. Concede, Dana, and clear the title picture up.
- It is time for the UFC to cut ties with Mike Perry. His outside of the Octagon actions are appalling. He has clear issues that need to continue to be addressed. The domestic violence allegations need to be investigated. He also didn’t take preparing for his fight on Saturday seriously at all it seems. He missed weight by 4.5 pounds. He was filming himself eating pizza, cheeseburgers and brownies a week before the fight and posting them all over social media, showing that he wasn’t taking things seriously. He doesn’t have a proper team, proper training partners, proper coaches, no nutritionist, doesn’t take his diet seriously, the list goes on. He has been completely unprofessional for a while, and with him losing to Tim Means, the time is now to cut bait.
- Tony Ferguson against Charles Oliveira is great matchmaking, especially putting it together just weeks before UFC 256 on December 12. Ferguson wanted to fight again in 2020, and he really wanted to fight Michael Chandler. However, Chandler really wants on the UFC 257 card in the co-main event under McGregor vs. Poirier. I get why he would want to do that, and it makes a lot of sense for him. Ferguson didn’t want to wait that long, so Oliveira finally gets his high-profile fight that he has been itching for. This is great matchmaking.
- A.J. McKee’s slick choke of Darrion Caldwell at Bellator 253 was very, very impressive. McKee feels like someone who should be a much bigger star than he is, and that is where being in Bellator can hinder someone. He’s 17–0 and he’s making good money, but if he was doing this in the UFC, he’d be a big star to casual fans instead of just to hardcore fans. If Patricio Freire beats Emmanuel Sanchez, then Freire vs. McKee instantly becomes one of the big fights to look forward to in 2021.
- With it being Thanksgiving week, I would just like to shout out the world of MMA for continuing to bring entertainment to everyone during this crazy year we’ve been enduring. It is nice to sit back and watch fights and try to take your mind off of things, and for that, I am very thankful for the UFC, Bellator, and all of the smaller promotions for giving us something to enjoy this year.
Here are fights I would make for some of the fighters who competed at UFC 255 on Saturday:
- Valentina Shevchenko vs. Jessica Andrade
- Jennifer Maia vs. Cynthia Calvillo
- Tim Means vs. Khaos Williams/Michel Pereira winner
- Katlyn Chookagian vs. Lauren Murphy
- Paul Craig vs. Johnny Walker
- Joaquin Buckley vs. James Krause
- Antonina Shevchenko vs. Montana De La Rosa/Taila Santos winner
Here are some notable fight announcements from the past week (NOTE: all fights listed aren’t necessarily official, but have been reported):
- UFC Flyweight Champion Deiveson Figueiredo vs. Brandon Moreno — UFC 256 — December 12
- Tony Ferguson vs. Charles Oliveira — UFC 256 — December 12
- Andrea Lee vs. Gillian Robertson — UFC 256 — December 12
- Jose Aldo vs. Marlon Vera — UFC Fight Night — December 19
- Marcin Tybura vs. Greg Hardy — UFC Fight Night — December 19
- Khaos Williams vs. Michel Pereira — UFC Fight Night — December 19
- Misha Cirkunov vs. Ryan Spann — UFC Fight Night — December 19
- Belal Muhammad vs. Dhiego Lima — UFC Fight Night — December 19
- Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar — UFC Fight Night — January 16 (Main Event)
- Julianna Pena vs. Sara McMann — UFC Fight Night — January 16
- Conor McGregor vs. Dustin Poirier — UFC 257 — January 23 (Main Event)
- Jimmie Rivera vs. Pedro Munhoz — UFC Fight Night — January 30
- UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman vs. Gilbert Burns — UFC 258 — February 13
- Chris Weidman vs. Uriah Hall — UFC 258 — February 13
- Ketlen Vieira vs. Yana Kunitskaya — UFC Fight Night — February 20
Coming Up This Week
The only major MMA event taking place this holiday week is UFC On ESPN 18 on Saturday, November 28. It airs on ESPN2 at 10 PM eastern time, with prelims taking place at 7 PM eastern time on ESPN+. Curtis Blaydes takes on Derrick Lewis in the main event. I will have my Guide To UFC On ESPN 18 up later this week.
For the boxing crowd, the big fight between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. also takes place on Saturday.
This Week In MMA History
On November 28, 2015, the Octagon was set up in South Korea for the very first time as UFC Fight Night 79 took place in Seoul. The debut of the UFC in the country drew a sellout crowd of 12,156 fans.
In the main event, Benson Henderson competed for the final time in the UFC, scoring a close split decision win over future superstar Jorge Masvidal on scorecards of 47-48, 48-47 and 49-46. It was a close and competitive fight. Henderson wasn’t the only fighter competing in the final UFC fight of their career on the show, as Yoshihiro Akiyama also fought inside the Octagon for the final time, dropping a split decision to Alberto Mina.
The show is also infamous for the alleged attempt to fix the fight between Tae Hyun Bang and Leo Kuntz, which Bang was going to lose before changing his mind at the last moment and deciding not to go through with it, and he ended up winning a split decision. Bang was sentenced to ten months in prison for his role in the alleged attempt to fix the fight.
You can watch this event on UFC Fight Pass here.