Hello, fight fans, and welcome to this week’s edition of the Monday MMA Round-Up, where we look at the week that was and look ahead to the week that is in the world of mixed martial arts. Let’s dive right in to all of the happenings, including Charles Oliveria becoming new UFC Lightweight Champion this weekend.
Looking back at UFC 262
- It was great to be back in an arena full of fans for UFC 262. It felt like a bit of normalcy being back in that environment after the craziness of the last 14 months, and I missed it badly. It was all-in-all a good weekend of feeling like life was back to having fun and being normal.
- It’s been a long and often difficult road for Charles Oliveira, but he finally reached the pinnacle of the sport on Saturday when he knocked out Michael Chandler to become the new UFC Lightweight Champion. It’s hard to argue whether there is a more worthy champion at 155 lbs., but Oliveira finally cashed in on all of that potential he’s shown for years. It took nearly eleven years for Oliveira to fight for, and win, UFC gold, winning a title in his 28th UFC bout, the most fights in UFC history before winning a title, but along the way he locked up the UFC record for most submission wins, and his title win also set UFC record for most finishes. It’s crazy to think that even with all of those UFC fights and records, and the nearly eleven years he’s been with the company, that he’s only 31-years old, which is younger than any of his would-be immediate title challengers, and he is still only getting better. He could reign for quite some time.
- Chandler shouldn’t take the loss to Oliveira too hard. One thing about Chandler is he’s always handled himself well after losses, and has always used them as motivation to get back to the top. He said after that he would still become a UFC champion, and do so within the next year. He’s going to need to get right back to action to make that happen, but I fully believe he will be in another UFC title fight some day in the future.
- Beneil Dariush continues to impress, scoring his seventh straight win with a dominant decision win over Tony Ferguson. He used a smart grappling strategy to score the win. He came very close to submitting Ferguson with a heel hook that was in deep.
Dariush has some great momentum, but he’s going to hurt that as he plans on taking time off and not fighting until December at the earliest, as he wants to spend time with his family. He could’ve been next in line to challenge for the title, but it is possible he could get lost in the shuffle by sitting out for seven-plus months. He should be in a title eliminator for his next fight, but it is also possible the landscape of the lightweight division could be different before the end of the year.
- Tony Ferguson is done as a top-level fighter. His age, injuries, inactivity, the wars, and everything else that has gone on in his life has finally caught up to him. It’s a real shame, because years ago we were looking at Ferguson as possibly the greatest lightweight of all-time, and his one fight that got away will always keep people wondering what could have been. I expect Ferguson will get another fight, but, at this point, should he even keep going on is the question.
- Jacare Souza’s end looks to be here, too. He suffered his fourth straight loss, and, to make matters worse, suffered a fractured humerus in his submission loss to Andre Muniz on Saturday, where Muniz had him in an armbar and the arm snapped above the elbow. It could be a career-ending injury, because Souza is 41-years-old and this one will be tough to come back from. It would be an unfortunate ending to a storied career.
- The fight between Edson Barboza and Shane Burgos from Saturday night is worth going out of your way to see, as it will likely end up on year-end lists of best fights of the year, and it also has one of the most unique endings of any fight in UFC history.
- The Darren Till vs. Derek Brunson main event was announced for the August 14 UFC event. If they are able to work things out, it appears that show may be UFC’s return to England, as they would love to run that day in London in a full arena. It remains to be seen whether that actually happens.
- UFC isn’t expected to return to a full touring schedule until 2022, and exactly when remains to be seen when it comes to the rest of the US, and the world, opening up.
- It hasn’t been signed yet, but the planned title fight between UFC Heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou and Derrick Lewis looks like it will happen at UFC 266 on September 5, with the fight between UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jan Blachowicz and Glover Teixeira likely being the co-main event.
- An announcement is forthcoming, but Dana White’s Contender Series will be returning very soon, likely once filming for The Ultimate Fighter concludes. It was planned to return in mid-to-late June, which could still be the plan, but it could also start the Tuesday following UFC 264 in July. It will be starting here shortly, though.
Here are some next fights I would make for those who competed at UFC 262 on Saturday:
- Charles Oliveira vs. Dustin Poirier-Conor McGregor winner
- Michael Chandler vs. Rafael Dos Anjos
- Beneil Dariush vs. Islam Makhachev-Thiago Moises winner
- Tony Ferguson vs. Al Iaquinta
- Rogerio Bontorin vs. Tim Elliott-Su Mudaerji winner
- Katlyn Chookagian vs. Alexa Grasso
- Edson Barboza vs. Giga Chikadze
- Andre Muniz vs. Jordan Wright
- Lando Vannata vs. Darrick Minner
- Andrea Lee vs. Jennifer Maia-Jessica Eye winner
- Christos Giagos vs. Arman Tsarukya
Here are some fights that were announced over the past week:
- Jack Hermansson vs. Edmen Shahbazyan — UFC Fight Night — May 22
- Ben Rothwell vs. Chris Barnett — UFC Fight Night — May 22
- Amanda Ribas vs. Angela Hill — UFC Fight Night — June 5
- Anthony Pettis vs. Alexander Martinez — PFL 4 — June 10 (MAIN EVENT)
- Paul Daley vs. Jason Jackson — Bellator 260 — June 11
- Eryk Anders vs. Darren Stewart — UFC 262 — June 12
- Pannie Kianzad vs. Alexis Davis — UFC 262 — June 12
- Aleksei Oleinik vs. Serghei Spivac — UFC Fight Night — June 19
- Islam Makhachev vs. Thiago Moises — UFC Fight Night — July 17
- Mateusz Gamrot vs. Jeremy Stephens — UFC Fight Night — July 17
- Andre Ewell vs. Julio Arce — UFC Fight Night — July 24
- Jinh Yu Frey vs. Istela Nunes — UFC Fight Night — July 31
- Collin Anglin vs. Melsik Baghdasaryan — UFC Fight Night — July 31
- Uriah Hall vs. Sean Strickland — UFC 265 — August 7
- Johnny Munoz vs. Jamey Simmons — UFC 265 — August 7
- Darren Till vs. Derek Brunson — UFC Fight Night — August 14 (MAIN EVENT)
- Paulo Costa vs. Jared Cannonier — UFC Fight Night — August 21 (MAIN EVENT)
- Vinc Pichel vs. Austin Hubbard — UFC Fight Night — August 21
- Alexandre Pantoja vs. Brandon Royval — UFC Fight Night — August 21
- Austin Lingo vs. Luis Saldana — UFC Fight Night — August 21
- Marcelo Rojo vs. Kevin Croom — UFC Fight Night — August 28
- Joselyn Edwards vs. Zarah Fairn — UFC Fight Night — August 28
- Mario Bautista vs. Guido Cannetti — UFC Fight Night — August 28
- Jamall Emmers vs. Pat Sabatini — UFC Fight Night — August 28
- Thiago Santos vs. Johnny Walker — UFC Fight Night — September 25
Here are the major MMA events coming up this week:
- UFC On ESPN+ 46 takes place on Saturday, May 22 from Las Vegas, back at the UFC APEX. The entire show airs on ESPN+, with the main card at 7 p.m. ET and the prelims kicking off at 4:00 p.m. ET. Rob Font vs. Cody Garbrandt is the main event.
- Invicta FC 44 takes place on Friday, May 21 from Kansas City as Invicta premieres on AXS TV, with the entire card airing starting at 8:00 p.m. ET.
- Bellator 259 takes place on Friday, May 21 from the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut. The main card airs on Showtime at 9:00 p.m. ET, with prelims airing on YouTube at 6:00 p.m. ET. Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion Cris Cyborg defends against Leslie Smith in the main event.
- LFA 108 takes place on Friday, May 21, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
This week in MMA history
On May 23, 2009, a new era in UFC’s light heavyweight division began when UFC 98 took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in front of 12,606 fans, with a gate of $3.3 million, and 635,000 pay-per-view buys. It came during a string when UFC was on absolute fire, and this show was no exception.
In the main event, Lyoto Machida knocked out Rashad Evans in the second round to win the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in a memorable finish. Machida was in control of the entire fight, and knocked Evans out cold in the second, and then cut a passionate post-fight promo, telling all of the fans to “go ahead, anything is possible”, and thus, the “Machida Era” began, though his title reign lasted less than a year.
In the co-main event, Matt Hughes and Matt Serra finally settled their long-standing feud, as Hughes scored a decision win over Serra. Also on the main card, Drew McFedries finished Xavier Foupa-Pokam in 37 seconds, Chael Sonnen won a decision over Dan Miller, and Frankie Edgar won a decision over Sean Sherk.
You can watch UFC 98 on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look back at UFC 262 and my weekend in Houston at the show, look ahead to UFC On ESPN+ 46 and Bellator 259, take a look at all of the news and fight announcements and much more. You can listen to In The Clinch on The Fight Game Media Network, with our Patreon page found here