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. It was a big week with the UFC holding a big event in Abu Dhabi, and we have another big week coming up, so let’s dive right into things.
Looking back at UFC 267
- Glover Teixeira got it done, at 42 years of age, fulfilling a long journey to become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion when he submitted Jan Blachowicz in the second round of the main event at UFC 267 on Saturday. Teixeira became the second-oldest fighter to win a UFC title, and the oldest to win one for the first time. It came seven-and-a-half years after his first shot at it, and after an up-and-down journey to get back to title contention. He talked about it being a life-long dream to become champion, and how he never gave up, and if you never give up on your dreams, anything is possible. It is just a great story overall, but he’s going to have a tough first title defense ahead of him in the form of Jiri Prochazka, which will go down some time in 2022.
- It was a disappointing end to an unexpected title reign for Jan Blachowicz, who said he didn’t feel right inside the Octagon at all, saying he “left the Polish power in the hotel room”. Luckily for him, the light heavyweight division is so crazy at the top that he could win just one fight and be right back in there challenging to regain the title. He shouldn’t be down too much after this loss.
- If there was any doubt before Saturday, even with the slip up in March, Petr Yan is definitely the best bantamweight in the world. He proved that with a convincing win over Cory Sandhagen to win the Interim UFC Bantamweight Championship in an excellent fight. While Aljamain Sterling may hold the official bantamweight title, this felt like the real title fight and Yan still feels like the real champion, especially considering he only lost the title to Sterling due to a lapse of judgment. Yan and Sterling are on a collision course for their rematch, which should happen sometime in the spring.
- Islam Makhachev continues to show that he may actually be the best lightweight in the world, as he thoroughly thrashed Dan Hooker, submitting him in the first round. Makhachev should get the next title shot, but I do think it’s going to all come down to how the fights between Charles Oliveira and Dustin Poirier, and between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler, play out. If he needs to fight once more, I’d suggest against Beneil Dariush, as Dariush is on a long win streak like Makhachev, and that would definitely be a number one contenders’ bout.
- If there were any questions to how Khamzat Chimaev would bounce back from his long-term bout with COVID-19, and against the toughest opponent of his career, he answered those questions with zero doubt on Saturday. He absolutely destroyed Li Jingliang, smashing him en route to a first-round submission win. The hype train is back full steam ahead for him, and Chimaev after the fight said he’s there to “kill everybody”. While that may be a strong statement, he is ready to headline shows and fight top-ten opposition.
- There was lots of talk after the show about putting Chimaev against Nate Diaz next, saying it makes too much sense. I get suggesting that fight for a lot of reasons, including the odds of Chimaev getting a win over a big draw and the fact Diaz is on the last fight of his contract. To me, the fight makes zero sense because I know Chimaev would just destroy Diaz at this stage to the point of possible embarrassment, and that’s not personally appealing to me. I think the UFC needs to keep Diaz around, and Diaz should stick around, as the only thing outside of the UFC for him is a boxing match with Jake Paul, which will still be there when he’s 40. There’s still only a limited amount of time as to where fights against Conor McGregor, Jorge Masvidal and a few others would be appealing, and if he wants to keep going, he really only has one best option for him.
- The rest of the UFC 267 card was great. The main card was strong and the prelims had a lot of strong and exciting fights, and there really wasn’t a boring fight on the show overall. It was one of the better UFC events of 2021.
- The PFL ended their 2021 campaign to very little fanfare, crowning six champions and handing out six $1 million prizes (which is actually just the sum of winning two fights plus a bonus to equal a total payout of $1 million, not a $1 million bonus for winning). The winners were Kayla Harrison at women’s lightweight, Ray Cooper III at welterweight, Bruno Cappelozza at heavyweight, Movlid Khaybulaev at featherweight, Antonio Carlos Junior at light heavyweight, and Raush Manfio at lightweight. There were lots of overall upsets when it comes to who ended up as champions, and some that weren’t surprises. The finals weren’t watched by many, but if you did miss the fight between Cappelozza and Ante Delija, go back and catch that one if you can because it was a fantastic fight.
- The PFL show also featured Claressa Shields, who suffered her first loss in MMA in her second fight. Honestly, I put a lot of the blame here on the PFL matchmakers, as both of her fights have been bad match-ups for her. It was another grappler in Abigail Montes, and Shields should’ve been fighting opponents who are pure strikers, because the grappling game takes longer than six-to-eight months to learn, and she hasn’t even spent all that time training MMA since she’s still boxing. I don’t know if Shields will ever be successful in MMA as she still wants to do boxing, where she makes more money, and MMA is something you have to give up everything else for.
- The PFL show might’ve also marked the end of Harrison’s time with the promotion. She is a free agent right now, and arguably the biggest free agent in the sport right now. Dana White was downplaying her value during an interview this past week, which he often tends to do when he’s actually interested in signing someone. It’s an interesting position for the UFC, though, in signing her. She would have to fight at featherweight, which she is willing to do. However, the big fight is between her and Amanda Nunes, and that’s the issue. The two are teammates and training partners at American Top Team, and that’s a camp that isn’t really willing to let their fighters fight one another, plus the two have been vocal about not really being interested in fighting. Money would change a lot of things, but it is a difficult fight to put together, and if you’re White and everyone with the UFC, do you really go through the trouble if the fight you want to make you can’t?
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk was removed from the UFC’s rankings last week, but she’s still with the company, as the removal has to do with inactivity. She did an interview with Ariel Helwani talking about wanting a piece of the cake in her contract, and how the only fight she’ll accept is a title fight. That’s been the issues with her. They want her to fight and have offered plenty of fights, but she turns them down because she got so used to being in title fights on pay-per-view cards, which come with a pay-per-view title bout bonus, that she doesn’t want to fight unless she’s getting paid the same. She doesn’t deserve a title fight without winning a fight, so it’s an interesting game of who is going to crack first here.
- Mike Perry signed with Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship this past week, as his UFC deal was up and they opted to not re-sign him. Honestly, bare knuckle fighting is where he belongs, but I will miss his antics during UFC fight weeks.
- Dana White’s Contender Series saw five more fighters signed to a contract this week, bringing the total this year overall to 37 fighters signed with one more episode to go. This week, it was Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, Christian Quiñonez, Javid Basharat, Karine Silva, and Manuel Torres all signed to deals, and they all honestly deserved it. There has been a lot of good talent on this year’s edition.
Here are some fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC 267 on Saturday:
- Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka
- Jan Blachowicz vs. Magomed Ankalaev
- Petr Yan vs. Aljamain Sterling
- Cory Sandhagen vs. Raphael Assuncao-Ricky Simon winner
- Islam Makhachev vs. Beneil Dariush
- Dan Hooker vs. Tony Ferguson
- Alexander Volkov vs. Derrick Lewis-Chris Daukaus winner
- Khamzat Chimaev vs. Belal Muhammad
- Amanda Ribas vs. Claudia Gadelha
- Zubaira Tukhugov vs. Lando Vannata
- Albert Duraev vs. Zak Cummings
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos vs. Alex Morono
- Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Dustin Jacoby
- Tagir Ulanbekov vs. Amir Albazi
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Melsik Baghdasaryan vs. Bruno Souza — UFC 268 — November 6
- Kyle Daukaus vs. Roman Dolidze — UFC Fight Night — November 13
- Marc Diakiese vs. Rafael Alves — UFC Fight Night — November 13
- Dakota Bush vs. Slava Borshchev — UFC Fight Night — January 15
- Movsar Evloev vs. Ilia Topuria — UFC 270 — January 22
- Bryan Battle vs. Tresean Gore — UFC Fight Night — February 5
Coming up this week
Here are some notable MMA events coming up this week:
- UFC 268 takes place on Saturday, November 6, from Madison Square Garden in New York, New York. The main card airs on ESPN+ pay-per-view at 10 p.m. eastern time. Prelims air on ESPN News & ESPN+ at 8 p.m. eastern time, with early prelims airing on ESPN+ at 6:00 p.m. eastern time. UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman defends against Colby Covington in the main event.
- Dana White’s Contender Series 46 airs on Tuesday, November 2 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 2021 edition wraps up with this episode, airing at 8:00 p.m. eastern time on ESPN+.
- Bellator 270 takes place on Friday, November 5, from the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland. The main card airs on Showtime at 5:00 p.m. eastern time, with prelims airing on YouTube at 1:30 p.m. eastern time. Peter Queally vs. Patricky Pitbull for the vacant Bellator Lightweight Championship is the main event.
- LFA 117 takes place on Friday, November 5, from Visalia, California, airing at 10:00 p.m. eastern time on UFC Fight Pass.
- CES 65 takes place on Sunday, November 7, from Providence, Rhode Island, airing at 4:00 p.m. eastern time on UFC Fight Pass.
This week in MMA history
On November 7, 2009, mixed martial arts return to network television after a year-long hiatus, as Strikeforce made their debut on CBS with a big show from the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, just outside of Chicago. It was the first MMA event on CBS since the final-ever EliteXC event in October 2008, and it drew an estimated 4,040,000 viewers, with a peak audience of 5,460,000.
The main event saw the Strikeforce debut of MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko, who scored a second-round TKO win over Brett Rogers in the main event. Strikeforce had signed him after failed negotiations with the UFC, and the win moved him to 31-1 in his career (with one no contest). It was the only win in Fedor’s Strikeforce career, as he would drop his next three fights before the promotion folded after being purchased by Zuffa, parent company of the UFC.
Also on the main card, Jake Shields scored a decision over Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller to win the vacant Strikeforce Middleweight Championship, Gegard Mousasi scored a second-round TKO of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, and Fabricio Werdum won a decision over Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva.
You can watch Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look back at a great UFC 267 event, look ahead to a big UFC 268 event, talk Dana White’s Contender Series, PFL and Bellator, and look back at all of the news of the week. You can listen to In The Clinch on The Fight Game Media Network, with our Patreon page found here.