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 weekend with UFC 272 taking place, so let’s dive right in to all of the happenings.
Looking Back at UFC 272
- Colby Covington was the big winner at UFC 272 on Saturday, scoring an impressive and fairly dominant unanimous decision win over Jorge Masvidal. Covington looked as good as ever in the win, while Masvidal looked more flat and never got into a proper groove, and never really had Covington in trouble outside of the fourth round where Masvidal briefly dropped Covington, but he was too tired to capitalize on it. Covington was the big favorite in the fight, so the result wasn’t unexpected, but the fight wasn’t the most exciting fight in the world and largely one-sided. The beef between the two definitely isn’t over and won’t ever be over. Covington’s comments after the fight about Dustin Poirier made me shake my head though. It wasn’t anything that he said about Poirier, but he needs to leave the kids out of it, because there could be long-lasting damage saying bad things about children. That crosses a line that should never be crossed when it comes to trash talk between fighters.
- I want to start this one off by saying Renato Moicano showed tremendous heart in his losing effort to Rafael Dos Anjos on Saturday. It was a one-sided win for Dos Anjos as Moicano took a beating, especially from the third round on. However, his corner should’ve stopped the fight on at least two occasions, especially after the fourth round. The ringside doctor should’ve stopped the fight as Moicano’s face was busted up and I doubt he really could see. Marc Goddard should even be held accountable, because he actually said between the fourth and fifth rounds that if the corner doesn’t stop it, he would, but he let Moicano continue on. There needs to be better decisions made, because for all of this talk about protecting the fighter, in execution, it’s rare to see instances where decisions are actually made to protect the fighter.
- Bryce Mitchell had his breakout performance in yet another one-sided win as he dominated Edson Barboza en route to a decision. He also cut a great post-fight interview where he pledged to donate his win bonus to a children’s hospital in Arkansas (Dana White later said he’ll donate the money so that Mitchell doesn’t have to and can keep his win bonus). Mitchell has shown to be a really good fighter and has a great personality, though he will say some things at times that are going to rub some people the wrong way. Regardless, he has tons of star potential and I’m excited to see him fight some top-ten competition.
- Kevin Holland had a great debut at welterweight on Saturday, finishing Alex Oliveira in the second round. Holland looked good for the weight class, like he naturally belonged, and while it looked like it took the first round to adjust to fighting down a weight class, he had a beautiful finish to make up for it in the second. Most importantly, this was Holland’s first fight since 2019 in front of fans, and they reacted to him in a big way like the breakout star he became during the pandemic. He has a bright future at 170 lbs. and he looks like he’s going to make a run in the division.
- See you later, Greg Hardy. The experiment is over after Saturday, which saw Hardy finish out his UFC contract with his third straight loss, being absolutely dominated and finished by Serghei Spivac in just over two minutes. Hardy wasn’t even competitive in the fight at all. He never should’ve been given a chance, especially considering the pay he was making, and he plateaued early as a fighter and his ceiling ended up being very low. He was never going to make it even into the top-15 at heavyweight, let alone the top twenty, so cutting bait is the best thing to do, and it will end the stigma that surrounds UFC cards every time he’s on one.
- While the main card was pretty much one-sided fights all throughout, the prelims were very exciting with some really fun performances taking place. Jalin Turner, Maryna Moroz and Umar Nurmagomedov all scored finishes, and Marina Rodriguez likely secured a title shot with a solid win over Yan Xiaonan. I want to highlight Moroz, who had a dominant win over Mariya Agapova, as she cut an extremely emotional post-fight interview, talking about being away from her home in Ukraine during the current war going on, and how she’s worried for her family and how some of her friends have been killed during the war. The fact she was able to put on this performance despite all of that deserves tons of credit, and I hope things get better for her, her family, and everyone going through really tough times over there.
- UFC 274 on May 7 was officially announced as taking place in Phoenix, Arizona this past week. That show will be headlined by UFC Lightweight Champion Charles Oliveira defending against Justin Gaethje. There will likely be a second title fight added to the show, with UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas’ defense against Carla Esparza being planned for the show. There does need to be at least one big fight added to that show, as the co-main event is currently slated to be Mauricio Rua against Ovince Saint Preux, which would’ve been a solid co-main event in 2015, but not in 2022.
- UFC 275 on June 11 will take place in Singapore. That seems like an odd choice, especially considering it’s going to be a pay-per-view event, which means it’ll be an early start time in Singapore, or a middle of the night start time if they make it a normal start time in Singapore. That show will be highlighted by two title fights as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira defends against Jiri Prochazka, and UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko defending against Taila Santos.
- During his post-fight press conference following UFC 272, Dana White sounded confident that Nate Diaz would be signing a new UFC contract, saying the likelihood of Diaz signing a new deal before his next fight was “very good”. Despite that, Diaz went on social media on Sunday asking for his “retirement” fight between himself and Dustin Poirier to be scheduled. When it comes to who to trust more on this one, I’d actually believe White before Diaz on this one, but it is still another wrinkle added to the current stand-off between Diaz and the promotion.
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk was at UFC 272 on Saturday and said she has her return fight booked, but couldn’t name the opponent or date. Dana White said they want to make the rematch between her and Zhang Weili, but that it isn’t a done deal yet. I’ve heard that’s the fight and that it’s being looked at for the Singapore card, but it isn’t signed as of yet.
- It looks like Islam Makhachev is going to have to fight Beneil Dariush before he gets a shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship. Dariush is going to be able to avoid surgery for his broken leg, and there is talk he could be back in the summer. They also aren’t happy that Makhachev threw his name into the discussion to fight Rafael Dos Anjos on short notice when he had no real intention of actually stepping in. Renato Moicano was always the first choice for Dos Anjos’ new opponent, but Makhachev was discussed when he (or whoever was posting on his social media account) claimed he was willing to fill in, until they realized that was far from the truth. So, it looks like a possible title shot next being taken away is his punishment. Note to fighters- don’t offer to step in on short notice if you actually have no intention of doing so when the call comes.
- With COVID-19 restrictions and mandates basically being officially over in the United States, and for many parts of the world, talk is now ramping up for a full-time touring UFC schedule to return. Dana White said after UFC 272 that they’re looking into it, but venues are being booked quickly so they’re having to get creative and see the lay of the land when it comes to booking venues. I do see them traveling outside of the UFC APEX for Fight Night events fairly regularly come May, but that still remains to be seen if it’ll happen. I do know they’re looking at keeping several yearly Fight Night cards at the Apex, which I don’t agree with as the events there feel very out of place now, and no one is going to them despite tickets being sold, and these fighters who are under UFC deals deserve to be fighting in front of crowds after not being able to do so for the majority of the last two years. I know it is cost effective, but the UFC is earning over $1 billion in revenue every year, a number that is only going to continue to go up, so it’s not like it would hurt financially.
Here are the fights I would make next for those who fought at UFC 272 on Saturday:
- Colby Covington vs. Gilbert Burns-Khamzat Chimaev winner
- Jorge Masvidal vs. Conor McGregor
- Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Rafael Fiziev
- Bryce Mitchell vs. Calvin Kattar
- Kevin Holland vs. Daniel Rodriguez
- Serghei Spivac vs. Andrei Arlovski
- Jalin Turner vs. Renato Moicano
- Marina Rodriguez vs. Rose Namajunas-Carla Esparza winner
- Maryna Moroz vs. Casey O’Neill
- Umar Nurmagomedov vs. Raulian Paiva
- Tim Elliott vs. Alex Perez
- Dustin Jacoby vs. Volkan Oezdemir
Here are the fights that were announced over the past week:
- Drew Dober vs. Terrance McKinney — UFC Fight Night — March 12
- Nathaniel Wood vs. Vince Morales — UFC Fight Night — March 19
- Jennifer Maia vs. Manon Fiorot — UFC Fight Night — March 26
- Nate Landwehr vs. David Onama — UFC Fight Night — March 26
- Gilbert Burns vs. Khamzat Chimaev — UFC 273 — April 9
- Jake Collier vs. Justin Tafa — UFC Fight Night — April 30
- Krzysztof Jotko vs. Gerald Meerschaert — UFC Fight Night — April 30
- Francisco Trinaldo vs. Danny Roberts — UFC 274 — May 7
- Randy Brown vs. Khaos Williams — UFC 274 — May 7
- Cynthia Calvillo vs. Brianna Fortino — UFC Fight Night — June 4
- UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Glover Teixeira vs. Jiri Prochazka — UFC 275 — June 11 (MAIN EVENT)
- UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko vs. Taila Santos — UFC 275 — June 11
Coming up this week
- UFC On ESPN+ 61 takes place on Saturday, March 12 from the UFC APEX in Las Vegas, Nevada. The entire card streams on ESPN+, with the main card at 7:00 p.m. ET, and the prelims taking place at 4:00 p.m. ET. Thiago Santos vs. Magomed Ankalaev is the main event.
- Invicta FC 46 takes place on Wednesday, March 9 from Kansas City, Kansas, airing at 8:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- ONE Championship: Lights Out takes place on Friday, March 11 from Singapore, airing at 8:30 a.m. ET on their YouTube pay-per-view channel.
- Eagle FC 46 takes place on Friday, March 11 from Miami, Florida, airing at 6:00 p.m. ET on FLX Cast. Kevin Lee vs. Diego Sanchez is the main event.
- PFL Challenger Series 4 takes place on Friday, March 11 from Orlando, Florida, airing at 9 p.m. ET on fuboTV.
- LFA 126 takes place on Friday, March 11 from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, airing at 9:00 p.m. ET on UFC Fight Pass.
- Bellator 276 takes place on Saturday, March 12 from St. Louis, Missouri. The main card airs at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime, and prelims air at 6:00 p.m. ET on YouTube. Adam Borics vs. Mads Burnell is the main event.
This week in MMA history
The first weekend of March always brought upon The Arnold Classic, the biggest event in the bodybuilding community of the year, which takes place in Columbus, Ohio. For several years, there would be a UFC event held in conjunction with the event, and that was no exception on March 7, 2009, when UFC 96 took place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus in front of 17,033 fans paying a gate of $1.8 million. The event also got 350,000 buys on pay-per-view.
In the main event, former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson would score a unanimous decision win over Keith Jardine in a fight that made him the presumed top contender for the title against then-champion Rashad Evans. The two even had a heated confrontation following the fight. That fight took years to actually take place, and not for a title, as Jackson would be unavailable to fight just over two months later in May, so Evans defended against Lyoto Machida, who defeated Evans to win the title.
In the co-main event, Shane Carwin continued his path to the UFC Heavyweight Championship when he scored a 69-second knockout of Gabriel Gonzaga, which was his 11th straight first-round knockout, and his tenth straight in less than two minutes. Also on the main card, Matt Brown scored a first-round knockout of Pete Sell, Matt Hamill knocked out Mark Munoz with a head kick in the first round, and Gray Maynard scored a decision win over Jim Miller.
You can watch UFC 96 on UFC Fight Pass here.
In The Clinch
This week on In The Clinch, myself and Paul Fontaine will look at any UFC 272 fallout from Saturday. We’ll also look ahead to UFC On ESPN+ 61 and several other of the MMA events taking place this week. In The Clinch is part of The Fight Game Media Network of podcasts, which are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts and our Patreon page.