Sanabul Fight News: UFC 276
Considering the lineup at UFC 276, and the calibre of fighters ranging from the early prelims to the main event, Saturday night was due to be one of the best PPV events in the history of the UFC. With two of the Featherweight GOATs being matched up in the main event, and an absolutely stacked card, 276 was a night to remember.
Julija Stoliarenko and Maycee Barber started off the card with two wins in the Women’s flyweight and bantamweight divisions. Jessica Rose-Clarke was the favorite going into the bout with Julija, and started off the fight with some heavy shots, early on she got taken down fast and arm-barred almost immediately. Julija impressed many with such a dominant submission over a pretty respected fighter, and will look to likely fight in the top 15 next. Maycee Barber had a relatively lack-luster win over veteran Jessica Eye, and some were debating whether she even did enough to swing the judges scorecard. Almost every fight Maycee has won, I’ve been debating whether or not I would’ve given the fight to her as a judge, which definitely isn’t a good sign for an up and coming prospect. However, her record is good, and she wins fights, and that’s all that matters.
Andre Muniz and Uriah Hall were set to close out the early prelims, with a middleweight matchup between two impressive fighters. Muniz was expected to come into this fight with a grappling heavy approach, but decided to stand for some of it with Uriah, showing he has developed lots of skills on the feet as well. Muniz dominated the fight from start to finish, with striking, takedowns, and ground control time to edge out a decision over veteran Uriah Hall.
Dricus Duplessis and Brad Tavares had an absolute war of a striking match on the feet, with neither seeming to have the advantage going into the judges scorecards. Dricus ended up edging out the decision with 30 more significant strikes, and proving himself as a dominant striker and up and coming prospect. Tavares did impress many, even with his hair going from white to red throughout the span of the 15 minute fight.
Ian Garry proved all the doubters (including me) wrong on Saturday night, completely dominating Gabe Green to a decision victory with a wide variety of strikes. He ended up with 120 significant strikes as well as a knockdown in the three round fight, but all the damage was done by Ian on the feet, a very impressive performance from the young prospect out of Sanford MMA.
Jim Miller and Donald Cerrone had a very anticipated matchup at welterweight on Saturday night, with the fight being a rematch from many years ago with Cowboy coming out on top. Jim Miller looked fired up during his walkout, with neither men having to cut weight and a fight that was due to be a barn burner, many were expecting this to be a fun one. The fight was going pretty well on the feet, relatively evenly matched, but during the second round Jim landed a kick that knocked Cowboy down, and capitalized on it with an extremely tight guillotine, finishing cowboy to make the series 1-1.
Cowboy announced his retirement after the fight, putting his gloves down in the octagon. Congratulations to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone on such an incredible and exciting career to follow, everyone will have their time to retire, and Cowboy found his out a little too late.
Jalin Turner ended off the prelims with an extremely impressive performance, proving how much of a monster he is in the lightweight division. You couldn’t have asked more from him, cinching in a tight guillotine from mount in the first few minutes and absolutely dominating Brad Riddell to a submission win, proving himself as a dark-horse in the division.
Next up was Pedro “I can’t see” Munhoz and 16-0 Suga Sean O’Malley, in an anticipated bantamweight matchup. Going into the second round, the fight was dead even in strikes, with most of Pedro’s being leg kicks (that may or may not have been checked), and Sean’s being a good mix of leg/body/head, doing all of the damage. During the first round Pedro was kicked in the lower abdomen, and faked a shot to the groin, giving him some time to rest. During the second, Sean pushed off of Pedro’s face, with a very small amount of his finger touching Pedro’s eyelid, causing Pedro to go “completely blind” and feel the need to shut both eyes, and tell the doctor all he could see was black. We cannot wait to see the undefeated Suga Sean O’Malley back in there with another top 15 fighter, hopefully one who won’t quit halfway through this time.
Bryan Barbarena and Robbie Lawler was a slugfest, with 100% offense and 0% defense, both men just eating shots the entire matchup. Robbie Lawler is a legend, rocking Bryan a good amount of times in only two rounds, by the end of the second he looked a little gassed. Bryan had him hurt, and took advantage of the opportunity by laying it on him and getting the TKO stoppage to win the fight. Bryan ended up announcing that he’s not done yet, and he would like to continue to fight the best of the best in the welterweight division.
Sean Strickland and Alex Pereira were next up, with many expecting it to be a striker vs grappler matchup. The storyline was set, Pereira knocked out Israel Adesanya twice in his career, and Strickland was trash talking to work his way up to a title shot. Whoever wins fights Izzy next. Pereira knocked Sean out in the first round, with an incredible left hook that left Strickland completely wobbling underneath himself. Alex Pereira is a force to be reckoned with, and Israel will be training hard for that matchup, I can’t wait to see it.
Alex Volkanovski and Max Holloway were up next with the trilogy of the decade, and the potential title of future GOAT of the featherweight division on the line. Max Holloway was fired up for this rematch, as was Volkanovski. From the first round, any Max bettors realized that they messed up badly. Alex was too quick, too smart, too calm, and too good for Max throughout the whole 25 minute fight. Volkanovski dominated the entire fight, without a mark on him by the time his arm was raised for a 50-45 decision. Volkanovski is one of the most dominant champions in the history of the sport, and is interested in moving up to lightweight to fight Charles Oliveira for the belt, which would definitely be an interesting fight to watch.
Last but not least, we had the Middleweight world championship of the world on the line, with Jared Cannonier challenging Israel Adesanya for the belt. Honestly, this fight was possibly one of the most boring of the night, and in my opinion it was a lot closer than the scorecards say. Neither of the two men knocked each other down, or did very much damage at all. Israel outstruck Jared by about 20 significant strikes, and stuffed 4/4 of Jared’s takedowns, earning a win on the judges scorecards, to rid the division of any more challengers (except Pereira). Honestly, I’d be extremely interested to see that fight, and I believe the UFC will make that the next matchup in the division.