Weekly Recap post UFC 264

Saturday was one of the biggest UFC cards of the year and it surely did not disappoint. Several prospects broke through with big wins including Dricus Du Plessis, Ilia Topura and Zhalgas Zhumagulov. The main event saw Dustin Poirier get the best of Conor McGregor in their trilogy fight, but talks of a fourth bout swirl due to the leg injury McGregor sustained. Following is a short recap of each bout:

  • Zhalgas Zhumagulov defeats Jerome Rivera via Standing Guillotine Choke at 2:02 of Round 1– Zhumagulov finally broke through with his first UFC victory in this bout. Very early he successfully locked in a standing guillotine choke that finished Jerome Rivera
  • Brad Tavares defeats Omari Akhmedov via Split Decision– This fight was competitive from start to finish, with Tavares doing just enough to get his hand raised. Round one was extremely close. Akhmedov began to run out of energy as the minutes ticked away which allowed Tavares to continue scoring. His strikes were landing far cleaner than the Russian’s
  • Jennifer Maia defeats Jessica Eye via Unanimous Decision– In a bout that many overlooked, Jennifer Maia and Jessica Eye threw down in an all out battle. Both women had their moments but Maia was more successful accumulating damage on Eye. A clash of heads caused a rather large split on Eye’s forehead but she continues to fight nonetheless. The scorecards do not tell the full story of this fight
  • Dricus Du Plessis defeats Trevin Giles via Right Cross to Ground and Pound at 1:41 of Round 2 Dricus Du Plessis had excellent octagon control in this bout. He won a majority of striking exchanges and looked more comfortable than during his UFC debut. In the early second, Giles landed strikes on the closed guard of Du Plessis who exploded off the cage and landed a perfect right cross. Dricus Du Plessis was awarded a $75,000 performance bonus for his stoppage win
  • Ilia Topuria defeats Ryan Hall via Ground and Pound at 4:47 of Round 1– This bout was typically what one expects from Ryan Hall. The jiu jitsu practitioner flung himself into odd positions all fight in an attempt to get Topuria engaged in a grappling match. The undefeated Topuria was patient and did not put himself into harms way at any point. He eventually sprang onto Hall and finished him with powerful strikes from top position
  • Michel Pereira defeats Niko Price via Unanimous Decision– These two welterweights put on a show. Pereira showcased a full arsenal of MMA skills winning a well fought decision against Price. He landed a lot of powerful strikes while also taking Price to the ground on several occasions. His gas tank seemed a bit depleted in the third round, and Price took advantage finally landing heavier and stuffing takedown attempts
  • Max Griffin defeats Carlos Condit by Unanimous Decision– The close of prelims saw Max Griffin secure the victory over Carlos Condit. It was a close fight but a knockdown for Griffin early swayed momentum heavily in his favor. Condit had his moments in the second and third round but Griffin was still successful in out striking him. A late takedown secured the third for Griffin which ultimately won him this bout
  • Sean O’Malley defeats Kris Moutinho via Punches at 4:33 of Round 3– Sean O’Malley delivered a masterclass performance against the UFC newcomer Kris Moutinho. He landed 230 significant strikes in under fifteen minutes, yet that mark is good for the fourth most ever in a UFC bout. The 160 strike differential is also the third largest of all-time. Moutinho did not stop moving forward and eating shots until Herb Dean had finally decided the beating was one-sided enough. Moutinho certainly earned his keep in the UFC given his toughness, but O’Malley continues to improve with each and every bout. Both fighters were awarded a $75,000 bonus for Fight of the Night
  • Irene Aldana defeats Yana Kunitskaya via Ground and Pound at 4:35 of Round 1– Irene Aldana’s striking proved to be too much in this fight. Kunitskaya was beaten and bloodied early by the precision boxing of the Mexican. After a left hand knocked down Kunitskaya, Aldana spent a minute standing over her in search of the finish. Once she had an opening we saw Aldana land heavy shots to ultimately get the TKO
  • Tai Tuivasa defeats Greg Hardy via Counter Hook at 1:07 of Round 1– This fight did not last long but Tai Tuivasa had a massive moment in the cage Saturday night. After establishing range with a few leg kicks, Tuivasa got into a brawl with a very dangerous Greg Hardy. A combination by Hardy against the cage caused Tai to wobble momentarily, but he quickly planted his feet and threw a 1-2 combination in response. The right hand missed but the left landed clean on Hardy’s forehead and caused him to crumple onto the mat. He celebrated with a shoey after what was the night’s biggest knockout. Tai Tuivasa was awarded a $75,000 performance bonus for his stoppage win
  • Gilbert Burns defeats Stephen Thompson via Unanimous Decision– It was a very technically fought bout by both Burns and Wonderboy in the main event. As expected, Thompson was clearly the superior fighter on the feet but Burns got the grappling going early. He successfully landed three of six takedowns and accrued over seven minutes of control time in what was a dominant decision win. He did not earn another title shot of that performance but perhaps will with another top five victory
  • Dustin Poirier defeats Conor McGregor via Broken Ankle at the end of Round 1– The third bout between Poirier and McGregor showed us who the superior fighter was once and for all. It was a new gameplan for McGregor this time around, throwing eight low leg kicks at Poirier that all landed. Adding this weapon proved to be a mistake as McGregor suffered a fractured tibia. This was likely due to either a check from Poirier or sloppy technique by the Irishman. Poirier landed damaging strikes to Conor on the mat after opting for a guillotine attempt early. He was beaten badly but managed to stand up prior to the end of the round. The bone in his leg finally gave way on a bad plant and Poirier saw himself the victor once again. With McGregor having just one win since the start of 2017, there are major questions surrounding his career trajectory moving forward. Next for Dustin Poirier will be a shot at lightweight gold against the current champion Charles Oliveira

MMA fans got their fill with this weekend’s UFC card, the only live combat sports action there was. LFA, Bellator and KSW are just a few of the promotions holding events in the coming week.

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