MMA Review: #528: UFC: Ultimate Fighter XXII Finale

-With interest in TUF at an all-time low following the unsuccessful TUF 21 (which was actually a decent season IMO), Zuffa decided to pull out their biggest gun for season 22 – AKA Team Europe vs. Team USA – by having then-interim Featherweight champ Conor McGregor the coach of the Europeans. Opposing him was Urijah Faber, because of course Jose Aldo couldn’t coach a team of Yanks and a season with a Brazilian team who don’t speak English would’ve been impossible. So yeah, for me Faber was a perfectly decent choice and sure enough, the interest levels did move up a bit but still not to peak Spike TV levels. I guess the series really has jumped the shark at this point from a casual fan’s point of view.

As far as how I felt about the season? I actually liked it a lot as it had a good mix of fighters with some very good prospects in there, particularly on the European side which is always good given the amount of cards UFC runs in Europe these days. I didn’t like the idea of having the extra fight in the tournament and having Dana White and the coaches remove the fighter who’d won least impressively, but thankfully with the injury to Martin Svensson that issue was non-existent in the end anyway. Obviously the whole deal surrounding Saul Rogers and his visa was shitty (we’ll discuss that later) but I’d definitely put it in the upper echelons of TUF overall. And the Finale looked STACKED, with fights like Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza and Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes (!) making it totally worthy of being part of the UFC’s biggest week in history. So far, of course.

UFC: Ultimate Fighter XXII Finale

12/11/15
Las Vegas, Nevada

-Your hosts are Jon Anik and Brian Stann.

Lightweight Fight: Julian Erosa vs Marcin Wrzosek

These two had been part of the TUF cast, with Erosa being on Team USA and Poland’s Wrzosek on Team Europe (duh). Both had made the semi-finals – Erosa following really tight decision wins over Mehdi Baghdad and Abner Lloveras, while Wrzosek had taken decisions over Tom Gallichio and then his teammate David Teymur. As it goes once Saul Rogers was removed from the finale I thought it would’ve been fairer to have Wrzosek fight in his spot as Rogers had beaten him in the semis, but whatever. My pick here was Wrzosek as he’d looked like the better fighter in the house basically.

Fight gets underway and literally everyone from Buffer to Anik to Stann is pronouncing Wrzosek’s name differently, making me wonder how the hell you say it. He opens with a combo and a body kick, backing Erosa up a little before slipping to the ground for a second. Erosa can’t capitalise though and he gets wobbled by a hard right hand before the Polish Zombie clinches. Erosa breaks with a knee but Wrzosek’s beating him to the strike so far. Couple of right hands connect for him and Erosa looks stunned again. They clinch and exchange knees, and it looks like Erosa might be the bigger, stronger fighter. Good short right lands inside for Wrzosek, but he can’t shake Erosa off him. Takedown attempt from Wrzosek and he gets Erosa down, but Erosa reverses and goes for a guillotine that allows him to take top position. He goes for a D’Arce as Wrzosek escapes the guillotine, and it looks quite tight actually, but Wrzosek pushes on the elbow until his head pops free and then he stands into the clinch. They exchange some more knees and Wrzosek throws in some hammer fists to the legs for good measure. Couple of really good knees land inside for Erosa but he takes some dirty boxing in reply. Round ends as they break off. Close one to call but I’d probably say 10-9 Wrzosek as he controlled the majority of it outside of the choke attempt.

Into the 2nd and they trade some kicks before Wrzosek lands a combo en route to getting a takedown. He stands over Erosa and takes an upkick, then decides to drop back down into the guard. Couple of good shots land for the Pole but Erosa escapes to his feet. They remain clinched before Erosa breaks and lands a jab. Pair of left hooks from Wrzosek have Erosa hurt, but he clinches again to slow the action down. Wrzosek drops for a takedown but he can’t get it and they continue to exchange inside the clinch. Two minutes to go and they separate, with Wrzosek landing the left again. Takedown follows and he avoids a possible submission to settle into the guard. He rolls Erosa over in an attempt to take the back, but Erosa reverses to his feet. Looks like Erosa’s going for a takedown now but Wrzosek blocks pretty comfortably before landing a right on the exit. Nice left hand lands again for Wrzosek but he takes a couple of jabs. Wrzosek goes for a double leg and gets him down, but Erosa scrambles from the bottom and almost escapes. The Pole manages to stay on top though and ends the round there despite taking an elbow from the bottom. 10-9 Wrzosek for me and Erosa’s corner agree and tell him he needs a finish.

Third and final round and they trade some wild strikes to begin with Erosa getting the better of it, tagging the Polish Zombie with some hard shots. Low blow follows though and the ref has to call time. Wrzosek seems fine and they restart, and now he comes wading in but eats a BIG flying knee that somehow doesn’t seem to faze him. He fires back with a hard left hand. I guess that’s how he got the Polish Zombie nickname. Nice takedown from Erosa but he falls into a guillotine attempt. Doesn’t look all that tight though and he pops his head free. They exchange in the guard before Wrzosek takes advantage of a guard pass attempt and pops back up. Right hand lands for Erosa and he stuffs a pair of takedowns well, before muscling the Pole into the fence. Looks like Wrzosek might be slowing down. He tries a really hard double leg again but Erosa blocks it. They remain clinched and Wrzosek keeps trying to get him down before they break. Another takedown attempt from the Pole but again Erosa stuffs it. They exchange from the clinch with both men landing before Erosa connects on another flying knee on the exit. Wrzosek’s chin is solid. Takedown from Erosa and he lands in half-guard. Crowd are behind him too with some “Juicy J” chants. D’Arce attempt from Erosa but Wrzosek manages to scramble out to his feet. He tries a takedown of his own, but Erosa blocks it and they exchange punches until the buzzer sounds. 10-9 Erosa for a 29-28 Wrzosek win.

Judges have it a split decision, 29-28 Wrzosek, 29-28 Erosa and 29-28 for Julian Erosa to steal one. Wouldn’t call it a robbery as such to be fair as you could’ve given him the first round for the choke attempt and he clearly won the third, but I dunno, I definitely thought Wrzosek took it. Wasn’t the best fight ever – too much clinching for my liking – but both guys gave their all so who am I to criticise? It didn’t suck at least.

Featherweight Fight: Tatsuya Kawajiri vs Jason Knight

Kawajiri was originally set to fight top prospect Mirsad Bektic here in a fight that I suspect would’ve ended really, REALLY badly for the Japanese legend, but luckily for him (not luckily for the fans!) Bektic got hurt and had to pull out, and Knight stepped in on short notice, basically gaining a UFC contract off the back of his win over highly-rated prospect Musa Khamanaev. Despite that win I just didn’t feel Knight had the experience to take out a tough veteran like the Crusher, though.

Round One and Kawajiri opens with a low kick. Spinning backfist misses for him and then he goes for a takedown and Knight practically jumps to guard. Knight goes right into the rubber guard and he appears to be going for a triangle, but Kawajiri naturally stays calm, and despite taking some elbows from the bottom he frees himself after a bit of a struggle. Kawajiri begins to posture up, cracking Knight with a nasty elbow. Knight’s defensive guard is excellent though and he doesn’t take much damage at all despite having a very dangerous guy on top of him. Armbar attempt from Knight is avoided by Kawajiri who makes him pay with a hard hammer fist. Short punches follow as Knight keeps trying to secure rubber guard. Knight looks a bit busted up too. He manages to retain full guard despite a lot of pressure from the Japanese veteran, and the round ends there. 10-9 Kawajiri.

Round Two and Kawajiri again misses a spinning backfist. Takedown attempt from the Crusher but Knight sprawls, and then jumps for a triangle anyway and of course Kawajiri pulls free easily. Knight looks badly busted up around both eyes at this point. He keeps trying for rubber guard but that’s just not going to fly against a guy with as solid a top game as Kawajiri and he feeds Knight a nice diet of stiff elbows. Ref calls a stand-up as little happens, and Knight looks gassed. He comes forward swinging but Kawajiri puts him on his back again, this time in half-guard. He tries to work for mount but Knight does well to avoid that. Action slows right down though as he looks like he wants an arm triangle choke but Knight defends. Few elbows end the round for Kawajiri. Easy 10-9 for the Crusher.

Round Three and Kawajiri opens with a spinning back kick right to the body and then tags Knight with a left hand. Knight takes both well but winds up on his back literally seconds later. He goes for a triangle but Kawajiri avoids easily and then passes to half-guard. You can tell Knight’s getting tired now as Kawajiri seems to be finding it easy to slice through his guard now. Big John McCarthy calls a stand-up again and Knight comes in swinging, but another takedown from Kawajiri puts us back to square one and this time he gets into side mount. He moves into north/south but the crowd are booing pretty openly now as the action is minimal. Knight manages to trap the arm in a weird angle and lands some elbows, but Kawajiri kneels on Knight’s arm to put a stop to that and we get a full stalemate. Big John calls another stand-up with a minute to go and this time Knight stuffs a takedown and tags Kawajiri with some punches. He seems to have lost his power though and Kawajiri walks through them and takes him down again. Round ends with Kawajiri on top grinding with elbows. Clear-cut 30-27 for the Crusher surely.

All three judges have it 30-27 for Tatsuya Kawajiri, no surprise there. Dull fight though as Knight just couldn’t get anything going from his back despite a tricky ground game. Not really a shocker as Kawajiri still has one of the best top games in the division despite being past his prime, but really being a guard player these days doesn’t work in the UFC unless you’re *really* good – I’m talking like Demian Maia or prime Nogueira – and even then you need more in your arsenal and Knight really didn’t show much more than that here.

Lightweight Fight: Evan Dunham vs Joe Lauzon

You know sometimes I mention those fights where it’s surprising that the two fighters haven’t been matched up before? Perfect example of that right here. Dunham had been on a surprisingly good roll in 2015 leading into this one, beating Rodrigo Damm and Ross Pearson and generally looked like he was on a bit of a career resurgence. The opposite could be said for Lauzon though, as he’d been violently knocked out by Al Iaquinta in February and although he’d TKO’d Takanori Gomi in August it felt like he was nearing the end of his UFC career after almost a decade. Despite it being a tricky fight to call due to the penchant for reckless aggression from both, I was leaning slightly towards Dunham.

Round One and both men come out kind of tentatively before Dunham lands with a decent early combo. Counter left hand lands for Dunham as Lauzon wades in with punches, but then Lauzon catches him with a left that puts him on the retreat. Lauzon follows by clinching, but Dunham spins free quickly. Good combination again from Dunham but Lauzon cracks him with a left to the body. Clinch follows but Dunham escapes again. Exchange continues before Dunham clinches this time. Big elbow exits for Lauzon though and he follows with a right hand. They brawl a little in the clinch before Dunham exits with a knee to the body. Couple more combinations from Dunham to Lauzon’s lone left hand. Front kick to the body lands for Dunham. He’s just about outlanding Lauzon at the minute. Beautiful combination finishes with an uppercut for Dunham. Clinch follows and he lands a knee from the plum before they break. Combo ends in a glancing high kick for Dunham. Leg kick into a combo follows. Dunham is looking really good. Another combination follows. Takedown from Lauzon with seconds to go but Dunham pops right back up. Right hand from Lauzon but Dunham takes him down on the buzzer. 10-9 round for Evan Dunham.

Round Two and Dunham opens with a sharp head kick. Lauzon’s chin holds up though and he wades in with punches but eats a counter in the process. Clinch from Dunham and he muscles Lauzon back and then lands a couple of shots as they break. Good combo lands for Lauzon. Pair of uppercuts connect for Dunham. Body kick lands too but Lauzon clinches only for Evan to shrug him off quickly. Solid left hand lands for Lauzon over the top. Combo ending in a leg kick answers for Dunham. Nasty leg kick from Lauzon. Front kick from Dunham is caught and Lauzon lands with a right hand counter. Lauzon pushes forward but Dunham clinches and gets him down for a second. He pops right back up but Dunham’s still on him and he keeps him pressed into the fence. Lauzon separates with a knee that freezes Dunham up for a second, but Dunham quickly fires back with a combination including an elbow. Looks like Dunham’s cut though. They break with just under two minutes to go and Dunham quickly clinches again, where he lands a pair of vicious elbows to the side of the head. Dunham gets the better of the exchange in the clinch before Lauzon breaks free with an elbow of his own. Another big combination lands for Dunham, ending in a pair of knees from the plum. Dunham’s just outworking him as Lauzon keeps plodding forward into strikes. Round ends shortly after. 10-9 Dunham and I think Lauzon needs a stoppage to win.

Round Three and it looks like Lauzon’s bleeding too. Dunham circles on the outside and then comes in with a nice combination. He’s looking really good in this fight. Couple more combos land for Dunham and he’s sticking Lauzon with counters when he comes forward too. Big right hand connects for Dunham and looks to have Lauzon stunned somewhat, but he recovers quickly again. Can’t say enough about Lauzon’s toughness. Head kick glances for Dunham. Nice low kick from Lauzon but he takes another combo. Clinch from Dunham and he lands an elbow, and then Lauzon looks to drop for a leglock but Evan’s having none of that and he pulls free and stands. Another big combination from Dunham backs Lauzon up. This is the best I’ve seen his striking look in a long time. Dunham continues to open up with sharp combinations and it doesn’t look like Lauzon’s got an answer for it at all. Every shot that Lauzon lands, Dunham seems to be landing three or four. Less than a minute to go now and it’s looking firmly like Dunham’s fight. Big head kick misses for Lauzon. Another sharp combination lands for Dunham ending with a leg kick. Round ends with another Dunham combo. I have this a 30-27 shutout for Evan Dunham.

Official scores are 30-26, 30-27 and 30-26 for Evan Dunham. Didn’t think he did enough for a 10-8 in any of the rounds but it was definitely a fantastic performance from him as he lit Lauzon up throughout the fight standing and also outworked him in the clinch too. I know Lauzon is slowing down – I don’t expect him to still be fighting in like 2017 if I’m honest – but Dunham seems to be on a really great run and coming off three big wins, I’d say he’s in the best position going into 2016 that he’s been since the beginning of 2011 when he was still basically unbeaten – everyone knows he really beat Sean Sherk – and in a world where Robbie Lawler and Fabricio Werdum hold UFC titles it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that he gets back in title contention. Fun fight overall.

Lightweight Fight: Tony Ferguson vs Edson Barboza

Another fight changed by injury, this one would initially have seen Ferguson – probably the hottest fighter in the 155lbs division right now after six impressive wins – taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov in what would probably have been a #1 contender’s match, but poor Khabib injured himself again and was once again sidelined. The good thing for him though is that his legend has seemed to grow during his absence somehow thanks to what Rafael Dos Anjos has done since his loss to the Dagestani. Anyhow, Barboza stepped in to replace him and while the loss of Khabib was a big one, this still sounded like an AWESOME fight between two of the most exciting fighters in the division. My pick? El Cucuy of course, been on his bandwagon since his TUF days and I don’t jump off bandwagons easily.

Fight begins and Ferguson comes right out with a pair of left hands and they’re trading from the off. Single leg is blocked by Barboza but Ferguson’s putting a ton of pressure on him. Big overhand right sets up a head kick for Barboza but Ferguson shrugs both off and then goes for a ROLLING LEGLOCK!~! Barboza works to block it but Ferguson lands some hammer fists from the bottom. Barboza’s taking some nasty shots from here surprisingly enough as he can’t really answer back in case Ferguson extends the leg. He does drop an elbow, but Ferguson lashes out with his leg and kicks him right in the head. Big John McCarthy instantly calls time but then calls bullshit on Barboza being rocked, apparently. Not sure about that one and in an ideal world it’s a fair move, but unfortunately with the current rules it’s illegal. Doctor comes in to check Barboza and then McCarthy takes a point from El Cucuy. Tough break but you can’t fight purely on instinct in there. They restart and Ferguson lands a left hand and a front kick, but walks right into a nasty left to the body and a jab. Big combo from Ferguson but Barboza takes it well and fires right back with a snapping head kick. Ferguson continues to back him up and land, but he’s eating counters too. Another rolling leglock attempt is avoided this time by Barboza. Good body shots land for Barboza. Leg kick from Ferguson but Barboza sweeps the leg from under him and gets top position in guard. Right away though Ferguson lands hammer fists from the bottom and kicks him away before standing. Hard left counter lands for Barboza and he shrugs off a clinch. Big left hook also lands for the Brazilian as Ferguson’s coming forward. Right hand answers for Ferguson and he’s wading in with punches. Both men trade some bombs but its Ferguson pushing forward still. Nice left hand connects for Barboza. Another roll goes awry for Ferguson. Nice spin kick to the body from Barboza. Ferguson’s durability is pretty insane. He backs Barboza up some more and lands with a front kick and some follow-up punches, but a body kick answers for the Brazilian. Spin kick to the calf from Barboza but Ferguson clinches to end the round. Really close to call but I’d go with Barboza, and with the point deduction it’s a 10-8 too.

Into the 2nd and Ferguson walks into a crushing left counter and a pair of leg kicks. Ferguson comes right back with a body kick and a leg kick of his own. Nice step-in elbow lands for El Cucuy but Barboza fires back with one of his own and Ferguson is busted wide open. He doesn’t care though and keeps on wading forward, landing a beautiful combination to peg Barboza back. And holy shit, Barboza is bleeding worse than Ferguson somehow, this is a BLOODBATH. Nice leg kick from Ferguson but Barboza kicks the other leg from under him and gets on top. He avoids a kneebar attempt but takes some shots from underneath. Butterfly guard for El Cucuy and he lands some elbows, and wow there’s a lot of blood in there. They come back up and Ferguson continues to push forward, landing another combo, but Barboza wings right back with a right and a left that land cleanly. This fight RULES. Wheel kick from Barboza but Ferguson ducks under it beautifully and then almost gets Barboza down before giving up to land a hopping kick to the chest. Left to the body from Barboza is answered by a spinning back elbow from Ferguson! Head kick glances too. Takedown attempt from Barboza but Ferguson stuffs it and then grabs onto the exposed neck, snapping Barboza down RIGHT INTO A D’ARCE!~! Barboza tries to defend but Ferguson extends his body and FORCES THE TAPOUT!

That. Was. Awesome. Total FOTYC as both men came and absolutely went hell-for-leather, with Ferguson putting on an unbelievable pace and Barboza pretty much matching him, and really the difference was just Ferguson taking total advantage of a very small opening to put the Brazilian away. The guy is just an offensive monster and while he has holes in his game defensively it looks like his chin is so ridiculous that he can get away with it for the most part. That’s seven in a row for him and I think he’s earned a title shot for sure, although of course he’ll have to wait for RDA vs. McGregor first. But yeah, right now he might well be the best 155lber on the planet, hopefully we’ll find out this year. Incredible stuff.

Ultimate Fighter XXII Lightweight Finals: Ryan Hall vs Artem Lobov

So yeah, this was perhaps the most perplexing TUF final in the history of the series. Firstly Lobov – Conor McGregor’s buddy – was eliminated by Mehdi Baghdad in the pre-house fights and was brought back by the afore-mentioned decision to add an extra fight to the tournament and remove the least impressive winner. Basically a ploy to get Conor’s guy back in the mix, for all intents and purposes. To defend Artem though he’d really repaid the faith by smashing the shit out of his three opponents in the house – James Jenkins, Chris Gruetzemacher and Julian Erosa – and he’d earned his spot here by hook or crook. More than can be said for world-class grappler Hall that is, no offense, as he’d been eliminated in the quarter-finals by England’s Saul Rogers – clearly the best fighter of the season – and was given the shot in the finals only when Rogers was denied a visa after apparently lying on his application. Really unfortunate situation for him too as he’s now been cut by the UFC, but yeah. Why one of the losing semi-finalists (Erosa or Wrzosek) wasn’t given the shot rather than Hall I don’t know. As far as a pick went, I was torn, as Lobov had a massive advantage standing while Hall had just as big an advantage on the ground.

Round One and Lobov stalks forward as Hall stays on the outside, throwing out a few kicks before rolling into a leglock attempt. He goes right into a heel hook and as Lobov defends, Hall uses it to take top position. Scramble from Lobov but in a LUDICROUS MOVE Hall grabs onto his neck and somehow swings himself into back control! That was insane. Both hooks in for Hall and Artem is in trouble. He defends well to be fair and manages to escape the choke, but he’s still got Ryan Hall clamped on his back which is a horrible spot to be in. Body triangle from Hall and the fans are going off with duelling chanting for USA and the “ole ole” from the Irish. Punches and elbows land from back control for Hall and it doesn’t look like Lobov is able to get out of the position. He does manage to prevent any choke attempts from even being close though at least. Less than a minute to go and it appears that Lobov might survive the round. Choke almost looks locked with thirty seconds to go but Lobov escapes again. Big elbows land for Hall for good measure too. Round ends with Hall in firm control. 10-8 round for Hall as Lobov had zero offense.

Round Two and Lobov again pushes forward as Hall uses a series of side kicks to keep him at distance. He slips on a high kick but of course Lobov won’t go to the ground with him. Wild left hook misses for Artem. Roll into a leglock misses for Hall this time. Big swings from Lobov miss and it allows Hall to quickly pull guard. Hall lands some shots from the bottom and then attempts to roll for a leglock, but Lobov pulls free and stands. Another attempt is avoided by Artem too. Body kick glances for Hall. Lobov has his hands literally by his waist here trying to goad Hall into striking with him, but Hall again pulls guard. Hall locks him down with his legs again and continues to land strikes from the bottom. Couple of elbows do get through for Lobov but he isn’t doing enough at all. Triangle attempt from Hall now and he lands some hammer fists before switching for a kneebar and then going for a heel hook. Lobov manages to defend again, but he can’t completely pull free. Another leglock attempt is defended by Lobov but the round ends there. 10-9 Hall I’d say.

Round Three and Lobov opens with a solid leg kick. He’s still finding it hard to get into range though thanks to Hall’s kicks. Takedown attempt is avoided by Artem though. Leglock roll again from Hall and this time he gets deep on the right leg and forces Lobov to the ground with him. Lobov defends, but it looks like Hall might have an inside heel hook. Lobov manages to pull free, but Hall quickly tackles him to the ground and then jumps to guard when he stands. Action slows down as Hall ties him up in the guard and lands some shots from the bottom, then goes for another leglock. Artem again works to defend and escapes to his feet, but Hall immediately leaps onto his back into the lemur position. Crowd are booing but fuck them as this is SICK grappling. Artem to be fair to him is doing a tremendous defensive job, but he’s not doing anything offensively which is his big problem. We’ve got less than a minute remaining here and it doesn’t look like Lobov is going to pull out a hail mary KO at all. Choke looks sunk almost with seconds to go but Artem manages to survive again. He decides to dive to the ground in an attempt to shake Hall off, but can’t do it and that’s the fight. 10-9 Hall, 30-26 Hall, it’s a whitewash.

Sure enough it’s 30-26, 30-26 and 30-27 for Ryan Hall. Well, I figured either Lobov would knock him out or Hall would totally own the fight with his grappling, and it was the latter in the end as Lobov basically had no offense whatsoever thanks to Hall’s virtuoso ground skills. Wouldn’t call it the most entertaining fight but if you like slick grappling then you’d definitely be wowed by what Hall did here. I don’t think he’ll be able to do it to the upper echelon guys in the UFC – no offense to Artem but I wouldn’t put him up there – but hey, he makes for an interesting fight due to his specialist style anyway. It’s still hard to call him ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ from this season given he lost in the quarters, too, but to be fair the TUF winner title doesn’t mean all that much anyway these days so whatever.

Featherweight Fight: Frankie Edgar vs Chad Mendes

When this fight was announced the word was that it was apparently a bit of a contingency plan on the sly in case either Jose Aldo or Conor McGregor pulled out of their fight the night after this show, but shit, who cares, what a fight. It was basically a de facto #1 contender’s fight – despite Mendes having losses to both Aldo and Conor and Edgar having a loss to Aldo – as really nobody else right now (sorry Max Holloway) could make a claim to a title shot at 145lbs. Despite Edgar looking pretty fantastic since dropping to 145lbs I was going with Mendes, as on paper he was the better wrestler than Frankie and seemed to hit much harder too, and Edgar’s never been a guy who doesn’t get hit in his fights, even those that he wins.

Round One begins and they circle before Mendes lands with a hard leg kick. Lot of movement from Edgar early on but he hasn’t landed anything thus far. Another good leg kick lands for Mendes. Right hand glances for Frankie. Another leg kick lands for Chad and he avoids a head kick in retaliation. Both men are coming up short on their punches so far. Leg kick from Edgar but an uppercut glances for Mendes. Counter right lands for Frankie on the way out. Combination follows and slows Mendes down a bit. Nasty leg kick answers for Mendes. They exchange punches and Edgar clips him with a left hook and DOWN GOES MENDES! Couple of shots follow on the ground and MENDES IS OUT.

Well, what can you say? Wasn’t the best performance of Edgar’s career but it’s definitely the best finish he’s ever pulled out of his bag of tricks, a totally clean knockout over a guy who’d previously shown a pretty solid chin. Replay shows the punch landed directly on the button though and just switched Chad’s lights off with perfect accuracy. Awesome knockout from Frankie Edgar. This probably should’ve earned him a title shot and in fact it most likely still will as long as he’s smart and willing to wait out for Conor McGregor to fight RDA, as even if McGregor wins and doesn’t want to go back to 145lbs, then he’ll probably get a shot at the vacant belt. As for Mendes I worry whether the Aldo and McGregor fights along with this KO are beginning to take their toll on him. We’ll see what he looks like when he returns from this for sure. Tremendous way to cap off the night and to lead us right into UFC 194!

-Show ends there as Frankie continues to celebrate.

Final Thoughts….

Real mixed bag here – obviously Ferguson vs. Barboza was absolutely fantastic, Edgar’s knockout was awesome in its own right and Dunham/Lauzon was passable, but on the flipside Lobov/Hall wasn’t that great outside of Hall’s slick grappling, and the first two fights weren’t worth much at all. As an appetiser for UFC 194 it worked fine I guess but you only need to see Ferguson/Barboza and Frankie’s knockout really. Thumbs in the middle for this one.

Best Fight: Ferguson vs. Barboza
Worst Fight: Kawajiri vs. Knight

Overall Rating: **3/4

Until next time,

Scott Newman:
NewmanMMA@gmail.com