Alistair Overeem wants to capture UFC gold then immediately retire

This weekend at UFC Vegas 18, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) will continue down his final run inside the octagon. The Demolition Man turns 41 in May and he knows that his time as a UFC heavyweight is coming to an end.

Overeem headlines this weekend’s upcoming card against Alexander Volkov (32-8). Both men currently rank inside the UFC’s top six at heavyweight and a win for either man puts them one step closer to a title shot.

Overeem had his first professional MMA fight back in 1999. His career has taken him all over the world and he’s competed in virtually every major MMA organization there’s ever been. He’s also won many world titles all across the globe.

Overeem was the heavyweight champion in Dream and Strikeforce. In addition to that, Overeem was the K-1 World Grand Prix Champion in kickboxing. One of only two fighters ever to have the distinction of a kickboxing and MMA world title simultaneously.

The one thing that has eluded Overeem is the UFC heavyweight title. Overeem came over to the UFC in 2011 as the Strikeforce heavyweight champion. He debuted by finishing Brock Lesnar in the first round. However, he later failed a drug test before his first UFC title shot and was suspended.

Upon his return, Overeem lost two straight. Overeem was able to climb the ladder and earned himself a title shot at UFC 203 against Stipe Miocic. The Demolition Man was finished in the first round after some early success.

One final UFC title run

Throughout his UFC career, Overeem has come close to the title. However, up to this point, he’s never been able to capture the title. This is the only thing missing from Overeem’s career and he’s made it clear that if he accomplishes his goal, he’s done.

In a recent interview with MMA Junkie, Overeem said, “I would retire immediately (after winning the UFC title). There’s nothing to prove at that point.” He’s also alluded to the fact that if his championship window closes, he will walk away from the sport.

With that in mind, every time Alistair Overeem walks into the octagon from here on out, it could be for the final time. If Overeem wins at UFC Vegas 18, he’s likely only one more win away from a title shot.

However, if Overeem falters and Volkov wins, we might see the last of The Demolition Man. Overeem has had an incredible career, however, it would feel somewhat incomplete if he’s never able to get UFC gold. He’s got a steep mountain in front of him and it’ll be fascinating to see if he can reach the summit.

State of the UFC’s heavyweight division entering 2021

MMA, Stipe Miocic

2021 will usher in a new day in the heavyweight division. As we enter January 2021, it has been three years since UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3), fought someone not named Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

At UFC 220 back in January of 2018, Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3). Ngannou was being billed as the next big thing having destroyed every contender the UFC had put in front of him.

However, Miocic showed off his greatness that night shutting out the French contender. However, Miocic would lose his title in the summer of 2018 when he was knocked out in the first round by Daniel Cormier.

The UFC then angled for Cormier to face Brock Lesnar in a superfight. The proposed matchup with Lesnar was supposed to be Cormier’s last UFC fight. The fight never materialized and Cormier went on to defend his title against Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC).

Cormier defeated Lewis and waited for the Lesnar fight. Again, it never came together so Cormier decided to give Stipe Miocic a rematch at UFC 241. After dominating the fight early, Cormier got knocked out by Miocic in the fourth round.

After that fight, Miocic needed to take some time off. A year later, Miocic and Cormier finished their trilogy at UFC 252 in Cormier’s last fight. Miocic won the fight by unanimous decision cementing himself as the heavyweight GOAT.

UFC’s heavyweight division in 2021

With the Miocic – Cormier trilogy behind us, it’s time for the UFC’s heavyweight division to move on in 2021. However, Miocic will face a familiar foe in his first title defense of the year. He will once again take on Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou’s losses to Miocic then Derrick Lewis might have been the best thing for him. He’s rededicated himself to the sport and he’s looked untouchable since. After losing a decision to Lewis, Ngannou is 4-0 with four first round knockouts.

Not only that, but none of those opponents have gone more than 71 seconds. The UFC’s predator looks better than ever and he’s expected to face Miocic in March for the heavyweight title.

Another exciting aspect of the heavyweight division in 2021 is the arrival of Jon Jones (26-1,1 NC). Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all-time and he’s finally decided to move up to heavyweight.

After reigning over light heavyweight for nearly a decade, Jones is preparing for a shot at the heavyweight title. He’s expected to face the winner of Miocic – Ngannou over the summer or early next fall.

Other Contenders

Behind Jones there are a number of compelling contenders. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) are expected to faceoff in 2021. They were supposed to fight in November, however, Blaydes tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped.

Both contenders have multiple fight winning streaks. A win for either man would put them in great position. The guy to really watch out for is Ciryl Gane (7-0). Gane just knocked out JDS at UFC 256 and is poised to be a top contender.

Of course, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8) are two others to watch out for. They headline a Fight Night in February. Of course there’s still Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) out there who’s ranked third at heavyweight at the moment.

Miocic is finally done with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is entering the heavyweight picture. Francis Ngannou looks better than ever and there’s a ton of hungry and dangerous contenders behind him. Should be a fun year at heavyweight in 2021.

State of the heavyweight division ahead of UFC Vegas 15

MMA, Stipe Miocic

This weekend at UFC Vegas 15, Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) and Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC) will go head to head in a battle of top four contenders. The winner of this weekend’s fight will be squarely in the title picture.

However, the heavyweight division seems to be paused at the moment. Francis Ngannou (15-3) is the clear number one contender in the UFC‘s heavyweight division. Yet, his title fight has not been booked.

Ngannou has only fought once since the middle of 2019. He has been patiently waiting as the UFC‘s heavyweight title has been tied up for the last two years with the trilogy of Stipe Miocic (20-3) and Daniel Cormier.

Back at UFC 252, Miocic was able to finish off the trilogy with a unanimous decision win over Cormier. However, Miocic needed a little time off after the fight was over which has extended the layoff for Ngannou.

Ngannou has come out this week voicing his frustrations about his prime being wasted. The current plan is for the UFC to book the heavyweight title fight for sometime either in March or April. However, that is not confirmed.

UFC’s GOAT moving up

There’s another interesting wrinkle that’s been thrown into the UFC‘s heavyweight division and that’s Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC). Arguably the best pound for pound fighter in the world recently vacated his light heavyweight title to move up to heavyweight. 

Jones has his eyes on the UFC heavyweight title, and it’s been said that he will get a title shot in his first shot at heavyweight. However, Jones will not jump Ngannou which means we likely won’t see Jones competing for the title until the summer.

That being said, what does this weekend’s fight really mean? Without Jones, the UFC Vegas 15 winner would likely get the next shot after Ngannou. However, since Jones is moving up, the winner this weekend will likely be third in line.

Assuming either guy wouldn’t want to wait nearly a year for their title shot, the winner will likely have to take another fight. So what are the options for the winner? Well, there are a couple of options.

One option would be for the winner to take on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1). Rozenstruik doesn’t have a fight booked and he’s coming off of a knockout win over Junior Dos Santos. There’s not a clear next opponent for him and he hasn’t fought either man in this weekend’s main event.

Another option would be for the winner to take on the winner of the Alistair Overeem – Alexander Volkov fight in February. Some rematches can materialize with that possibility.

I think the UFC will likely book the winner this weekend against Rozenstruik. We know that the winner this weekend isn’t getting a title shot and they’re not fighting Jones. Keep the winner active, and let them fight Rozenstruik.

UFC books headliner featuring Alistair Overeem – Alexander Volkov

The UFC is on fire with fight announcements today. Dana White told ESPN this afternoon that the promotion is finalizing the headliner for their card on February 6th. It’s a good one in the heavyweight division.

Per White, the UFC is booking Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) against Alexander Volkov (32-8) in a five round main event. Both of these contenders currently rank in the top six of the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

Alistair Overeem is in the final chapters of his incredible career. He’s held titles in just about every promotion he’s competed in outside of the UFC. That is the one title that has seemed to allude him throughout his career.

The 40 year old knows this run will be his final run. In 2020, Overeem has stopped Walt Harris and Augusto Sakai in two great performances. To end 2019, he was stopped by Jairzinho Rozenstruik in the final seconds of a fight he controlled.

Prior to that loss, Overeem had won two straight. At 4-1 in his last five fights, it appears that Overeem is only a win or two away from a UFC title shot. However, there will be a tough Russian standing in his way on February 6th.

UFC Heavyweight Clash

We just saw Alexander Volkov compete back at UFC 254. It was honestly one of the more impressive performances I’ve seen from Volkov. He took out Walt Harris in the second round of their heavyweight battle.

In that fight, Volkov did such a great job of sniping Harris from range. That was the version of Alexander Volkov that many believe could be a UFC title challenger one day. He’s getting a big chance with a headliner against Alistair Overeem.

This should be a fantastic matchup and I’m very curious to watch it play out. Both of these men are very decorated strikers so you’d think it would take place on the feet. However, we’ve seen Overeem go to his wrestling lately.

Perhaps Overeem leans on the grappling in a fight against another top level striker. Time will tell, but it should be a fantastic matchup in the UFC‘s heavyweight division.

What’s next for Walt Harris after UFC 254

It was a rough night at the office for The Big Ticket this past Saturday. At UFC 254, Walt Harris (13-9, 1 NC) took on Alexander Volkov (32-8) on the PPV main card. Harris was looking to bounce back after his loss to Alistair Overeem back in May.

2019 was a breakout year for the fighting career of Walt Harris. The Big Ticket scored two first round knockouts which put him inside the top ten. However, tragedy would strike the Harris family as their daughter Aniah was murdered just about a year ago.

Harris took some time away to recover emotionally from the tragedy. Following this, he made his courageous return to the UFC back in May where he fought Overeem. Harris stormed out of the gate and dropped Overeem in the opening round.

Harris appeared to be seconds away from scoring his third straight first round knockouts. However, Overeem survived the onslaught from Harris. Harris emptied the tanks trying to finish Overeem in the first, and looked exhausted in the second.

Overeem took advantage and was able to get the win. On Saturday at UFC 254, Harris just could never get going against Volkov. The extremely long Russian kept Harris out of range all night. Eventually a big body kick from Volkov led to a TKO victory.

What’s next for Harris after UFC 254?

One can only imagine what the last 12 months have been like for Walt Harris. 2020 has not been ideal when it comes to his UFC career given the results. However, I will say that I was encouraged by the attitude and mental state of Harris leading up to UFC 254.

He seemed that he had his confidence back. He claimed that the believed when he was at his best, he was the best heavyweight striker in the UFC. Obviously, Harris didn’t perform at his best on Saturday night, but don’t count him out yet.

In terms of what’s next for Harris after the victory, I think a good next matchup would be one with Blagoy Ivanov (18-4, 1 NC). Ivanov is about as tough as they come, but he’s also on a two fight losing streak inside the UFC.

Both men will still be ranked inside the top 15 once the new rankings come out this week. They are in similar positions right now, so I believe it would be a good idea to pair these two up against each other.

Alexander Volkov stops Walt Harris at UFC 254

Alexander Volkov, UFC

One of the more anticipated matchups on the UFC 254 main card was the heavyweight contest between Alexander Volkov (31-8) and Walt Harris (13-8, 1 NC). Both men were looking to get back on track after losses in their last fight.

Both of these UFC heavyweight contenders were just on the cusp of title contention over the past couple of years. However, speedbumps have derailed both of them. A win for either man at UFC 254 would put them right back into the mix at heavyweight.

As the fight got underway, Volkov immediately came out looking to pressure Harris. Harris was trying to use his speed and quickness, however, he was a bit out of range early. Volkov landed a couple of really stiff combinations in the first couple of minutes.

The range was really bothering Walt Harris in the first round. A stinging left hand seemed to wobble Harris in the first. Another thing that was really bothering Harris early on was the pressure. Volkov nearly finished Harris in the first with a big flurry. Dominant first round for Volkov.

As the second round began, Harris seemed like he would be interested in taking the fight to the ground. However, Volkov was able to keep the fight standing. Volkov was landing over 50% of his significant strikes early on.

Out of no where, a big front body kick hurts Harris badly. Volkov follows up with a couple of big shots and the ref stops the action. A massive victory at UFC 254 for Alexander Volkov.

What’s next after UFC 254

A couple of years ago, Alexander Volkov was seconds away from that UFC title shot. Now, he appears to only be another win or two away from being back in that discussion. Volkov looked tremendous tonight on his way to the second round TKO.

After this victory, there are two logical opponents for Alexander Volkov. He could take on Alistair Overeem or Jairzinho Rozenstruik who are both ahead of him in the UFC rankings. Or another option would be the loser of the Curtis Blaydes – Derrick Lewis fight in November.

Those two men were the last to defeat Volkov in the UFC. For Harris, this is a tough loss. He was seconds away from stopping Overeem earlier this year which would have been his third straight knockout win. Now he’s lost three straight in the UFC.

UFC 254 Preview: Alexander Volkov vs Walt Harris

Alexander Volkov, UFC

There’s a solid heavyweight contest that takes place on the main card of tomorrow’s UFC 254 PPV. That contest is between Alexander Volkov (31-8) and Walt Harris (13-8, 1 NC). Both men are looking to bounce back after losses in their last contests.

Volkov was literally seconds away from a potential UFC heavyweight title shot back in 2018. However, a big right hand from Derrick Lewis changed everything. Back at UFC 229, Volkov was knocked out in the final fifteen seconds of that fight.

Had Volkov won that contest, he probably would have received a title shot. Volkov bounced back against Greg Hardy, but back in June, he was defeated by the heavy wrestling attack of Curtis Blaydes. However, this fight should play to Volkov’s strength which is his striking.

Back in May at UFC on ESPN 8, Walt Harris appeared to be seconds away from getting his third straight first round stoppage. Harris had dropped and badly hurt Alistair Overeem, however, Harris couldn’t quite close the show.

After he couldn’t finish the fight, a tired Harris would get stopped in the second round. Prior to that loss, Harris had knocked out Alexey Oleynik and Sergey Spivak in a combined 62 seconds to vault him into being a top contender.

UFC 254 Prediction

In analyzing this fight, it’s going to come down to the stand up. Harris came out this week and said that he believes he has the best striking in the UFC’s heavyweight division. Volkov laughed at this statement when he heard it.

I will say, Harris has some of the best power in the UFC‘s heavyweight division, however, I can’t say he has the best striking. He absolutely possesses the power to end the fight tomorrow afternoon and that has to count for something.

For Volkov, he’s got to keep this fight on the outside and he needs to get past the first round. If he can do those things, I think he could be well on his way to earning a decision victory at UFC 254. However, that first round is going to be tough.

As we’ve seen, Harris is going to come out very strong. I wouldn’t even be shocked if her hurt Volkov in the opening round. However, if it goes into the second round, Volkov has the advantage to me, and I think this one will ultimately go to the scorecards.

Prediction: Alexander Volkov by Unanimous Decision

Ahead of UFC 254, Walt Harris believes he’s the best striker in the heavyweight division

There might not be a heavyweight in the UFC that you would want to root for more than the Big Ticket, Walt Harris (13-8, 1 NC). Harris has been through more over the last 12 months than anyone should ever have to go through.

Just about a year ago, Harris’ step-daughter, Aniah Blanchard, was murdered. This completely turned the world upside down for the top UFC heavyweight contender. Harris had two sensational knockouts in 2019 prior to the tragedy.

After the tragedy occurred, Harris had to step away for a few months understandably. Harris returned to the UFC back in May where he took on Alistair Overeem. However, you could tell that Harris was still carrying a lot of that emotional weight.

Harris stormed out of the gate dropping and nearly finishing Overeem in the first round. However, the veteran Overeem survived and went on to finish a tired Harris in the second round. However, it was a victory for Harris just getting back into the cage.

This Saturday night at UFC 254, Harris will make the walk for the second time since the tragedy. He has a lot of motivation and he seems to have his confidence back. Harris showed off that confidence this week.

UFC 254 heavyweight matchup

“My striking is way better than his (Alexander Volkov). I feel like I’m the best striker in the division in my personal opinion,” Harris told reporters this week at the UFC 254 media day. Harris takes on Alexander Volkov (31-8) this weekend on the main card of the PPV.

These comments were met with laugher from Volkov who has a prestigious striking pedigree. He firmly believes that he will be the best striker in the cage on Saturday night. The former Bellator heavyweight champion is looking to bounce back Saturday night.

Back in 2018, Volkov was perhaps only a victory away from a UFC title shot. However, Derrick Lewis knocked him out in the final fifteen seconds of their fight. Volkov was also defeated by Curtis Blaydes earlier this year at UFC on ESPN 11.

Both of these heavyweight contenders have something to prove on Saturday night. They will walk into UFC 254 trying to re-establish themselves as top contenders in the division. The winner will be right back into the conversation near the top of the division.

Alexander Volkov – Walt Harris booked for UFC 254

Alexander Volkov, UFC

UFC 254 has added a big time heavyweight clash featuring two guys in the top ten as Alexander Volkov (31-8) will be taking on Walt Harris (13-8).

Both Volkov and Harris fought in the first two months that the UFC was back in production. Both men lost their first fights of 2020. Harris and Volkov will be looking to use this contest as a bounce back to head towards to top five.

Big UFC heavyweight implications

The heavyweight division in the UFC is in an interesting state at the moment. Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic will conclude their trilogy for the heavyweight title in a couple of weeks at UFC 252.

Both men could walk away from the sport after UFC 252. Right behind them the division has a clear number one contender in Francis Ngannou. Ngannou has won four consecutive fights by first round knockout.

After Ngannou, there’s a wide open field of contenders. Two of those contenders are Harris and Volkov.

Walt Harris had one of the most difficult years anyone could go through over the last twelve months. He made his emotional return to the octagon back in May against Alistair Overeem.

Harris looked like he was going to close the show in the first, but a game Overeem survived. Harris began to tire and Overeem was able to get the finish in the second round. This fight is a big chance for Harris to right the ship.

Back in 2018, Volkov was perhaps a victory away from a UFC title shot. Actually, he was about 11 seconds away from a potential title shot. That’s when Derrick Lewis landed a massive bomb which knocked Volkov out after Volkov dominated the fight.

Volkov bounced back in 2019 with a win over Greg Hardy, but then fall short against Curtis Blaydes back in June. The Russian had some bright spots in the fight, but a steady wrestling onslaught was his downfall.

This fight is so much fun and it’s so interesting. Harris is a very fast starter who looks to finish the fight early while Volkov likes to use his shots to fatigue his opponents. I think a finish is likely in this fight. If it’s early, I expect Harris to win. Later rounds, I’m going with Volkov. It’s a fun one in the heavyweight division.

UFC on ESPN 11 Recap: Curtis Blaydes’ heavy wrestling attack neutralizes Volkov

Curtis Blaydes, UFC

UFC on ESPN 11 was the fourth event hosted at the APEX, and the main event of the evening featured a heavyweight contest between Curtis “Razor” Blaydes (13-2, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (31-7). The UFC stacked the deck tonight, and the card did not disappoint fight fans.

Curtis Blaydes stifles Alexander Volkov

Blaydes entered the main event on a three fight winning streak while Volkov entered the Octagon looking for his second consecutive win. This fight was a massive fight for both men as they looked to get closer to a UFC heavyweight title shot. There were no doubts to the strategies in this fight. Volkov wanted to keep the fight standing while Blaydes wanted to get the fight to the ground. Blaydes even Tweeted this week that he plans on ragdolling Volkov. It didn’t take long for Blaydes to get the fight to the ground. Volkov was taken down within ten seconds of the first round. Volkov was able to get back up, but Blaydes got to Volkov’s back, and continued to stay on the Russian. Every time Volkov would get to his feet, Blaydes would drag him right back down. There was no damage done in the first round, but it was a dominant round for Blaydes.

In the second round, Blaydes elected to stand up with Volkov to start. Both men landed some clean shots, but Blaydes got the better of the exchanges. After a solid overhand right, Blaydes took Volkov back to the ground. After not doing much on top, Blaydes unleashed a few nasty elbows with about one minute left in the round. In the third round, Blaydes was not able to get the fight to the ground easily. Volkov successfully defended the first two big time takedown attempts from Blaydes. However, the third time was the charm as Blaydes again got Volkov to the ground. The rest of the round, Blaydes controlled Volkov, but again, Blaydes did no damage on the ground.

The fourth round went the exact same way that the first three did. Blaydes was able to secure a takedown within the first ten seconds of the round. Volkov was able to get back to his feet after spending some time on his back. Volkov landed a nice uppercut, but then Blaydes took him right back down. Blaydes laid in top position doing nothing for a few minutes before Herb Dean stood the fight up. Once it was up, Volkov landed some clean shots and took down Blaydes who looked exhausted. In the fifth round, Volkov landed some big shots, but again, Blaydes was able to land a takedown. Volkov was able to get back up to his feet, but it wouldn’t be for long. Blaydes was able to land another takedown late in the round. Blaydes just laid on Volkov the rest of the round in a fight that didn’t impress anyone. Curtis Blaydes was given the unanimous decision by the judges (

Emmett decisions Burgos in an absolute war

The co-main event of the evening was the fight that everyone was talking about going into the evening. The matchup featured the exciting UFC featherweights Josh Emmett (15-2) and Shane Burgos (13-1). A win for either man would likely mean a shot at someone inside the top five in their next fight. Early on in the fight, Emmett looked like he tweaked his knee, but it didn’t stop him from throwing bombs. Burgos started patient, but Emmett was swinging with everything right from the beginning. Throughout the round, Emmett landed some serious shots up top, but Burgos landed some nasty calf kicks. Emmett appeared to be trying to end things whereas Burgos was playing the long-game. The one thing I was the most impressed with after the first round was Burgos’ chin. Emmett landed some clean haymakers, but Burgos took everything he had.

Early in the second round, it appeared that Emmett was still having issues with his knee. Burgos was landing some clean jabs and leg kicks early. However, Emmett countered with some massive power shots. As the second round went on, Burgos continued to land some really good straight shots. Emmett would explode and land some haymakers, but Burgos landed at a higher clip in the second. In the last minute, Burgos marched forward landing some big straight shots, but Emmett was able to counter with a massive right hand. The chins on both of these men cannot be questioned after this one.

The the third round started with Emmett pushing forward with some big shots. About a minute into the round, a massive left finally put Burgos on the mat. Burgos was able to get back up, but Emmett was doing a fantastic job of going to the body and then the head in this round. With about two and a half minutes left in the round, Emmett dropped Burgos for the second time in the round with a massive left hook. Again, Burgos was able to get back to his feet without being finished. Both men continued to swing for the fences down the stretch. This fight went to the scorecards after exceeding it’s lofty expectations. In the end, the judges gave the fight to Josh Emmett (29-28, 29-28, 29-27). Emmett has now won three in a row and he should be in line for a top five opponent.

Pennington earns a grueling decision

The third fight of the main card featured former UFC title challenger, Raquel Pennington (10-8), and Marion Reneau (9-5-1). Both of these ladies came into the fight needing a win with Pennington losing in her last fight, and Reneau having a two fight losing streak. Early on in the fight, both fighters were exchanging some big shots. Throughout the round, Pennington would engage in a clinch where she was able to land some flush knees. With about a minute left in the round, Reneau was able to get Pennington’s back from the clinch position. The rest of the round saw Reneau control that position.

The action was heating up to start the second round as both ladies were exchanging some big shots before they engaged in another clinch. Reneau was landing some solid shots before a knee went below the belt which stopped the action. When the fight resumed, Pennington went right after Reneau with some big shot. The two once again engaged in the clinch, and Reneau landed some good knees. Pennington was able to secure a Muay Thai clinch, and land some really good knees. Reneau caught one of the knees and used it to secure a takedown. However, a quick scramble saw Pennington end up on top. Reneau worked her way back to the feet, but Pennington immediately shot in again resulting in another clinch. Both ladies exchanged some big shots in the clinch as the round came to an end.

Early in the third round, Reneau came out looking for a takedown. She was able to get Pennington down for a second, but Pennington bounced right up resulting in another clinch. Pennington was able to secure another Thai clinch where she landed some massive knees to the body. Anytime the two separated, Pennington landed some really solid shots, but would immediately look to clinch after. Pennington got another Thai clinch towards the end of the round where she landed some massive knees. It was pretty clear on who won this one. The judges agreed giving the fight to Pennington by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28).

Belal Muhammad takes the UD over Lyman Good

The second fight featured an anticipated UFC welterweight matchup between Belal Muhammad (16-3) and Lyman Good (21-5, 1 NC). Everyone watching this evening had to have their hearts rooting for Good who was fighting the night before Father’s Day after the recent death of his father. Good came out immediately trying to put pressure on Muhammad. Throughout the first round, Good continued to try to put pressure on Muhammad on the feet, but Muhammad was getting the best of the striking exchanges. Muhammad did a fantastic job at constantly switch stances which made it hard for Good to feel comfortable. Muhammad threw combinations while Good was plotting forward throwing one shot at a time. Surprisingly, there were no takedown attempts from Muhammad in the first round.

Muhammad started the second round landing some good shots, then shot for his first takedown about a minute into the round. Good was able to successfully defended a couple of takedown attempts to keep the fight standing. However, Good just seemed very stiff in his striking. Good landed some solid shots in the second, but they were not in succession. Muhammad continued to do a really good job in the second round of throwing combinations while Good was looking for one big shot. Muhammad controlled most of the round, but Good was able to land some massive shots near the end of the round which seemingly rocked Muhammad for a second. Muhammad was winning the round, but those big shots at the end might sway the judges into giving that one to Good.

The shots at the end of the second seemed to click with Good. He started the round throwing a lot more shots finally putting together some combinations. Good was able to drop Muhammad early in the third round. Good finally loosened up after the stiff start. Good appeared to fight the entire third round as if he needed a finish to win the fight. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Muhammad was able to land a takedown, but Good bounced right back up. The two men exchanged some big shots, but Muhammad was able to land another takedown. Muhammad was able to get Good’s back, and that is where he ended the fight. The fight was incredibly close, but I saw the decision going for Muhammad 29-28. In the end, the judges agreed scoring the fight for Muhammad (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Huge win for Muhammad getting his third win in a row, but your heart has to go out to Lyman Good after that one.

Jim Miller armbars Roosevelt Roberts in the first

The opening fight of the main card was contested at a catchweight between Jim Miller (32-14, 1 NC) and Roosevelt Roberts (10-2). Miller tied Donald Cerrone tonight for the most UFC appearances in history at 35. Roberts just fought three weeks ago where he defeated Brok Weaver at UFC on ESPN 9. Roberts came out looking like he wanted to strike from range, but found himself on his back just a few seconds into the fight after Miller landed a big low kick which swept Roberts off his feet. Miller, who has a great top game, controlled Roberts for the next couple of minutes. After a scramble, Miller found himself on Roberts back before transitioning to an armbar. After initially defending, Roberts was forced to verbally tap from the armbar. With this win, Miller is now 3-1 in his last four fights. It’s a tough loss for Roberts who was looking to break into the top 15 with a win.

Final Takeaways from UFC on ESPN 11

The UFC‘s fourth card at the APEX lived up to the hype. There were great fights all night long from the prelims to the main event. I came away from tonight incredibly impressed with Josh Emmett. I will not deny the fact that I considered him just a power guy before tonight, but he proved me wrong with his performance. Curtis Blaydes dominated the main event, but he really didn’t impress at all. Blaydes is in a very tough spot because if you look at his resume, he’s deserving of a title shot. However, with two losses to top contender, Francis Ngannou, and a performance like he had tonight, I can’t see the UFC giving him a title shot anytime soon. Overall, it was a very solid night of fights, and I’m already counting down the seconds until next weekend’s card.