Paige VanZant close to deal with Bare Knuckle FC?

Paige VanZant

Bare Knuckle FC is reportedly close to landing a deal which would secure their most main stream star yet. According to MMA reporter, Mike Russell, Paige VanZant is nearing a deal with Bare Knuckle FC.

Shortly after that news came out, Eric Kowal, who works for Bare Knuckle FC said on Twitter that he could confirm talks, but nothing was close at this time.

Bare Knuckle FC and PVZ is an odd marriage

If the deal comes together between VanZant and Bare Knuckle, I would be incredible surprised. PVZ is coming off of a loss to Amanda Ribas back at UFC 251 in the last fight of her contract.

UFC president Dana White said that it would be wise for VanZant to test the free agent market. PVZ had been vocal about getting paid more for Instagram posts versus her UFC fights.

Bare Knuckle FC was founded back in 2018. Since the promotion has opened it’s doors, it has welcomed many UFC veterans from Chris Leben to Hector Lombard to Artem Lobov. They even featured former boxing champion, Paulie Malignaggi.

Signing VanZant would be a smart move by Bare Knuckle as they attempt to become a little more mainstream. While PVZ is not one of the best in the world, she would bring additional eyes to Bare Knuckle.

When VanZan’s contract ran up, I made the assumption that she would sign with Bellator given the interest from Scott Coker and the fact that her husband, Austin Vanderford, also fights for Bellator.

We don’t know any of the details at this time, but if Bare Knuckle is getting close to a deal, my guess is they are offering a very high number for PVZ.

UFC: Max Holloway could get the next title shot according to Dana White

It was very clear that UFC president Dana White was not a fan of the decision at UFC 251 between featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, and former champion, Max Holloway.

The fight left the UFC in a bit of a pickle when it comes to what happens next. If Holloway had only lost that one time to Volkanovski, the promotion would have no issues booking the fight again.

However, Holloway has lost two consecutive fights to Volkanovski. Yes, the second fight was razor close, but still it’s two losses in the record books. With that, most thought that there is no way that the UFC would give Holloway another shot especially right away.

Despite that, White said to ESPN that, “It’s hard to not…” when considering booking Volkanovski – Holloway 3. White went on to talk about how Volkanovski wouldn’t enjoy that idea.

What should the UFC do?

The UFC is really in a tough spot when it comes to the featherweight division. The UFC is going to book Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez but that’s not finalized yet. They are also going to book Brian Ortega – Chan Sung Jung but that fight is also not finalized.

Those are all the contenders in the division outside of Calvin Kattar. I’m not convinced the UFC loves the idea of giving Kattar a shot at the title right now.

So with everyone booked, either Volkanovski is going to sit for a while or they run the fight back a third time. I definitely understand the frustration this would bring from the champion.

Volkanovski really has nothing to gain from fighting Holloway a third time meanwhile Holloway has everything to get back. Both of these fighters are so evenly matched. A third fight between the two would create more problems than solutions.

What if Max Holloway wins a close fight? How could you then deny Volkanovski a fourth fight since he won the first two? If you give Holloway another shot, it really hurts the division.

While he might not want to, I think the best thing would be for Volkanovski to sit on the sidelines for a bit. Maybe let Holloway fight a guy like Calvin Kattar next. Let the division play out more before giving Holloway a third fight with Volkanovski.

What’s Next for UFC Legend Jose Aldo?

UFC legend Jose Aldo has been fighting for what seems like an eternity. Aldo was undoubtedly the best Featherweight for the span of 6 years, where he would win 15 straight fights. In the latter half of his career; Aldo would lose to the higher ranking fighters that he used to beat. McGregor knocked Aldo out in 13 seconds, Aldo lost to Max Holloway twice, Aldo lost to current UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, as well as losing to current UFC Bantamweight champion Petr Yan, and Marlon Moraes. Aldo, who turns 34 in September, has some big decisions to make. But, what decision will the matchmakers make for him?

Dominick Cruz has been fighting for around the same amount of time that Aldo has. The matchmakers need to make Aldo vs Cruz. It’s the two greatest of all times in their divisions, respectfully. But, now these legends are in the same divisions. Cruz and Aldo are both coming off losses and looking for a quick rebound back to the top. Cruz’s amazing footwork and technical striking against Aldo’s heavy-hitting hands, legs, knees, and elbows would make for an instant classic. I can guarantee that this fight alone would get at least 1.5 million pay-per-view buys. This is a once in a lifetime matchup that needs to be made.

Aldo can also take on the retired Conor McGregor in a rematch that everyone wants. McGregor even said after the first fight that “we need to run it back”. 13 seconds was not enough to settle the almost 2-year hype between the two. Everything Aldo ever worked for, all 15 fights he won in a row, all the respect he gained throughout the years, were taken from him in 13 seconds. This fight has very little chance to happen, though. McGregor, as previously stated, is retired (for the 4th time). Also, when McGregor cut down to 145 pounds, he looked absolutely disgusting. If you look at the weigh-in, you can almost count all of his bones. McGregor would probably only want to fight a champion as well (ahem… Khabib).

The 3rd option for legend Jose Aldo would be to fight the retired Henry Cejudo. Cejudo has never fought anyone has brutal as Aldo. Cejudo also believes he’s the goat of the Bantamweight division, there’s no better way to prove you’re the best than to beat the best. Cejudo vs Aldo is a fight UFC fans have been longing for a very long time. This is a big money fight as well, wouldn’t be a bad way to retire either. Win or Lose the fans will still love Aldo.

What’s next for the ageless legend Jose Aldo? The fans are hoping to see him in the ring as quickly as possible. Despite being 33 years old, Aldo still has the cardio of an 18-year-old. Aldo can stand and brawl with the best of them, and despite the loss to Petr Yan, Aldo is still a top competitor in the UFC as a whole. When Aldo does decide to hang the gloves up, there will be a plack with his name on it in the UFC hall of fame.

UFC 251 hits 1.3 million PPV Buys

If anyone wants to doubt the drawing power of the Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal, you need to sit down. UFC 251 did extremely well on PPV and the numbers were released today that told us just how well it did.

One of the best in UFC history

Dana White said that the card was trending higher than a Conor McGregor fight. He wasn’t lying as there have only been three events in the company’s history to have drawn more PPV buys.

  1. Khabib vs McGregor – 2.4 Million PPV
  2. Diaz vs McGregor 2 – 1.6 Million PPV
  3. McGregor vs Diaz – 1.317 Million PPV

Kamaru Usman – Jorge Masvidal did the same amount of PPV buys as UFC 205 which was headlined by Conor McGregor. That night the UFC put three title fights on for their first show ever in New York.

Jorge Masvidal is a needle mover at the highest level. Yes, he’s not quite on the Conor McGregor level, but he’s right there. In fact, UFC 251 did better on PPV than UFC 246 did which featured the return of the notorious one.

You had to think that the UFC was hoping that Masvidal would have pulled out the victory on Saturday. A McGregor-Masvidal fight would have been the biggest fight in UFC history. There is always the possibility of that in the future, but for now, the fight is a dream.

Dana White and company hit it out of the park on Saturday and they owe a lot to Jorge Masvidal. No disrespect to Gilbert Burns, but UFC 251 does not do nearly as good without Gamebred on the card.

UFC: Gilbert Burns & Leon Edwards argue over who’s more deserving of the next title shot

This past weekend at UFC 251, Kamaru Usman (17-1) successfully defended his welterweight title. After the event, UFC president Dana White said that Gilbert Burns (19-3) would be next for the title.

However, Leon Edwards (18-3) took exception to this. Edwards, who is on an eight fight winning streak responded to Burns on Twitter of the weekend stating why he deserves to be next. What resulted was a fiery back and forth between the two.

Who deserves the next UFC title shot?

If you’re looking at the two men on paper, Burns definitely deserves the title shot. Yes, Burns stepped in for Edwards to fight Woodley. Yes, the UFC offered Edwards the shot before Burns, but that doesn’t matter at the end of the day.

Burns has the better resume, and Burns presents an interesting angle. Being a former teammate and the most difficult stylistic matchup for Usman is very appealing.

I can understand where Edwards is coming from. The UFC offered him several big opportunities that he had to turn down due to the inability to train with the pandemic going on.

Edwards could be in a bit of a tough spot. The UFC has made it clear that they are going with Burns with the next title shot. I don’t think Edwards is going to get either Colby Covington (15-2) or Jorge Masvidal (35-14) in his next fight.

I think the UFC will likely pair those two up for a fight. Tyron Woodley (19-5-1) has lost a couple of lopsided fights in a row which doesn’t make him appealing. Maybe Stephen Thompson (15-4-1) would be the best fight for Edwards?

You have to feel for the spot that Edward’s is in. You can’t blame him for wanting the shot since he was actually offered the fight before Burns. Who do you think deserves to be next for the UFC‘s welterweight title?

UFC: Diverging Paths For Rose Namajunas & Jessica Andrade After UFC 251 Slugfest

UFC 251 was a notable event for having not one but three belts on the line, but the title fights weren’t the only ones that have a big impact. The card also had two fights featuring high level talents from the women’s side of the UFC, and one of these fights pitted Jessica Andrade against Rose Namajunas in a rematch of 2019’s title fight.

This time, Namajunas came out on top in a split decision – it won’t be a popular decision with every fan, as it’s not impossible to make an argument that Andrade was the winner, but at the end of the day it was higher volume striking that won ‘Thug Rose’ the fight.

The result has important implications for the division, which is currently ruled by Zhang Weili. Weili currently has one title defense, which came against former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, leaving her in a situation where the rest of the division is looking up to her and waiting for their shot.

Where will tonight’s result take both fighters as well as the champion?

A step down for Jessica Andrade

Many would say that Jessica Andrade is one of the most exciting talents in the UFC. Despite fighting at a lower weight class, she has great power and an aggressive style. She’s fought bloody battles before against high level opponents, and her fights are anything but boring.

Perhaps that’s the reason why the UFC was willing to throw Andrade a bone and give her the Namajunas fight immediately after her loss of the belt to Weili. If she managed a win, there’s a chance she would get a rematch and a chance to take the belt back.

However, the loss means that Andrade has lost back to back fights. With a recent record like this, one can expect her next fight to be of a lower caliber than her last two.

Will the UFC match Andrade up with another contender, giving her a chance to get right back into the mix in the competition for the number one contender spot? Or will they instead use her recent lack of success as a chance to ‘put on’ a newer fighter with a matchup against the veteran who has fallen out of favor?

What are the possible fights?

If the league does decide to send Andrade down the rankings a bit to fight some of the others who are in the contender mix, a couple of names stand out. Tatiana Suarez is still undefeated in professional MMA and 4-0 in the UFC and could easily move into title contention with a win over a name like Andrade. Suarez is already a top three name in the division rankings, and has a chance to move up due to Andrade’s defeat.

Claudia Gadelha, on the other hand, was at number six in the rankings before UFC 251 but has a history of contention and already fought one bout against Andrade, which was Fight of the Night and had some exceptional action. Few would complain about a rematch, and Gadelha is on good form, having won her past two fights.

There’s also some decent names in the division to match with Andrade if the UFC wants to set up a former champion versus rising prospect fight, which would either put Andrade back on track or put a newer contender on the map. Yan Xiaonan is a possible opponent who was at 10 in the rankings going into UFC 251, with a 5-0 record in the UFC.

Amanda Ribas is more of a longshot but will likely move up from her spot at #14 thanks to her quick finish of Paige VanZant in the earlier fight at UFC 251.

The road to the belt for Rose Namajunas

It looks like Rose Namajunas is certainly going to fight for the title next.

Things are far more clear cut for Thug Rose than they are for Andrade. Andrade has been the opponent for the past two of her fights and she came out with a 1-1 record from those matchups, but in her previous fights, she had put together three straight wins including two against ex-champion Joanna Jedrzejcyzk.

With Andrade’s defeat, her and Tatiana Suarez are the last ones standing in the race to fight Weili. And with Suarez lacking the resume, it’s blatantly obvious that Weili and Namajunas are set for a fight where Namajunas will have a chance at getting her belt back.

It looks like an entertaining title fight – one where Weili’s 21 fight win streak will be challenged by a contender who has experience against the best. And thanks to the way things panned out, it seems certain that we’ll get this fight as the next title bout in the strawweight division.

UFC: Fights to make after UFC 251

Following any major UFC event, the fans want to know what comes next? UFC held their first event on Fight Island last night, and everyone wants to know what fights are going to be made following UFC 251. Here are five fights that the UFC should make.

Kamaru Usman vs Gilbert Burns

This is a fight that we basically got confirmed from UFC president Dana White last night. In the post-fight press conference, White made it clear that Gilbert Burns (19-3) would be the next challenger for Kamaru Usman (17-1).

Burns was originally scheduled to be in the main event last night, but a positive COVID-19 test took him out. Once he recovers, he is the first guy in line for Usman. He’s also the one fighter who is the worst matchup for Usman in the division.

Usman did not win any new fans at UFC 251, but the champion did what he had to do in defeating Jorge Masvidal (35-14). Usman leaned on his wrestling and controlled the BMF title holder for five rounds.

Burns and Usman matchup extremely well. Usman’s wrestling can be neutralized by Burns’ elite skills on the ground. Burns has elite striking and speed which can give Usman issues.

Usman and Burns were once teammates which adds in another wrinkle to the fight. Expect this matchup to be booked in October/November.

Jorge Masvidal vs Colby Covington

Gamebred stepped up on six days notice, but he fell short in his quest to become the UFC’s welterweight champion. He made it clear that he wants to stay active and work his way back to the title. The quickest route to that is against his former training partner.

Colby Covington (15-2) would make the perfect opponent. Both men used to live together, but now they can’t stand each other. Both are coming off a loss to Usman which is a perfect setup for the fight.

This fight would have a ton of heat, and the winner would be guaranteed another shot at the UFC‘s welterweight title. With the drawing power of both men, this could headline a card on it’s own. I wouldn’t be shocked to see this one occur around the same time that we see Usman-Burns.

Weili Zhang vs Rose Namajunas

It was known that the winner of the Rose Namajunas (9-4) and Jessica Andrade (20-8) fight would likely get the next shot at UFC strawweight champion, Weili Zhang (21-1). Both women went to war last night, but Namajunas walked away with a decision.

To me, Namajunas has always been the second best strawweight in the world. I thought she was always better than Andrade, but got caught in that slam. I also firmly believe that Zhang is the absolute best in the world.

Thug Rose is going to get the title shot after last night’s victory, but I’m not sure how I feel about the matchup for her. This fight could be a springboard for Zhang.

If Zhang is able to defeat Namajunas, she could aim for a champion versus champion fight with Valentina Shevchenko next.

Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling

The UFC crowned a new bantamweight king last night, and his name is Petr Yan (15-1). It didn’t come easy, but Yan was able to stop Jose Aldo (28-7) in the fifth round to claim the UFC‘s bantamweight champion.

Last month, Aljamain Sterling (19-3) made an emphatic statement that he’s the top contender at 135 pounds. In a fight with Cory Sandhagen (12-2) which was considered a title eliminator, Sterling finished Sandhagen in under 90 seconds.

Many people believe that Sterling was more deserving of a title shot than Yan was. Well, now the UFC can move to make this fight. There might not be a more exciting division in the UFC than bantamweight right now. Yan/Sterling is going to be incredibly fun to watch.

Alexander Volkanovski vs Winner of Zabit Magomedsharipov-Yair Rodriguez

The UFC‘s featherweight king didn’t get the clean victory he wanted last night. Many people, including Dana White, believe that he lost the fight. However, the judges are all that matter and they gave the fight to Alexander Volkanovski (22-1).

I can’t see the UFC moving to book Volkanovski-Holloway 3 with Alexander being up 2-0 in the series. The Australian champ wants to fight by the end of the year, so what makes the most sense?

Reportedly, Zabit Magomedsharipov (18-1) and Yair Rodriguez (13-2-1) are supposed to fight in August. Magomedsharipov is currently ranked right behind Holloway while Rodriguez is ranked fifth.

Both of these men are extremely popular and talented fighters. I think the UFC would be smart to make this fight the title eliminator. Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung who are also supposed to fight this year, have already had shots at the title.

Magomedsharipov is considered the next great Russian champion that’s in the UFC. If Zabit can defeat Rodriguez in August, it would be a massive global fight to pair him with the champion, Volkanovski.

UFC has great fights ahead

The UFC is going to put on some stacked cards the rest of this year. All of the fights listed above should take place before we hit 2021. Combine those with the fights that are already scheduled, and you should be expecting some stacked cards in the second half of 2020.

Dana White following UFC 251: “Does anyone think that Volkanovski won that fight?”

UFC, Dana White

One of the things that’s going to be talked about after UFC 251 is the decision in the Alexander Volkanovski (22-1) and Max Holloway (21-6). The fight was razor close with many in the media scoring the fight for Holloway.

In our live recap on ESM, I personally scored the fight for Volkanovski, but the third round could have gone either way. Holloway out-landed Volkanovski slightly in the third. UFC president Dana White gave his thoughts on the decision.

“We’ve got some bad judges. I’m sure Max is devastated. Does anyone think that Volkanovski won that fight?” White said to the media in the post-fight press conference.

UFC title won in that third round

The fight really came down to that third round. The first two round were clearly Holloway’s rounds while the last two were the UFC champs. Michael Bisping who was commentating told Volkanovski in the post-fight show that the stats would indicate that Holloway won the third.

“It is what it is. He made good adjustments, but I made good adjustments on the fly. Max’s is tough… I thought I won the last three rounds,” Volkanovski said to Bisping in response.

It’s going to be very interesting to see where the UFC goes from here. It’s hard to give Holloway a third fight with Volkanovski after losing two decisions. However, it’s clear the company thinks he won the fight.

Volkanovski said that he wants to fight at the end of this year in the post-fight press conference. Maybe it’s time for Holloway to move up to lightweight because I’m not sold that the UFC will give him a shot against Volkanovski anytime soon.

 

UFC 251 Recap: Kamaru Usman smothers Gamebred to retain his title

UFC 251 marked the first event on the infamous Fight Island. The first our four cards in just two weeks on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. The main event of the evening featured the much anticipated UFC welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman (16-1) and Jorge Masvidal (35-13). The UFC‘s debut on Fight Island did not disappoint.

Kamaru Usman suffocates the BMF

The main event of the evening featured the most anticipated matchup of the year. The UFC champ, Usman, taking on the BMF himself, Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal. A little over a week ago, Usman thought he’d be making the walk to fight his former teammate Gilbert Burns. However, a positive COVID-19 test led to the fight the fans have been waiting for all year long.

As the fight started, Masvidal landed some massive leg kicks. However, Usman immediately caught one and took Masvidal down. Usman was able to land some good elbows from the top position. Two minutes in Masvidal was able to get back to his feet. On the feet, Masvidal had the clear advantage landing some big shots.

Usman shot in and immediately pushed Masvidal up against the fence. Masvidal was able to break with about a minute left. Masvidal was clearly superior on the feet dominating the striking exchanges. Despite a takedown the challenger takes round one.

Early on in the second, Usman seemed desperate to take the fight to the ground. Masvidal defended well, but used a ton of energy to stay on his feet. Usman seemed content with just leaning on Masvidal against the cage early in the second. Masvidal had two cuts that developed from accidental headbutts.

Usman landed a good right during a break, but immediately shot back in for the clinch. The second round lacked in action, but Usman controlled position the entire time. Late in the second, Masvidal was able to get away and land some big shots. However, Usman’s control gives him the second.

In the third round, Usman seemed more content to strike early. However, after Masvidal landed some clean shots, Usman immediately engaged in another clinch. About a minute in, Masvidal broke and again landed some big shots. Usman immediately shot back in for another clinch.

A low shot caused a break in the action about halfway through the round. After Masvidal took some time to recover, action resumed. The two men started striking for a second, but Usman timed a double leg and got Masvidal to the ground. Masvidal got up but was taken right back down. Another slow round for the champion.

As the fourth round began, Usman was able to land a good body kick. He transitioned that into a takedown. Masvidal got back to his feet, but Usman held the clinch position. Halfway through the round, Masvidal broke free landing some really clean shots. However, Usman landed a couple good shots of his own and re-engaged the clinch. Nothing else happened in the fourth which translated to another slow round for Usman.

The final round began and Usman seemed content to strike with Masvidal. However, after Masvidal landed a clean counter shot, Usman shot in for another takedown. After no action, Masvidal tried to get back to his feet with two minutes left, but Usman gained side control.

Masvidal tried a scramble to get back up with a minute left. He was able to get to his feet, but Usman held him against the fence. Masvidal was able to separate and land some big shots late, but nothing that put Usman in danger. Masvidal brought the fight to Usman, but the champion wins this one 4-1 on my scorecard. The judges agreed giving Usman the unanimous decision as he retained his UFC welterweight title.

Volkanovski edges Holloway by Split Decision

The co-main event of the evening featured a featherweight title fight between UFC featherweight champ, Alexander Volkanovski (21-1), and former champion, Max Holloway (21-5). Holloway was considered to be the greatest featherweight of all time before Volkanovski defeated him in January. Many were considering this fight to be the fight that determined who is the real featherweight GOAT.

Early on in the first round, Holloway put pressure on Volkanovski. Both men took the first couple of minutes just feeling each other out, neither throwing anything serious. Halfway through, both men seemed to open up. Holloway did a really good job of landing some decent shots on Volkanovski coming in.

Holloway seemed to land a clean 1-2 that possibly wobbled Volkanovski late in the round. Max was looking a lot better in the first round than he did in the first fight. Volkanovski stayed patient and landed some good leg kicks. Holloway dropped Volkanovski late in round one. Great first round for the former champion.

Volkanovski seemed to be wearing it a little on his face to start the second round. Holloway landed a massive combination about a minute in that stunned Volkanovski again. Volkanovski threw some leg kicks, but in this fight, Holloway would follow with his own. Holloway just looked incredibly loose in this one. Right before the end of the second, Holloway drops Volkanovski for the second time. Clearly 2-0 for Holloway after two.

Volkanovski came right out in the third with heavy leg kicks, but again, Holloway countered with his own. Holloway landed a big knee about a minute in. Volkanovski just seemed to be out of reach in this one. About halfway through the third, Volkanovski did start to find his range landing some good shots.

Volkanovski shot in for a takedown, but wasn’t able to secure it. Volkanovski held onto a clinch, but Holloway was able to break free landing a couple of solid shots off the break. Holloway was getting caught a little more in the third. Volkanovski was finding a solid left hook throughout the round. Good bounce back round for the champion who takes the third in my opinion.

Both men were wearing a little damage to begin the fourth. Volkanovski seemed to be throwing much cleaner shots in the fourth. The champions confidence was definitely growing. About halfway through the round, Holloway landed a pretty good combination that backed up the champion.

With about two minutes left, Volkanovski landed a takedown, but he couldn’t keep Holloway down. Once the fight was back on the feet, Holloway seemed to get the better of the striking exchanges. However, with the takedown and more shots landed, I’ll give Volkanovski the round. I have it 2-2 going into the fifth.

Entering the fifth, this one is anyone’s fight. Holloway seemed extremely aggressive to start the fifth round. Volkanovski did a good job at countering with some big shots. These two men were so evenly matched. Volkanovski shot in for another takedown a minute into the round.

The two men landed good shots, but Volkanovski’s shots seemed to have a bit more pop on them. Both men nodded at each other and traded big combinations halfway through the round. Volkanovski secured a takedown with about two minutes left. Holloway was able to get right back up.

With a minute left both men got really aggressive. Volkanovski kept trying for takedowns, but couldn’t land them. The two men exchanged again, but Volkanovski was able to secure one more takedown at the end of the round. Razor close fight that I give to the champion 48-47. Two of the three judges ended up agreeing giving the fight to Volkanovski by split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47). Volkanovski retains his UFC featherweight title in a decision that will definitely be debated.

Yan becomes champ with a fifth round TKO

The third fight of the main card saw our first UFC title fight as Petr Yan (15-1) took on former featherweight champion, Jose Aldo (28-7). Yan is considered by many to be the best bantamweight in the world. Aldo was promised a shot against Henry Cujudo, but had to miss the fight in May due to travel restrictions and that is how we go to Yan/Aldo.

Both men immediately took the center to start the fight. Neither man was using a ton of footwork early. About a minute in, Aldo threw a leg kick which reminded me of his older fights, but it was countered with a massive right from Yan. Yan was taken off his feet with another powerful leg kick, but he got right back up and landed some clean shots.

Aldo was looking really good in the first round. Yan landed some decent shots, but Aldo’s leg kicks and combinations were a major factor early. With about a minute left, Yan landed a massive body kick that caused Aldo to shoot for a takedown. Yan landed some massive shots and almost finished the fight. Yan gets the first round.

Aldo came out for round two with his hands very high after the way round one ended. Yan looked extremely patient to start the round just looking for his openings. Aldo continued to land strong kicks in the second. Aldo’s combinations and kicks were really effective in the second round. Yan landed a couple of shots, but seemed to be waiting a little too much. Aldo’s consistent output and kicks gave him the second.

Aldo came right out for the third and landed some massive body kicks. Yan looked extremely tentative to start the third. Aldo continued to chop Yan down with kicks to the body and the legs. Aldo hurt Yan bad with some body hooks about halfway through the round.

Yan tried to come back strong, but Aldo continued to land the cleaner shots. With about 90 seconds left in the round, Yan seemed to come alive landing some really clean shots. Confidence really began to grow for Yan late in the third as he hurt Aldo. Extremely close round three. I lean Yan with the way the round ended.

Yan immediately came forward aggressively to start the fourth round. About a minute in both men traded massive hooks. These two seemed content with fighting in a phone booth in the fourth round. Yan and Aldo both landed some clean shots, but Yan seemed to landing just a little more. Aldo seemed to be tiring a little in the fourth round.

Yan bloodied Aldo’s nose and put a ton of pressure on Aldo late in the fourth. Yan rocked Aldo late in the fourth which led to a solid leg sweep. Once on top, Yan relaxed into Aldo’s guard. Yan stacked up Aldo and landed some big ground shots late. Definitely Yan’s round in the fourth.

Both men hugged before the start of the fifth round. Yan dropped Aldo very early in the fifth round with a couple of big shots. Aldo found himself in a crucifix position and took some massive shots from Yan. Yan was able to get Aldo’s back which allowed him to unleash massive shots. After taking unanswered shots for about two minutes, the ref finally stops the action. Petr Yan is now the undisputed UFC bantamweight champion.

Thug Rose wins a war against Andrade

The second fight on the main card featured a rematch between former UFC strawweight champions Rose Namajunas (9-4) and Jessica Andrade (20-8). The two fought for the title back in May of last year. Namajunas controlled the fight until and Andrade slam put her out.

Early on in the first, Rose did a really good job of using her footwork. Rose did a fantastic job using straight shots to catch Andrade. Every time that Andrade would come in early, she was met with crisp shots from Thug Rose. Andrade kept trying to rush in with power hooks, but she was getting touched every time. Andrade landed a couple of good shots, but round one goes to Thug Rose with her crisp boxing.

Round two started out very similar to round one with Namajunas striking from distance. Andrade was using a ton of head movement, but it didn’t stop Rose from touching her. Jessica did start finding some success with some strong leg kicks in round two. However, Rose was clearly getting the better of the striking exchanges.

Halfway through the round, Andrade landed a massive right hand which caught Rose’s attention. Namajunas kept her composure and went right back to touching Andrade up. Despite a few good shots from Andrade including a strong closing fury, I give the second round to Namajunas

Andrade took the center aggressively to start round three. Jessica was doing a good job at ripping hooks to the body. Namajunas resumed the center of the cage landing straight shots like she did in the previous two rounds. Andrade bloodied Rose’s nose with a solid shot that seemed to hurt Namajunas.

Rose got rocked with a right hand from Andrade. Jessica landed a strong hip toss putting Namajunas on her back. Namajunas was busted up from the shots from Andrade. Rose worked her way back up to her feet with about two minutes left. The rest of the round featured both ladies trading some serious shots.

I gave the third round to Andrade, which on my scorecard would give Namajunas the fight 29-28. In the end, the judges came to a split decision giving the fight to Thug Rose (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Absolutely fantastic fight and Namajunas now will be next in line to fight the champ, Weili Zhang.

Amanda Ribas subs Paige VanZant in the first

Kicking off the main card was a women’s flyweight contest between Amanda Ribas (10-1) and Paige VanZant (8-5). Ribas normally fights at strawweight but moved up to take on VanZant. VanZant entered the octagon on the last fight of her current UFC deal which has led many to believe it’s the last time we will see her in the octagon.

Early on in the first, Ribas did a really good job of cutting off the cage. Ribas engaged in a clinch early, and landed some massive knees to the body. Following the knees, Ribas landed a massive hip toss to take the fight to the ground.

VanZant tried to escape, but Ribas caught her in an arm bar. VanZant taps and Ribas takes the first round submission. A good win for Ribas when it comes to name recognition. For VanZant, this might be the last time we see her in the UFC.

Final Takeaways from UFC 251

UFC 251 delivered when you think about the card as a whole. The main event was lackluster simply because Usman did what he had to do. Jorge Masvidal was far superior on the feet so Usman had to lean (pun intended) on his grappling. A night of three UFC title fights delivered for fight fans everywhere. The UFC has three more fights on Fight Island before they return to the US in August. It’s gonna be a fun two weeks for fight fans.

Kamaru Usman targeting Georges St. Pierre if he wins at UFC 251

Tonight, the UFC will be taking center stage at Fight Island. In the main event you have the Nigerian Nightmare and UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (16-1), taking on the BMF Jorge “Gamebred” Masvidal (35-13).

Yesterday, both men took the podium after weigh-ins to answer some questions. Kamaru Usman was asked during the scrum about what’s next if he defeats Masvidal. While Usman insisted that he’s not looking past Masvidal, there’s one name that really peaks his interest.

“I would love Georges St. Pierre. It took him 1875 days to win 12 consecutive fights and after I beat Masvidal on Saturday, it would have taken me exactly 1875 days to win 12 consecutive fights. What better way to break the record than to fight the man,” Usman said of St. Pierre

Calling out the UFC’s welterweight GOAT

I don’t think there’s any argument against Georges St. Pierre (26-2) being the greatest welterweight in UFC history. The former two-time champion successfully defended the UFC title nine times. Following the ninth defense, St. Pierre walked away from the sport.

Four years after that, GSP returned and captured the middleweight title at UFC 217. Following that fight, St. Pierre said that he was retiring from the sport. However, in recent years, St. Pierre has teased that he would come back to the sport. Granted the only fight that was interesting to him was dropping to 155 pounds and facing Khabib Nurmagomedov.

That fight would be much more appealing than Usman for St. Pierre. GSP could win a belt in a third weight class against Nurmagomedov. There’s really not a ton to gain in him coming back to fight the Nigerian Nightmare. While I can definitely understand Usman’s desire to fight the GOAT, I don’t see that being a realistic possibility.