Biggest Takeaways From UFC 210

UFC 210 has now come and gone, and it was a very strange night of fights indeed. First up, here are the full results from the event:

Magomed Bibulatov def. Jenel Lausa by unanimous decision

Katlyn Chookagian def. Irene Aldana by split decision

Desmond Green def. Josh Emmett by SD

Gregor Gillespie def. Andrew Holbrook by KO RD 1

Patrick Cummins def. Jan Blachowicz by majority decision

Shane Burgos def. Charles Rosa by KO RD 3

Kamaru Usman def. Sean Strickland by UD

Myles Jury def. Mike De La Torre by TKO RD 1

Charles Olivera def. Will Brooks by Sub RD 1

Thiago Alves def. Patrick Cote by UD

Cynthia Calvillo def. Pearl Gonzalez by Sub RD 3

Gegard Mousasi def. Chris Weidman by TKO RD 2

Daniel Cormier def. Anthony Johnson by Sub RD 2

As with most fight cards, not every fight was entirely notable. However, there were a few key moments that deserve some spotlighting, so let’s discuss them.

Jan Blachowicz Probably Isn’t Long for the UFC

Maybe he’ll get to stick around because the Light heavyweight division always needs bodies, but Blachowicz’s short term career is in trouble. He now sports a 2-4 record in the company, with only one of those wins actually meaning much of anything. I don’t think he’s a bad fighter per se, but he’s not currently adding much to the division, which means that the UFC wouldn’t lose much in cutting him.

Kamaru Uman Needs A Tough Fight

Kamaru Usman put in a solid performance, out-grappling his way to an unanimous decision win, as he’s done repeatedly in his UFC career. He’s a great prospect and has earned a move up the card. His style isn’t particularily exciting, but winning the fights should be valued more than being exciting, and that’s what Kamaru Usman does. Since his debut, he’s won five in a row, and is the first welterweight to do so since Marcus Davis in 2007. That alone should earn him a ranked opponent, but the caliber of competition he’s beat should strengthen that idea. He’s now won against Alexander Yakovlev, Warlley Alves and Sean Strickland in his last three, all of whom are solid mid-tier talents. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no reason to jump him into a #1 Contender match or anything, but a ranked opponent is the right next step. He called out Neil Magny after the fight, and I think fighters should be rewarded for doing so. Put that together; Magny could use a rebound fight if he wins, and Usman has a big opportunity to climb the rankings if he gets the victory.

Will Brooks Continues to Confuse

I, for one, was really excited when Will Brooks came to the UFC. It seemed like lots of people were. He hasn’t really turned out the way lots of us hoped he would. He opened his UFC career with a serviceable but not remarkable win over long-time vet Ross Pearson. Then he lost to Alex Olivera. Alas, excuses were made: Alex came in over the weight limit, and Brooks hurt his ribs early on. This time, not so much. He’s lost twice in a row for the first time in his career, taking the first submission loss of his career this time out. Charles Olivera forced the tap in only two and a half minutes, to make matters worse. Brooks is no longer the big fish in a smaller pond, and he needs to course correct as quickly as possible.

Triumphant Returns Are Made

Both Thiago Alves and Myles Jury returned from substantial layoffs to pick up victories tonight. Alves dropped a so-so decision to Jim Miller back in November of last year, and has been MIA ever since. Myles Jury, on the other hand, had been out of action ever since December of 2015, when he was submitted by Charles Olivera. But tonight, both came back and won their fights to reestablish themselves in their respective divisions. Given how long Alves has been around, it can be very easy to forget that he’s only 33 years old; he’s got a good two or three years left, in all likelihood. And this was the best he’s performed in a very long time. The same goes to Jury, who looked great tonight.

Everything Goes Wrong All At Once

In a co-main event that was shaping up quite nicely, Gegard Mousasi landed a few knees to the head of Chris Weidman. The referee was at a bad angle, and assumed they were illegal knees, and thus halted the action. Upon review, the knees were found to have been landed legally, but Weidman was still given time to recover. At the end of the allotted time, the fight was waved off, Mousasi declared the winner.

The recovery time was allowed to continue because a ref’s decision stands. However, if the ruling was that it was an illegal technique, Weidman should have won by DQ. So, I’ve got no idea what to do with that.

It’s difficult to point a finger at any one person for this travesty.  The referee’s mistake set off a chain reaction of incompetence. Using instant replay to check a referee’s decision isn’t allowed for… well, very good reasons, I’m sure. There was also a recent rule change that made Gegard’s knee strikes legal rather than illegal (which they would have been just a few months ago), but that rule change isn’t in effect everywhere, only certain states. I’m sure that the recent change in addition to the confusing application contributed to the chaos here. Ultimately, this never should have happened, it ruined a great fight that we all paid to see, and damaged the standing of everybody involved. Well done, New York.

High Profile Retirements

Both former middleweight title challenger Patrick Cote and main eventer Anthony Johnson retired in the Octagon following their fights.

Cote debuted in the UFC to face the legendary Tito Ortiz on short notice at UFC 50 in 2004. He competed on Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter, coming up just short in the finale of the 185 bracket. He worked his way up the rankings, winning four UFC fights in a row, which earned him a crack at Anderson Silva, but was unsuccessful in capturing the championship. He’s fought many other prominent figures at both 185 and 170, and will be remembered well.

Anthony Johnson will go down as one of the great knockout artist of all time.  He’s competed in MMA since 2006, collecting 16 knockouts across 22 ins during that time.  He had an average UFC fight time of just over six minutes. He was never legitimately knocked out during his career and never lost a decision. He brought something truly special to the UFC, and will be missed by any and all fans who enjoy knockouts. He retired because he had an unrelated career he wanted to move into, and allegedly because he didn’t much enjoy training anymore.

I have to commend both guys on their decisions here. Fighting is a brutal game, and it’s better to get out when you can rather than when you have to.

A Champ Retains

It wasn’t quite as strange as the co-main event, but the final fight on tonight’s card unfolded in a very unusual way. Anthony Johnson all but abandoned his trademark striking in favor of grappling with one of the best wrestlers in the history of the UFC. Even stranger, Johnson won the first round employing this strategy. In the second, Cormier quickly took the back and forced the tap, halfway through the third minute of the round.  Cormier will have held the championship for two years straight by roughly this time next month, which is impressive, given that he was 36 when he won the strap. After the fight, he beefed with Jimi Manuwa and Jon Jones at the same time. I’m not sure who’s next between those two, but I certainly think one is a much  more interesting option than the other.

And that was UFC 210. A very strange card that didn’t produce any great fights, but instead equal amounts of confusion and sadness. Leave your thoughts about the event in the comments below, or come tell me on twitter @ejdupras_VVV. Subscribe to the website if you want to get notified of all our new articles. I’ll catch you all next time!

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