Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., Oct. 28, 2017) for UFC Fight Night 119, which took place inside Ginásio do Ibirapuera in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The Fox Sports 1 event featured a Middleweight scrap between Derek Brunson and Lyoto Machida (highlights). In the co-main event, Colby Covington faced local hero Demian Maia.
Biggest winner: Derek Brunson
Since first stepping foot inside the Octagon back in 2012, Brunson hadn’t scored that signature win he needed to put himself on the map. Sure, Brunson was already known, but when it came to winning the big fights, Derek always seemed to come up short, namely against Robert Whittaker and Anderson Silva in consecutive bouts. But after knocking out Lyoto Machida in the very first round, Derek now has that big victory under his belt, and it came against a former world champion, and he made it look rather easy, laying the Brazilian bomber out cold with vicious striking. Now, the Jackson-Winkeljohn-trained fighter can look forward to a higher-ranked foe in hopes of getting back into title contention in what is a very jammed 185-pound division.
Runner Up: Colby Covington
He talked the talk (and then some) and he walked the walk. Covington scored the biggest win of his young MMA career by taking it to former two-time title contender Demian Maia in what proved to be a rather lopsided affair.
Though he didn’t get the finish he predicted, he did dominate two of three rounds, stuffing all of Maia’s takedowns and thwarting anything the remotely looked like an attempt at a submission, all while smothering his foe with his pace. Sure, it wasn't the most eye-pleasing performance, but he did get the win convincingly. While he was quick to call out Tyron Woodley -- again — I’m not convinced that win was enough to leapfrog him over the rest of the contenders. It was a big win, nonetheless. Indeed, Colby showed he has what it takes to bang with the big boys, which means his next challenge will be even tougher.
Biggest Loser: Lyoto Machida
Gone are the days of “The Machida Era,” as Lyoto has looked like a shell of his former self over his last three losses, with his most recent knockout loss to Brunson being the most brutal one. What made it worse, this fight was Lyoto’s comeback fight after sitting on the sidelines for 18 months due to a failed drug test. Now, Machida is at crossroads in his combat carer, as losing three in a row is devastating for “The Dragon’s” combat career, leaving him at a crossroads and plenty to think about moving forward. Where he goes from here is anyone’s guess, but after going only 3-4 at Middleweight, moving back up could be an option, but the fights there don’t get less difficult.
For complete UFC Fight Night 119 results and coverage click here.