Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returned to the hurt business last night (Sat., Dec. 30, 2017) for UFC 219, which took place inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In the main event of the evening, Cris Cyborg defeated Holly Holm to hold on to her women's Featherweight title in an entertaining title fight (recap). In the co-main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov smothered Edson Barboza for 15 minutes to stake his claim as the No. 1 contender in the lightweight division (highlights).
Biggest Winner: Cris Cyborg
If she wasn’t considered the best female fighter in the world before last, Cris Cyborg left no doubt she’s deserving of such title after taking it to Holly Holm for five rounds. To her credit, “The Preacher’s Daughter” made it a fight, but she was no match for Cris’s brute strength and striking power. Cyborg was never in any real danger all night, but she did lay the punishment on thick to her foe. Now, Cris will have to wait and see which other brave 135-pounder wants to move up — like this one — to take her on. If all else fails, the promotion can dig into Invicta once again to see if Megan Anderson wants to dance.
Runner Up: Khabib Nurmagomedov
After more than a year away from action, some expected “The Eagle” to be a bit rusty in his return. Plot twist: He looked even better than ever. Indeed, Khabib laid it on Edson Barboza from the opening bell up until the final one, as he pushed the pace, took his foe down and punished him both and on the ground and the feet — as promised.
I mean, Nurmagomedov made it look easy, and he he looked scary at the same time, reminding the Lightweight division what’s in store for them once they step into the cage against the powerhouse 155-pounder. If there was ever any doubt as to who deserved a title fight — be interim or a legit one — Khabib erased it after his dominant win. And he did it against one of the best strikers in the game today. Where you at, Conor?
Biggest Loser: Carlos Condit
Condit’s much-anticipated return didn’t go as expected, as he suffered a one-side loss to Neil Magny. Indeed, Neil had his way with “The Natural Born Killer,” dumping him on his back any chance he could, all while winning the clinch battles. The loss is Carlos’s third in a row and four of five overall. Sadly, one could say Condit’s days of beating the best of the best -- or even the mid-tier guys — are gone and won’t likely return.
And it’s sad, really, as Condit has long been one of the most exciting fighters of our time. But, all good things come to an end, and it seems Carlos’s time is nearly up.
To get full UFC 219: “Cyborg vs Holm” play-by-play updates and results click here.