UFC 209 has come and gone and what a roller coaster of emotions it was. First we lose the Khabib Nurmagomedov versus Tony Ferguson co-main event to a Khabib weight cut snafu. Then we witness a pretty great fight card with solid performances from the Fight Pass prelims up ... only for the main event between Tyron Woodley and Stephen Thompson to result in an absolute snoozer with a questionable finish (watch the highlights, such as they are, here).
I'll still take this event over UFC 208, but it just goes to show you that one stinky ingredient in the soup of MMA can ruin the night. No one is going to be called UFC 209 a classic, which is too bad because there were several classic moments scattered through the card. Let’s go over the event, shall we?
Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged.
Dana White had a message for those fans who booed at the end of #UFC209:— AtTheBuzzer (@TheBuzzerOnFOX) March 5, 2017
"Shut up!" pic.twitter.com/bGSnMt9ymH
If you're like me, you probably had last night's main event scored 3-2 for Stephen Thompson, with "Wonderboy" taking rounds 1, 2, and 4 while Woodley took 3 and 5. But I can't really be upset at the way the judging shook out, giving Tyron Woodley the nod. The rounds Thompson won were practically devoid of any offense whatsoever, and even when you look at them like that, Thompson barely edged them. The rounds Tyron won, he won big. He blasted through "Wonderboy" in the third, pinned Stephen's arm behind his back, and banged him like a drum for half a round. And then there was the 5th, where Woodley finally woke up and started taking chances, getting rewarded with a near finish.
Look, it was a garbage main event. For the most part it looked like two frozen cars in a parking lot struggling to turn over their engines and get started. But the flashes of dominance came from Tyron Woodley, so I'm okay with Woodley winning the fight. But now that his welterweight championship run consists of a draw and a gift decision, maybe he'll stop it with the greatest welterweight champ talk? Nah, of course he won't.
The Secret Weapon Co-Main Event
Lando Vannata putting on a show! #UFC209 pic.twitter.com/raZBdBgaxl— Elliot McKay (@mckayelliot) March 5, 2017
What the hell was Lando Vannata versus David Teymur doing in the co-main event with fighters like Alistair Overeem and Mark Hunt on the card? The two lightweight fighters may not have had much name recognition going into this fight, but those who have seen them fight knew what we were in for: a fight of the year candidate that saw both men give and take a beating. The always flashy Vannata landed a cartwheel kick to Teymur's face amongst other moves usually reserved for a kung fu flick. But Teymur countered with a heavy volume of bread and butter kickboxing, digging his knees into Vannata mercilessly every time the two came together.
I don't know if either of them will manage to string together enough wins to come into title contention in a division full of killers like 155 pounds. But this fight should put MMA fans on notice that every match up featuring Vannata or Teymur is going to be hard to beat as fight of the night.
The Heart (And Stomach) Of A Warrior
As a super fan of the Super Samoan, I really wanted Mark Hunt to score another walk away knockout of Alistair Overeem. What better way to vindicate yourself against steroid cheats than to finish one of the most notorious PED users in the sport, and then rip into the UFC on the mic afterwards for their transgressions? Sadly, it wasn't to be, and Hunto was instead sent into another dimension with an Ubereem knee that left him unconscious facedown on the canvas. The knockout was way too wow to hold any kind of grudge against Alistair, but afterwards we learnt how much grit he showed in even competing Saturday night. At the post-fight press conference, Dana White interupted Overeem's question and answer period to reveal the Dutch fighter had spent the last two days in and out of the hospital with food poisoning. Who the hell still steps into the cage with a brain damage dealing monster like Mark Hunt after 48 hours of the Mexican foxtrot? Overeem, that's who.
How Was That Not Knockout Of The Night?
Overeem just face planted Hunt #UFC209 pic.twitter.com/4Y2YxIrjgk— #Dizz © (@TalkMMA) March 5, 2017
Sadly, Overeem's nuclear knee didn't manage to earn him a performance bonus ... or at least not one of the official ones (making us wonder if WME-IMG still throws money around backstage like the Fertittas). Those went to Lando Vannata versus David Teymur, Darren Elkins, and Iuri Alcantara. The UFC may have taken the knockout and submission of the night labels off those last two performance bonuses, but we know what's really up. Alcantara got his bonus for subbing Luke Sanders with a slick kneebar. Submission of the night. And Elkins got his bonus for crumpling Mirsad Bektic onto his head after three rounds of getting wailed on. Knockout of the night.
If you watched the entire fight. You know why this finish was incredible.— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) March 5, 2017
Darren "The Damage" Elkins #UFC209 https://t.co/L0r5r1IPc9
I'd complain for Overeem, but the guy already gets paid a lot. When a $50,000 bonus makes up less than 10% of your fight check, you're not gonna get a lot of sympathy from me. Elkins, on the other hand, made $74,000 off his last disclosed pay win at UFC 196. Plus there's just something about a knockout that makes it look like you literally knocked the dude's head off his shoulders. Overeem's KO made a better gif, but that picture of Bektic slumped over himself on the canvas is one for the ages.
Tough Darren Elkins shows so much heart in comeback KO of Mirsad Bektić #UFC209— Hans Gutknecht (@HansGutknecht) March 5, 2017
Full fight photo gallery: https://t.co/EFjCHm5U48 pic.twitter.com/SwG4DN6WAW
My God This Super Samoam
Thank u for all the support u probably already know I got knocked out the old warhorse is still alive jus a broken tibia I be backОпубліковано Mark "Super Samoan" Hunt 4 березень 2017 р.
Back to Mark Hunt for a moment. Those worried he may take his toys and go home after the results of last night's scrap, don't worry. He already posted a Facebook message from the hospital vowing to be back. It may be a little while though. According to Mark, he broke his tibia in the fight, and we have to assume that was the one that had his leg bleeding like a horror movie. Keep in mind he kept kicking (and spraying blood everywhere) with that leg for the next two rounds. Hopefully he recovers in time (both physically and in his relationship with the UFC) to headline the promotion’s trip to New Zealand this summer.
Suga Not So Sweet Any More
Maybe Rashad Evans had so much trouble getting back into the Octagon, he simply had no more fight left in him when the cage door closed behind him. Maybe he's just a 37 year old veteran whose era has passed. Whatever the case, I think this loss to Dan Kelly (a fighter typically reserved for UFC Australia undercards) should officially end any speculation that Rashad is set to mount any sort of serious run in a UFC division. Not only was Evans tentative on the feet, he seems to have lost his ability to wrestlef**k his opponents across the canvas. The guy may still be a physical specimen, but that didn't stop him from being outworked and outguts'd by total dadbod Dan Kelly.
I don't want to sound too dismissive of Kelly. His striking, trips, and throws were all unorthodox and a bit weird looking, but they worked. He also pulled off the huge upset with a knee that looks like it was held together with duct tape. But Rashad's former losses came to names like Ryan Bader and Glover Teixeira. There were still unanswered questions regarding Rashad's potential after those matches. But this was his third fight since his comeback, and his third uninspiring performance. Without a top ten opponent to justify the loss, what else can we determine other than Rashad's best days are behind him?
The Future Of Women's Strawweight?
Cynthia Calvillo just turned pro last August, but she's already one of the most impressive women at 115 pounds in the UFC. She absolutely wrecked Amanda Cooper in their brief three minute fight, cutting through her defenses like a hot knife through butter to strangle Cooper into submission. With that kind of aggression and the right camp behind her in Team Alpha Male, the sky's the limit for this new UFC arrival. Here's hoping the UFC turns her around and puts her right back in the cage soon. She could be a legitimate contender by the time her first year as a pro ends.
For all our news and coverage of UFC 209, click here.