Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was back at it again, as the world’s leading mixed martial arts (MMA) organization invaded Madison Square Garden in New York, N.Y., to stage UFC 230 last night (Sat., Nov. 3, 2018). In the main event of the evening, Daniel Cormier made easy work of Derrick Lewis, submitting him in the second round in what was hardly a competitive affair (highlights). Nevertheless, “DC” became the only “champ-champ” to defend both of his titles in his possession, and the only champ ever to do so in multiple weight classes, which includes fighters like Conor McGregor, B.J. Penn and Georges St-Pierre. And that’s something he should be proud of, so I’m giving Cormier his much-deserved props here.
In the co-headlining act, Ronaldo Souza knocked out Chris Weidman in the third and final round in a highly-competitive affair that saw two of the best at 185 pounds trade shots for nearly 15 minutes (recap).
Biggest Winner: Ronaldo Souza
“Jacare’s” fight against Weidman was actually competitive, so he gets the nod for biggest winner of the night. Nothing against “DCs’” win, but everyone pretty much envisioned the outcome long before the opening frame. Plus, Souza’s victory over the former UFC Middleweight champion likely secured him a shot at the winner between current champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, which could go down as early as February at UFC 234. The victory put the submission wizard back in the win column after coming up short against Gastelum in his previous outing. He may not be a spring chicken, but Souza still has something left in his tank, and he’ll need to empty it if he wants to be competitive against either Whittaker or Gastelum.
Runner (s) Up: Jared Cannonier and Israel Adesanya
Jared made the most of his last-minute opportunity to step in and face David Branch after the promotion shuffled the deck due to Luke Rockhold’s injury. The former Light Heavyweight contender was making his debut at 185 pounds against a former champion who has twice as much experience in the cage than him. It didn’t matter, as Jared was game from the get-go, taking it to the former World Series of Fighting (WSOF) champion before knocking him out in round two. The win was huge for Cannonier, as not only did he get the victory after doing the promotion a solid, but it ended the bleeding of his two-fight losing streak.
Israel Adesanya passed his biggest test to date inside the Octagon with flying colors, knocking out Derek Brunson in the very first round to remain undefeated (15-0, 4-0 UFC). His win likely moves him closer to the top five, and perhaps set him up for a hard-hitting showdown against Brazil’s new poster-boy, Paulo Costa, later next year. If I had my way, I’d book this fight as co-main event for UFC 234, just in case either Whittaker or Gastelum get hurt.
Biggest Loser: Chris Weidman
It’s been a rough three years for the ex-Middleweight king, as “All American” has now dropped four of five fights, with his lone win coming against Kelvin Gastelum. What makes his defeats more devastating is that Weidman has been been knocked out all four times. Thankfully, Ronaldo Souza didn’t pile on the hurt after he dropped him, as he waited a few seconds to allow the ref to call the fight following the initial knock down. With no other choice, “Jacare” had to reluctantly deliver a few blows in order to seal the deal.
The 185-pound weight class is as talented as ever, and with new, young blood like Israel Adesanya and Paulo Costa climbing the ranks, Weidman’s climb back to the top will be that much tougher. Where he goes from her is anyone’s guess, but moving up to light heavyweight to tussle with the big boys doesn’t seem like a good idea at the moment.
For complete UFC 230 results and coverage click here.