Yoel Romero vs. Luke Rockhold (understandably) took up most of the headlines last night after Romero put their entertaining bout to a decisive third-round finish, putting himself firmly back in line for Robert “Bob Knuckles” Whittaker, interim belt or not. More on that later; in the co-main event, we saw a heavyweight prospect take one... take several on the chin, come back, and earn a solid victory over veteran Super Samoan, Mark Hunt.
Curtis Blaydes may have a name worthy of a vampire hunter or 1980s paperback novel detective, but his real life is much more interesting than that: he faces off against the baddest men on the planet in unarmed combat, and generally finds ways to beat them. In fact, the only L on his record is to recent title challenger Francis Ngannou via doctor’s stoppage between rounds; this win against Hunt put him on a three-fight winning streak. Mark Hunt is a K-1 level striker, and he had Blaydes rocked hard early on, with a finish seemingly imminent. But then Blaydes found the takedown, and repeatedly took Hunt down for the rest of the bout.
After the bout, Blaydes was elated. He had taken out the home crowd favorite with authority. When asked about that hellacious knockdown, he referenced his only loss to Ngannou as the ultimate litmus test for knowing he can take a shot. He said Ngannou hits harder than Mark Hunt.
I debuted against Francis Ngannou, who, I will give him that, he is the heaviest hitter I’ve ever faced. He hits harder than Mark Hunt. No disrespect to Mark Hunt, they both hit hard, we are splitting hairs here, but Ngannou hits harder. And I already knew I had a chin.
Blaydes remains a prospect to watch at heavyweight; in a thin division, a win or two more and he should be in title contention. He can clearly still stand to make improvements, but that adjustment and that toughness will carry him a long way at heavyweight. And hopefully, into the UFC’s video game. (even if he won’t get paid for his likeness rights either way)
Blaydes: I hope I get the respect i deserve. I hope I get in the UFC video game. Two guys I’ve beaten are in it and I’m not. I feel like that’s a bit disrespectful. #UFC221— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 11, 2018
But I’ll be honest, now I really want to see the Predator vs. the Super Samoan. Let’s settle this hardest hitter business once and for all.
Yoel Romero may be next in line for the title shot- and no, he didn’t really break his leg- but Chris Weidman is feeling good about his position at middleweight.
Hang on...Am I the only one who is in the top 5 who hasn’t fought Whitaker, coming off a win, most title defenses, makes weight and doesn’t fail drug tests? #UFC221— Chris Weidman (@ChrisWeidmanUFC) February 11, 2018
Yoel Romero giving Rockhold a gigantic smooch after knocking him out cold was one of the most awkward moments of the entire Pay-Per-View. Just ask Tim Kennedy.
Yoel Romero may have a loss to Robert Whittaker on his record, but the Internet remains undefeated.
Time for one of these bizarre animations again:
Robert Whittaker himself offers congratulations in Romero’s native spanish. Class act.
@YoelRomeroMMA Felicitaciones. Una gran pelea. Merecido triunfo. Abrazos— Robert Whittaker (@robwhittakermma) February 11, 2018
Third Round Yoel
Third Round Yoel is definitely one of the scariest legendary fighters pic.twitter.com/q7wofUwIGI— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) February 11, 2018
Israel Adesanya, the Stylebender, had a fun debut, with the promise of more to come:
This is happening today, for the hardcores:
Tai Tuivasa did have a really fun round of destruction, but no bonus for him.
Wow fukin thought that was worth a bonus but obviously not ayy.— Tai BAM BAM Tuivasa (@bambamtuivasa) February 11, 2018
This sounds like a fun next fight to make:
This seems like it could have been a problem:
Per the UFC, the Western Australia Combat Sports Commission does not release names of judges nor how they score each round. Incredibly opaque. Never heard of such a thing.— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) February 11, 2018
Unrelated to UFC 221, Khabib Nurmagomedov, apparently a Real Madrid fan, got to exchange gifts with Cristiano Ronaldo!
Enjoy your Sunday, Maniacs!