Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) made its presence known to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, last night (Sat., July 27, 2019) for UFC 240. Though the main event was an intriguing Featherweight title bout years in the making, the rest of the card made it rather difficult to justify the pay-per-view (PPV) price point. All the same, there was some decent action from top-to-bottom, so let’s take a look at the best techniques and performances of the night!
Holloway Has ‘The Answer’
Unfortunately for fans of Frankie Edgar, there were no surprises last night.
The first round was somewhat promising for the New Jersey-native. Holloway landed a couple hard uppercuts, sure, but Edgar landed more punches and chopped at the leg with seeming effectiveness. It was not a 10-9 in his favor, but it was at least a start the the veteran could potentially build from.
Holloway would allow no such action. In the second, Holloway stopped finding his range and starting throwing. His jab stabbed into Edgar’s nose repeatedly. The cross landed far too often. Perhaps most notably, Holloway really began to sit down on his combinations after denying his foe’s takedown, ripping off three- and four-strike combinations.
Ten minutes in, Edgar’s face was a bloody mess, and no avenue was open. Edgar could not out-strike Holloway, and the Hawaiian’s wrestling defense was masterful on a number of occasions. Only Edgar’s toughness kept him in the cage for another three rounds, but it was yet another stellar — if somewhat expected — performance from “Blessed.”
Cyborg Dominates, Does It Matter?
Cris Cyborg did her usual thing last night. Against a very game — but out-matched — opponent, Cyborg put together hard combinations and blasted her foe. All the Cyborg classics were there: a hard jab, many big right hooks, chopping low kicks, and knees were all served cold. Spencer’s best attribute shown was her toughness, as she traded back in the pocket despite failing to score a takedown.
Did Cyborg’s big win really inspire interest in a rematch against Amanda Nunes, though?
The Cyborg classics were on display, but Nunes walked through all those threats last time and dropped an Earth-shattering overhand to walk away with the victory. Cyborg was touched up a bit too much last night to predict that Nunes wouldn’t do the same once more. Plus, Cyborg continues to battle with UFC, leaving a lot of uncertainty toward her future.
I’m not arguing against Cyborg receiving a rematch. She deserves one. I’m just not so sure this was the performance that makes that fight happen.
The War That Was Promised
Geoff Neal and Niko Price woke up everyone after consecutive slow decisions.
This was never going to be a boring fight. Price doesn’t allow it. Neal doesn’t aim for it. These two were always going to drop bombs on each other’s chin, and they delivered on the pre-fight promise of violence.
In the first, Neal’s crisp left hand slammed into Price’s chin numerous times. However, his gangly foe never quite seemed bothered. In fact, whenever Price was blasted with a full power shot, the Floridian athlete stormed back with a giant combination. There were some great scrambles on the mat as well, notably after a clash of heads resulted in a double knockdown.
The second opened in one of the best 30 second exchanges in recent memory, as Neal showed off his speed by landing a major flurry of left hands. Price answered as expected and landed well, but Price level changed and dumped him to his back. Unexpectedly, this proved to be the beginning of the end.
From within the guard, Neal repeatedly posted on the underside of Price’s elbow, forcing Price’s own arm across his chest. It’s a crafty strategy for landing ground strikes, and it worked beautifully. Neal’s ground strikes retained the snap of his boxing blows, allowing him to overwhelm Price with power shots and force a stoppage.
- Hakeem Dawodu defeats Yoshinori Horie via third-round knockout: The Japanese style of Karate/kickboxing that Horie made use of in this match up is very tricky to deal with, particularly if a fighter doesn’t have past experience with that type of movement. For the first five minutes, Horie’s constant movement and ability to stop on a dime with a right hand confused Dawodu, but the Canadian made appropriate adjustments. In the second, he began to find the clinch, where his physical strength and knees to the mid-section really helped slow Horie’s feet. That body work really paid off in the third, when Dawodu was able to consistently force the pocket and clinch, two areas where he battered his foe with combinations and more knees.
- Gavin Tucker defeats Seungwoo Choi via third-round rear-naked choke (HIGHLIGHTS): Tucker debuted with an impressive performance that saw him gain a ton of momentum, largely on the strength of his movement and kickboxing. Then, he absorbed a brutal hail of blows from Rick Glenn in a really bad loss. In truth, no one really knew what to expect for this third fight almost two years later. As it turns out, few predictions were correct: Tucker went full wrestler, grinding Choi down and submitting him in the third. It wasn’t necessarily a fun win, but victory is the most important thing after a long layoff and his last tough loss.
- Deiveson Figueredo defeats Alexandre Pantoja via unanimous decision: Flyweight may not be the division that one immediately thinks of when talking about bloody brawls of power punches, but these two threw down! Figueredo has a bizarre style that capitalizes on his immense athleticism. As Pantoja pushed forward with combinations and takedowns — a fair few of which landed — Figueredo would pick his moments to explode into brutal counter punches. He rocked Pantoja a few times, nailed a couple reactive takedowns, and stalked him for the third round with slicing, stepping elbows.
- Gillian Robertson defeats Sarah Frota via second-round technical knockout (HIGHLIGHTS): Robertson showed no fear in navigating the guard of a dangerous jiu-jitsu player, which resulted in some fun scrambles. Frota threw up some nice attempts — including an inverted triangle and some interesting leg entanglements — but the work from her back seemed to fatigue her. As Frota’s legs slowed down, Robertson found more and more success with her elbows. Eventually, she advanced to mount, and Frota simply couldn’t escape the barrage.
For complete UFC 240: “Holloway vs. Edgar” results and play-by-play, click HERE!