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March MMAdness: Day 17, The Elite Eight!

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UFC 189: Lawler v MacDonald Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Time may have lost all meaning in quarantine, but the weekend’s here and with it ... more March MMAdness!

Day 1 Results | Day 2 Results | Day 3 Results | Day 4 Results | Day 5 Results| Day 6 Results | Day 7 Results | Day 8 Results | Day 9 Results | Day 10 Results | Day 11 Results | Day 12 Results | Day 13 Results | Day 14 Results | Day 15 Results
Day 16 Results:

  • Dan Henderson vs. Shogun Rua 1 (#3) defeats Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje (#19) with 66 percent of Maniac votes
  • Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung 1 (#27) defeats Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry (#43) with 55 percent of Maniac votes

With Kongo vs. Barry’s demise, Garcia vs. Jung I takes its place as the biggest underdog still on the board and the only one outside of the Top 10. Get ready for the toughest choices yet as we begin ...

ELITE EIGHT!

Match 1: Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2 (#1) vs. Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit (#9)

VS.

The juggernaut that is Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald ran roughshod over opening opponents No. 64 Dennis Bermudez vs. Matt Grice and No. 32 Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier, beating the former by a staggering 300 votes. The No. 48-seeded Jim Miller vs. Joe Lauzon 1 managed to amass more votes than the previous two competitors combined in the Sweet 16, but that still amounted to just 39 compared to Lawler vs. MacDonald’s 257.

The “Ruthless” one’s other violent venture enjoyed an appropriately dominant victory over No. 56-ranked Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner to start its run, but had to dig deep to keep its hopes alive. It turned aside No. 24-ranked Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz 2 with a 52 percent /48 percent split, then scraped past No. 25-ranked Don Frye vs. Yoshihiro Takayama by just two votes out of 304 in the tournament’s closest bout to date.

Here it is, the first and only still-possible mirror match of the tournament. Whether you prefer the consistency of Lawler vs. MacDonald or the carnage-packed fifth round of Lawler vs. Condit, American Top Team’s most violent export is headed to the Final Four. Lawler vs. MacDonald has been almost cartoonishly dominant, but perhaps this is a Highlander situation where only Fifth-Round Lawler can defeat Fifth-Round Lawler.

Poll

Who wins Match 1?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II
    (236 votes)
  • 14%
    Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit
    (39 votes)
275 votes total Vote Now

Match 2: Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 1 (#2) vs. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2 (#5)

VS.

UFC 125: Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

“Bones” and “The Mauler” cut Bellator’s tournament roster in half with a comfortable opening-round victory over No. 61-ranked Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler 2, then bounced PRIDE from the running by overpowering No. 36-seeded Shogun Rua vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira 1. The bracket’s biggest underdog story, No. 52 Yair Rodriguez vs. Chan Sung Jung, didn’t fare much better, falling by a 60/40 percent split in the Sweet 16.

Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2 joined its third installment in the Round of 32 by crushing Diego Sanchez vs. Karo Parisyan before surpassing it with a win over No. 28-ranked Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley its next time out. Things got hairier against No. 21-seeded Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum, which battled its way to within seven votes before falling.

If today’s other tussle was a literal mirror match, this one’s close enough. Two five-round wars exponentially more entertaining and competitive than we thought they’d be going in. Elite fighters showing the depth of their grit. Insane momentum swings. Save for all the knockdowns, these two share enough ingredients to make this one of the tournament’s tougher choices.

Poll

Who wins Match 2?

This poll is closed

  • 46%
    Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson I
    (132 votes)
  • 53%
    Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II
    (150 votes)
282 votes total Vote Now

To reiterate: spread the word, share socially ... do whatever grassroots / viral “Get Out The Vote” campaign needed to ensure your favorite fights advance to the next round. Complaining in the comments section about seeding and whatnot will not impact the results and will just make you look like an unappreciative dick.

Same time tomorrow, Maniacs.

Be sure to also check out our March MMAdness archive — which includes the entire bracket — to catch up on the tournament right here.