Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) completed its third event in eight days last night (Sat., May 13, 2020) as UFC on ESPN 8 went down from inside Vystar Veterans Memorial Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. The headlining act saw Alistair Overeem finish Walt Harris in the second round via strikes (see it again here). In the co-headlining act, Claudia Gadelha escaped “The Sunshine State” with a split-decision win over Angela Hill in women’s Strawweight action (recap).
Biggest Winner: Alistair Overeem
Overeem survived a big scare at the hands of Harris in the first round after “Big Ticket” dropped him with some heavy bombs. Bloodied and battered, “The Reem” gathered himself to survive and finish the round strong after it seemed he was on his way out. In round two, Overeem connected with a nice head kick that wobbled Harris, and immediately followed it up with a two-punch combination to drop his heavy-handed colleague. Once he had Harris’ back, it was all elementary, as Overeem just kept on punching away until the referee on duty finally put an end to the fight; though he did give “Big Ticket” plenty of chances to escape. Overeem is now 3-1 in his last four outings, and had it not been for a last-second Hail Mary from Jairzinho Rozenstruick, he would be 4-0 and right in the thick of the title hunt. Still, the win is a huge one for the former K-1 kickboxer, who could still insert himself into the title picture with one more impressive victory.
Runner Up: Dan Ige
Don’t look now, but the Featherweight division has a new player, as Ige has now won five in a row. Actually, Ige has always been there, he was just hiding in the shadows waiting to get that big win that would get people talking and put him into the spotlight. And while his fight against Edson Barboza was close, he did do enough to pull out that all-important “W.” Afterward, Ige called for some Top 10 competition, and while there is no guarantee he’ll get the likes of Calvin Kattar, Jeremy Stephens or Yair Rodriguez next, he will get a huge jump in the rankings come next week. Ige has a fan-friendly style that is also dangerous for his opponents, which makes him a threat for anyone standing across from him. If he can string together a few more wins, he could be in the Top 5 sooner rather than later.
Biggest Loser: Edson Barboza
I get it, it was a close loss and many felt the nod should have gone to “Junior,” but the setback is a crucial one for the Brazilian bomber, as it marked his third straight defeat. Barboza was hoping to turn things around by dropping down to Featherweight, and though he did look good in his debut in the new division, a loss is a loss is a loss. Hopefully, Barboza stays down at 145 pounds because there are several intriguing match ups for him there, he just needs to get a bit of that killer instinct back and start finishing fights to avoid getting dealt a bad hand by the judges. He is still as exciting as they come, and if he can go on a little run, his name and past work put in could allow him to skip a lot of the contenders at 145 pounds.
For complete UFC on ESPN 8 results and play-by-play coverage click here.