Last night (Sat., March 5, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) remained in Las Vegas, Nevada for UFC 272. The third pay-per-view (PPV) event of the year was largely carried by its main event, as the bitter rivalry between Jorge Masvidal and Colby Covington was the primary selling point. If uninterested in the drama, however, there were still some really good match ups between highly ranked contenders, even down on the preliminary portion of the evening!
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Colby The Relentless
It probably wasn’t the outcome most fans wanted, but I quite enjoyed last night’s main event.
Both men really had their moments. Masvidal chewed up his opponent’s leg with quick kicks, and he did an underrated amount of work to the mid-section. For the most part, however, he really seemed to struggle to find Covington’s chin with his punches ... with one major exception in the fourth round.
Covington, for his part, actually landed to the chin at a really solid clip on the feet. He forced Masvidal to respect his hands, which really opened up his takedown entries.
As usual, Covington’s pace and relentlessness were the most impressive aspect of his game. There were several moments were Masvidal had 99% stuffed his opponent’s shot, and by all rights, should have escaped. Instead, Covington would force his way through that marginal position and scratch forward for every inch until he actually landed a takedown.
Hate him if you’d like, but that’s impressive work.
An RDA Clinic
Taking on Rafael dos Anjos in a five round fight on less than a week’s notice is a bold move. It’s also one that didn’t remotely pay off for Renato Moicano — I just hope he was paid well.
Dos Anjos really put forth a nice reminder of his incredibly well-rounded game. He was landing hard, accurate shots from the first bell. “RDA” kicked him in the head and arguably scored a knockout in that sequence. Mostly, dos Anjos showed off his slick wrestling and excellent top control to consistently beat the hell out of Moicano.
When watching dos Anjos get wrestled by someone like Kamaru Usman, it’s easy to forget just how skilled he is in every area of the game.
Do The Khabib!
On the same night that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s “Hall of Fame” induction was announced, Bryce Mitchell paid homage with a damn good impression vs. Edson Barboza.
Mitchell’s initial takedown chain — the one that completely changed the course of the fight — was straight Khabib. Mitchell used a double leg to drive his foe to the cage, switched into a single, elevated him, then tripped out the base leg. The former Lightweight champ used that exact sequence to great success, and Mitchell did it justice! Once on top, Mitchell’s pressure passing and attempts to tie up the arm behind the back were similarly inspired.
There are a whole lot of worse fighters to copy techniques and strategies from than “The Eagle.”
Beyond that comparison, Mitchell’s athleticism continues to surprise. Physically, the Featherweight doesn’t look like much, but he’s consistently outmuscling and out-hustling more proven athletes. He really did overpower Barboza in a way that only Khabib and Kevin Lee did previously, and those men did it at 155 lbs!
A Hard Fought Welterweight Debut
The first round of his first UFC Welterweight performance did not go all that well for Kevin Holland.
“Trailblazer” seemed a bit unaccustomed to the speed of his opponent. Oliveira found his range first, and despite his opponent’s reach advantage, he landed some real hard shots on the counter. In general, Holland was forcing the action a bit, throwing too many looping shots — punches he’d probably land on a slower opponent. The two also traded some gnarly calf kicks, a few of which spun Holland around or put him on the canvas.
Fortunately, Holland has that unshakeable confidence. He didn’t seemed bothered by the slow start, and early in the second, he put a short right hook on Oliveira’s jaw. Credit to the Brazilian “Cowboy,” he really fought hard to survive, but Holland poured it on with punches and elbows to force the stoppage.
Holland’s Welterweight ceiling remains to be seen, but if this fight was any indication, figuring it out will be a ton of fun!
End of the Hardy Experiment
I’m not saying with 100% certainty that Greg Hardy will be released — UFC needs Heavyweights — but his third-consecutive loss really confirms that he’s not on the road to becoming a contender.
Early on, there was potential. Hardy’s power was overwhelming, and even in his first steps up in competition, he was able to keep it reasonably close.
No longer. Sergey Spivac ran through the former NFL star, tossing him through the air and advancing into mount quickly. Hardy can’t defend himself on the canvas, and his opponents now know it, resulting in a trio of stoppage losses.
If Hardy is kept around, maybe no more PPV main card bookings?
A Big Moment On The Prelims
There was actually quite a bit going on behind the scenes in Maryna Moroz vs. Mariya Agapova.
In a smaller scale version of the main event, Moroz and Agapova had serious bad blood as a result of their training experiences together. Accusations of drug use and general insanity came into play. There was real deal beef! In addition, Moroz is one of just a couple Ukrainian fighters on the roster. When she was announced with Ukraine’s flag behind her, the crowded responded in a major way.
The fight itself was more simple. Agapova was the more athletic fighter, but Moroz was the more consistent technician. When she took Agapova down, she trapped her in the chain of wrist rides and choke attempts, keeping her foe grounded and eventually resulting in an arm triangle.
Moroz wins the feud, extends her win streak to three, and represents for her country in one fell swoop!
• Jalin Turner defeats Jamie Mullarkey via second-round knockout: 100% finishing rates don’t happen by accident. Turner is a big, powerful Lightweight, and he really knows how to use the length to his advantage. Mullarkey is a talented striker with a good pressure style and iron chin, but Turner really took him apart. In particular, “The Tarantula” really made great use of the clinch, keep his hands on Mullarkey to line up knees and elbows that prevented Mullarkey from really getting offensive in the pocket. One such knee to the liver really seemed to hurt him, setting up the finish via punches not too long afterward.
• Umar Nurmagomedov defeats Brian Kelleher via first-round rear naked choke: Nurmagomedov looks like a real problem, as the last name and undefeated record would suggest. Against a skilled veteran, Nurmagomedov rolled through his opponent with relative ease. At first, he hung back at distance, firing fast and powerful kicks and connecting well upstairs. He switched it up to wrestling a couple minutes into the round, and almost immediately after landing a trip along the fence, he was in prime position in back mount. The tap came some afterward, and Bantamweight has yet another top prospect.
For complete UFC 272: “Covington vs. Masvidal results and play-by-play, click HERE!