Last night (Sat., May 7, 2022), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ventured to Footprint Arena in Phoenix, Arizona for UFC 274. Though there were two titles on the line, much of the focus last night was on the main event, Charles Oliveira vs. Justin Gaethje. Initially, this attention was solely due to the quality of the match up and prospective fireworks it promised. However, Oliveira’s weight miss severely complicated matters, blurring up the future of the division until the fight was settled. Lost in the mix were plenty of other excellent fights, including fan favorites like Michael Chandler and “Shogun” Rua.
Let’s take a look at the best performances and techniques:
Do Bronx The King
“Any man who must say ‘I am the king’ is no true king.” - Tywin Lannister.
Charles Oliveira doesn’t have the title anymore. Whether you believe there was scale controversy or simply think Oliveira mismanaged the final half pound of his cut, the result is settled. “Do Bronx” is no longer the UFC Lightweight champion, but this bout served as a reminder that the belt is merely a symbol.
Charles Oliveira is still the best f—king Lightweight alive until beaten. He walked through brutal shots from Justin Gaethje, and he hit the canvas a couple times as a result. Did it ever look like Oliveira was close to getting finished though? Not at all. Each time Oliveira fell, he stood back up quickly and went right back on the offensive, firing power shots in bunches.
Gaethje is a man famous for keeping his head in wild fights, but Oliveira beat him at his own game last night. “The Highlight” got way too wild, and his connection rate dropped off even after his strong start. All of a sudden, Oliveira’s right hand was landing on the temple with a scary consistency. There was a solid minute after the second knockdown where everything Oliveira threw connected, and it was clear the tide had turned.
When the tables turned and Gaethje fell to the floor, there was no doubt the fight was over. Oliveira is a masterful finisher, and he immediately started attacking his wounded foe’s neck with precise aggression. The stark difference was clear: Oliveira’s jiu-jitsu mastery afforded him the chance to survive the earlier knockdowns and it ensured Gaethje wouldn’t get back up.
Charles Oliveira, legend.
The Worst Title Fight Of All Time
Quite literally nothing happened in Rose Namajunas vs. Carla Esparza 2. Neither woman landed anything significant. There was no control time. This fight made the dullest of Jon Fitch’s lay-and-pray victories look like a Jiri Prochazka fight.
Whose to blame? Both of them, of course. However, it’s a whole lot easier to be disappointed in “Thug Rose.” After all, we kind of expect boring Esparza fights. She usually wins in uneventful fashion. Namajunas, however, is typically electric, and she’s arguably her division’s greatest of all time.
That argument just took a hit — Joanna Jedrzejczyk would never do this s—t to us. Against an opponent she physically and technically outmatched, Namajunas failed to pull the trigger, even when it become incredibly clear that Esparza’s wrestling was really a non-threat.
That’s a bad, frustrating night at the office.
Knockout Of The Year?
Michael Chandler had a hell of a night at UFC 274.
It didn’t start out that well, of course. Tony Ferguson began the fight looking fresher and sharper than recent performances. Right away, he was able to match Chandler’s speed with his length, timing hard counter shots that had Chandler pretty badly stunned. Chandler did find success with his low kicks, however, and he scored a power takedown that saw both men carve each other up with elbows.
In short, the first round was the war that Chandler fights promise. It seemed likely that the second would continue in similar fashion ... until Chandler pulled an insane front kick out his ass and put Ferguson to sleep! Chandler stepped into the kick like he was booting a soccer ball, and Ferguson’s hands dropped expecting the low kick.
It was, quite simply, an incredible knockout against one of the most durable fighters of all time.
It’s a heart-breaking outcome for “El Cucuy,” but how about Chandler? He crossed over to the UFC seemingly several years too late, but Chandler is making it work anyway! On the mic afterward, Chandler lined himself up for a title fight or money match vs. Conor McGregor — those are now the only options for the former Bellator champ! The fans demand it!
Take a bow, and then we’ll see you at the top.
Brandon Royval has a system, and that system is absolute chaos.
“Rawdog” is rarely winning minute-to-minute exchanges. No, he’s often getting taken down or cracked with big shots in pursuit of a hectic battle. The problem for Royval opponents is that he doesn’t get tired or get deterred; he just keeps pumping out dangerous offense until something sticks. Everything was going swimmingly for Schnell, who was landing heavy shots and on top ... until he fell directly into a brilliant guillotine choke.
I don’t know if Royval will grow to become a champion, but he has a shot vs. any Flyweight on the roster, and he’ll always be must-watch entertainment.
- Andre Fialho defeats Cameron VanCamp via first-round knockout: Fialho might just be a problem at 170 lbs. The Portuguese slugger is sharp in the pocket, and he remains dangerous even after getting clipped — maybe especially so? His last two fights saw his opponents pick up early momentum, only to wind up getting sparked by crisp counter shots. Fialho wants to fight again quickly, and with Alex Oliveira off the roster, perhaps he can fill that void of frequent action fighter?
- Lupita Godinez defeats Ariane Carnelossi via unanimous decision: Generally, it’s rare for a decision to make this column, but this was one hell of a standout performance! Goodinez secured her third UFC victory with an excellent Khabib impression, absolutely dominating Carnelossi from top position. Though no finish materialized, Godinez made an argument for a 10-8 in every round — impressive in its own right!
For complete UFC 274: “Oliveira vs. Gaethje” results and play-by-play, click HERE!