UFC 274 went down last night (Sat., May 7, 2022) from inside Footprint Center in Phoenix, Ariz., featuring a wild night of fights headlined by a lightweight title bout that saw Charles Oliveira make a huge statement by submitting Justin Gaethje in the first round (see it here). In the co-main event, Carla Esparza dethroned Rose Namajunas from the top of women’s strawweight mountain in what many are calling the, “Worst Title Fight of All Time.” Further down the card, Michael Chandler delivered the “Knockout of the Year” so far after flattening Tony Ferguson with a front kick to the face (see it here).
Biggest Winner: Charles Oliveira
You can take away his belt, but you can’t take away his champion mentality. “Do Bronx” made a huge statement, walking through Gaethje to earn a first round submission win over “Highlight.” And this was after he was rocked numerous times by the hard-hitting 155 pounder. Still, as he has always done, Oliveira was patient and found the space he needed to drop Gaethje before moving in for the kill. Now, “Do Bronx” will get to take part in another title fight in hopes if winning his belt back after he as stripped for coming in a half-pound over. Nevertheless, Oliveira is still the champion to most people and judging by the way he’s been handling a Murder’s Row of fighters. He could be the king of the division for some time; however, he still has win the belt back in his next fight.
Runner Up: Michael Chandler
Ever since making his UFC debut in early 2021, Chandler has been must-see TV, earning his stripes in the Octagon by being thrown right into the fire. Though he only managed to rack up a 1-2 mark in his first three fights — losing his last two — he was still putting in the work and effort to entertain fans. But, he got back in the win column in style by crushing Ferguson’s dreams with a nasty front kick to the face that would make Anderson Silva jealous. Aside from getting the huge win, snapping his losing streak and earning a $50,000 post-fight bonus award, he got a congratulatory response from Conor McGregor after he called him out during his victory speech. We can expect Chandler is awarded a huge match up following his impressive knockout that still has people buzzing.
Biggest Loser: Tony Ferguson
Sure, it would be real easy to go with Namajunas and Esparza here for their dreadful output in a 25-minute title fight, but at least one person there walked away with the belt. Ferguson gets the nod here because he has now suffered his fourth straight defeat after he was knocked out cold by Chandler in one of the most brutal knockouts of all time. “El Cucuy” has not tasted victory in more than three years now, and his current four-fight skid is a drastic downfall from his impressive win streak of 12 straight from 2013 to 2019. It’s hard to pin-point where it’s gone wrong from Ferguson, though in his defense he’s faced nothing but killers over the last three years. That said, a loss is still a loss and “El Cucuy” has too many of them as of late to not be worried about his near future. And even though Dana White stated he’d be safe with another crushing defeat, Ferguson has to be a little bit nervous in the coming months.
For complete UFC 274 results and coverage click here.