Somebody hose me off! UFC 236 was a top-heavy card, but that top delivered in spades and resulted in two of the best fights of the year. The UFC looked to employ the logic of two interim titles equaling out to an undisputed title, and I'm kinda with it. Even though no undisputed champions were crowned tonight, the fact that two belts were up for grabs definitely made it feel like more of a special night, at least in my opinion. I won't dwell on formalities anymore though; let's dive into this and talk about what the hell happened at UFC 236!


The Main Card

Poirier finally claims gold, improves to 2-0 against Holloway in an all-out war

#3 Dustin Poirier def. Max Holloway by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

Poirier found that it wasn't nearly as easy as it was the first time, but he once again got it done against Holloway in a fight that was just a treat to watch. Poirier came out throwing hard early and ending combinations with leg kicks like he was really looking to take Holloway's base out from under him. Pretty early on what would become the theme of the fight was established: Poirier just hits a lot harder. Facing a harder-hitting opponent isn't something Holloway isn't used to, but what caused him to struggle was that Poirier could at least come close to matching Holloway's volume and pace at times in addition to the power in ways the Jose Aldos and Jeremy Stephens's simply cannot. Poirier wasted no time rocking Holloway with left hands and putting him in more trouble than we'd really ever seen him in, but Holloway's chin is not of this planet, and he was not only able to recover quickly but he managed to stun Poirier with a combination of his own. The power differential was still palpable though, and the first round was mostly characterized by Holloway getting stunned multiple times and Poirier in a way reverting to type by aggressively chasing the finish. After the fight he said that he got a little too excited to finish the fight because he'd never seen Holloway hurt like that, but it's impressive that despite expending a lot of energy in his fruitless effort to finish, his cardio more or less held up for 25 minutes.

Still, Holloway's chin is simply insane. He not only took shots that looked like they'd be knockout blows for most fighters, but he consistently fired back and, held his ground, and even taunted Poirier despite clearly being affected by shots. One thing I noticed was that Holloway wasn't switching stances as much as he normally does, and I think it was likely because he wanted to stick with an opposite-stance fight to exploit Poirier's open left side. He turned up the volume and worked the body much more in round two to the tune of more success, but again Poirier's power showed to be the difference maker, and late in the round he badly rocked Holloway with a big combination and a followup counter right hook that sealed the round for him.

After the second round was were the fight started getting much closer. Holloway came alive like he always does later in fights, and really started to find his groove as the third round went on, turning up the volume and eventually teeing off on Poirier along the fence. Near the end of the round Poirier shot a takedown and Holloway made him pay with elbows as Poirier worked for a double leg. While it did mark a bit of a momentum shift for Holloway, the difference in punching power was just difficult for him to simply shrug off. He continued to do well in round four, punishing Poirier's head and body with punches, but Poirier would still come back with nice counters here and there that would affect Holloway noticeably more. Still, Holloway's relentlessness and volume looked to be paying off as Poirier appeared to be losing a bit of steam. Later in the round, Poirier landed a big knee to the forehead of Holloway that opened him up pretty badly, and I believe this was a bit of a turning point in the fight. Holloway still came forward and performed well, but the cut did seem to preoccupy him a bit. At the close of the round, Holloway stuffed a takedown and locked in a brabo choke that appeared to be pretty tight right as the round ended, and we really had ourselves a fight.

In the final round Holloway finally made a dedicated switch to southpaw, and things were pretty even, with Poirier still landing with a bit more power. Much of the latter half of the fight was spent clinched against the cage with Poirier searching for a takedown and Holloway defending well, but both men ended the contest swinging for the fences until the horn. It was a fantastic fight, as can be expected from these two men whenever they set foot in the octagon. In terms of the scoring criteria the fight was arguably pretty close, and some like undisputed lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov even had it a draw, but I think when judging the fight as a whole Poirier's power shots and sharp, meaningful counters made it easier to side with him as the rightful winner.

It's been a pleasure to watch both of these fighters grow under the UFC banner. Holloway was always a slick striker, but his overall game has come so far and that confidence in all phases has only made his striking more effective. Poirier went from a brawling grappler to a dangerous, technically sound kickboxer, slowly but surely filling up the holes he needed to become elite. Even just visually he's come a long way. MMA analyst Connor Ruebusch accurately and hilariously described that Poirier went from "The creepy guy in the alley to the handsome guy in the bar just by growing a little hair." The old "pea head" look wasn't quite as fitting of a champion.

Poirier was thoroughly impressive here, but I still have to give major props to Holloway for still looking pretty great at 155. He clearly felt the difference in power up a division, but I feel like if he can handle Poirier's big shots so well he can handle a lot of the division. His speed and rhythm are difficult for just about anyone to handle, and even with that power differential, Poirier himself admitted that he was hurt several times throughout the fight, citing Holloway's slow off-speed jabs leaving him unprepared for the quick, hard rights that snuck in and hit him on the chin. He just had the grit and determination to keep going and give better than he was getting. So what's next? Nurmagomedov in a title unification bout is the only way for Poirier to go, and Holloway should go back to 145 and defend his belt against whoever comes next, which looks like it'll probably be Alexander Volkanovski if he can beat Aldo. If not, then that one's up for debate because I don't see Aldo getting another shot anytime soon.

Adesanya digs deep and pulls out some "movie type sh*t" to best a gritty Gastelum

#5 Israel Adesanya def. #4 Kelvin Gastelum by unanimous decision (48-46, 48-46, 48-46)

The main event wasn't the only banger of the night; Adesanya and Gastelum put on an instant classic over 25 minutes full of swings in momentum, and Adesanya showing the championship level of focus and urgency in taking the fight when he needed to. We've seen it in great champions like Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Daniel Cormier when they dug deep and surged forward in fifth rounds at times they were losing or the fight was up for grabs to keep the gold strapped around their waists. Now Adesanya has followed in their footsteps in his title-winning performance (sure it's interim, but still).
Adesanya started off the fight calmly establishing his range with body kicks and left hands, but it's Gastelum that landed the first big shot of the night, a lead right hook that wobbled Adesanya and sent him stumbling back into the cage.

He was able to recover, but that right hand would be by far the most significant shot of the round, and appeared to make closing the distance into the pocket much easier for Gastelum in the early going. Adesanya actually mentioned post-fight that Gastelum cracking him threw off his footwork and it took him some time to get comfortable with his range again.

Round two was more successful for Adesanya, but Gastelum was still closing the distance and landing shots, and Adesanya was clearly having some issues with it. Then the tide turned dramatically when Gastelum got tripped up on Adesanya's lead leg moving to his right while throwing a jab, and Adesanya tagged him with a chopping counter right hand that put him on his seat a little more than halfway through the round.

Get used to seeing this.

Gastelum was able to recover, but began reaching on his punches, which only allowed Adesanya to counter more effectively. A left hand feint to a right spinning back elbow caught Gastelum flush to the face and had him immediately shooting for a takedown that was easily stuffed in the final minute.

Gastelum's got a chin on him; this we know.

Gastelum would be lighter on his feet in the third round and move around much more, but this also led to him really leaning on his limited, leaping 1-2 heavy striking, and Adesanya continuing to make him pay for overextending. Still, it was easily the most even round of the fight (read: the only one where no one got rocked), and Gastelum landed his only takedown of the fight, which Adesanya quickly got up from.
Round four saw Adesanya willing to stay in the pocket more, and both men landing good shots because of it. Suddenly with less than a minute left, a head kick from Gastelum landed and badly hurt Adesanya, who stumbled back to the fence and moved along it on wobbly legs as Gastelum gave chase. He would survive but Gastelum definitely went into the final round with momentum on his side.

We were just as surprised at Gastelum throwing a head kick as Adesanya was.

Despite Gastelum's momentum, in round five Adesanya went to work. He countered a Gastelum double leg attempt with a tight high-elbow guillotine that Gastelum scrambled out of to end up on top, only to be then caught in a triangle choke that Adesanya would use to sweep with and get back to his feet. From there, it was all Adesanya. After eating several rights and rocking Gastelum, Adesanya dropped him with right hands on a mind-boggling three different occasions in short order! Or at least it would be mind-boggling if not for the fight that preceded it, but we'll get to that. Gastelum was exhausted and hurt, and it wouldn't have been crazy to stop the fight near the end of the round, but Gastelum really showed heart in surviving the onslaught so late in the fight.

Adesanya showed some improved grappling.

Told you to get used to it. Gastelum did.

With that final round, it was pretty clear who the first interim champion of the night would be. Much like the main event, both men put on solid, gutsy performances and deserve praise for their efforts. Gastelum in particular was definitely more successful than I imagined he would be, and showed that he does belong among the top guys at 185 lbs. Adesanya obviously has undisputed champion Robert Whittaker next on the docket, and the UFC would be insane not to do the fight in Australia. As for Gastelum, there aren't many at the top he hasn't faced or that are available, so he may have to take on the winner of Derek Brunson vs Elias Theodorou, or even rematch Chris Weidman. He's in a bit of a rough place in terms of matchmaking.

And hey! We got another Nigerian champion. That's two!

Tell 'em, champ.

What did I say after Kamaru Usman captured the welterweight title? We out here! And as Adesanya said at the post-fight presser, "They took a lot of gold out of Africa. We're bringing it back." As much as I like Whittaker, let's unify and keep it coming. Easier said than done, I know, and I think Whittaker has a good chance of winning the upcoming fight.

Rountree goes to Thailand and comes back the fighter he was supposed to be all this time

Khalil Rountree def. Eryk Anders by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)

Guys, I picked against Khalil Rountree; you know what that means! That's right, he annihilated his opponent! Now let's see if my newfound excitement over his performance gets me to pick him for his next fight, in which he'll get taken down and embarrassed as punishment for ever trying to analyze and predict what Rountree will do. All joking aside (am I joking though?), Rountree looked phenomenal in this fight. I knew Anders' lack of volume and activity on the feet would make things dicey for him, but I thought his willingness to wrestle would wear Rountree out and carry him to victory. BOY was I wrong. Rountree did his camp for this fight in Thailand, steeping himself in muay Thai kickboxing at it's source, and holy hell did it pay off! He came in guard-high and light on his lead foot, throwing quick, hard round kicks to Anders' lead leg. The kicks immediately began bothering Anders and greatly affecting his mobility.

But for all the damage done to Anders' legs in the first round, it was round two that was one of the most one-sided rounds in recent memory. I mentioned that Adesanya dropping Gastelum three times in the fifth round perhaps wasn't as mind-boggling as one would think, and that's because Rountree likely broke a record by dropping Anders a whopping four times in the second stanza!

Rountree threw everything with murderous intent.

Gastelum wasn't the only one used to being knocked down.

And these weren't just flash knockdowns; Anders was hurt each time and miraculously managed to survive because he's a just a tough S.O.B. Anders would come out in the final round and actually look relatively fresh considering all the punishment he took, but even knowing that I still think his corner could've considered stopping the fight after round two. Anders took a ton of damage in what I think we can all agree was a rare 10-7 round, plus his leg was still chewed up from the leg kicks; for all intents and purposes he was just surviving at that point and didn't appear to have any steam on his punches for the rest of the fight because he couldn't sit down on them. Despite it being his best round of the fight, Anders' leg still got beaten up by more leg kicks and he was easily outstruck in the final round.

Rountree looked better than he's ever looked. His combinations were quick and powerful, and he looked like the terrifying striker he was touted to be coming onto The Ultimate Fighter, outstriking Anders 79-to-16 in significant strikes (and 11 of Anders' came in the final round). I just hope he can actually keep it up and stay consistent for a change. However, we need to talk about Anders. He is still somewhat young in his career; he doesn't need to be repeatedly taking this kind of punishment. After just a couple UFC fights he called out Lyoto Machida, and I feel like even though he didn't look bad in that loss (I actually scored the fight for him), that exposure marked the beginning of his downfall. Because of that high profile fight it's easy to forget that he's just a really athletic football player who is still learning to fight and still doesn't train at a reputable gym. He was arguably losing a fight to an unheralded Tim Williams before scoring a highlight reel soccer kick knockout, and his reward for that was a main event against one of the more dangerous fighters around in Thiago Santos less than a month later. As could probably be expected, he was absolutely bludgeoned over 15 minutes to the point that he physically couldn't make it back to his corner at the end of the third round and the fight was waved off. Another loss to Theodorou and now this brutal beating, and Anders has lost four of his last five and is becoming more known for the punishment he takes than anything. He's clearly still raw despite his considerable athleticism; give him a more palatable matchup that doesn't have the offensive output to damn near kill him, because he's too tough for his own good and his small-time camp clearly doesn't know now to look after him.

Grant ekes by Jouban in unexpected snoozer

Dwight Grant def. Alan Jouban by split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28)

As you can see, Jouban was not happy with the result.

Grant showed against Zak Ottow that he can rest on his laurels and push out a less than stellar fight, but Jouban more often than not tends to be fun to watch win or lose. Not this time, as he spent the better part of 15 minutes walking down and whiffing strikes on a wacky flailing inflatable tube man in Grant. Now you figure invoking the name of the tube man would mean some exciting brawling occurred, but this fight was a lot of chasing and missing that just got tiresome to watch. The fight actually started off alright with both men throwing bombs, but after Jouban took two big shots (which he wore well), he began lunging forward a bit and leaving himself open. Grant didn't really look much better defensively, as he would retreat with his chin exposed looking to counter. This is normally a recipe for a knockout on either side, but as mentioned...neither man could seem to land much.

I felt like once Jouban started to mind the power of Grant he just got a little too defensive despite being the aggressor for pretty much the entire fight. He constantly moved forward and threw strikes, but didn't do much to set up counters because he appeared to wary of Grant's shots, which were borderline comical in how wide and looping they were. He would throw himself out of position with his punches, but Jouban was a bit too hesitant to make him pay for it despite being the aggressor because he didn't want to be caught with a wide followup he couldn't see. He did score a late takedown and landed some solid ground and pound as the round drew to a close, but apparently he was too down on the cards for it to matter. In the end I didn't agree with the decision, but Grant did essentially win via Jouban not doing enough (though apparently he did do enough for the lone scorecard in his favor to be a 30-27). Despite personally scoring the fight for Jouban, there was so much more he could've done to put a stamp on it, and I know he must be kicking himself because of it.

Krylov gets revenge on OSP; outlasts and submits him in a round and a half

Nikita Krylov def. #12 Ovince St. Preux by submission via rear naked choke (2:30, R2)

I said just as this fight got started that it was going to be dumb, and it was. These are two men who are deeply flawed and I can't really make sense of, so all I can really do is sit back and take in whatever version of them decides to show up. Krylov expectedly came out moving a lot and striking aggressively. His kicking game looked solid as per usual, and St. Preux didn't seem to like it much. St. Preux managed to get a takedown but Krylov made it back to his feet only to try for guillotines as a takedown defense...the very tactic that got him submitted the first time in their first fight. St. Preux got him to the ground again, and this time was eventually able to move to mount and land some good ground and pound, but Krylov was able to escape and make his way back to his feet.

This is where the tide turned. St. Preux looked to have gassed himself out wrestling, and Krylov closed out the round clinching against the fence and landing hard knees. In round two, it was Krylov who took a visibly tired St. Preux down with a body lock, and astonishingly was able to land in mount and make his way to the back where he softened St. Preux up, locked in a rear-naked choke, and got the tap. It was a good win for Krylov, but I still have to train myself not to get my hopes up about either of these guys because they can crash and burn against decent competition just as easily as they can prosper. I think St. Preux is the better grappler of the two, and he showed as much when he was fresher, but once his gas tank emptied it was Krylov's fight to take over. Hey, this is light heavyweight. The division is getting better, but we still have not-so-great fighters ranked shockingly high, which means the door is wide open for someone like Krylov to climb his way up the division before being completely outmatched against the elite.


The Prelims

Matt Frevola def. Jalin Turner by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

The preliminary fights were largely forgettable compared to the insane action later on in the card, but we did get some surprises and this fight was one of them. Few expected Frevola's hard-charging style to be effective against Turner, but grit and determination go the job done. Turner is one of the biggest, tallest, and rangiest lightweights on the roster, but this fight showed that he needs some improvement when it comes to utilizing those attributes. To his credit he was able to hurt Frevola several times, but once that happened he would either close the distance too much or allow Frevola to do it instead of really focusing on keeping him at the end of his strikes. Too often he found his range taken away from him when Frevola doggedly wrestled him, and put him in submission trouble a couple times throughout.

Though Turner was able to stage some pretty good escapes.

Overall there were too many terrible guillotine attempts by both men, and Turner did a lot of pressuring where he really didn't need to because he had all the advantages at long range with his significant height and reach. It was also an odd fight because although it's hard to take issue with the 30-27 scores, it was clear Turner was doing more damage with what he managed to land. Frevola was just able log enough control time and have a couple serious submission attempts, and it was enough to get a workmanlike nod.

#5 Alexandre Pantoja def. #4 Wilson Reis by TKO via strikes (2:58, R1)

I'm not at all surprised that Pantoja managed to win, but I was pretty shocked that he finished Reis so quickly. I actually did pick Reis to win this fight via being the more experienced party and Pantoja historically not responding the best to Reis' brand of aggressive wrestling. While Reis' chin has been iffy for years, even since before he entered the UFC, I didn't expect Pantoja's striking to be good enough to take advantage of it. Fighting in opposite stances, he made sure to step outside of Reis' lead leg to have that direct line to Reis with his power hand. After Reis threw a couple jabs, Pantoja feinted a jab and lunged forward with a huge straight right that dropped Reis like a ton of bricks. Similar to Stephen Thompson's knockout loss to Anthony Pettis, part of the problem for Reis was that when he tried to back up out of range following the jabs, he stepped back on his rear leg first, which causes you to cover less distance than stepping with your lead leg slide back. As such, he got caught with his feet close together as he was in the middle of his second step, and that takes a considerable amount of balance away when you eat a shot. Reis tried his best to recover with Pantoja landing ground and pound from on top, but the end came shortly after he attempted a leglock sweep, which is not the best sweep to attempt if you want to stop getting punched in the face.

Great win for Pantoja, who is likely "in the mix" now where contenders are concerned. But alas, flyweight still has the tag of being a doomed division, and Reis having lost four of his last five means that like many other losing flyweights, he's likely getting cut after this and will bolster the ranks of promotions like One FC.

Max Griffin def. Zelim Imadaev by majority decision (29-27, 29-27, 28-28)

Another odd fight and this time I actually did predict the winner, even if the fight probably should have been scored a draw (13 of the 16 media outlets on MMA Decisions would agree). That Griffin decided to use wrestling in this bout wasn't necessarily odd; I supposed he would. It was how much he used it, or at least attempted to, that had me raising an eyebrow. This fight did immediately put on exhibition one of my sentimental biggest stars of the night, referee George Allen, who simply wasn't having it the entire night. Imadaev was taken down early and blatantly grabbed the fence while down, so what did Allen do? Tell him to stop and slap at his hand? No! He paused the fight and immediately took a point, because that's what you should do! This wasn't a simple "instinct" grab that you sometimes see, Imadaev looked to be clearly trying to grab the fence for leverage. Fighters need to know that they can't do these things, and 14 warnings aren't going to instill that in them.

Anyhow, the fight was weird. Griffin smartly used wrestling at first, but then fell in love with his...arms? He struck for takedowns every time he'd get a read on Imadaev's strikes, which mostly consisted of spinning shit that opened up his back to a rear waist lock. Griffin would go on to land 6 of 11 takedown attempts, but the issue with that is this: he's not a wrestler. He'd landed three takedowns in his previous six UFC fights combined. So what happens when you're not used to wrestling and decide to do it a lot in a fight? You get tired, and fast. Griffin mostly dominated positionally and came close on three neck crank attempts, but in doing that he pretty much gassed himself out in the first round. The next two rounds saw a fresher Imadaev walking down a visibly exhausted Griffin, who at this point was more trying to wrestle to get to a point where he could rest. But then you get to why I think Imadaev is really just not a great fighter: he probably could have done a lot better if he didn't consistently go for spinning attacks and pressure so closely to where Griffin could clinch him whenever he needed to. I thought he won the next two rounds, but it wasn't by a landslide and I think it could've been if he fought better. He's a pretty dangerous striker, and like Turner a couple fights later he could have really shown that by keeping a little distance so he could strike more comfortably. He might have even been able to finish. Either way I'm glad Griffin got a win after getting hosed against Thiago Alves his last time out.

Khalid Taha def. Boston Salmon by TKO via strikes (0:25, R1)

Cue the fish puns! Taha catches and smokes Salmon! Salmon looks like a fish out of water in his long-awaited UFC debut! Salmon caught with hook, loses via TCO (Technical Cook Out)! Taha...lox up a quick victory over Salmon? Etc, etc, etc, I could go all day. Now that I'm sufficiently hungry, what can we say about this one? Salmon was a pretty hyped prospect coming out of the very first episode of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, but had to wait almost two years to make his debut due to injuries. He finally made his debut only to be caught with a huge left hook (no pun intended this time, I swear) seconds into the fight and put face down on the mat. Taha leaped in with a right hook that barely touched Salmon, who attempted to counter with a right hook of his own despite dropping his right hand in response. That hand being so far from the target just got the punch around too slow, and by the time he threw it he'd already been caught with the followup left hook that spun him around and onto his face. He disputed the stoppage afterward, but it was clear he went out for a second when the referee stepped in. I thought Taha had a solid chance to win, and even picked him, but I didn't think it'd happen this way.

Another fish pun or a "That's what she said?" Decisions, decisions.

Belal Muhammad def. Curtis Millender by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 30-26)

This was yet another fight where I had a good idea Muhammad would pull off the upset. Millender is an imposing, dangerous striker, but if you can take him down he becomes considerably less threatening because his grappling is atrocious and his wrestling isn't great. Flashing wrestling at the very least is an important part of Muhammad's game, and while many people might compare Millender to Geoff Neal, who most recently turned in a dominant performance against Muhammad, Neal is much better wrestler and grappler. Millender had success on the feet as expected, but after being taken down in the second round it was all downhill, with the the final round being pretty dominant in favor of Muhammad. Millender is now down two straight losses, and is the latest example of a situation where a fighter coming into the UFC hot might have been a detriment because it caused people to think Millender was the level fighter he really isn't. Muhammad remains a solid all-round fighter who can win more than he loses, but the workmanlike nature of his wins probably won't move him far up in the division.

Montel Jackson def. Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-27)

In one of the few fights that provided no real surprises, Jackson more or less outclassed Soukhamthath en route to a clear decision win. The fight wasn't particularly eventful and pretty measured, with Jackson keeping Soukhamthath at the end of his reach. Soukhamthath tends to utilize his jab pretty successfully, and Jackson did well to paw at his lead hand from the opposite stance to take it away from him so he had to instead rely on right hands that fell just short. Late in round two Jackson had a sudden burst of aggression and teed off on Soukhamthath against the fence after tripping him up, but not much damage was caused in the flurry.

Shooting takedowns continued to be a bane for Soukhamthath; in his fight with Sean O'Malley he had moments of baffling fight IQ when he insisted on shooting takedowns when O'Malley's leg was broken and he could barely stand, let alone strike effectively. Here landing a takedown was in his best interest, but as soon as he managed to in the final round he was immediately reversed and mounted, though he did manage to survive.

Maybe just don't wrestle, Andre.

Soukhamthath is a fun fighter, but clearly a cut below much of the field, even if barely. Jackson continues to look solid and display solid skills. I don't know how much upside he has, but he seems good enough to at least stick around for a while.

Poliana Botelho def. Lauren Mueller by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Botelho had a successful transition from strawweight to flyweight, and actually looked like the bigger woman out there. The fight wasn't particularly good, but it Botelho did once again demonstrate how dangerous her body kicks are when she badly hurt Mueller with one in the first round. It seemingly took Mueller a while to recover from it, and once she did she pretty much was down on the cards to the point that she needed a finish. She tried to come on strong in the final round, pressuring a tired Botelho with volume, but she couldn't get too much significant out of it. Botelho did well to bank the first two rounds, but all in all neither woman impressed incredibly much. Referee George Allen did though, as after separating the women during an uneventful clinch only to have them clinch up again, he warned them, "I'll do it quicker this time!" I love that haha.

Brandon Davis def. Randy Costa by submission by submission via rear naked choke (1:12, R2)

The card opened up with a very fun scrap between Davis and the previously undefeated Costa. Davis worked a heavy kicking game to start as usual, and Costa had a very odd rhythm to the way he moved that appeared to confuse Davis initially. He ate some hard shots but generally walked through them and was no worse for wear. That is until round two, where a Costa overhand right appeared to badly hurt him. After grabbing a clinch to recover, he managed to land a knee up the middle that rocked Costa and causes him to shoot a desperation double leg. Davis easily stuffed it, transitioned to the back, and got the tap with a nifty little rear-naked choke where he swung off to Costa's left side to cinch it in tighter. This was Davis' bantamweight debut after previously fighting at featherweight, and although he didn't exactly get a killer of an opponent, he didn't look diminished at all despite not having been a small featherweight. After the fight he paid tribute to a fallen member of Costa's team, which I just thought was a really awesome thing to do since Costa wouldn't get the chance to do it on air.


And that does it for UFC 236! It wasn't the greatest card top to bottom, but that fact is almost forgettable considering the fantastic fights and performances we got to witness at the tail end of the event. We were treated to two interim title fights in which both the winners and the losers showed why they belong among the elite, and a couple unexpected breakout performances that should whet our whistles at least a little bit for the future. Now I'm off to watch the season premiere of the final season of Game of Thrones, which if we're to go by the post-fight presser and one media member's questions, no one in the UFC watches; though Adesanya will totally watch it all if someone could hook him up with all the episodes. Aside from this, I'll see you all next week when Alistair Overeem tries not to be the next victim of a crazy Ezekiel choke at the hands of Aleksei Oleinik (or whichever spelling we're deciding to go with). Sado, out!

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