Greetings, fight fans! UFC 250 is in the books, and thanks to a bunch of bantamweights, what started off as a very lackluster looking card filled out quite nicely, and delivered some fantastic action. Amanda Nunes is unsurprisingly still the greatest female fighter of all time, but it was a collection of scintillating finishes at 135 lbs, as well as a pretty rousing featherweight contest between two career bantamweights that pretty much stole the show. It was great to see some quality fights in the midst of a good old fashioned fighter revolt! From Jon Jones and Jorge Masvidal requesting their releases due to salary spats to Conor McGregor's latest retirement, it appears some of MMA's most notable personalities are not having it anymore...for now. But that's neither here nor there; let's talk about just what the hell happened at UFC 250!
The Main Card
Nunes' dominance continues as she batters Spencer for 25 minutes
UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship
Amanda Nunes def. Felicia Spencer by unanimous decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-45) to retain the title
The trend of one-sided beatdowns in UFC main events since their return from hiatus continued with Nunes just beating the breaks off of Spencer for five full rounds in a fight that became kind of difficult to watch after a while. If it wasn't clear even before the fight that Spencer didn't really have much to offer Nunes, it was pretty much made clear immediately once the fight started. Nunes looked great; she was quick, smooth, and was clearly the more powerful woman of the two. She rarely ever overextended, and just constantly made Spencer pay for any opening she exposed. In comparison, Spencer looked slow, rote, and sloppy. She's never been what you'd call a great wrestler, but the athletic difference was so large in this fight that she really never had a chance to get the fight to the ground where she's at her best. That's not to say she didn't shoot for takedowns. she certainly did (seven times, in fact), but she was easily shucked off essentially every time because she took a beating every time she got within range to set them up.
The fight mostly looked like a sparring match between fighters at very different levels. Nunes did whatever she wanted, and most of the time that involved firing off 1-2s and right hands over the top that pummeled Spencer at will. Whenever Spencer would try to come forward, she'd just get tagged hard, and that led to her spending large stretches of the fight staying on the outside and allowing Nunes to lead. This was an even bigger detriment to an already detrimental situation for her, because her best shot in this fight was to be aggressive.That's when Spencer is at her best, and also what tends to get to Nunes most. There was a lot of talk about her cardio looking great, and while there's certainly something to be said for her being able to easily go five rounds here, Nunes' cardio has mostly failed when met with increasing pressure and diversity. She's not going to get tired if you're essentially a punching bag that lets her dictate the pace.
Nunes also attempted seven takedowns during the fight, and landed six of them with ease. By the later rounds it almost appeared that she was landing takedowns just because she could, and had no real intention of fighting on the ground. She'd grab a single and effortless dump Spencer to the ground, then immediately stand in Ali-Inoki position and kick her legs a bit before letting her up. She showed complete and utter disdain for any skill Spencer had, and for good reason: she's miles better than her everywhere. The numbers further show just how dominant a performance this was, with Nunes outlanding her 124-to-42 overall, 90 of which were landed to the head.
And when she went to the body, she made it count.
For all of the talk of Spencer's grappling being a possible road to victory, it was she that ended up needing to be saved by the horn at the end of the fourth round when locked in a tight rear-naked choke. She had nothing for Nunes, and it's her second such loss in the UFC. While I'd definitely say that she suffered a worse beat down here, Cris Cyborg did post a similar significant strike differential (122-to-38), and it only took her three rounds. However, that fight had much more action in the clinch, and Cyborg put in a ton of body work. But like the Cyborg fight, we were once again witness to the fact that Spencer is damn near inhumanly tough, which really is one of the most backhanded compliments you can get in MMA in this context. When we think of Felicia Spencer, her most notable quality is that she's really good at getting beat up and not going down. At this point, will she be known for more than that? She's in a division that ensures she won't be fighting incredibly often, and unless Nunes vacates or is stripped of the featherweight championship, I don't see Spencer ever holding the belt.
Sorry, this doesn't count.
Nunes obviously won a unanimous decision, but I'd be remiss if I didn't take some time to lambaste the judges, as it is only tradition. How on earth can you watch this fight and come away with a 50-45 scorecard? Oh wait, I know! Your name must be Sal D'Amato! One of the worst judges in the sport couldn't even score a fight this clear without looking bad. Derek Cleary and Chris Lee weren't much better with their 50-44s, as it indicates that Nunes only deserved one 10-8 round in the fight. I personally scored the fight 50-41, with every round being 10-8 except the second, and the prevailing opinion seems to be that Nunes had at least two 10-8 rounds. I can't even rant about this anymore. Judges, get on the ball!
As mentioned at the top of this article, Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time. There's zero arguing against it at this point, even if you're the biggest Megumi Fujii superfan on the planet. She's won 11-straight fights in increasingly dominant and impressive fashion, and we're at the point where there's little interest in seeing her avenge prior losses (none of which she has, somewhat surprisingly). She's in a league all her own, and that's across two divisions. The rest of the women better either rise up in the skill department or hope for a speedy retirement.
Next for Nunes: Honestly, I'm up for a third fight with Valentina Shevchenko. Sure she won the previous two, but the first one really would have been interesting had it been five rounds, and the second belonged to Shevchenko in the eyes of many. Both women have laid waste to three divisions combined, so it makes sense. Other than that, at bantamweight you could go with Irene Aldana or Aspen Ladd if she gets by Sara McMann, but honestly neither of those are very interesting from a competitive standpoint, though Aldana did show some fight-changing power in putting Ketlen Vieira out. At featherweight you have Megan Anderson, who is perhaps an even less interesting match up, and...pretty much no one else, unless you want to poach Pam Sorenson away from Invicta. The same Pam Sorenson who was submitted by Spencer for the Invicta featherweight title, then beat a rejuvenated but still past her prime Kaitlin Young for the strap after Spencer joined the UFC.
Next for Spencer: I don't know. This is what happens when you're fighting in a division that practically doesn't exist. Literally the only woman I can scrounge up is Anderson's last opponent, Norma Dumont.
Garbrandt channels his inner Ralph Jones, downs Assuncao with buzzer-beater Galactica Phantom
#9 Cody Garbrandt def. #5 Raphael Assuncao by KO via punch (4:59, R2)
If you don't know what a Galactica Phantom is, first of all, shame on you. Second, Google it. I have a soft spot for simple moves with opulent names. It's very Japanese.
At least for now it appears Garbrandt's trek over to the east coast to train under Mark Henry has paid some dividends! It was a crucial fight for him, as he found himself tasked with halting a three-fight skid that saw him go from UFC bantamweight champion to potentially fighting for a spot on the roster. The key factor in those losses was clear to most: Garbrandt's predilection for engaging in brawls and falling victim to predictability caused his downfall. When not allowing his emotions to get the better of him, he's always been pretty effective on the strength of his speed, athleticism, and quick reflexes. At his core, Garbrandt is a counter puncher, and nowhere has this been more evident than when his poor pocket defense is put on full display in the midst of brawling exchanges. He's at his best when not throwing extended combinations, but instead launching counter right hands, left hooks,and 3-2 combinations. While Assuncao is a notoriously tough high level match up for everyone in the bantamweight division, he historically hasn't the type of fighter to reliably draw out the worst in Garbrandt, as he's a pretty measured striker who doesn't invite extended exchanges the way TJ Dillashaw and Pedro Munhoz will.
The opening round was promising for Garbrandt if only in showing a positive update on his maturity and composure. Content-wise it really wasn't anything too impressive; it was a close, competitive round that I believe Garbrandt edged, but was relatively even. Another positive development shown by Garbrandt was his use of low kicks, which he used consistently in the opening round. While not completely absent from his arsenal, we'd never before seen him work a gameplan that utilized them heavily. We saw in his fights with Dillashaw how easily frustrated he was with an opponent throwing low kicks, and it was smart of him to just kick Assuncao first and quickly establish control of that range, rather than get frustrated and look to counter kicks with punches up top. And the end of the round, Garbrandt put his back to the cage while Assuncao pressured, and repeatedly dipped his head and bent at the waist to showboat before the horn. It didn't look like much at the time, but it arguably set up his last-second finish.
In round two it seemed the kicking game took a bit of a toll on Assuncao's game. When in orthodox stance his lead leg would get beat up, and when he'd switch to southpaw he'd eat body kicks. It became clear that Assuncao became the one starting to be frustrated at his inability to get in range, as he threw several telegraphed wheel kicks, one of which got him taken down briefly and head kicked on the way up. Garbrandt began to time his low kicks and catch him coming in, at one point even tagging him behind the ear and briefly dropping Assuncao to his hands and knees. As the round drew to a close, Assuncao turned up the pressure once again, backing Garbrandt to the cage with a flying kick. From here it was a bit of a tense staring contest for a couple seconds, but Garbrandt began once again to dip at the waist, loading up on a right in almost comical fashion. This time Assuncao tried to anticipate and counter him with a right hook, but with his superior speed Garbrandt fired off a thunderous right hook that caught him right on the button, sending him careening to the canvas right as the horn sounded. Assuncao didn't get a chance to be saved by the horn, being unconscious and all, and the fight was over right then and there.
It was an emphatic and kind of scary knockout. Assuncao could be seen going back out of consciousness and slumping off his stool while being tended to by ringside doctors. There was no better way for Garbrandt to get back on winning track than with one of the best knockouts of the year. Meanwhile, Assuncao now finds himself on three-fight skid, and a similarly rough one that combined with his age points to a decline that likely spells the end of him as a top bantamweight.
Next for Garbrandt: He's got some choices. My first pick would probably be Marlon Moraes, especially since I'm sure the UFC wants to get Garbrandt back in the title mix (they seem to think he's a draw?). Otherwise I could see him being matched up with Cory Sandhagen, especially with him being a teammate of blood rival Dillashaw. Lastly, I know we're probably betting Petr Yan vs Jose Aldo for the title next for some reason, but if that falls apart, Garbrandt vs Aldo would fireworks.
Next for Assuncao: As mentioned, I think his time as a contender is over, and his next fight should reflect that. Let's go with John Dodson. If we want to keep him fighting upper-level guys, Dominick Cruz could be a good fit, as those two have been hovering around each other for so long without fighting.
Sterling throttles Sandhagen, makes strong case for a title shot
#2 Aljamain Sterling def. #4 Cory Sandhagen by submission via rear naked choke (1:28, R1)
I said it several times leading into the event, and I'll say it again: for my money Sterling is the best grappler at bantamweight. I can't think of someone better when it comes to not only neutralizing his opposition, but also just being plain dangerous there in a pure grappling sense. When he was knocked out by Moraes I thought how he responded to the loss would determine whether or not he hit his ceiling. Honestly, I wasn't too optimistic that he would get past being the high level wrestler/grappler that is a liability on the feet. But boy did that loss fuel his improvement. His newfound confidence and competence on the feet has been pretty incredible. He's always been a heavy kicker, but in recent fights he's shown a command of boxing range and a great ability to stay just outside of his opponents' range while landing punches of his own, utilizing his reach. This was a fight where I felt that striking confidence could backfire on him, since Sandhagen has a notable height and reach advantage over him. However, Sandhagen is someone who relies more on his reach more, since Sterling always has his wrestling on hand when in close.
I felt it was proper to favor Sterling in the fight, but I expected a pretty close, competitive contest. We got none of that. I figured Sterling would entertain a striking battle initially, but he fought in the smartest way possible. He took advantage of two holes in Sandhagen's game that figured quite a bit into why I thought he'd win the fight: his slow starting and his prioritization of scrambling over defending. Sandhagen is for the most part a fighter who snowballs his offense on opponents; he typically starts off a bit easy and works is attacks in a crescendo fashion, and before you know it you're being overwhelmed by his volume. Because of this, the early part of his fights before he finds his groove are his most vulnerable. Right from the start, Sterling immediately ran out to center and put major pressure on him, likely knowing that giving him distance will allow him to better get into his groove.
After catching a body kick, Sterling went to work on dismantling that second hole in Sandhagen's game; namely, his tendency to not outright defend takedowns, but rather look for scrambling opportunities to sweep or escape. I've seen him compared to Carlos Condit in that sense, and I think that's pretty apt. He's pretty good at it too; his takedown defense currently stands at a measly 33% (and I believe it was about 27% before this fight), but you don't think of him as some who is an easy takedown, because he usually ends up in a better position pretty quickly. It's something he relies on when opponents get a hold of him, and seeing as how I already thought Sterling was the better grappler, I figured that'd be trouble for him. It was even more trouble as I imagined, as Sterling made his way to Sandhagen's back and hopped on standing, and immediately locked in a face crank. Sandhagen fell to his back and managed to withstand the tight hold, but right as he tried to initiate a scramble and get to his knees, Sterling locked the choke in under the chin and stretched him out. Sandhagen tried to hold on, but relented and tapped out, only to go unconscious immediately after, which goes to show that it's not always tap or nap.
As I said, Sterling took advantage of two things that I thought served him best to win this fight; I just didn't expect him to execute them so perfectly brutal. I was pretty confident a decision was coming out of the fight, with Sterling banking the first two rounds trough a fast start and superior grappling, and Sandhagen coming on strong in the end when Sterling slowed a bit. Instead he just blew right through him, and it couldn't have been any better a showcase of why he's arguably #1 contender.
Next for Sterling: In a world where the matchmaking makes sense and having a name doesn't bump you to the top of the list, Sterling vs Yan for the vacant bantamweight title would be the fight to make next. Since we don't live in that world, Sterling will probably have to wait for Yan and Aldo to fight it out.
Next for Sandhagen: Cruz would be a very interesting fight since they're both such mobile fighters. I've already mentioned Garbrandt, but taking on the loser of Yan vs Aldo could also work for him.
Magny surges late and sneaks by Martin
Neil Magny def. Anthony Rocco Martin by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
For the most part this was another difficult to predict Magny fight. On the plus side, I actually picked it correctly, but the downside is that the "new" version of Magny that we saw against Jingliang Li didn't really show up. I thought he would, and he'd build on that impressive performance that reinvigorated the perception of his place in the division, but instead he eked out a close decision where for 10 minutes he just looked "okay." That narrative of the fight did turn out to be pretty classic for a Magny fight though, as his volume and stamina are what ultimately won him the day. Martin's ever-improving stand up did well for him early; he was able to land the harder shots and catch Magny coming in several times through the first two rounds. However, the effort he put into his strikes sapped his cardio, and in round three we saw an exhausted Martin more or less dominated by the endless gas tank of Magny, who made the final stanza count with constant pressure. There were some that deemed it worthy of a 10-8 round, and if anything it was borderline.
Honestly, I was surprised to see Magny walk away with a unanimous decision here, especially since many thought he didn't deserve it. Ten of fifteen media outlets on MMA Decisions scored the fight for Martin, which is made all the more curious by Magny receiving two baffling 30-27 scorecards. Although he outlanded Martin in every round, the significant strike totals in both the first two rounds were very close, and Martin definitely landed the bigger shots. I didn't expect him to get both of those rounds on any judge's card, let alone two.
I predicted that Magny would get this done on the strength of his volume and cardio, and while that eventually held true, It didn't seem like we got the best version of Magny here. For one, he didn't throw nearly as much volume as we're used to seeing, and in fact Martin out-threw him in round two. He also tried to clinch and wrestle a lot, even though Martin's bread and butter is his grappling game. This worked for him against Li, but here we saw him go 0 for 6 in the takedown department and not really get anything out clinch exchanges until Martin was gassed. It took Martin fatiguing for us to really see a classic Magny performance; he pressured more intently and threw much more volume. Some of his killer instinct was missing, but that ended up not mattering. Basically I went from being really high on Magny following the Li win to bringing my expectations back down after this one.
Next for Magny: As bad as it might be for Magny, Geoff Neal or Vicente Luque makes sense.
Next for Martin: Niko Price, since they won't listen to us and put him against Mike Perry.
The Sugar Show rolls on, O'Malley sends Wineland to the Shadow Realm
Sean O’Malley def. Eddie Wineland by KO via punch (1:54, R1)
I don't know whether there's a real correlation or not, but it seems the more O'Malley looks like a mumble rapping clown, the more dangerous he becomes! This short-but-sweet performance by "Sugar" (yeah sure, pun intended) was on paper his biggest test to date, and he blew past it like few have. Sure Wineland was the first ever WEC bantamweight champ and a one-time UFC title contender, and although has lost a step in recent years, he's never lost that reputation of being a tough out for pretty much anyone standing across from him. Here he could do little else than land a solid right hand that definitely got O'Malley's attention, but other than that it was all about the diverse, "flowy" striking of the rainbow-haired striker. O'Malley is easily one of the very quickest strikers in the division, as he's able to fire off flashy kicks and recover faster than just about anyone else. Shortly before the finish he managed to land a body kick, slide back to avoid a counter left hook, and land a counter right hook of his own that stunned Wineland and probably contributed to the finish. Immediately after that he threw a switch-wheel kick that threw him off balance, but he was able to pop up and create distance before Wineland could do anything to capitalize.
Then came the end. After resetting, O'Malley wasted no time in getting into mid-range and feinting a right uppercut that caused Wineland to drop his lead hand, and in a flash he came over the top with a crackling straight right that dropped Wineland flat on his back and had him doing the Brendan Schaub soul reach. It was the first of two knockout of the year contenders, both at 135 lbs. O'Malley looks to have a future ahead of him brighter than his hair.
Next for O'Malley: As much as I would agree that that "building" phase of O'Malley is pretty much at its end, I don't think that's a reason to rush him straight into the mix. I've seen suggestions of Cory Sandhagen and the winner of Frankie Edgar vs Pedro Munhoz, and while I think the latter makes more sense, I don't think he should go from unranked fighters to the top 5-7 spot in the division. The best compromise would be Rob Font, who not only makes more sense rankings-wise, but is a pretty exciting style match up to boot.
Next for Wineland: I don't know if he's still around and healthy, but if he is, I think Thomas Almeida would be a decent option, or at least one that guarantees a fun fight. Outside of that it might be a good time for a rematch with Rani Yahya, who submitted Wineland in the WEC more than 11 years ago.
Alex Caceres def. Chase Hooper by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
This was my big upset pick for the night, and if I was a betting man I definitely would have dropped a few bucks on Caceres. Honestly I don't even think it should have been considered a big upset at all. Most of that sentiment stemmed from Hooper being a slick, dangerous grappler, and Caceres having a reputation for imploding on the ground against high level grapplers. What was ignored is the fact that Hooper has shown to be pretty bad everywhere else, and even with his flaws and inconsistencies, Caceres is still a well-rounded veteran with at-worst a very competent striking game. This showed throughout the fight, as Caceres was essentially able to have his way with Hooper on the feet. Hooper's slow speed, sloppy striking, and dull striking reflexes allowed Caceres to basically have a sparring match, where he moved and countered constantly to avoid taking too many risks. He did opt to test Hooper's ground game a bit, much to the commentary team's chagrin, but he never really did it haphazardly and without purpose. He found himself nearly in leglock trouble in round one, but he waited until close to the end of the round to grapple, so he was confident the round would end before he got into serious trouble. He never really got assertive on the ground unless time was limited. But most of the time he forced the fight to stay on the feet, where he dominated Hooper, outstriking him 103-to-53 in significant strikes. The alleged son of Ben Askren got his prospect loss out of the way early, so let's see how the rest of his game builds from here. At just 20 years-old, he's certainly more than young enough to develop a much better overall game.
Miami boys: 2, Askrens: 0
However, I also agree with the sentiment that at his age he probably shouldn't even be in the UFC, but rather elsewhere honing his skills in more forgiving environments. As for Caceres, he's settled very nicely into his gatekeeper role, but don't tell him that, as he recognizes his role but has no plans to become complacent there.
#13 Ian Heinisch def. Gerald Meerschaert by TKO via strikes (1:14, R1)
I thought this was a decently interesting match up, as Heinisch just kinda goes out there and does aggressive things while relying on toughness and cardio, and Meerschaert is slowly putting together a more competent striking game to go along with his venomous grappling that is often underestimated in it's potency. None of that came into play here. Heinisch blitzed Meerschaert with a big overhand right less than a minute into the fight, followed him to the ground, and dropped bombs on his turtling foe until the referee had seen enough. With the win Heinisch halted a two-fight skid in emphatic fashion, while Meerschaert has split his has five fights.
#12 (BW) Cody Stamann def. Brian Kelleher by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
In honor of Jacob Stamann. pic.twitter.com/B0IXSi3hiQ— UFC (@ufc) June 7, 2020
Stamann netted an emotional win in the wake of his brother Jacob's untimely death, and it was as impressive as it was heartwarming to see. He was just a step ahead of Kelleher the whole way, and never let him get fully into the fight. He showed solid use of distance management in staying just outside of Kelleher's range and working a steady jab, front kicks to the body, and quick right hand counters. The two kept a furious pace the whole time as well, and if it weren't for all the impressive finishes I think it would've been a shoe-in for Fight of the Night. Although both men are bantamweights, this fight was contested at featherweight, and they appeared to look better for it. Despite this, Stamann did confirm that he plans to stay at bantamweight in the future, but his performance here definitely created some intrigue about how well he can perform without the significant weight cut.
Maki Pitolo def. Charles Byrd by TKO via strikes (1:10, R2)
As nice of a win as it is for Pitolo, it was an odd loss for Byrd. Not so much in the result itself, as it was his third-straight TKO loss, but just in the night-and-day change in him between rounds. In the opening round he showed some decent pressure, and although he he was clumsily taken down while he himself had a body lock, he was able to hit a switch and reverse to top position; and when Pitolo managed to lift him up and slam him to the ground, Byrd returned the favor by getting to his feet and landing a beautiful single leg-to high crotch lift slam of his own, and landed a few nice shots from top position before the round ended. Everything seemed to be trending in his favor, but in round two he just fell apart suddenly. Pitolo came out like a house on fire, but Byrd countered well at the start. Then as if a switch flipped, he crumpled to Pitolo's volume, and just kinda shelled up against the cage while Pitolo teed off with strikes. He must have been hurt by the shots because just seconds later Pitolo grabbed a hold of him and easily tripped him to the ground, and he just turtled up immediately until the fight was stopped. He he straight up looked like he didn't want to be there anymore and was looking for a way out before the finish even got going. As it turns out, that might have been the case. He tooks his gloves off and dropped them on the ground during the winner annoucement, and I wondered if that meant anything, but he did confirm later that he is in fact retiring from MMA. You have to think that influenced his will to fight. As someone who picked him to win it's a bit irksome (why didn't he think of of my picks?!), but I wish him the best of luck in whatever he does after this. Pitolo gave me a bit more to look forward to for his future, but the loss to Callan Potter still looms, and lets see how he handles someone without retirement on the brain.
#9 Alex Perez def. #4 Jussier Formiga by TKO via leg kicks (4:06, R1)
It's not too surprising that Perez got the win here, but the breakout manner in which he got it should put him on the short list of contenders at flyweight! In another "Let's put a guy coming off two wins against a guy coming off two losses" bit of UFC matchmaking (I miss Joe Silva), we got a surging Perez taking on Formiga, who showed in his loss to Brandon Moreno that he'd officially gotten over that hill. Whether he's on the downside of his career or not, this was a masterful performance by Perez, and the second-straight event that saw a fight end via low kick TKO (contrary to my recap of the last event, this was the 11th such finish in the UFC). If there was ever an announcement that calf kicks are one of the new "it" techniques in MMA, Perez and Chris Gutierrez served as messengers. Formiga did his best to counter up top with fast counter hooks, and he actually did a solid job of it, outlanding Perez 17-to-12 in head strikes, but those kicks just really tore him down. Of the 29 total significant strikes Perez landed, 15 of them were to the legs to Formiga's one. After several kicks had taken their toll on Formiga's lead leg, he was buckled and forced to go to the mat with one, and gingerly got to his feet when Perez beckoned him to stand. Another flush low kick caused him to grit his teeth and fire punches back, but a final slapping kick to the calf stopped him in his tracks. He winced, clutched at his leg, and took a seat on the canvas before rocking to his back, and that was all the referee needed to see. A fight with Brandon Moreno to determine the next contender seems to be the right move for him. Formiga could fight pretty much anyone coming off a loss ranked below him.
Devin Clark def. Alonzo Menifield by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
This was an impressive display of heart and determination from Clark, and an unimpressive display of stamina from Menifield. Clark stayed busy throughout, constantly keeping a high pace, touching Menifield with strikes, and shooting takedowns, and Menifield just couldn't handle the pressure. Normally a one-round finisher, we witnessed that his cardio falls off a cliff if he's forced to work any longer than that. In the first round he managed to hurt Clark and swell his eye up with an uppercut, and pretty handily win the round on the strength of his power shots, but even by the end of the opening round you could see that his stamina would be an issue. Even the second round saw him land well with power punches but it was hard to ignore Clark's steady stream of volume striking. Whenever they were in the clinch, Menifield would essentially rest, while Clark would throw a bevy of knees and punches to the body, and clinch low kicks that I don't remember seeing since early-UFC Cain Velasquez. By the end of the fight, Menifield didn't look hopeful for the win, nor disappointed at the result. Maybe he was too tired to look anything other than tired. As for Clark, it was nice to see him dig deep in the face of danger get another win.
Herbert Burns def. Evan Dunham by submission via rear naked choke (1:20, R1)
We ended the previous card with a top flight performance from Gilbert Burns, and we start off this card with a great performance by his brother Herbert. I did not expect this one to end this quickly. In fact, I wouldn't have been surprised if the fight had gone to decision, because Dunham has historically been a very solid grappler; he'd only been submitted once in his career by Donald Cerrone, and had gone toe-to-toe with some high level grapplers in the past. But to be fair, none of them were on the level of Burns, and it showed. After a couple failed attempts at baiting Dunham to the ground after being thrown there, he rushed into the clinch, circled to Dunham's back, and pulled him to the ground, immediately locking in a body triangle. Dunham tried to roll to the side the triangle was locked up, but Burns just rolled with him and sunk in the choke at the same time. It wasn't all the way under the chin, but Dunham had to tap to the immense pressure on his jaw. Gilbert says both of the Burns brothers will hold UFC gold, and while that seems a lot more likely for him at this point, Herbert certainly looks like someone to watch out for at featherweight if his striking continues to develop as his brother's has.
That's all we have for UFC 250! Despite not having the deepest card in recent memory, it did turn out one of the better cards of the year. We might have to get used to that when all the UFC's top stars retire or leave! Next thing you know we'll be having fighters like Jessica Eye headlining cards. What's that? She's fighting Cynthia Calvillo in the main event next week? Well alrighty then! Should be good...please don't leave, Jones and Masivdal! Chances are you won't hear from me after that card, but either way, sado out!