Here Having been occupied working the Rizin FF New Year’s Eve show, I did not have the luxury to watch UFC 207 live. While the results were showing up on my phone, it simply is not the same as watching the bouts live … heck, even afterwards. The true story is seeing the nuances that make up the tilts, not the final results.
I kept reading the social media updates depicting Ronda Rousey being destroyed by Amanda Nunes, Cody Garbrandt clowning Dominick Cruz and TJ Dillashaw utterly dominating John Lineker. While none of this news surprised me, there was a simple void not being able to see it all myself. I had to somehow watch the bouts myself. And finally, when I got home from Tokyo, I sat down and enjoyed the bouts.
The main event was definitely a sight to behold. While my initial analysis during the pre-UFC 207 podcasts and articles had me leaning towards Amanda Nunes winning early via strikes, not even I actually envisioned the demolition that ensued.
For over a year, I brushed off and dismissed the conversations that Rousey needed a new trainer; one who could provide the female superstar a different outlook and strategy for her opposition. Today, I am no longer dismissive and am on the side the Ronda needs to do so immediately. If she wishes to continue fighting, changes are obviously required.
Her lack of footwork and head movement were obvious. She paid a dear price for it. Her straight forward / lack of angle selection were her demise. Considering what Nunes did to Miesha Tate to win the title and what she has done to previous opponents, standing and trading with the Brazilian is simply, quite frankly, a puzzling and a terrible strategy.
While Team Rousey can say all they want about the current regime getting her to the dance, there has been no evolution. If there was, then we can stand witness to their rightful claims. But there appears to be a digression or a non-improvement in her style. The book has always been out on her and only person was smart enough to execute the correct strategy. And that lady was Holly Holm. Now, Nunes simply solidified with a monstrous performance for the ages.
The one key thing that stood out for me was how Nunes was launching her right hand. It was part cross / part hook / part overhand. It was designed with a trajectory to be thrown over an incoming jab. It was not straight. It was not a loop. It had an arc to it, and it was beautiful. I watched it over and over and over again and cannot express how exceptional it looked.
Now, speaking of exceptional, Cody Garbrandt’s toying of Dominick Cruz was an eye-opener for yours truly.
I sincerely believed Cody was not ready yet. He still had time to build his career and this title shot was too early. Considering it was even Cruz who called him out, I saw red flags for the challenger. Instead, and thankfully, Cody proved me wrong.
His dismantling of the near perfect Cruz style was more than an eye-opener. It made me change positions on my couch. It forced me to squint and pay close attention to how he was doing it. What I saw was sheer MMA magic. His ability to stay focused and never deter from his game plan showed a fighter years beyond his maturity. This guy is more than the real deal. He is a force to be reckoned with.
After the bout, he made it clear to TJ Dillashaw that he more than welcomed the opportunity to fight him. They have both been going back and forth on social media, so colour me ecstatic. We have our first big bout on tap for 2017 … and it’s going to be ugly, yet beautiful at the same time.
Dillashaw proved once again, that he is one of top dogs at 135 lbs, when he manhandled the uber dangerous Lineker. While it was another bout that I figured would be a victory for Dillashaw, I did not envision he would use his wrestling the way he did.
I believed his footwork and execution would be key, but the way he mixed it in with his wrestling was stellar. Lineker basically had no answer for anything and everything TJ was tossing his way. The former champ looked near immaculate in that performance, and for that, earned himself another title shot.
But now, it will be against a former teammate. A former friend turned enemy. This is one fight that will get ugly and the build up is going to be fantastic.
Much more happened at UFC 207, but these storylines are the ones that stood out for me. Much more to come from all of the fighters at this event, but perhaps one question is sticking out in my mind: is this the last we’ve seen of Johny Hendricks? If not, is this the end of him competing at 170 lbs?
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