Daniel Cormier, Derrick Lewis, Chris Weidman and Jacare Souza were the marquee names on UFC 230 Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, but we saw several potential future title challengers in action.
#7 Middleweight David Branch is a former WSOF Double Champion, who was looking at his biggest fight ever against Jacare Souza. However, an injury to Luke Rockhold caused cards to fall in a different way, and led to him taking on former heavyweight Jared Cannonier. Unfortunately for Branch, despite an impressive first round that saw him score major takedowns, it wasn't enough. Cannonier fought back in round two and put the veteran away with heavy strikes. An elated Cannonier spoke fondly about his wife and New York City following the bout.
#9 Israel Adesanya made a strong case for Fighter of The Year with a TKO win over #6 Derek Brunson that launched him to 4-0 in the UFC in 2018 alone. After withstanding an early onslaught of takedown attempts, Adesanya picked apart Brunson on his way to a first-round stoppage win. After the fight, Adesanya stated that he wanted to leap into the top 5 of the division.
Adesanya spoke to Fightful ahead of his fight, which you can see on our new boxing & MMA Youtube channel.
#4 Sijara Eubanks was scheduled for her latest UFC Flyweight Title opportunity in the main event of UFC 230 against Valentina Shevchenko, before the fight was pulled in favor of Daniel Cormier vs. Derrick Lewis. It all ended up for the best, however, as Eubanks would miss weight while still beating her opponent in #7 Roxanne Modafferi. Eubanks controlled the majority of the bout with grappling and heavy strikes, although she a suspected adrenaline dump nearly cost her the second round of the fight.