UFC 224 was loaded with finishes! What seemed like a very weak card turned out to be very entertaining. There was a total of 11 finishes out of the 13 fights, on the card. This tied the UFC record of most finishes on a single fight card.
The main card capped off with Vitor Belfort’s final fight in the octagon. His opponent was another UFC legend Lyoto Machida. The fight definitely favored Machida’s style of fighting. Vitor stayed patient, which allowed Machida to faint a rear leg kick. Then knock Belfort out with a front leg kick. Unfortunately for Vitor his retirement fight ended with him out cold on the canvas. Even though Vitor lost a step towards the end of his career he’s with out a doubt a future hall of famer. In his prime Vitor was one of the most terrifying fighters in the UFC middleweight division. After the fight Vitor took off his gloves and gave his final farewell to the octagon. The Brazilian fans lit up the Junesse Arena with chants of “Olay Olay Olay Olay… Vitor Vitor”. Machida showed nothing but respect to the phenom. Even after Machida knocked Belfort out, Machida bowed and took a knee as a sign of respect. During Machida’s post fight interview he called out Michael Bisping. In my opinion this is the fight to make next, If Bisping does want one more fight before he retires. Machida would be an interesting opponent for him. If Machida wins a fight against Michael Bisping, it would put him in the title hunt again.
In the second fight of the main card, John Lineker got back to his winning ways. His last fight was all the way back at UFC 207 where he lost to now champion TJ Dilishaw. Lineker’s opponent was Brian Kelleher, who was coming off a win against former UFC champion Renan Barao. Kelleher definitely understands now why they call Lineker “Hands of Stone”. Lineker was landing some heavy shots and was ripping a lot of shots to Kelleher’s body, which tired Kelleher out. Kelleher was landing some good shots. Unfortunately for Kelleher, John Lineker has a chin made out of granite, and just ate every shot. In round 3 Lineker KO’d Kelleher with a huge punch. The fight that should be next for Lineker is a matchup against the winner of Marlon Moraes vs Jimi Rivera.
The most controversial fight on the card took place next as Amanda Cooper took on Mackenzie Dern. Dern missed weight by 7 pounds. Cooper weighed in at 116 pound, Dern weighed in at 123 pounds. This gave Dern a 7 pound weight advantage, which is a huge advantage in MMA. Dern dropped Cooper with a punch and took her back and finished the fight with a rear naked choke. The fight that should be next is a rematch between these two. A rematch only seems fair after this fight. The UFC is pushing Dern as the next big thing in the UFC’s strawweight division. So there’s a good chance a rematch won’t happen. The fight that I think will be next is probably a top 15 opponent. Two names that come to mind right away are Angela Hill and Joanne Calderwood.
The best fight of the night was next as Jacare Souza took on Kelvin Gastelum. I predicted Gastelum to win via 2nd round TKO and he was very close to getting that 2nd round TKO. After having some adversity in the first round Gastelum dropped Jacare with a punch in round 2 that nearly ended the fight. Jacare barley survived to see round 3, even falling down on his way to his corner. Round 3 was close, but Gastelum ended up getting the win via split decision. A title shot should be next for Gastelum. Whittaker will be defending his middleweight championship against Yoel Romero at UFC 225; Gastelum will most likely be fighting the winner of that fight.
The main event was up next and it was a one sided beat down. Amanda Nunes is one of the most dominant women in combat sports today. The first strike of the fight was a leg kick that floored Pennington. Nunes pressured Pennington the rest of the fight landing some clean shots, and continued to attack Pennington’s leg. In between rounds 4 and 5 Pennington said to her corner “I want to be done”, meaning she wanted them to call the fight. Her corner convinced her to finish the fight, and she complied. Round 5 Nunes hit Pennington with a shot, and Pennington’s nose pretty much exploded. This lead to Nunes winning via 5th round TKO. The only fight that makes sense next is Cris Cyborg vs Amanda Nunes at 145 pounds.
Stephen Caloggero (Steveo_Calo)