Here are eight things we learned after Saturday’s UFC 230, the card that saw Daniel Cormier defend his heavyweight title for the first time.
It was an entertaining night that had a solid mix of showcase wins, thrilling contests and stunning finishes and while the main-event pairing of Derrick Lewis and Daniel Cormier had the most eyes on it, there were more than enough talking-points to take away from the event as a whole.
Israel Adesanya is as real as it gets
The Last Stylebender arrived to the party in a massive way at UFC 230, destroying the always challenging Derek Brunson to open the main-card.
We all know exactly how technical this guy is but what impressed me the most was that takedown defence and overall awareness of the shot and when he was able to build up his rhythm, it was beautiful to watch.
Just like Stephen Thompson before him, we’ll no doubt see this guy’s striking flourish as he becomes more comfortable with the grappling exchanges.
The best is undoubtedly yet to come.
Paul Felder might be the best third-wheel in the sport
The UFC lightweight made his first appearance in the commentary booth for a PPV event alongside Jon Anik and Joe Rogan and I think it’s safe to say that he was the perfect fit.
Everything from his first-hand insights to his chemistry with the established vets was on point and most importantly, it sounded like he was having fun in there – something that only served to add to the occasion as a whole.
One to watch out for in the future!
Jacare is still very much a player at 185lbs
38-years-old and as hungry as ever, Ronaldo Souza had to dig deep to beat a very, very good Chris Weidman in the night’s co-main event.
The pair of grappling maestros engaged in a fantastic brawl on the feet and while both guys have been finished in brutal fashion in recent times, it was Jacare who looked like a man ten years younger than his age would suggest.
Where this leaves him now is anyone’s guess but with the title being contested between champion Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum early next year, who knows, Souza could well get his first shot at UFC gold before long.
Chris Weidman has to do some very serious thinking about his future
I think it’s fair to say that Weidman has been pretty unfortunate of late. Like his fight against Yoel Romero and even Gegard Mousasi, he was looking pretty damn good up until, well, he wasn’t.
‘The All-American’ has been finished by strikes four times in his last five fights and now, finds himself at a crossroads of sorts. Does he continue as a middleweight and accept the fact that he has effectively been shut out of the title-race?
Or, does he chance his arm at 205lbs and attempt to start anew?
Daniel Cormier is just on another level entirely
As if there was any doubt.
Derrick Lewis was given the infamous ‘puncher’s chance’ ahead of his first shot at UFC gold but like Volkan Oezdemir and Anthony Johnson before him, he learned pretty quickly that there are, in fact, levels to this game.
DC dominated the fight from start to finish despite hurting his back badly earlier in that day and in doing so, became the first man to successfully defend two titles in two different weight-classes.
A true double-champ in every sense of the word.
He now puts himself in the perfect position to make some serious money before his inevitable retirement. Whether that sees him fight Brock Lesnar, Jon Jones, or both, remains to be seen.
Putting together main-events with two underprepared and injured fighters might work in the short-term but it makes no sense.
The decision to originally book Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks for a flyweight title tilt as the UFC 230 headliner was one that was met with a near-universal negative reaction – something that caused a clear panic for the promotional brass.
You can’t underwhelm at Madison Square Garden and it became evident that the UFC needed to think and act fast.
Yes, getting a fight between Cormier and Lewis together managed to save the card from completely bombing, but both guys were pretty battered coming into this one.
Lewis had endured a beating at the hands of Alexander Volkov just under a month before and Cormier was pretty vocal about the issues he was having with his hands – not to mention the back problems that nearly saw the fight cancelled.
Maybe it would have played out exactly the same but either way, it wasn’t a good look.
Derrick Lewis has already won
He might not have mounted much in the way of offense during the night’s main-event but like many suspected beforehand, Lewis’ stock didn’t take too much of a hit after his loss to DC.
He managed to take home a guaranteed pay-cheque as well as a reportedly lucrative deal with Popeyes Chicken and on top of that, he won the hearts of the fans – something most go entire careers with achieving.
We’re all fully aware of his frankly ridiculous power now and while it looks as though he won’t get another shot at the title until Cormier retires, he can at least take some time off in the knowledge that he has managed to do more for his career in the last month than he had in the years spent grafting before then.
Lando Vannata should never be cut from the roster
Lando Vannata’s UFC record currently stands at (1-3-2) and by the looks of things, the fact that he has gone four fights without a win would suggest that he’s in danger of being cut from the UFC.
This guy is absolutely unmissable, though.
It’s pretty shocking that his prelims showdown with Matt Frevola didn’t win Fight of the Night when the awards were given out – they deserved it over Weidman/Jacare for their efforts but regardless of that, Lando is one of the most electric fighters on the roster.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena