A brilliant night of fights went down at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Saturday Night (August 4th, 2018). UFC 227 delivered one of the year’s best overall fight cards and won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Here are five quick takeaways from the event:
A STAR IS BORN
Kevin Holland’s gutsy performance against Thiago Santos undoubtedly earned the newcomer a multitude of fans. Although Holland didn’t appear quite ready for the step up in competition, he put up a respectable fight and proved to be a worthy short-notice opponent for one of the middleweight division’s most feared strikers. Holland’s flashy striking, exciting grappling style, and charisma in the octagon should take him a long way. It is rare to see a fighter’s personality shine through during a fight as much as Holland’s did on Saturday night. The UFC would be wise to build him up with a couple of winnable fights before matching him up with another high-level opponent.
RUN IT BACK
Many fans were expecting the events of UFC 227 to result in a championship trilogy, however, it’s safe to say that they were not expecting it to be between Demetrious Johnson and Henry Cejudo. For the first time since the UFC introduced the men’s flyweight division in 2012, Demetrious Johnson is not the champion. Cejudo, who lost to Johnson by way of knockout in 2016, evened the series with a narrow split-decision victory last night.
The new champion called for a fight with bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw, but it would be an absolute disgrace if Johnson is not granted an immediate rematch. The fight could have gone either way on the scorecards and a rubber-match is needed if Cejudo wants to prove that he is truly worthy of a “superfight” with Dillashaw. Furthermore, the only reason a superfight was being discussed for Johnson was due to the fact that he had completely cleaned out his division — the same can’t be said for Cejudo.
The UFC may find it hard to turn down a champ vs. champ fight, but I believe that fans would be more interested in seeing one of the greatest fighters of all-time redeem himself. Johnson did mention a knee and foot injury in the post-fight press conference — in case Mighty Mouse is out for an extended period of time, I’d still prefer to see Cejudo defend his 125-pound belt rather than move up in weight.
With a ferocious first-round knockout in the night’s main event, TJ Dillashaw emphatically shut the door on his rivalry with Cody Garbrandt. Dillashaw’s dominant performance proved that his first victory over Garbrandt (at UFC 217) was certainly not a fluke.
Although Dillashaw accepted Henry Cejudo’s call-out, in my opinion, Marlon Moraes should be the next challenger for the bantamweight championship. With brutal knockouts of Aljamain Sterling and Jimmie Rivera under his belt, Moraes has proven that he is the division’s de facto #1 contender. Moraes is a well-rounded fighter and a former World Series of Fighting champion — I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pull out a victory over Dillashaw.
There is talk of a fight between TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz, however, Cruz needs to win against a top contender before being granted a shot at the title. The winner of the UFC 228 bout between Jimmie Rivera and John Dodson could be a suitable opponent for the former champ’s return to action.
BATTLE OF THE PROSPECTS
BRETT JOHNS IS A SAVAGE DESPITE LOSS
— #UFC227 (@ufc) August 5, 2018
— #UFC227 (@ufc) August 5, 2018
None of you understand what it means to have all of these positive comments coming through my Twitter at my lowest point! God bless you all diolch Cymru! @UFCEurope @ufc
— Brett Johns (@36Johns) August 5, 2018