Despite the cancellation of the 145-pound title fight between Max Holloway and Brian Ortega, UFC 226 was a historic event which will certainly be remembered as one of the year’s best overall fight cards… let’s just forget about that co-main event.
UFC 226 took place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 7th. With the star-studded card now in the books, many burning questions have been answered.
Is Anthony Pettis past his prime?
No, he isn’t! ‘Showtime’ turned in a vintage performance last night, showcasing the striking and jiu-jitsu that made him one of the most exciting fighters of the past decade. The past few years have been rough for the former lightweight champ, as he entered this weekend’s fight with a 2-5 record in his last seven bouts. Keep in mind that all of those losses were dealt by elite opponents. Pettis lost to Dustin Poirier last November, but he put up a good fight and showed flashes of his greatness.
This was a pivotal fight for Pettis and he absolutely exceeded expectations. The submission victory over Michael Chiesa could get him back into the lightweight division’s top-10 and the hype-train can get rolling again. A couple more wins will surely get Pettis’ name back into the 155-pound title picture.
How has Francis Ngannou evolved since UFC 220?
The Francis Ngannou we saw last night was a different version than we’ve ever seen before. It wasn’t the guy who faced Stipe Miocic at UFC 220 and it most definitely wasn’t the Ngannou who emerged as the UFC’s most dangerous knockout-artist after a string of six-straight finishes with the promotion. Most fans were expecting to see a new and improved ‘Predator’, but that was not the case.
In one of the most absurd fights to ever take place in the octagon, Ngannou looked like a man who had no interest in being a professional fighter. It seems as if his loss at UFC 220 has really taken a toll on his mentality as a fighter. The former heavyweight title contender only landed a total of 11 strikes as he dropped a decision to Derrick Lewis.
Should Paul Felder stay at 170-pounds?
‘The Irish Dragon’ stepped in on a short-notice welterweight bout against Mike Perry which delivered the night’s most violent and bloody affair. Felder dropped a split decision in his divisional debut but he certainly proved that he can be competitive as a 170-pounder. Considering that he suffered a major injury to his right arm in round one, this was a very impressive showing of toughness and skill by Paul Felder.
On the other hand, Perry is by no means considered a large welterweight and it was evident on many occasions that Felder struggled with the divisional jump. I imagine that Felder would struggle against the majority of ranked welterweights. Felder has been victorious in five of his last six lightweight bouts and hasn’t ever missed the 155-pound limit, so I think it’d be in his best interests to compete in the lightweight division.
Is Paulo Costa the real deal?
Heading into UFC 226, the toughest challenge Costa had faced was an over-the-hill Johny Hendricks, who really had no business fighting at 185-pounds in the first place. Although most would agree that the ship has sailed for Uriah Hall, he’s certainly the most qualified opponent ‘The Eraser’ has faced thus far. Hall had his moments last night, but ultimately, he didn’t bring anything to the table that Costa couldn’t handle. The 27-year-old Brazilian phenom scored a vicious second-round knockout and proved that he absolutely deserves all of the hype that he’s garnered in his young MMA career. With 11 knockouts in 12 professional fights, fans are justifiably excited to see what he can do against the division’s elite.
How good of a wrestler is Stipe Miocic?
Miocic looked solid in early grappling exchanges with Daniel Cormier last night. Of course, we never really got a chance to see his wrestling ability put to the test against the former Olympian — he was on the receiving end of a devastating first-round knockout punch as he exited the clinch.
Stipe Miocic, the most accomplished heavyweight champion in UFC history, relinquished his belt to Daniel Cormier at UFC 226. Who would you like to see Stipe face next?