WHAT A NIGHT!! UFC 236 did not disappoint. The only thing disappointing is that we don’t when we’ll get this caliber of fights again. The two main events are early candiates Fight of the Year. Only one finish on the maincard delivered by Nikita Krylov in the 2nd round of his fight vs Ovince St-Preux by Submission (Rear naked choke). Alan Jouban and Dwight Grant went the distance to a controversial Split decision giving Dwight Grant the decision. The infamous phrase “don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” comes to mind… FYI I hate that phrase. You fight for three rounds and you feel you did enough and three dumbos take it away from you. I’m not saying that the judges in this particular fight were wrong but most judges do not have concepts of the gorund or clinches. Good thing the Main Events were pure boxing slugfest.
I’ll breakdown the two Main Events where Israel Adesanya won by Unanimous decision over a tough Kelvin Gastelum and also how Dustin Poirier outboxed Max Holloway to became the Lightweight Interim champ.
Israel Adesanya wins over Kelvin Gastelum
Israel wasn’t able to keep his distance and his punches didnt seem to affect Kelvin until the 5th and final round. Kelvin has the best chin in MMA. The punches he took would KO anyone else on the UFC Roster. The 1st round showed Kelvin dominating the pace and closing the distance between him and StyleBender’s long reach. 2nd round was more of the same but this time Adesanya was able to open up a bit and take his shots, using his leg kicks and his distance. First two rounds are split. The 3rd round Adesanya using his superior boxing skills stays consistent until about the two minute mark when Kelvin shoots a beautiful double leg that Adesanya couldn’t stuff. Up until that point Adesanya had stuffed 3 Takedowns… 2-1 Kelvin. 4th round comes and its a boxing match again but Kelvin cracks the 6’4 Adesanya with a headkick that buckles the Kiwi. At this point i see how the judges scored it 2-2 but i had it 3-1 for Gasteum. 5th round comes and everyone is on their feet. Kelvin is clearly gased and Style Bender is beat up bad but they both get ready. Israel wastes no time and goes back to leg kicks and his boxing takes over, knocking Kelvin down 3 times in the last two minutes unable to finish. With 10 seconds left, Kelvin is on his back and trying to defend the barrage of punches but the referee Marc Goddard does well and allows the decision to determine the winner. Israel takes that round with a decisive 10-8 score and ultimately wins 48-46 on all three judges scorecards.
Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier
This was one the most entertaining fights you would ever see. The 1st round Poirier had Holloway hurt bad and out on his feet. Holloway, as tough as he is, barely escaped that round. Poirier couldve blown his load but decided to push it to the 2nd round. The 2nd round is more of a boxing mat, and Holloway tags Poirier with a few big shots. None of them really affecting Dustin but he was winning on scorecard. 1-1 after two rounds but the bigger Poirier seems to be the one controlling the pace. The 3rd was interesting because Poirier starts the round by keeping his boxing very basic, using his jab to create distance. Both fighters never take a step back and are always going forward. Holloway is visibly tired but that doesn’t stop him from talking smack to Poirier and pushes the pace until Poirier send Holloway to his back witha nice double leg and using the cage to his advantage. 4th round, Holloway looks to be done but is constantly countering and jabbing, action never stops and continues to be pushed. 4th round is decided by a Poirier knee that cuts Holloway inbetween the eyes. You would think that stops Holloway from coming out in the 5th guns blazing, but it didn’t. The commentators mention that “if anyone doubted Poirier’s cardio before today will have to rethink that argument”. Holloway’s cardio is known and we shouldn’t be surprised that he toughed it out to the 5th. The 5th is the same, both fighters are a little slower, but don’t stop the pressure. Max tries to instigate a brwal in the centre of the cage like he did with Cub Swanson but it’s too little too late for him. Poirier wins by Unanimous decision.
Next up for Israel is some rest having fought twice this year already and is set to fight Robert Whitaker to unify the Middleweight belts. Kelvin will most likely be paired up with the winner of Hermanson and Jacare or maybe Chris Weidman. Weidman has been looking for a fight for a while.
Max Holloway showed a lot of toughness in his Lightweight debut but i’m sure hell have some suitors in flyweight shortly. #1 ranked Flyweight is Jose Aldo… Holloway had beat him twice already. I see a fight between Zabit Magomedsharipov and Alex Volkanovski and the winner there would essentially get a shot at the belt. Both up and coming fighters with tremendous records.
For Poirier, it’s tough to say because the Lightweight division is an absolute shit show. Two of the top 5 are suspended and Tony Ferguson has gone through his personal issues and only he knows when he would be able to fight again. Dustin couls wait for Khabib to unify. In the meantime there’s a hit list of killers waiting for a chance: Gaethje, Mcgregor, Iaquinta, Lee, Cerrone, Diaz. Just to name a few. 2019 is going to be a crazy year for the LW division.
SO what happens next??? Well Mystic Mac had something to say.
Predictions for 2020. On January 1st 2020 the Middleweight champion will be Robert Whitaker after beating Israel Adesanya and the Lightweight champion will remain Khabib. I don’t see Dustin being able to keep Khabib off his back.
Thanks for reading