Each week, we’ll launch a brand new MMA combine tape entitled “The Remix” that appears again at not solely the most important tales of the final seven days, however a few of the ones that aren’t getting sufficient consideration too, with some weekly awards and a prospect to observe going ahead added in for good measure.
Adesanya retains rolling, however…
Lots of people anticipated Israel Adesanya to step into the Octagon on Saturday night time at UFC 234 and dominate Anderson Silva.
Of their minds, they pictured much less of a passing of the torch and extra of Adesanya taking it by violent power, styling on “The Spider” with the flare, panache and precision that produced 4 wins in as many begins in 2018.
As an alternative, the 29-year-old upstart won a clear, concise decision by outworking Silva and avoiding any actual protracted battles. He picked his spots, made use of his pace benefit and shared just a few enjoyable back-and-forth moments with one in every of his preventing inspirations, like their second-round ‘No, you come right here’ bit the place every obliged the opposite’s request to combat in a sure location.
From a performance standpoint, it did the trick — Adesanya remained defeated and added one of many biggest fighters of all-time to his listing of vanquished foes, maintaining him within the title dialog within the now congested middleweight division.
However in having to play it secure towards Silva, “The Final Stylebender” might have slowed his momentum and paired with the delayed title conflict between Robert Whittaker and Kelvin Gastelum, it may end in Adesanya needing to take one other, extra harmful combat earlier than really coming into into the title dialog.
This was all the time the danger with making the combat with Silva.
Stylistically, there was all the time nice potential for Saturday’s last-minute important occasion to show right into a staring match the place neither man wished to hurry in and get caught out. Fortunately, there have been sufficient exchanges and engagements to offer some pleasure, however the relative closeness of the combat additionally left individuals questioning about Adesanya’s true standing within the division.
Beloved as he’s, Silva hadn’t fought in two years (much less a day) and hadn’t earned an undisputed or non-overturned victory since defeating Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. But there he was Saturday night time, making a man who had earlier dominated Brad Tavares and Derek Brunson thoughts his Ps and Qs.
Is it a testomony to Silva’s otherworldly expertise that he’s in a position to nonetheless make rising stars like Adesanya combat cautiously or does Adesanya’s incapacity to dominate the 43-year-old legend immediate a deeper inspection of the place the Metropolis Kickboxing standout suits throughout the divisional hierarchy?
The perfect reply is one which encompasses each and sure means a harder task for Adesanya subsequent outing in hopes that he runs by way of a longtime present contender and cements himself as subsequent in line to problem for the title.
However sliding him in towards Jacare Souza, Yoel Romero and even Chris Weidman are dangerous propositions that would see the gifted burgeoning famous person bounced from the ranks of the unbeaten and knocked again within the 185-pound pecking order.
Simply as dropping isn’t all the time the tip of the world, generally beating one of many greatest names within the historical past of the game doesn’t produce the returns you anticipated.
Adesanya stays a star on the rise and a surging contender, however there are just a few extra questions for him to reply following his bout with Silva than there have been previous to the 2 sharing the Octagon in Melbourne.
If not for unhealthy luck …
Robert Whittaker can’t appear to catch a break, particularly with regards to defending his middleweight title on house soil.
Final 12 months, a month earlier than his scheduled bout towards Luke Rocklhold in Perth, the UFC’s first and solely Australian champion was pressured out of the bout with a nasty staph an infection and a case of the rooster pox, that are an annoying proper of passage as a toddler, however more and more harmful when contracted as an grownup.
All all through combat week prematurely of his scheduled title protection towards Gastelum this weekend at UFC 234, Whittaker spoke about how a lot it meant to him to defend his belt at house and to compete in entrance of the Australian followers. And then, the Saturday morning information broke that “The Reaper” was rushed to the hospital and faraway from the cardboard.
Whittaker was recognized with twisted and collapsed bowels and an inside hernia, and underwent emergency surgical procedure on Saturday to appropriate the problems. Supplied every part went nicely, the projected timetable for his return to coaching is seemingly 4-Eight weeks, although Matt Damon advised UFC President Dana White that appears just a little bold and who’re we to argue with Will Searching/Jason Bourne/The Man Who Purchased a Zoo/The Martian?
Dana White says Matt Damon advised him that anybody who has hernia surgical procedure will want greater than 4 to 6 weeks to recuperate. So that they’re taking a wait-and-see method with Robert Whittaker. #UFC234
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) February 10, 2019
As horrible as that is for Whittaker, it’s no picnic for Gastelum both, because the challenger now faces an unsure future after spending the final eight months related on the hip with Whittaker.
Saturday’s scuttled important occasion was presupposed to wrap up their time collectively — the tip of a construct that included teaching reverse each other on “The Final Fighter” — and now it’s exhausting to say whether or not the pairing stays collectively or if Gastelum can be pressured to face another person as Whittaker convalesces.
That’s why the title challenger was traipsing round with Henry Cejudo’s UFC title over his shoulder, calling himself the rightful middleweight champion all through the published on Saturday night time. He wanted to do no matter he may to keep up the rivalry and lock down his place within the queue of contenders, understanding full nicely that an prolonged absence for Whittaker may price him his title shot.
And this isn’t nice for the UFC both.
I do know nobody likes to listen to any “this sucks for them too” factors every time a combat is pulled at the 11th hour as a result of everyone seems to be within the midst of hating the UFC and its overloaded schedule, however dropping Saturday’s important occasion knocks one other division off kilter to begin the 12 months.
Light-weight has been up within the air since Khabib Nurmagomedov went bonkers at UFC 229, flyweight is likely to be getting shuttered and bantamweight has too many title combat choices in the intervening time, in order that’s already three of the UFC’s 12 weight lessons which might be unsettled — 4 for those who embody heavyweight, the place nobody appears to know for positive what’s subsequent for Daniel Cormier and if he’s going to stay round past the mid-March exhausting out he set for himself final 12 months.
UFC 234 was presupposed to be a straightforward two-step at middleweight — Whittaker and Gastelum combat for the title and the winner faces the winner of the co-main occasion between Adesanya and Silva.
As an alternative, the primary occasion was cancelled and Adesanya seemed good, however not nice whereas beating the 43-year-old former champion and now everyone seems to be ready to learn the way lengthy Whittaker can be out and the way issues are going to line up in his stead.
Conor vs. The World
There was a time not that way back the place getting Conor McGregor to comply with combat anybody was a labor-intensive process that required you to capitulate to his varied calls for, signing a pair guys from SBG Eire, throwing rankings and divisional construction out the window and understanding you’d have to interact in the identical train the following time you wished to get him to step into the cage.
However it looks like getting choked out in probably the most broadly watched UFC pay-per-view in historical past has prompted “The Infamous” one to change his techniques.
A pair weeks again after Donald Cerrone stopped Alexander Hernandez and as soon as once more threw down the gauntlet at McGregor’s ft, the previous two-weight world champion took to Twitter and mentioned he was :
For a combat like that Donald, I’ll combat you.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 20, 2019
Final week, when Jose Aldo talked about he’d like to shut out his profession preventing in Brazil, McGregor mentioned he’d wish to compete within the South American MMA hotbed, which made everybody assume a rematch with Aldo is a risk:
What a tremendous environment at UFC Brazil tonight.
I might LOVE to compete there for all of the passionate Brazilian followers at some stage of my profession.
I used to be so near securing a bout in Rio final 12 months. It was basically a carried out deal.
Possibly subsequent time.
Ui Vai Morrer!!!! I’m nonetheless right here.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 3, 2019
After Anderson Silva instructed he’d wish to run it again with Nick Diaz in his hometown of Curitiba, Brazil later this 12 months following his loss to Israel Adesanya, the Correct 12 proprietor once more took to Twitter to connect his title to the hypothetical festivities, suggesting it might be a good opportunity for he and Nate Diaz to book their trilogy fight:
Guide it. I’ll combat Nate on it. https://t.co/ewh4aQ4E7A
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Do I believe he’s genuinely eager about every of those alternatives? Certain, for the suitable value.
Do I consider that is extra about McGregor maintaining his title within the dialog whereas he’s hanging out on the sidelines, ending up his retroactive suspension stemming from the UFC 229 melee as a result of heaven forbid MMA Twitter not convey up his title in each dialog about potential fights in or round a division he’s fought in beforehand?
You’re rattling proper I do and I’ve to confess, it’s good as a result of it’s working.
McGregor can’t combat till April and Nurmagomedov mentioned he doesn’t need to return till November in New York Metropolis, so until the Irishman goes to face another person, he’s going to be on the shelf for almost all of the 12 months and that’s simply not one thing he’s going to simply accept quietly.
So, he’s accepting fights with everybody on Twitter, giving oxygen to conversations about potential matchups and maintaining his title within the information as solely he can.
Personally, I’ll have an interest when pen hits paper and a deal to combat one in every of these guys is signed.
Till then, I’m joyful to concentrate on the opponents who’re truly getting into the cage on a week-by-week foundation and never those re-tweeting each optimistic point out of Correct 12 and pretending like he’s able to tackle the world once more like again earlier than he tasted championship success within the UFC.
Battle of the Weekend: Shane Younger vs. Austin Arnett at UFC 234
I beloved every part about this combat.
On one hand, it was an amazing combat for breaking down how scoring works in MMA as a result of though Arnett landed some good photographs every spherical, he was throwing singles and largely transferring backwards, whereas Younger was placing collectively combos, dictating the phrases of engagement and touchdown probably the most telling blows of every body.
Some might need objected to the 30-27 scores, however they have been on the cash so far as I’m involved.
Moreover, who doesn’t love scrap the place one man (Younger) is content material to get punched within the face with a view to get inside and land a pair good licks of his personal? The 25-year-old featherweight ate a bunch of fresh, sharp jabs from Arnett, however at no level did he cease coming ahead or dial again the amount, which resulted in Younger closing out every spherical in spectacular style, together with spinning Arnett to the canvas with a proper hand on the finish of the combat.
Younger doesn’t get as a lot acclaim as a few of his Metropolis Kickboxing secure mates, however make he’s powerful as nails and feisty as all get out, so concentrate as he continues to work his means up the featherweight ladder.
Submission of the Weekend: Corey Browning submits Aaron Chalmers by heel hook at Bellator Newcastle
Corey Browning has made two appearances within the Bellator MMA cage and brought out a pair of well-known names with promotional backing within the course of.
Final October, the Knoxville-based light-weight pounded out a second-round stoppage win over “Child Slice,” Kevin Ferguson Jr. and Saturday in Newcastle, he tapped Geordie Shore star Aaron Chalmers with a heel hook 20 seconds into the third spherical.
— Darren Russell (@DarrenRussell_) February 9, 2019
Browning had misplaced two straight when he received the decision to face “Child Slice” and now he’s turn out to be a “Celeb Executioner” of kinds.
That is all the time the hazard of backing inexperienced expertise with marketable names and it is going to be attention-grabbing to see if Bellator are in a position to parlay Browning’s success into one thing greater.
Knockout of the Weekend: Jalin Turner knocks out Callan Potter at UFC 234
Turner is a kind of guys who’s going to need to make up for a poor first impression within the UFC after preventing up in weight and getting knocked out within the first spherical by Vicente Luque.
He took the primary steps in the direction of that finish on Saturday by showcasing what he brings to the desk within the second combat of the night time.
The lengthy, rangy light-weight slipped out of a takedown try initiated by Potter, referred to as him again to his ft and caught him with some huge, clear photographs that ended the bout and made it clear why he’s somebody to maintain tabs on going ahead. His measurement is all the time going to be an issue within the 155-pound weight class and he’s received energy to go together with it, which complicates issues additional.
There are nonetheless holes in his sport and he wants to realize extra expertise, clearly, however Turner is simply 23 and has the potential to be an all-action addition to the light-weight ranks and probably extra going ahead.
Prospect to Watch after this Weekend: Devonte Smith
Dominick Cruz mentioned one thing about two minutes into Smith’s combat with Dong Hyun Ma that basically caught my ear on Saturday.
He talked about that when the 25-year-old light-weight begins throwing punches to the physique, it means he’s received his opponent’s vary and rhythm down and you may anticipate him to begin in search of the chance to land one thing juicy.
The combat was over lower than two minutes later.
Smith doesn’t have overwhelming measurement or energy for the division, however what the Manufacturing facility X Muay Thai product does possesses is excellent pace and precision, and when coupled with that potential to make fast reads and changes in-fight, it makes him a really intriguing prospect.
Smith is now 2-Zero within the UFC with a pair of first-round stoppage wins, which suggests he ought to get one other reasonable step up in competitors subsequent outing, though he did point out eager to face Francisco Trinaldo, which might be attention-grabbing.
No matter what comes subsequent, “King Cage” is somebody to pay actual shut consideration to long-term within the light-weight division as a result of nearly as good as he has seemed to this point, there may be nonetheless loads of room for him to get higher too.