This weekend’s UFC providing from Atlantic Metropolis drew the brief straw for the month of April, caught following a hyped pay-per-view that ended up being chaotic and a FOX card that promised superb violence and delivered in full.
Nonetheless, even with a pair late cancellations, the first occasion at Boardwalk Corridor since 2005 produced a number of key outcomes and gave us lots to speak about after the mud settled.
Right here’s a take a look at the key takeaways following one other entertaining night inside the Octagon.
“The Motown Phenom” is a professional contender
For some purpose, there wasn’t a ton of hype surrounding Saturday’s major occasion, as if the proven fact that Kevin Lee and Edson Barboza dropped their final appearances to Tony Fergsuon and Khabib Nurmagomedov respectively by some means pressured them out of the light-weight title image.
Now that Lee has a dominant stoppage victory over Barboza in his again pocket, individuals ought to acknowledge that the 25-yr-previous Detroit native is a critical participant in the one hundred fifty five-pound weight class.
Showcasing his regularly enhancing hanging and highly effective grappling, Lee turned in arguably the most full and spectacular efficiency of his profession on Saturday, dominating the motion towards Barboza from begin to end, save for a dicey spell the place a glancing wheel kick left him doing the stanky leg in the middle of the Octagon.
Even then, nevertheless, Lee confirmed his championship mettle, gathering himself sufficient to push ahead for a takedown and collect himself earlier than resuming his beat-down of the gifted, sturdy Brazilian.
Lacking weight takes slightly of the shine of this one, however Lee made it clear that he’s a authentic contender and somebody that needs to be thought-about when the matchups at the prime of the division are being made for the second half of the yr.
With out preventing, Brian Ortega appears even higher
Stick to me right here:
In the penultimate bout on Saturday night, Frankie Edgar returned to the cage and the win column, posting a unanimous choice victory over Cub Swanson lower than two months after struggling the first stoppage lack of his profession. It was a workmanlike effort for “The Reply,” who continues to show that he’s nonetheless one in every of the prime featherweights in the world.
However Edgar coming again and doing what he does towards Swanson solely additional underscores how spectacular Ortega’s victory over the former light-weight champion and perennial title menace at UFC 222 was. Edgar hadn’t misplaced a non-title battle in a decade and picked up a victory over a recreation, savvy veteran in Swanson and Ortega completely trucked him. Positive, it was shut earlier than the ending sequence began, however it ended inside the first 5 minutes, which is a testomony to how rattling gifted a fighter Ortega is.
What’s even higher about Edgar’s efficiency and the way it will increase Ortega’s shine is that the UFC formally introduced his featherweight title bout with Max Holloway as the co-principal occasion for UFC 226 throughout Worldwide Struggle Week this week. His identify was already on the tip of everybody’s tongues and now his most up-to-date conquest seems to be much more spectacular.
Position Reversal for Aljamain Sterling
Heading into his bout with Brett Johns, Sterling talked at size about understanding how his Welsh opponent was feeling, as he too was as soon as an undefeated prospect calling out a prime-10 expertise.
Sterling received his want to struggle Bryan Caraway, however couldn’t get the job finished, struggling his first loss towards the veteran grappler and he was keen to show the tables and do the similar towards Johns down the street from his residence in Lengthy Island. Saturday night, “The Funkmaster” did simply that.
Over quarter-hour, the Serra-Longo Struggle Group member turned in his most balanced effort thus far, growing his putting output and largely controlling Johns in the grappling exchanges en path to a unanimous determination victory.
This was an important battle for Sterling, who had confirmed himself as a prime-10 bantamweight, however wanted to bounce again after a primary-spherical knockout loss to Marlon Moraes final day trip. Stopping Johns’ unbeaten climb and displaying necessary enhancements can’t be ignored and with contenders jockeying for place in the extremely-aggressive one hundred thirty five-pound ranks each weekend, this was an essential victory for the gifted New Yorker.
Don’t Sleep on Dan Hooker
Following a six-battle run at featherweight that noticed him alternate wins and losses, the lanky New Zealander introduced his plans to maneuver as much as light-weight, promising those that relocating would permit him to understand his potential inside the Octagon.
His first two appearances yielded stoppage victories and Saturday night, Hooker introduced that he’s somebody to observe in the deepest division in the UFC by icing veteran robust out Jim Miller with a fantastic knee simply three minutes into the first spherical. As an added bonus, Hooker took benefit of his time on the microphone following the victory to ask the man interviewing him, fellow light-weight Paul Felder, if he’d fancy a struggle later in the yr as nicely.
This was a real breakout efficiency for the gifted finisher, who simply turned 28 in February and has a wealth of expertise underneath his belt already. With wonderful measurement for the division and a various arsenal, “The Hangman” might be an issue for some established lightweights in the second half of the yr.
Might Siyar Bahadurzada nonetheless be nice?
Earlier than he signed with the UFC, Siyar Bahadurzada was thought-about certainly one of the prime welterweights competing outdoors of the Octagon. He was 20-four-1, driving a six-struggle profitable streak and brandishing critical struggle-stopping energy. Many anticipated “Siyar the Nice” to turn into an prompt contender and after he pasted Paulo Thiago in his promotional debut, it appeared destined to occur.
Consecutive losses killed his momentum and accidents put him on the sidelines for an prolonged time period, however Saturday night, Bahadurzada completed Luan Chagas with a entrance kick to the physique and a clear proper hand to the dome for good measure to increase his profitable streak to 3, incomes a Efficiency of the Night bonus for his efforts.
With three consecutive finishes and a extra affected person, calculated strategy the 34-yr-previous Afghani veteran could possibly be morphing right into a sleeper in the welterweight division proper earlier than our eyes.
Issues are extensive open in the one hundred seventy-pound ranks at the second and three consecutive stoppages can’t be ignored, so if Bahadurzada can rating a marquee matchup and push his profitable streak to 4, he may get an opportunity to point out he can nonetheless be nice.
Information and figures
Battle of the Night: Ricky Simon vs. Merab Dvalishvili
Efficiency of the Night: David Department & Siyar Bahadurzada