The main card of UFC on Fox 30 on Saturday from the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, delivered in every sense.
The lightweight rematch between Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez was a highly entertaining affair between two of the top lightweights in the world. Alvarez had won the first round on two of the judges’ scorecards. However, the momentum shifted when Alvarez threw an illegal 12-6 elbow and referee Marc Goddard stood them up. Poirier took advantage of the situation and finished off the former champion with a series of strikes.
In the co-main event, Jose Aldo showed he isn’t going down without a fight, besting Jeremy Stephens by first-round TKO. After Stephens nearly stopped Aldo early on, the former featherweight titleholder connected on a vicious body shot that sent Stephens crumbling to the mat. Moments later, Aldo finished Stevens off with vicious strikes.
Also on the card, former women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk snapped a two-fight losing streak by defeating Tecia Torres via unanimous decision.
Now that UFC on Fox 30 is in the books, let’s take a look at what’s next for the key winners of the event.
Defeating Alvarez in the destructive manner that he did solidifies Poirier as a top contender in the lightweight division. Unfortunately for him, it could be a while before he gets an opportunity at a world title.
If the rumors are true and the Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor title fight takes place this year, Poirier wouldn’t face the winner until the first quarter of 2019, at the earliest. The 29-year-old should look to compete on that card if it were to come to fruition. What a better way to show you are the No. 1 contender than win on what would likely be the biggest card in UFC history. Tony Ferguson appears to be nearing a return from recent knee surgery and would be the ideal opponent.
A pseudo-four-man tournament with the winner coming out the best lightweight in MMA? Sign me up.
That doesn’t mean Poirier shouldn’t stay ready in the event that Nurmagomedov-McGregor doesn’t come together. Either way, Poirier’s 8-1 run since moving back to lightweight in 2015 has earned him the opportunity for a major fight with high-stakes.
Many had written off Aldo heading into UFC on Fox 30. He had lost back-to-back fights via stoppage to current featherweight champion Max Holloway and has dropped three out of four fights after winning 18 straight fights. The 31-year-old hadn’t looked like the Aldo of old and was thoroughly dominated by Holloway in both of their meetings.
It appeared Stephens was set to prove the overwhelming theory to be correct when he rocked Aldo with a series of heavy shots early on. But Aldo rose in the face of adversity, dug deep and fired back with a series of punches to shut down Stephens’ assault. Clearly, he wasn’t going down without a fight. Aldo blasted Stephens with a body shot for the ages and ended the fight shortly after.
Does this mean that the Aldo of old is back? It’s hard to say at this point. Another finish over a top contender, like the winner of the fight between Cub Swanson and Renato Moicano at Saturday’s UFC 227, could be a sign that Aldo is back. However, considering that he’s lost to Holloway on two occasions, the Brazilian will need him to lose the belt if there’s any chance of him becoming a three-time world champion at 145 pounds.
Like Aldo, Jedrzejczyk was in a must-win situation after losing consecutive fights to women’s strawweight champ Rose Namajunas. A loss and she would have to reevaluate her options. She did what she had to do and beat a top-five contender on all three scorecards.
Instead of packing it in and moving up to 125 pounds, Jedrzejczyk wanted to stay at 115 and took on a very durable Torres in an effort to get another chance to regain her title.
Torres applied constant pressure and didn’t allow Jedrzejacyk to control distance and blast her with punches. But Jedrzejczyk stayed composed and fought an all-around fight to emerge victorious.
She said at the post-fight press conference that she wants another shot at Namajunas. While she remains the #1 contender and has beaten the top five in the weight class, the fact remains that Jedrzejczyk has lost to the champion on two occasions. Unless Namajunas loses in her next title defense, the native of Poland is at best, two fights away from another title opportunity. Facing the winner of the Carla Esparza-Tatiana Suarez bout at UFC 228 is a way for the 30-year-old to stay busy and notch another win against a high caliber foe.