5 Highlights From UFC Fight Week (Fight Night 90, TUF Finale, UFC 200)


After months of anticipation, the UFC Fight Week is all over. MMA fans witnessed a historic moment in our sport. The capital of fighting, Las Vegas, hosted three back-to-back-to-back cards that were mostly entertaining, featuring some of the biggest names in Mixed Martial Arts history. As everything slowly goes back to normal, I chose to share my five personal highlights of the weekend. Let's get to it:


5. Brock Lesnar Returns and Wins


As soon as the UFC announced that Brock Lesnar would fight at UFC 200, the whole world stopped for a minute. Suddenly deciding to return after an almost five-year-long sabbatical left everyone with a lot of questions. What kind of shape was he in? Did he have a proper training camp? For the most part, these questions were left unanswered until the initial bell rang. Turns out, to many people's surprise (not mine), Brock showed up and dominated the 8th best Heavyweight in the world. Think about that. Taking him down multiple times, he showed no signs of ring rust, earning a comfortable unanimous decision. Not the most exciting contest, but seeing Lesnar back in the octagon was an event in and of itself. In my opinion, this is not the last time we see him fight. He seemed genuinely happy to be back. Plus, he made $2.5 million (not accounting pay-per-view sales).


4. Amanda Nunes Demolishes Miesha Tate


Moving on, UFC 200's main event saw a new female Bantamweight champion being enthroned. Now, to be perfectly honest, this bout didn't feel like the historic 200 main event. It's not Amanda nor Miesha's fault. Fans had been eagerly awaiting for the Jones-Cormier rematch, so they obviously didn't have the same emotional connection towards this one. Regardless, Amanda Nunes put on a flawless performance. She has been known to fade away after the initial rounds, so she went out there trying to take Tate's head off. Miesha was a bit tentative, and she eventually got caught with a huge bomb that she never recovered from. After connecting with other hard shots, Nunes got Tate's back and successfully locked in the rear-naked-choke. Just like that, we have a new champ. Being the first openly gay title holder, Nunes is also a pioneer. With Ronda, Holm, Tate, and Pena looking for title shots, I can't wait to see where the division goes from here.


3. Cain Velasquez is Back


A significant concern posed by the MMA community over the past couple of months had been whether or not Cain Velasquez could return to top shape. After a brutal loss to Fabricio Werdum and a precarious back surgery, this was his chance to prove he's still a top contender, battling Travis Browne at UFC 200. Luckily, he looked amazing! Patient and technical, he showed his brutal power is still there, and he even added some new moves to his arsenal (like the Wheel kick he landed). Earning a performance of the night bonus, he looked like the warrior we all know and love.


2. The Underground King is Crowned


The UFC festivities got started with Fight Night 90, headlined by a UFC Lightweight Championship bout between Rafael dos Anjos and Eddie Alvarez. This fight was just insane. During my pre-fight analysis, I stated that Eddie should have more success countering RDA's high pressure offense. Which he did. However, when it comes to RDA, I was expecting him to be much more active in his kicks. He would cut the ring and apply pressure, but Eddie would circle away and Dos Anjos wouldn't throw his signature body kick. Maybe he didn't want to give Alvarez the chance to take him down. Regardless, while trading in the pocket during the first round, Eddie threw a big right hook that slipped right through RDA's guard and subsequently rocked him. While many fighters would try to stay composed and patient, the Silent Assassin saw the opening and unloaded with a barrage of beautiful combinations (and even a monumental flying knee) that knocked RDA cold on his feet. Props to him for not dropping, but Eddie is the rightful new belt holder.


1.  Joanna and Cláudia Have an Exquisite War


While UFC 200 didn't fully deliver on the expectations fans had set, the title rematch between Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Cláudia Gadelha absolutely did. It's easily the best fight I saw this week and it's arguably the most exciting female bout I've ever seen. It was sensational, for so many reasons. From the real hatred they share towards one another, to the thrilling story-line the five rounds told. Cláudia comes out and dominates the champ for two rounds, using her wrestling to drag things to the ground on numerous occasions and even dropping Jędrzejczyk. Then, Joanna shows her champion spirit by coming back and putting on a striking clinic for the last three rounds, landing 153 total strikes (to Gadelha's 41). A close decision, Joanna remains the Strawweight titleholder in an iconic contest.

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