Real Winners and Losers: UFC 206

Remember when everyone was hating on UFC 206? Well, it's funny that it ended up being one of the best PPVs we've gotten this year (especially the main card). It was particularly a nice reminder that genuine MMA fans care the most about great fights, not necessarily "stars". Like always, I present to you the real winners and losers of the evening. Without further ado, let's get to it:

Max Holloway
I don't think anyone in the entire world had a better evening than Max Holloway. Finally, he obtained the title shot he had deserved for a minute and proved to everyone why the recognition was long overdue. I mean, a UFC performance doesn't get much better than that. This guy is so special. He was clinical, vicious, and laser-focused. The first person to finish Anthony Pettis (earning him the POTN), he confidently called out Jose Aldo. The unification bout is sure to be fantastic, but Holloway should take the time to celebrate with friends and family. He truly deserves it.

Anthony Pettis
Contrary to our last name, Pettis had one of the worst days of his life. After failing to make weight (which disabled him from earning the title), he was brutally finished in the third round after breaking his right hand a minute into the fight. During his interview with Rogan, he admitted the difficulty of the 145 cut and announced his return to the Lightweight division. Sadly, I don't see him climbing back to the top of a mountain filled with some of the scariest beasts in the company (McGregor, Khabib, Ferguson). Showtime is going through a rough patch in his career.

Cub Swanson & Doo Hoo Choi
Screw fight of the night! I'm going to have to go back to my "Best MMA Fights of 2016" piece and add this war to the list (still deciding its placement). Cub Swanson and Doo Hoo Choi had one of the craziest brawls I've seen in my life! Both men hurt each other multiple times, displaying their adamantium chins. Swanson fought with an enormous chip on his shoulder and Doo Hoo Choi looked to prove himself as a real threat to the division. Ultimately, Cub came out on top, but this is that rare fight that elevates both competitors. Swanson is comfortably sitting in a position that could realistically have him facing the winner of Holloway vs. Aldo, and Choi earned thousands of fans that will undoubtedly follow his progression as a martial artist. Amazing fight!

Their Chins
I'm half-joking with this one, but barnburners like this undoubtedly shorten your career and slowly degrade your ability to take a shot. You always hear how being brutally KO'd by one shot is better for your brain than eating bombs for fifteen minutes. It comes with the territory, though, so not much more to say about it.

Lando Vannata
Before making his octagon debut, I didn't know much about Lando Vannata. But his short notice performance against top Lightweight contender Tony Ferguson instantly made me a fan. Even though he came up on the shorter side of the stick, he showed that he is an extremely talented martial artist. Well, his return to the octagon was incredible. John Makdessi is no slouch, and Lando slayed him in less than two minutes with the best spinning heel kick finish we've witnessed since Barboza finished Terry Etim at UFC 142. Once he dropped his opponent, Groovy recognized his adversary was done for and happily admired his work before the ref stepped in. His performance earned him a $50,000 bonus. Can't wait to see where he goes from here!

Kelvin Gastelum's Post-Fight Interview
Following a failed attempt to make 170 in order to battle Cowboy at UFC 205, Kelvin Gastelum returned to the Middleweight division and dominated Tim Kennedy. I predicted Kennedy to win, considering his massive size advantage. However, I was fully wrong. Gastelum outstroke him during the entire fight, using his speed and technique to land beautiful combinations until Tim crumbled in the third round. Sadly, Gastelum announced his intentions to go back down to Welterweight for his next bout. I can't explain how disappointed I was to hear that. You've missed weight numerous times and just put a beating on an elite 185er. Why risk your health going back to that hellhole. Hopefully, the UFC doesn't allow him to do it.

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