A pay-per-view that exceeded all expectations with all the cancellations and fight withdrawals, we saw a former champion regain his belt and the heavyweight champion of the world stake his claim as the sole best heavyweight in MMA. Reports say that the UFC heavyweight champion Francis "The Predator" Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) received a grade 3 MCL tear as well as an ACL sprain in his right knee 3 weeks before his 1st defense of the title against Ciryl Gane. Ngannou seemed to have a slow start with Gane fighting at kicking range and keeping the power of Ngannou at bay for the first two rounds. The tide turned in the 3rd round where Ngannou used his wrestling (picked a thing or two up from Kamaru Usman in his corner) and his top control to grapple his way back ahead of the scorecards for a unanimous decision win (49-46, 48-47 x2) and earning the first title defense of his championship. In the co-main slot, the trilogy fight between Brandon "The Assassin Baby" Moreno (19-6-2 MMA, 7-3-2 UFC) and Deiveson "Dues da Guerra" Figueiredo (21-2-1 MMA, 10-2-1 UFC) delivered on all cylinders with an exciting back and forth for all 25 rounds which saw former champion Figueiredo reclaim his belt via unanimous decision (48-47 x3) and sets up a 4th fight between the two down the line with it now being 1-1-1 in the series. With all the attention that the two title fights garnished, many fights earlier on the card were not seen as much by the casual fans and with many spectacular finishes with big implications, they deserve to have more eyes on their performances and the fighters themselves.
Steamrolling Back Into Business
Coming off a 7 second KO loss to Terrence McKinney back in June and being 2-3-1 with losses to Marco Polo Reyes, the aforementioned McKinney and now #13 ranked lightweight Arman Tsarukyan in his UFC tenure, Matt "Steamrolla" Frevola knew his back was against the wall. With him being on the last fight on his contract, he was pinned against Entram Gym and DWCS alum Genaro "Raydito" Valdez, who won his way into the UFC with a 2nd round TKO over Patrik White. Having a squeaky clean 10-0 with all 10 wins ending by way of stoppage and having a chance to be a bright prospect, Frevola does what he does best and steamrolled through Valdez in 3 minutes, officially scoring 4 knockdowns on route to a 1st round TKO victory, taking Valdez's undefeated record and most likely saving his UFC career in the process. From being counted out after a very tough loss to laying down a beatdown worth a new fight deal from the UFC, Frevola has a fan friendly style along with a very strong wrestling base and the chance to be a major player in the glamoured UFC's lightweight division with a few more wins like the one he earned on the prelims of UFC 270.
A Debut Heard From Down Under
With the card being littered with fighters from the 5th season of Dana White's Contender Series, Jack Della Maddalena's just seem to shine the brightest compared to the rest. Fighting out of Perth, Western Australia, Maddalena started his MMA career 0-2 with both losses via stoppage, since the 0-2 start, he has rattled off 11 straight wins with 10 finishes and his most important was his latest against short notice prospect Pete "Dead Game" Rodriguez (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) on the prelims. From the start of the fight, Maddalena refused to touch gloves and from the very first punch thrown, it was evident that Maddalena was the better fighter. Throwing jab after jab leaving Rodriguez's face a bloody red mess after only 2 minutes into the fight. With his boxing on point, Jack threw a handful of jabs in an attempt to get Pete to fire back and once he tried to counter with a lead hook, Maddalena creates a highlight finish with a pull counter left hand that drops Rodriguez and after a few punches of ground and pound, the fight is called at 2:59 of the 1st and passing his UFC debut with flying colors. With the UFC's welterweight division lacking new blood, Jack is the perfect addition to add to the higher ranks of the division.
Ecuador's Next Big Star
Only 22 years of age and already has 13 fights and a perfect 13 wins with 11 by finish, Michael Morales has the chance to be a huge star after his 1st round TKO win over UFC veteran Trevin "The Problem" Giles. Earning his way into the UFC with a contract winning unanimous decision over Nikolay Veretennikov where he showcased the fight IQ and the grappling ability that threatens many of the UFC's current welterweight division. The fight started and Giles gave him his "welcome to the UFC moment" stunning him early with a right hand that left him up against the cage fence. The lack of fight IQ was shown by Giles where he attempted the takedown after hurting him on the feet. Morales recovered and after a minute or two of clinch transitions, Morales caught him with a lead hook while Giles rushed in and followed up with an uppercut that drops Giles and after ground and pound from the back, referee Mike Beltran called off the fight at 4:06 of the 1st as a TKO win for the rising star Morales. After a passionate interview, Morales star has done nothing but shined even brighter.
From Japan To The Big Show
With 26 professional fights under his belt and appearances in promotions like RIZIN and Pancrase, Victor "La Mangosta" Henry (22-5 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was more than ready for his debut against UFC veteran and hard hitting Roani Barcelos. Many did not give Henry a chance being a +380 underdog due to the fact Barcelos was 5-1 in the UFC with wins over names like Chris Gutierrez and Said Nurmagomedov. The fight was fought at a frantic pace with both men throwing a combined total of 356 strikes over the 3 round affair. Henry using his footwork and head movement to nullify Barcelos's power in his hands and used dirty boxing to land shot after shot to Barcelos. Henry used his absurd amount of cardio to his fullest advantage and somehow upped his punch count with each round with 119 thrown in the 1st and 115 and 124 in the second and final frame. After throwing endless punches and leaving Barcelos to throw more leading to him gassing, Henry took home an unanimous decision victory (30-27 x3) and had one of the most impressive UFC debuts of all time and big things are ahead of Henry and possibly a shot at a ranking in only his 2nd UFC fight.