What within the heck simply occurred?
UFC 281 got here and went like a twister on Saturday evening, ripping by means of a riotous Madison Sq. Backyard and delighting combat followers with what was arguably the perfect card of the 12 months.
There have been 11 finishes from the 14 fights all through the evening together with 7 that didn’t make it out of the primary spherical, setting a brand new UFC file for essentially the most first-round stoppages on a card.
Not solely that however we noticed two new UFC champions topped too as each Alex Pereira and Zhang Weili snatched belts away from the incumbent rulers of their respective divisions on what was a really particular night within the Large Apple.
Nonetheless, there was some unhealthy information on the evening as Molly McCann’s MSG debut turned from a dream right into a nightmare when she got here up in opposition to the younger and proficient Erin Blanchfield.
McCann was barely in a position to register a punch earlier than being taken down and dominated within the wrestling exchanges by New Jersey native Blanchfield.
The 23-year-old managed McCann with relative ease and all however snapped McCann’s arm in half with a brutal kimura, ultimately forcing the courageous Scouse flyweight to faucet halfway by means of the primary spherical.
Even on a card that produced such violence, Dustin Poirier vs Michael Chandler stood out as a very wild affair, residing as much as each little bit of the hype between two of essentially the most entertaining males within the historical past of the 155lb division.
It was Poirier who ultimately triumphed following a frenzied back-and-forth warfare that noticed each males repeatedly harm till “The Diamond” locked in a rear-naked chokehold within the last stanza to safe the faucet from a bloodied Chandler.
Regardless of all that got here earlier than it, Pereira’s gorgeous victory over Adesanya will stay the principle speaking level from UFC 281 – and rightly so – after he grew to become Brazil’s newest UFC champion and an in a single day famous person because of his courageous and good win over “Stylebender”.
It was something however plain crusing for Pereira who was compelled to indicate his coronary heart within the dying moments of the primary spherical when a stinging mixture from the champion proper on the bell left “Poatan” visibly discombobulated.
A number of extra seconds on the clock would possibly properly have seen Adesanya full the job contained in the opening stanza however Pereira made positive to make his reprieve rely when he was saved by the bell.
That’s regardless of dropping lots of the center rounds to Adesanya, who seemed as sharp and targeted as we’ve seen him in latest occasions – till a expensive lapse in a close to flawless efficiency noticed him get clipped by the brick-fisted Brazilian with two minutes gone of the ultimate spherical.
Adesanya had been cautious of Pereira’s energy all evening and the climactic flurry confirmed simply why with each shot seemingly scrambling the champion’s senses earlier than referee Mark Goddard introduced a halt to proceedings to avoid wasting Adesanya from what seemed more likely to develop into a spotlight reel end for the challenger.
A have a look at the judges’ scorecards within the aftermath of victory confirmed all three had the competition poised at 3-1 within the champion’s favour earlier than Pereira discovered the end which will probably be a supply of additional frustration for Adesanya, realizing he was so near victory.
The almost definitely end result of the end result appears to be a rematch within the first half of 2023 which, given Adesanya’s dominance over the previous three years atop the 185lb throne, can be all he deserves.
But when the 33-year-old New Zealander as an alternative opts to take a while out of the game having been some of the energetic champions in latest UFC historical past, there will probably be no scarcity of suitors fancying a crack on the newly-crowned champion.
Robert Whittaker would seemingly be high of that record and arguably the most important beneficiary of the title upset alongside Paulo Costa, who’re scheduled to satisfy at UFC 284 in a contest that now appears to be like of nice significance subsequent 12 months.
May we even have seen the beginning of a brand new daybreak within the strawweight division?
It definitely feels that method given the emphatic nature of Zhang Weili’s victory over Carla Esparza to grab again management of the 115lb throne.
The Chinese language challenger was greater than a match for the outgoing champion Esparza within the opening spherical and made her dominance rely not lengthy into the second, outgrappling the veteran to safe the title by way of rear bare chokehold.
May a trilogy showdown in opposition to Rose Namajunas be subsequent for Weili? The American former champion is the one girl to have overwhelmed Weili since 2014 – and she or he did so on back-to-back events at UFC 261 and UFC 268.
Brazil’s Amanda Lemos can also be a reputation more likely to be within the combine for Weili’s first defence of her second strawweight reign having dispatched of Marina Rodriguez stylishly on her final Octagon outing.
In case you missed any of this weekend’s UFC 281 card, you’ll be able to make amends for the complete factor proper now on the BT Sport web site and app.
The Combat Week assessment present can also be reside to your perusal too with Michael Bisping, Adam Catterall and Nick Peet mulling over all the outcomes with their quick response to a shocking evening at MSG. Click on right here to observe the complete episode.