April 8th 2017 saw the UFC return to Buffalo for the first time since UFC7. This is the forth event in New York state since the gates were reopened last November, and has begun to carry an anomalous factor when it comes to the world of MMA.
The prelims passed by without too much drama, or any surprising significance. The main card opened with a hugely impressive display from Charles Oliveira, who dominated Will Brookes from the beginning to the (very quick) end. A few leg kicks and a slick take down to back mount and game over. Brookes will be looking for his next fight to be against anyone not called Oliveira.
Thaigo Alves looked okay against Cote, who emotionally bowed out after a long career, and Calvillo continued her rapid journey to become everyone’s favourite new fighter.
The main and co main event were personally quite intriguing as I can’t think of a time when I have been equally such a fan of all four fighters. Rumble and DC are true icons of current MMA and are way ahead of anyone else currently eligible to fight in their weight division. I usually don’t go for the whole back story B.S. but god you can’t help yourself wanting Weidman to win, but if you’re not also a fan of Mousasi then please stop reading this and put your head straight in the oven.
So, controversy happened. Following the event I find myself disagreeing with a lot of the opinions being thrown around about what went down. The first issue, in chronological terms, is that it seems to be a given that Weidman won the first round. Yes, in the judges eyes he would have scored well with several take downs, but Mousasi was always attacking off his back and able to get back up. The marks on Weidman’s face and his heavy breathing at the end of the round were not the signs of someone who was clearly dominating. Second round starts and a few minutes in referee Dan Miragliotta stops the fight for what he believes is Mousasi throwing illegal knee strikes to a ‘downed’ Weidman. Cue everyone now believing Dan is the antichrist. Although the stoppage was wrong, I don’t have as much of an issue with it. If the ref thinks he see’s an infraction then he/she has to intervene. My issue is with a referee not working that fight sticking their beak in and trying to over rule the decision, which is what happened with ‘Big’ John McCarthy. Putting it in football terms, a player is through on goal, the referee calls them as offside and whilst the opposition gets ready to take the free kick another random referee runs on the pitch and tries to over rule the decision. Makes no sense. How can they think this helps? There’s no way to go back in time and rectify the decision. So the fight was then put into Purgatory with Weidman being told he has five minutes to recover even though the strikes were perfectly legal, after which he’s told that he was TKO’d and has lost. Madness. The one definite from this clusterfuck is that Mousasi did nothing wrong… actually scrap that, he did everything right. The moronic crowd in Buffalo proceeded to demonstrate their frustrations at their ‘local boy’ losing by singling out Mousasi with their boos, rather than directing them at the general situation or the now multiple referees. Please do better, people of Buffalo.
The New York State Commission has to give itself a good smack around the head (with no interjection and no 5 minutes to recover) before we see more big events there this summer. Scott Coker and Bellator will be sitting nervously as they’ll reenter the world of Pay Per Views when they hit Madison Square Garden in June. What else is there left to go wrong?
The main event saw DC vs Rumble fighting for the light heavyweight belt. I love watching both these guys and could not predict how this rematch would go down. Could have just watch their first fight and been done with that. Rumble looked tentative from the start but landed a vicious head kick and in a replica of their first fight, DC ate it up and took control from then until he, quite easily, ended the fight with a rear naked choke, only this time in the second round.
Rumble then also bows out, saying he has a great opportunity outside of MMA. The way he so tentatively fought I can only think it either starts really soon, or involves being on camera. I’m gonna miss that guy. Charming, handsome and terrifying. All in equal measures. The light middle weight division is now looking rather thin, not counting DC’s waistline.
I guess we wait to see what happens in the next installment of the Adventures of Jon Jones.