Picture via John Locher- Associated Press
Raise your hand if you saw that coming! **raises hand as I write this**
I’m not going to beat around the bush here. This entire card SUCKED. It was a Fight Night card. If you don’t know what Fight Night is, it’s a card that the UFC puts on TV for free or ESPN+. It was that bad. But that’s the Conor McGregor affect for ya. This card brought in $11.1 million dollars, which is the 4th highest gate in UFC history. A card that consisted of two women hugging each other for 15 minutes, a fight cancellation because a fighter missed weight, and the main event ending in :40 seconds. It was a shitty way to kick off 2020 for fight fans.
I want to start off by wishing one of the top prospects in the sport, Maycee Barber, a quick a speedy recovery. Barber appeared to injure her knee in the second round of her fight against veteran Roxanne Modafferi. This tough ass woman was able to finish the fight which resulted in Modafferi winning via unanimous decision. All the credit to Modafferi, she fought a beautiful fight. She won the first round and then continued to put in on Maycee to win the fight. Modafferi, showing ultimate class and kindness, mentioned after the fight that it never crossed her mind to attack the injured leg. Love to see it.
Ok, let’s get to the main card now.
Diego Ferreira submits (RNC) Anthony Pettis in Rd 2
Pettis, the former lightweight champ, came into this as a loser of 7 of his last 11 fights. While his counterpart, Ferreira, hasn’t lost since 2015. Diego wins the first, showing great BJJ. He took quite a few strikes but brushed them off. Pettis comes out for the 2nd round and throws a body kick which Ferreira catches. This is the beginning of the end for Showtime Pettis. Diego takes him down, goes for a Rear Naked Choke but Pettis slips out. Diego continues to work for it, finally gets the neck and squeezes. Pettis taps and that’s it. Diego Ferreira wins via RNC in round 2.
Brian Kelleher submits (Guillotine choke) Ode Osbourne in Rd 1
This fight was subbed into the main card late. Alex Grasso vs Claudia Gadelha had to be cancelled because Grasso missed weight by 5.5 lbs. Terrible look on Grasso and her camp. ANYWAY, we got a Dana White’s Contender Series guy in this one in Ode Osbourne. Osbourne came out of the gate with the weirdest Superman Punch I’ve ever seen and actually lands it on Kelleher. After that, it was all Kelleher. He takes down Ode and eventually secures a Guillotine choke to end the fight in round 1.
Aleksei Oleinik submits (armbar) Maurice Green in Rd 2
They call him the Boa Constrictor for a reason. Aleksei Oleinik has been doing this for I’m pretty sure forever. He has 71(!!!) pro fights. He’s a heavyweight, which you’d expect, to have more KO’s than anything. No. This guy has 58 wins, 46 of them via submission. That’s absolutely amazing. Ok to the fight. Both of these guys were gassed after the first round. It looked like Oleinik was going to submit Green in the first, but Green, showing amazing heart, was able to survive. Not for much longer though. Oleinik takes down Green. He attempts an Ezekiel choke, but fails. Green actually had a chance to submit Oleinik with a kimura, but it looked like he didn’t know how to secure it. He gives it up, which led to Oleinik getting the arm and forcing Green to tap in the 2nd round.
Co-Main Event: Holly Holm def. Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision
If you bought one of those “Free Hugs” shirts back in 2014, this fight was for you. It was an intense hugging match between these two. It was a terrible fight by the fighters, as well as the referee, Jason Herzog. This fight was fought in the clinch for about 12 of the 15 minutes. There was more booing in this fight from the fans than strikes thrown from the fighters. The fight in finally over and Holm gets the decision win. Pennington expressed her frustration after saying she thought she was there to fight. I thought she was too.
Main Event: Conor McGregor TKO’s Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in Rd 1
Now, what everyone has been waiting for in over 15 months. The return of the King. Cowboy comes out Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” like always. Conor come’s out to his usual. Sinead O’Connor’s “Foggy Dew” and The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize.” This has to be the greatest walkout song ever, in my opinion. When Sinead belts out “Tattoo” and then it fades into “N-N-N-Notorious” from Hypnotize…there’s nothing like it. Right, right, the fight. Okay here we go. The fighters are introduced, and the fight starts. Conor throws the ever-so-dangerous left hand and whiffs big time, but the left knee in the follow-through strikes Cowboy as he ducks the left. As Cowboy dodges the left, he clinches Conor. Conor proceeds to throw left shoulder strikes which hurt Cowboy and breaks his nose. Cowboy is bleeding through the nose in the first 15 seconds of the fight. The clinch separates, and Conor starts to pour it on. Cowboy throws a high kick and misses. Conor responds with a high kick of his own and connects. It drops Cowboy. Conor is firing away with punches from the top and the referee stops the fight. It only took 40 seconds. Cowboy did not land one single strike.
Performance of the Night bonuses ($50k each) went to:
- Drew Dober for his 1st round KO over Nasrat Haqparast
- Diego Ferreira for his submission win over Anthony Pettis
- Brian Kelleher for his submission over Osbourne
- Aleksei Oleinik for his submission over Maurice Green
- Conor McGregor for his :40 second KO over Cowboy Cerrone
So…who’s next for Conor McGregor? In my opinion it should be Justin Gaethje. Gaethje deserves that big fight that should lead to a title shot. He’s been killing everyone he’s faced and it’s his turn. The Khabib rematch can come after that. Because of course, he needs to fight Tony Ferguson still. There’s plenty of names on the table for Conor, but it’s Justin Gaethje who is next.
The next night of fights will take place on January 25th which features Curtis Blaydes vs Junior dos Santos on ESPN+ at UFC Fight Night 166.