UFC 200: Tate vs Nunes
July 9, 2016
MGM Grand Garden Arena – Las Vegas, Nevada
This is it! International Fight Week led up to this moment, the biggest card in UFC history (allegedly). This weekend was surrounded by high level drama; main events being dropped due to a certain someone not being able to stay clean and tarnishing his legacy further, a reshuffling of a card that put Brock Lesnar vs Mark Hunt as the new main event, Anderson “The Spider” Silva stepping in as the new Captain Save-a-ho, Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes bumping Brock vs Lesnar from the new main event spot, rumors of injury derailing Brock’s glorious return, and all kinds of behind the scenes shenanigans. It is the stuff that nightmares are made of, but we are here. We survived. We made it.
With a weekend consuming over 12 hours of MMA, as I mentioned in the TUF Finale recap, certain fights did not make the cut in my viewing. Sadly I missed the prelims for now but I definitely plan on going back and watching all of them soon, as there are some exciting match-ups (on paper at least) that I’d love to devour.
Travis Browne vs Cain Velasquez (Heavyweights)
Cain is back and ready to go. With the highest strike rates for the division and the mot TKO wins in UFC history for his division, a replenished and healthy Cain is a dangerous Cain.
Round 1: No feeling out process between these two. Browne hit a beautiful right to start, Cain leg kicked Brown to slow him down. A big knee to the body by Browne got Cain’s attention and a takedown attempt by Cain that was denied. Cain hit Browne with a huge wheel kick, stunned with follow up shots and rocked him until he fell to the ground and took 2 more big bombs. Cain got side control and rolled him to try to mount. Browne almost got up, but Cain pressed him and took his back for a moment before Browne was able to get standing. Velasquez went for another wheel kick but missed, then he hit Browne with a hard right that stunned him again, then took him down, getting his back and teed off, Big John stepping in right before the bell.
For someone who was off for the last 10 months, coming back to this type of performance is mighty impressive. Nice win for Cain to set him back on the quick path to contention.
Winner: Cain Velasquez
Frankie Edgar (#2 ranked Featherweight) vs Jose Aldo (#1) (Interim FW championship)
Round 1: Aldo looked determined, no showmanship, just business. Edgar looked much more loose. Aldo was waiting for a shot, putting his hand out to keep distance and feint. Edgar was choosing his shots, kicking and moving in. Frankie changed positions with ease while Aldo tracked him with his pawing hands. Frankie got a couple of nice combinations moving forward. His movement was the key to the round, not allowing many opportunities for Aldo to take over. A nice knee to the body by Aldo with about a minute later set up another big kick by Aldo, then Edgar tried to charge in but ate a big punch that knocked him down near the bell. Aldo may have stolen the round in the last minute.
Round 2: Started out with leg kicks by Edgar, which surprised me considering kicks are Aldo’s specialty. Edgar slipped Aldo and got a nice shot in close. Aldo cut Edgar above the right eye when he touched him with a shot, but Edgar paid him back with a shot of his own. Edgar tried several times to take down Aldo, but he defended every time. Aldo caught Edgar coming in, but he repaid him by catching him with a combination. Aldo started blocking many of Edgar’s attempts. Edgar tried to take Aldo down, but Aldo was able to throw him around due to strength advantage.
Round 3: Edgar continued to score with leg kicks, though Aldo didn’t seem phased. They clenched and Mark Goddard told them they needed to fight out of it. Both men landed moving back. Edgar chased Aldo but it was difficult for him to effectively land due to speed. Edgar walked into a big knee to the body and tried to take him down, but again Aldo stuffed him. While Aldo wasn’t necessarily as active as one would hope, he looked great going into the 3rd, while Frankie visibly looked like he had taken damage.
Round 4: Aldo ate several shots in a row at the start of the round. Edgar continued to move around and switch position to keep Aldo off-kilter, but Aldo is so good that he ended up looking better in almost every exchange. Edgar landed a ton, but could do nothing to really phase Aldo. Edgar started to be more successful with attempts, landing a left hook and a big right, but Aldo also started to be more effective, landing more significant shots when he fired. Edgar chased Aldo and tried to fire off kicks, but Aldo was able to slip them with ease. Edgar ran in for a kick but took a shot from Aldo that knocked him down momentarily before the bell.
Round 5: Edgar seemed like he knew he had to finish the fight strong, so he charged more at the risk of leaving himself vulnerable. Aldo threw a hard high kick that was thankfully blocked by Edgar. Aldo was once again committing more to his shots, damaging Edgar more when he landed. Edgar’s face looked like it had been through some stuff, while Aldo was pretty much unmarked. Edgar did a spin kick, but Aldo was out of the way before he completed. Aldo proved why he was the Featherweight champ up until recently. Conor was shown in the front row taking interest in the outcome, nonchalantly giving Aldo a slight nod. Aldo said the fight was not for himself but rather his coach Andre Petinares. Aldo pointed to Conor saying he had one goal in mind, and that was beating Conor to avenge his loss.
Winner: Jose Aldo (49/46 for 2 48/47 for 1)
Daniel Cormier vs Anderson Silva
Round 1: DC started off by using Silva’s specialty, kicks to keep Silva at bay, then shot for a takedown that easily took Silva down. On top, DC, utilized his elbows to ground and pound. Silva held on to DC’s arm to diminish the effects, but DC began to smother him and got him in a half guard. Silva tied up DC’s leg which helped the punches to have less effect, but DC was still doling out shots with ease. The crowd began to get a bit restless, knowing that DC could smother Silva all night, and that is not the type of fight that they wanted to see. Strangely at the bell, Silva stayed in the center of the Octagon for a moment and his corner came to him.
Round 2: Silva shot for a head kick but ate a hell of a shot to his chin for it. DC ragdolled Silva to the ground, keeping his leg as he took him down. Silva tied up DC’s leg again to keep some level of control, but DC was able to still smother and control position overall. Silva is so good at tying up DC that he made any shots he absorbed significantly less effective, though DC continued to pepper him with elbows. The crowd again booed, inspiring Big John to stand them up. DC got the better of the standing exchanges too, but Silva started to use those famous kicks to some effect.
Round 3: Silva looked spry coming out, leading with his knees, DC took down Silva after taking an elbow. DC with top position, but Silva had his leg tied up. DC used his weight to smother Silva, grinding his face with elbows and taking shots to his side. The audience started chanting “Stand Up” before a chorus of boos. The fighters were stood up by Big John, which may have benefited Silva. DC smartly did not charge in, aware of Silva’s kicking power. Silva front kicked DC in what looked like it may have been the liver, obviously hurting DC. Unfortunately for him, it was too late to be effective since the buzzer rang about 20 seconds later.
In what may have been a moral victory considering he had 48 hours of notice, Silva’s team lifted him up in a celebratory stance. Considering the terrible circumstances that both went into the fight, I’d say it was an impressive showing for both of them. DC certainly did not train for a fighter like Silva, so to have such a strong showing against a legend is vastly impressive, and Silva stepping up on 2 days’ notice after gall bladder surgery showed the heart of a lion.
Winner: DC (30/26 on all judges’ cards; 10/8 first)
Mark Hunt vs Brock Lesnar
Hunt walked out to “Express Yourself” by NWA, making him immediately earn points with me. Enter Sandman for Brock. I expected him to have a cigarette, beer and kendo stick in his hand when he walked out.
Round 1: Both men had obvious respect for the others’ power, lots of hand movement and Brock throwing leg kicks??!? Brock shot in but missed, leaving himself open. Brock shot in for a single leg but Hunt was able to pass it, grabbing on the cage before Brock was able to scoop him to the ground. Hunt was able to stand quickly, but Brock stayed in control. He was able to get Hunt down and into side control, rolling him to his back. Hunt was able to roll back over, but gave up his back in the process. Brock used this as an opportunity to knee Hunt in the side, the laid in some strong shots. He got the full mount on Hunt with only 20 seconds left on the clock, Hunt holding on till the bell. Definitely Brock’s round, though I saw a few openings that Hunt may want to capitalize on later.
Round 2: Brock’s movements began to get predictable and Hunt looked like he was ready to start firing bombs. He threw a few significant lefts, but nothing that landed squarely. Brock shot in again but Hunt was able to sprawl. Hunt threw a shot that could knock out any man, but Brock was able to duck it. Brock started to look like he was slowing down and tired, making Hunt even scarier of a proposition. Brock was pawing at Hunt, seemingly more to keep distance than to hurt. Brock didn’t necessarily look like he was breathing that hard, but he did look like the first 2 rounds took something out of him.
Round 3: Dan Murgliata started the round with a lecture, saying they needed to fight or he was taking a point Brock was able to take down Hunt and mount him, peppering Hunt’s face with shots. Hunt looked like he was having a hell of a time getting punched repeatedly in the face. Brock started ramping up the shots, bombing him repeatedly. Brock attempted to secure an arm triangle while grounding and pounding while trapping Hunt’s arm. At that point Hunt was a stationary target, just taking abuse after abuse. The fight ended with Hunt taking hammer fist after hammer fist, not being able to do anything about it.
Overall not the fight I expected, but it was nice to see Brock with an impressive showing over a legitimately dangerous opponent. Not many men would be able to come off of a 5-year layoff and have a showing like that.
Winner: Brock Lesnar
What’s next for Brock? Stipe Miocic, Fabricio Verdum, Cain Velasquez, JDS, maybe an Alaistar Overeem rematch? Or nothing at all if Vince McMahon doesn’t want him to play in the big boy sandbox any more. Crossing my fingers that we see him in the Octagon again very soon.
Miesha Tate vs Amanda Nunes
Before the in-ring battle begins, the walkout music battle was won firmly by Tate. I have no idea what Amanda came out to, but it sounded like a muddy racket and almost put me to sleep. Miesha, on the other hand, came out to Katy Perry’s “Roar”, which is a hype song that gets me in the mood for all kinds of stuff, punching being only one of them. Miesha looked like she indeed had the eye of the tiger, ready to take on the challenge.
Round 1: The round started with a hard leg kick by Nunes. Too many of these and Miesha won’t be walking for long. Miesha shot in but did not stay in control going down. Nunes fired off a big knee that would have gotten her points taken off if it landed since Miesha was down at the time. Nunes started busting Miesha’s face up. Miesha was in trouble immediately, Claudia taking her back, rolling her and slapping on a rear naked choke like it was nothing. My god, she took the belt away from Miesha without even breaking a sweat. Shockingly easy day at the office for Nunes.
After the fight, Amanda came off like a real champ, very complimentary of Miesha as opposed to rubbing it in that she fully dominated her. For her part, for someone who just lost her title and got absolutely wrecked, Miesha sounded amazingly composed, stating that she wouldn’t let the loss set her back and she would return better than ever. Unlike a certain somebody, she seemed like she took the loss in stride and won’t let it ruin her.
Winner: Amanda Nunes