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UFC 240 is in the books, and it’s time to take stock in the evening’s performances. MMA Junkie looks at who’s up, who’s down and who’s flat after a night of action in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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Unanimous 30-27 scorecards don’t tell the whole story of what Cyborg overcame against Felicia Spencer. You have to consider a brutal knockout seven months prior, a hostile relationship with UFC president Dana White, a gamble on her contract’s end and an opponent that simply refused to go away. There were moments as Spencer blanketed her against the octagon fence where Cyborg looked like she wanted to be anywhere else than she was. But with five minutes remaining, she pulled herself together and got to business. More importantly, she didn’t throw her formidable skills out the door by going crazy. Cyborg will be remembered as one of the all-time greats, and Saturday’s performance, even served against an opponent without as many accolades, further cements her status.
Most opponents of Cyborg talk a great game and then wither the second they taste the Brazilian’s power. Spencer got many servings and never stopped fighting, which is why she gets a bump up. She’s got an ample supply of perseverance. Add to that refinement of technique, and she could have a very bright future at featherweight.
If there was anyone that was going to make Geoff Neal look human, it was Niko Price. There were moments were Neal appeared to be in trouble as he indulged Price’s chaotic style. Yet when things got crazy, he was still able to keep his composure and control the fight in critical transitions. That left him a window to use those hands of steel. Welterweight is a murderer’s row of talent, and Neal has a ways to go. But things are looking up for his future.
A moving target makes pad showoffs mortal. An opponent that moves as much as Yoshinori Horie is the ultimate challenge, which is what makes Hakeem Dawodu’s head kick knockout even more impressive. Rather than get caught up in Horie’s hit-and-run attack, Dawodu waited for the perfect moment, then hobbled his foe with a body shot. Horie was suddenly a more stationary target, and Dawodu took full advantage before putting his timing to expert use.
Things did not look good for Gavin Tucker in Round 3 of a scrap with Seungwoo Choi. A blatantly illegal knee cost him a point, and he looked low on gas as Choi poured it on with short time. The Tucker that showed up against Rick Glenn two years ago might have lost his cool and again wound up a bloody mess. The one on Saturday night used his grappling advantage and quickly seized opportunity when Choi’s neck was open. Pretty much the best way you can bounce back from a tough two years.
It’s been hard to stand out in the flyweight division with all the oxygen sucked up by Demetrious Johnson and Joe Benavidez. It took too long for Figueiredo to get his due, and by the time he did, he fell short in a pivotal bout against Jussier Formiga. Against Alexandre Pantoja, he fought like a man with a point to prove and throughly dominated a fighter who wouldn’t be put away. Now that flyweights are a thing again, Figueiredo appears poised for a golden opportunity.
Slick transitions and strong legs delay the inevitable for the bottom player in a fight. But solid fundamentals almost always win the day, and that’s why Gillian Robertson broke Sarah Frota inside two rounds. Credit goes to Frota for making things interesting with a reverse triangle. Robertson just showed she’s a better grappler and now owns back-to-back wins with a 4-1 overall record.
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