Wow, what a weekend. Well, let me rephrase, what a main event on Friday night! I think it’s safe to say that Gaethje vs. Johnson was the most exciting fight of the weekend and probably the most exciting of the year thus far. As exciting as that fight was, it also had a big impact on the Lightweight Division. The fight moved Michael Johnson out as a contender, and moved Gaethje in as a legitimate title threat. With everything going on, let’s take a final look at the weekend.
Justin Gaethje: A++++
Wow. He said it, he did it, and now he is everyone’s favorite fighter. The fight was amazing, but I can’t see how any human can sustain the damage that he takes. In a perfect world he fights Nate Diaz, but since this is far from that I think Eddie Alvarez is likely his next opponent.
Robert Whittaker: A
He controlled the fight and won it in reasonably easy fashion while having a substantial leg injury. Beating Yoel get’s him the undisputed title shot against Michael Bisping and I for one hope he wins that one too.
Anthony Pettis: B+
Pettis was decent in this fight. Not great, not super exciting, but he did enough to keep my interest. Pettis needs a legitimate win to get back into title contention. Pettis vs. Barboza II makes sense. I really don’t want to see either of those guys face a wrestler so this works in the fans favor too.
Alistair Overeem: B
I didn’t see much controversy in the decision win for Overeem. He controlled the first two rounds and was even stupid confident enough to get in Werdum’s guard. At this point it only makes sense for Ubereem to wait for another title shot.
Curtis Blaydes: D
As an up and coming prospect sometimes you have to sacrifice a win to put on a great show so you can build interest. Blaydes really didn’t do that in this one at all. He needs to face another fighter ranked between 10-15 to really justify a shot at a legitimate contender. Blaydes vs. Travis Browne doesn’t excite me, but it does the trick.
Rob Font: B+
Font looked great in this fight. I think it’s time to take him seriously and really give him a test in the UFC which he hasn’t really had outside of his loss to John Lineker. I think a fight with Yair Rodriguez would be ultra exciting and solidify one of the two as real contenders.
Yoel Romero: D
Yoel put up a decent fight and was the same strong and explosive fighter we are accustomed to seeing. He also gassed in the later rounds and couldn’t put enough offense together to really put Whittaker in danger outside of round 1. Teaching an old dog new tricks seems to accurately describe Romero. Another fight with Jacare makes sense with this one.
Michael Johnson: B
Johnson is a legitimate threat with his hands. He showed that over and over again verse Gaethje. The only issue was Gaethje didn’t go to sleep. Johnson really needs to string a few wins together to match his ranking in the division. He has the name, but not the record and because of that I think he needs to fight someone outside of the top 10. James Vick would be a good matchup and a decent fight.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk: A+
Sincere or not, offering to replace Nunes on 12 hours notice was so badass. The move gained her tons of respect and likely an opportunity to fight for the belt in the Bantamweight division after Nunes vs. Shevchenko actually happens.
Michael Bisping: F
I was just starting to open my eyes to how good Bisping actually is. On top of that, seeing the videos of him with his family helped change the perception of him being a bad guy. That all changed when he got into the octagon and acted the way he did. Screw Bisping. I hope Whittaker takes him out.
Amanda Nunes: F-
Man what a shame. She built up so much momentum and was on her way to becoming the face of Women’s MMA. That changed after bailing on this fight. Being medically cleared but not fighting didn’t help her at all. I’m surprised she wasn’t stripped of the title.