On Saturday evening, the MMA leader returned for its most recent providing from the Apex, UFC Fight Evening 220.
Prior to heading into an completely stacked March agenda, that includes two blockbuster numbered gatherings, the initial United kingdom-held pay out-per-check out considering the fact that 2016, the return of Jon Jones, and a remarkably anticipated trilogy between two of welterweight’s ideal, the MMA leader had just one remaining February stop-off at its property foundation.
And while Saturday’s card did not present the sort of identify value and substantial stakes we can hope in the course of following month, there was still a lot to glimpse forward to in advance of time. That was established to include a likely essential showdown at mild heavyweight, with best-10 contenders Nikita Krylov and Ryan Spann initially expected to vie for a put in title rivalry at the best of the invoice.
Sadly, that didn’t appear to fruition for motives we’ll explore later, so the intriguing middleweight co-headliner concerning rising Brazilian André Muniz and longtime prospect Brendan Allen stepped into the key celebration highlight.
Somewhere else, TUF 23 winner Tatiana Suarez’s extended-awaited comeback presented just one of the primary points of interest, even though the likes of Trevor Peek, Jordan Leavitt, and Mike Malott also promised to produce some noteworthy motion within the Octagon.
So, did individuals fighters and storylines occur jointly to type an entertaining celebration to near out the second thirty day period of 2023? Let us locate out with all the positives and negatives from UFC Battle Night 220.
Detrimental – Dracula?
When you feel about a card opening in fashion, (alleged) biting and fishhooking is not just what comes to mind…
Debutant Nurullo Aliev plainly did not get the memo, as he took his initial flavor of UFC motion a minor too practically, appearing to chomp down on Rafael Alves’ finger in the to start with spherical of their preliminary lightweight contest.
In all seriousness though, it is really hard to say the place the unfavorable is here. After all, did the replay present anything at all conclusive? Not specially. And with the Tajik newcomer boasting his Brazilian counterpart was fishhooking him, he may well nicely have been the sufferer in the state of affairs, in which case the stage deduction was unfortunate.
If Alves was the one particular at first at fault, he finally obtained his comeuppance by means of the scorecards, two of which favored Aliev. Not to speculate, but I’d certainly be a good deal a lot less cordial publish-fight had an opponent intentionally little bit me with out provocation than Alves was…
But possibly way, UFC Struggle Night 220 opened with possibly a fishhook and bite, or just a chunk. If it wants expressing, neither scenario is suitable.
Positive – “The Monkey King” Rebounds
For all his grappling credentials, Jordan Leavitt doesn’t 50 percent appreciate a spotlight-reel knockout.
Just after showing his submission expertise to earn a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series, Leavitt lifted eyebrows on debut with just one of 2020’s most modern KOs, slamming Matt Wiman unconscious in 22 seconds.
When that marked his very first knockout earn, “The Monkey King” remained without having a person by using strikes on his report. That all transformed on Saturday night, when he released an onslaught of knees against opponent Victor Martinez for the initial-spherical stoppage.
Despite the fact that the finish by itself was deserving of a put in this piece, Leavitt’s return to the gain column was also good to see. The 27-yr-outdated designed an unsuccessful excursion across the pond previous time out, falling to mounting prospect Paddy Pimblett in London.
As an Englishman, I’d like to congratulate Leavitt on his quick rebound on behalf of myself and my fellow “degenerates.”
Beneficial – Peek-A-Growth
Disgrace on us for at any time doubting that ‘drunk guy swinging at bouncers outdoors a nightclub’ would not operate as a battle type in the Octagon.
Trevor Peek and Erick Gonzalez closed out the UFC Struggle Night time 220 prelims, with the previous producing his debut following an remarkable agreement-successful functionality on DWCS in 2022.
With “Ghost Pepper” formerly suffering knockouts to both Jim Miller and Terrance McKinney, it felt as if a very similar consequence was on the playing cards here. Still, the brutal mother nature with which it occurred is value recognition. As is the wild and strange placing sequence that brought it about…
In the remaining seconds of the first round, Peek truly went for broke, throwing looping hooks and straight hammerfists at Gonzalez, who was probably as perplexed by the offense coming his way as he was dazed by it landing.
In the end, the destruction was carried out by a appropriate hand that looked closer to a tennis swing than a conventional punch.
But the shots that adopted what need to have been the fight-ending blow did not fall in the same constructive bracket…
Destructive – Just one Additional For Fantastic Evaluate
So, Kerry Hatley was procuring for a corpse within the Apex…
I’m not sure if it’s absolutely justified, but I have hardly ever experienced entire trust in Hatley when it arrives to appropriate stoppages. Saturday’s card did minor to resurrect my faith in the Texan official.
In my eyes — and I picture most — Peek and Gonzalez’s contest was about the 2nd the latter slumped down in opposition to the cage adhering to a clubbing proper hand. Hatley, though, wasn’t certain. With that, Peek introduced an additional shot in opposition to the rather lifeless “Ghost Pepper.” Continue to, Hatley was not convinced. An additional? Nope.
Inquiries want to be questioned when it normally takes three fully loaded observe-up shots against a just about unconscious fighter in opposition to the cage wall just before a referee has witnessed ample.
Unfavorable – Kry
For the 2nd time in 4 months, a UFC headliner fell through throughout an party.
At the start of the UFC Battle Night 220 primary card, Megan Olivi introduced us the news that Nikita Krylov had fallen unwell, indicating his planned initial most important celebration in the promotion reverse Ryan Spann wouldn’t be using spot.
Battle-working day cancellations are always disappointing, particularly when they entail the two people today occupying the poster. The circumstance was reminiscent of the one at UFC Battle Evening 218 very last November, which noticed Derrick Lewis forced out of his scheduled showdown with Serghei Spivak just hrs in advance of they were being set to share the cage.
And although Saturday’s prepared headliner was not just the most effective matchup of the yr, and was presently surpassed by the return of Tatiana Suarez and the 185-pound co-main function in the eyes of myself and lots of some others, it was continue to a terrible way to start the primary slate.
It was afterwards confirmed that Krylov was suffering from food items poisoning, luckily placing a end to Dominick Cruz’s untimely speculation about the results of body weight cutting.
Luckily, a specific Canadian prospect was on hand to elevate the mood.
Good – A New Participant At 170 Lbs
For the next consecutive time in his vocation, welterweight prospect Mike Malott furnished just one of the standout performances on a UFC card.
At UFC 273 last year, the DWCS graduate manufactured a splash on debut, knocking out the when-highly touted Mickey Gall within one spherical. “Proper” improved his stock within the Octagon when he created his sophomore outing on Saturday.
Malott emerged victorious from an all-Canadian affair, publishing his countryman Yohan Lainesse with an arm-triangle choke in round one particular, a keep that appeared restricted sufficient to drive a faucet instantly through strain alone.
With that, “Proper” has produced a great begin to UFC everyday living, showcasing both his ability and submission game in two fast stoppages. Now boasting four wins in a row in the activity, all eyes will be on Malott when he returns.
Beneficial – She’s Again
The real main event of UFC Fight Evening 220 ended in results that was a longtime coming, to say the least.
Following pretty much 4 extensive a long time, which have been plagued by accidents and adversity, the combat career of Tatiana Suarez at last ongoing on Saturday night time. And regardless of her time away from the Octagon, the 32-calendar year-aged Californian picked up where she remaining off.
It definitely wasn’t uncomplicated perform for Suarez, though, with powerful grappler Montana De La Rosa presenting some difficulties to the elite wrestler in what was her initially outing at 125 lbs. But soon after perhaps screening that her weapons functioned in the 1st spherical, Suarez set them to very good use to protected a finish in the second.
To do so, Suarez reported ‘anything you can do, I can do better’ to partner and cornerman Patchy Mix, locking in a guillotine identical to the one he utilized to defeat Magomed Magomedov at Bellator 289 a couple of months back. Had Suarez’s come just 12 seconds quicker, we’d be analysing a severely freaky sequence of functions.
Further than the finish, nevertheless, the real favourable in this article is Suarez’s comeback. And more than just a contender getting re-added to the fray and some intriguing matchups rising as options shifting ahead, it’s about what it signifies for the TUF 23 victor.
It is really hard to imagine the trials and tribulations she’s been by way of, and to see her have her hand lifted at the time once again before giving an psychological article-fight job interview was the standout instant of UFC Fight Evening 220.
Favourable – Breakout Instant
When it could not have culminated with the anticipated primary event, UFC Combat Evening 220 finished with one particular of the most spectacular underdog performances in recent memory.
Right after the announcement of the bout involving André Muniz and Brendan Allen, it appeared substantially of the concentrate was on the Brazilian’s place on the ladder and the emotion that he deserved a higher-positioned contender en route to a destined surge to the title photograph.
The target, nevertheless, should really have been on “All In.”
Allen has extended been touted as a potential participant at 185 kilos. But prior to Saturday evening, the 27-calendar year-aged experienced fallen shorter of rivalry, with Sean Strickland and Chris Curtis equally stalling his rise.
At UFC Battle Night 220, Allen lastly secured that all-crucial breakout victory. And in terms of the gentleman it came over, there weren’t lots of far more-prized scalps out there than handing Muniz his 1st reduction in the UFC — and by submission, even so.
Getting seen what “Sergipano” did to the great Jacaré Souza, as very well as the other 14 submissions on his file, Allen securing a tap late in the day after previously reversing a takedown try and keeping major situation on the ground was a massively impressive feat.
What were being your positives and negatives from UFC Battle Evening 220?