Well, potentially the most stacked card of the year has come and gone and has left fans around the world extremely satisfied but also confused. In one of my previous articles, I predicted the winners of the card's bouts and I ended up getting all of them correct besides the main event, Izzy vs Jan.
Let's begin with the first title fight of the night, Petr Yan vs Aljamain Sterling. This fight was a potential fight of the night with both fighters being exciting to watch and an interesting stylistic match up. Yan looked to have the clear advantage to me in every round, but it was still a competitive fight. Sterling's wrestle heavy tactics were easily handled by Yan who stuffed takedowns with ease; he even landed all 7 of his own takedowns.
In the 4th round, Sterling was in a tough position and not in one where it was viable to get up right away. Sterling had a knee and both hands on the ground and referee Mark Smith announced that he was a downed opponent. Yan was anxious to wait for his hands to come off the ground so he could strike, but it seemed as if he was a bit too anxious as he landed an illegal knee that blasted Sterling to the canvas. The fight paused and Sterling struggled to get up on his own power. A doctor came in to check on him and concluded he was having trouble seeing and was too dazed to continue. The fight was called and Aljamain Sterling was crowned bantamweight champ due to disqualification.
UFC fans were outraged at such a strange occurance. Twitter exploded with fans defending Sterling or attacking him for acting. I didn't see much acting here as he was shown visibly upset after being given the belt and was shown throwing it on the ground. I think that it was truly an honest mistake as crazy as it sounds, because Yan's corner told him to knee Sterling while he was still down. They have since both called for a rematch as soon as humanly possible in order to replay the exciting fight that preceded it.
The co-main event saw the women's MMA GOAT, Amanda Nunes, shape up against a tall, heavy hitter in Australia's Megan Anderson. This fight however did not lost by any stretch of the imagination and Nunes was able to drag Anderson to the ground after some heavy shots on the feet. Nunes was able to show off her spectacular grappling as she took hold of Anderson's arm and did not let go until a tap was felt. Nunes was hit by just two strikes throughout the duration of the bout.
The UFC is reportedly looking to make a quick turn around for her in the 135 pound division. Talks are ensuing that her opponent may be Julianna Pena, who recently submitted Sara McMann via rear naked choke at UFC 257. After that fight, Pena called out Nunes, but only time will tell us if Pena is ready for what Nunes has in her arsenal if the fight is made.
Finally we get to the main event, my personal favorite fight of the evening. I had no bias or favorite in the fight, but the commentary team sure did. I saw Jan execute an almost perfect fight, which was enough to defend his light heavyweight strap against Israel Adesanya. The commentators, mainly Daniel Cormier and Joe Rogan, showed favor towards Izzy and seemed to almost ignore how well of a fight Jan was putting together. Jan seemed to throw aside his "legendary Polish power" and execute one of the most technical performances of his career.
The judges continue to shock me as I heard to judges score the card 49-45. I personally scored the fight 48-47 in favor of Jan but apparently the judges saw some 10-8 round that I failed to see. I can see a scoring of 4 rounds for Jan because the early rounds were very close, but I'm still confused by a 10-8 scoring. Yes he postured up on Izzy and landed some nice ground strikes at the end of round 5, but Izzy was arguably winning the round before Jan took him down around the halfway mark of the round. I believe that the judging is an issue that needs to be taken into account moving forward, this is starting to look a little ridiculous. They made it seem as if it was total domination by Jan when in reality, it was a close, tactical bout.
Izzy handled his loss very well and agreed to move back down to middleweight to defend his title, likely against the winner of Robert Whittaker vs Paulo Costa, or even the winner of Darren Till vs Marvin Vettori. Out of those four guys, Izzy has already beaten 3 of them, leaving Till as the only one to not yet fight "Stylebender". It will be very interesting to see if Izzy's next opponent will try to implement a strong wrestling game plan.