Falling Short in Vegas

ufc-200The UFC prepared the best card they could as they approached the biggest fight in the promotion’s history.

Despite the thoughts on one late addition, the fact was that the entire card was full of big fights including three title fights.

What was interesting about all of these fights is that they all were connected to a rivalry in some way or another.

For the majority of the build-up to the fight, all three of the title fights on the card concentrated on rivalries in the divisions.

Of the three title fights on the card only one rivalry that most focused on would actually take place in the octagon on the night.

That one rivalry was set to be the main event as Daniel Cormier was set to defend his light heavyweight division against Jon Jones.

Then for a second time in the last year, the fight was pulled as a test taken in June revealed that Jones had tested positive for a banned substance and might be looking at a two-year ban.

Cormier remained on the card with Anderson Silva stepping into a non-title fight that might have meant a middleweight title shot if he could beat the current light heavyweight champion.

The talk turned to much the same as the others as it was all about a rivalry that wasn’t happening in the octagon.

Despite his disappointment, Cormier still fought a legend as he looked to put his training to good use.

The switch of opponent seemed to affect Cormier the most as he decided to go back to basics and wrestled Silva, putting him on the mat and doing just enough to keep the fight on the mat.

It wasn’t an impressive performance but it was enough to give Cormier a win against a fighter that wasn’t in the best of shape and couldn’t do much to change the outcome.

The fight didn’t do much for either fighter as Silva’s loss means nothing after taking the fight on three days notice and Cormier’s win just adds to his record as he moves on to new challengers in the light heavyweight division.ufc-200ii

Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo never really formed much of a rivalry aside from their previous fight, a fight that Aldo came out of with the win.

Neither really hated each other but both were competitive and wanted the win which would give one of them the interim featherweight title.

That is where the conversation turns though as the interim title holder was sure to fight the current title holder in Conor McGregor.

Aldo and McGregor have a history with both launching plenty of trash talk at each other before McGregor beat Aldo to win the title.

More recently Edgar has been firing his own shots at the champion after McGregor moved up to fight in the lightweight, which turned into a welterweight fight, division before giving the best featherweights a chance at the title.

The talk surrounding this interim title fight has mainly been about the McGregor fight to come rather than the actual match-up at UFC 200.

It was a tight fight between the two challengers with both fighters comfortable standing and exchanging.

Neither could finish the fight but Edgar seemed to be the more active fighter overall while Aldo landed the bigger shots throughout the five rounds.

Most rounds were near impossible to score but in the end, the judges decided that Aldo had done just enough to take the win and the interim belt.

Immediately after the fight Aldo went to find Conor McGregor in the crowd and made sure everyone knew that the former champion is coming after the current champion.

Edgar took the loss and is likely to fall back in the division while he still has time to make another run.

Aldo will now take on McGregor in a rematch of the last featherweight title fight and one that has plenty of motivation behind it for the Brazilian.

After the interim featherweight title was decided another rivalry took focus but once again it was one that was outside of the actual card.

Miesha Tate was set to defend her bantamweight title for the first time after beating Holly Holm to get the gold that she had wanted for so long.

She was set to defend her belt against Amanda Nunes but most people wanted to talk about Ronda Rousey.

The former champ has not been back in the UFC for almost a year after losing her belt to Holm but her return seems certain and seems certain to be a title fight.

mma-sidebar.fwFor many the best option is to see Tate fight, Rousey, again and continue that rivalry in one of the most anticipated returns in the UFC.

Of course, that overlooks the fact that Nunes is still in the way as a win against Tate makes things more interesting with everyone wanting to see the rivalry but Rousey likely wanting a title shot.

The lead-up to the fight was all about a future fight between Tate and Rousey while a fight still had to take place to get to that point.

That looking ahead turned out to be all for nought though as Nunes came out of seemingly nowhere to punish Tate in the first round.

The Brazilian was better from the bell as she began launching big shots immediately and got Tate fighting on her heels.

Eventually, the punishment was too much and Tate went down where Nunes pounced and sunk in a rear naked choke.

The fight could be one of the biggest upsets ever as nobody was talking about Nunes leading up to the fight and she certainly wasn’t one of the big three that most people talk about.

That clearly didn’t matter to the Brazilian though as she came out and proved just how good she is while the bantamweight belt once again changed hands.

Tate is still one of the biggest names in the division and she will remain near the top as she will likely need at least one more fight before earning another title fight.

Nunes is now the champion as she made sure the Brazilian title drought lasted only a couple days.

She now will have her pick of challengers as Rousey seems set to return in the fall, Holm is set to fight at the end of the month, and Juliana Pena just beat the #3 fighter earlier in the night.

UFC 200 had plenty of talk around it but changes and poor performances made those future rivalry fights the most exciting part of the entire card.

It was yet another major event that fell short of expectations but in the end, there still be an Aldo-McGregor rematch and for another time there is a new champion in the women’s bantamweight division.

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