Unexpected Finished in Vegas

ufc-207In the lead up to UFC 207, many people on the outside might have thought that the entire card was just Ronda Rousey appearing on the night.

Nobody talked about anything else leading up and rightfully so as one of the biggest stars in the UFC was making her return to the octagon for the first time in over a year.

Everyone wanted to know what she was going to do in her first fight since being knocked out by Holly Holm for her first loss ever.

What was missed was that there were three other fighters all fighting for a title on the night including Rousey’s opponent and a Bantamweight title fight.

Before Rousey made her much-anticipated return to the octagon, one of the most dominant champions in the promotion looked to clean out an entire camp.

Dominick Cruz came into UFC 207 without ever losing a fight in the UFC with his only hiccup coming thanks to injuries that kept him away from the octagon.

His awkward style had yet to be figured out and it has made him the Bantamweight champ since 2010.

Along the way Cruz has created a rivalry between him and Team Alpha Male from Sacramento thanks to his wars with Alpha Male leader Urijah Faber.

That rivalry blossomed into something more than just one on one as he began attacking the entire team and after beating T.J. Dillashaw, a now former member, and Joseph Benavidez earlier in the WEC he seemed to start a mission to clean them out.

His latest step to do that was Cody Garbrandt who was one of the younger members of Alpha Male that was making his way up.

He came into his first title fight never having lost a professional MMA fight including his four UFC fights.

Garbrandt and Cruz had a war of words before that started long before Garbrandt was even fighting as Cruz continued to insult Garbrandt’s team.

Now the challenger was out to shut up Cruz and end his dominance of the Alpha Males while bringing the title to Sacramento.

The entire fight was always going to be about what it was always about as everyone had struggled to figure out Cruz’s style.

Garbrandt was one person who could as he started out the fight with a much better understanding of the awkward style than anyone else.

He immediately started to land shots that nobody had been able to land against Cruz before.

After five rounds Cruz had been beaten worse than ever before with a massive cut over his left eye as he was finally figured out.

When the results were announced Garbrandt had taken the title from Cruz ending his run through Team Alpha Male and his run as the bantamweight champion.

Garbrandt will likely now face former teammate T.J. Dillashaw who won earlier in the night and won’t be denied a title fight after a long wait for the former champion.

Then it was time for Rousey to make her walk with plenty of fanfare from those in attendance and around the world.

It was different though as Rousey was the first to walk as the challenger for the first time in her UFC career.

The second to walk was the champion, Amanda Nunes who had just recently brought a title back to Brazil as the first female champion from the country.

She beat Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to get that title and it followed a three-fight win streak in the UFC.

Her exciting style was set to make a very fun champion to watch as she came forward every chance she could get.mma-sidebar.fw

Nobody was talking about the exciting champion though as she fell into the background with Rousey returning to the octagon.

When Rousey decided to skip all media obligations for the week the UFC also asked if Nunes would skip the media for the fight.

Neither talked a lot before the fight instead concentrating on the night and hoping to end 2016 with a big win.

Heading into the fight there really was one key for the former champion as she needed to avoid the stand-up and get back to what got her the championship in the first place.

Rousey needed to take the fight to the ground as soon as possible and get that armbar that she was famous for at the start of her career.

She was simply not a good enough striker to stand up with Nunes who is extremely aggressive and powerful.

Nunes showed that as soon as they came out from their corners catching Rousey immediately and putting her in some serious trouble.

From that first big shot on, Rousey could not find her bearings and she was once again exposed as a sub-par striker losing by TKO.

Had the fight gone to the ground it would have been an entirely different story but it never got there and Nunes proved that she has the skills necessary to win and to potentially be the champion for a long time.

She will move on and likely face the winner of Juliana Pena and Valentina Schevchenko who fight next month on FOX.

For Rousey, her MMA career might be done as she was already talking about ending her career soon and another loss like this one might have been the final straw for the women’s fighting pioneer.

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