Youth on Display in Detroit

ufc-218In every major league in North America, there is a youth movement taking over where the stars are getting younger.

In Hockey players like Auston Mathews and Connor McDavid are making the biggest impact while quarterbacks like Carson Wentz and Jared Goff are making a massive impact on the NFL.

It is happening everywhere as the veteran status in sports is no longer as great as it once was with more people relying on pure talent of youth.

The sport of MMA has is seeing that more and more through the years as the young fighters are truly taking over.

Out of the 14 champions in the promotion, only four are over 35 and five of them are under 30 with many of those under 30 fighters only recently capturing their titles.

The biggest star in the entire sport is only 29 and rose to fame at 27 years old as Conor McGregor continues to be the biggest name in combat sports.

Max Holloway, Rose Namajunas, all won their titles in 2017 Nicco Montano and adding interim titles to the score puts Robert Whittaker in the mix as well, who also won his title in 2017.

The youth are coming in the UFC but it is not a sport where things can change very quickly as the veterans that have been fighting for a long time still hold the keys to the kingdom in many of the divisions.

One of those divisions is the Heavyweight division but it is one that is slightly more difficult to pin down than most.

The heavyweights have traditionally been a division where the older you get the better you seem to get.

Stipe Miocic might be 35 but in heavyweight that is a young champion and heading into UFC 218, a younger man was looking to take his chance at that belt.

Francis N’Gannou is 31 years old but was considered the biggest prospect in the heavyweight division.

For a division ruled by older fighters a 31-year-old making a big impact is not an easy thing but to get to that ultimate goal he needed to get through some of the older fighters.

After adding Andrei Arlovski to his record he was set to take on Alistair Overeem in the co-main event at UFC 218.

At 37-years-old Overeem had done everything there is to do in MMA except win a UFC championship and as the top contender in the division his chance to get that title was coming soon.

He would need to prove that the time for the young fighter was not now and that there was a lot more path to walk.

It was a match-up of the old guard in the division against the young rising star to determine the next in line for the title.

It didn’t take long for everyone to figure out who the next challenger was going to be as the expected happened in a heavyweight fight.

This time the expected happened for N’Gannou as the younger fighter unless a massive uppercut right on the chin of Overeem ended the fight in the first round.

It was not only a win over one of the most accomplished strikers in the UFC but it was a convincing win.

It was what N’Gannou needed to prove to everyone that the hype was real and that he truly did belong among the best in the world.

Now he will likely take that momentum into a title fight depending on the health of Miocic and a potential fight with Cain Velasquez.

As the heavyweights saw their young star rise on the night one of the youngest champions in the UFC looked to solidify his spot on top.

At only 25-years old, Holloway ties with Namajunas as the youngest champions in the promotion.

For Holloway, his reign began by beating a much more experienced fighter, albeit still young, Jose Aldo.mma-sidebar.fw

He was set to take on Frankie Edgar in his first defence but an injury gave Aldo a chance to reclaim his belt and keep his era alive.

Holloway was looking to unseat a man considered to be one of the best ever, twice in two fights showing everyone that his time was now.

He did just that in a perfect performance where the champion picked apart the challenger and played his game.

Although Aldo did land some of his signature leg kicks it was clear that the fight was going to be Holloway’s to lose.

He took him into deep waters in the third launching an all-out assault that eventually he won putting Aldo on the canvas.

It was only a matter of time from then on as Holloway finished the fight with a TKO taking two straight fights against one of the best of all time.

It solidified his time as champion as he now will move on to try to eliminate all of the challengers and become one of the greatest ever.

The youth movement has invaded the UFC and things only seem to be starting in the last few months of 2017 have seen more young fighters rise.

It is setting up a 2018 that could be interesting if the pattern continues as no sports is safe from the youth movement.

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