UFC 241 took place in Anaheim at the weekend and it was a ripper of a card!
Sometimes when a card looks that good on paper, it turns out to be a disappointment however this was not the case on this occasion.
Nate Diaz returned with a win. Daniel Cormier returned the belt to Stipe Miocic. And we may have unearthed a new threat to the Rob whittaker’s Middleweight title as Paulo Costa won a three round battle of the ages against Yoel Romero.
As always there was a lot to take away from the UFC Main Card so let’s get into our 5 Lessons Learned from UFC241
1. Stipe Miocic Is The Heavyweight Goat
No one in the history of the UFC Heavyweight division has achieved more than the Cleveland local. During his first reign as champion, he defended his title more times (3) than anyone in the history of the Heavyweight division.
He avenged his knockout loss at UFC 226 in July 2018 by defeating Daniel Cormier inside four rounds on Sunday cementing his legacy in the sport even further.
What made the victory even better is that he was clearly losing the fight through the first two rounds, overcame adversity and changed his tactics to attack the body of Cormier which in turn had the champ second guessing and set up the knock out victory.
2. Daniel Cormier’s Fate Is In His Own Hands
Daniel Cormier lost no admirers in defeat at UFC 241. He dominated the fight through the first three rounds which may indeed have been his downfall. Miocic was happy to fight Cormier at close range and the champ was landing punches at will. Cormier landed 80% of his significant strikes in the first round (37 of 46) and 69% overall.
He was very successful with his only take down of Miocic to close out the first round on top and dominating his opponent. By his own admission, he missed a trick and ignored his coaches by not taking the fight to canvas again and it cost him the fight and his belt.
This fight proved that Cormier is far from an aging fighter struggling to keep up with the pace and if he wants to continue, he can. His two options other than retirement appear to both be trilogy fights. Whether it’s Jon Jones or Stipe Miocic remains unknown.
3. Nate Diaz Has Created His Own Division
He’s back and it he has not changed one bit. Nate Diaz returned to the UFC after a three year hiatus and he looked better than ever.
He did something that he has struggled to do in his storied career, and that is win the judge’s approval (previously he had won just 3 of 11 decisions). It was not a hard decision however as Diaz dominated the fight on the feet, in the clinch and on the canvas.
He called out what he believes is the hottest ticket in town right now after the fight in Jorge Masdival and in the post-fight press conference he announced that he has created his own division – The Baddest Motherf*cker Divison – where he makes the rules and he requires a belt made up asap. Never change Nate. Never change.
4. Paulo Costa Is The Real Deal
Paulo Costa had never seen a third round in his twelve-fight professional career before yesterday. In fact, his first nine fights were won in the first round.
Not only did he last the full three rounds will Yoel Romero, he won a unanimous decision and proved he is a real threat to the winner of Rob Whittaker vs Israel Adesanya.
In his post-fight press conference, he was adamant that Romero is the best in the division and that he would make light work of both Rob and Izzy. Whilst that remains to be seen, he is one scary man with a hell of a future in the sport.
5. Any Opponent In The UFC Is Worthy
Khama Worthy came into his debut fight in the UFC against Devonte Smith on very short notice and at long odds. He became just the third person in the last 12 fighters to win their fight on less than 40 days notice and he did so as a $7 outsider!
It just goes to show that if you are good enough to earn a contract in the UFC, you are dangerous enough to win any given fight on your day. It is combat sports after all and it is a two horse race. Safe to say he was pumped with the result and the $50K bonus.