By RJ Marceau
Saturday night featured some great fights for a card that didn’t receive remotely the same buzz or coverage as UFC 200. Before I go on to my UFC 201 review I want to say a few quick things about UFC 200.
UFC 200 as a UFC fan was good. We saw the return of Brock Lesnar, Jose Aldo won the interim UFC Featherweight Championship and Amanda Nunes won the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. I can see non-avid fans complaints about the show because the main card featured 3 decisions and they weren’t decisions that were very back and forth or featured big action. Velasquez vs. Browne ended in a 1st round KO with Cain presumably next in line for the UFC Heavyweight Championship after Miocic vs. Overeem at UFC 203. In the main event, Amanda Nunes dismantled Miesha Tate in a few minutes and submitted Tate with a rear naked choke.
The Prelims on UFC Fight Pass all featured exciting first round TKOs and The Prelims on Fox Sports 1 were all decisions. All in all the show started off hot with three exciting KOs and then featured a lot of decisions. The UFC did the best they could especially with Jones vs. Cormier being bumped days before as well as losing out on McGregor vs. Diaz II.
UFC 201 Review
Unfortunately I was working so I missed the prelims and at my brother-in-law's house he didn’t have FS2 so I missed the second set of prelims. The biggest takeaway from the prelims was that rising Light Heavyweight contender Nikita Krylov continued to rise up the ladder with a second round KO of Ed Herman. Krylov should get a top 10 fighter next possibly against Jimi Manuwa, Rashad Evans or Ovince Saint Preux.
Ryan Benoit def. Fredy Serrano via Split Decision
This was an interesting fight especially with Benoit taking it on short notice. Serrano, a newcomer to the UFC showcased great wrestling and was able to take down Benoit five times. I was shocked by the decision because besides a first round knockdown, Benoit didn’t really do much. Benoit did land a few more significant strikes but was outstriked 67-45. Benoit rebounds from a defeat while Serrano tastes his first loss in the octagon. It wasn’t a marquee matchup but an entertaining opener.
Erik Perez def. Francisco Rivera via Unanimous Decision
Talk about a dog fight. Perez is making his way up the Bantamweight ladder and at 26 he has a promising future. Perez faced veteran Francisco Rivera in a great fight. Perez is fighting out of Alliance MMA where UFC Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz trains at and showed great footwork like the champion. Perez was able to slip in great shots on Rivera and take him down twice.
The fight was heavily in Perez’s favor going into the third round and for some reason he decided to drop the gloves and throw absolute bombs with Rivera right out in the start of the round. Rivera caught him with some big punches and I was surprised he didn’t drop Perez. Perez was able to take Rivera down and win the bout. Perez should see a top #15 fight next while Rivera’s days in the UFC may be numbered with his third consecutive loss.
Jake Ellenberger def. Matt Brown via First Round TKO
Matt Brown a few years back was hyped as the next big thing in the Welterweight division. After a few losses he was looking for a rebound against Jake Ellenberger. Ellenberger on the brink of losing his UFC career came out with a bang. First punch he was able to drop Brown. Brown wisely defended himself but didn’t last much longer after he ate a body kick to the liver that dropped him.
Ellenberger looked great and was able to save his UFC career for another night. Brown has tasted defeat as much as Ellenberger has in the past few years so it will be interesting to see if he makes it much longer in the UFC.
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas via Split Decision
Going into this fight I wasn’t aware of Kowalkiewicz's past fights besides her fight vs. Heather Jo Clark which I wasn’t overly impressed by. I have seen all of Rose Namajunas' fights back to her Ultimate Fighter season and thought she would be able to demolish Karolina. Boy, was I wrong. Kowalkiewicz throughout the fight was countering Namajunas and was man handling her in the clinch. Namajunas took her down twice but it wasn’t for very long.
I thought Karolina won via unanimous decision so I was quite surprised a judge scored in favor of Namajunas. Kowalkiewicz should be next to face Joanna Jedrzejczyk and for Namajunas I would like her to face Claudia Gadelha next.
Tyron Woodley def. Robbie Lawler via First Round TKO
I was excited for this fight because I am a big fan of the Welterweight division. Since becoming a fan of the UFC I loved George St. Pierre and always enjoyed the fights at 170 pounds. Robbie Lawler has been an absolute savage as UFC Welterweight champion but I had a feeling those wars were going to catch up to him. Woodley had a year layoff from the UFC and was hungry to win. Woodley was also getting a lot of hate from other Welterweights saying he didn’t deserve the title shot.
Woodley was supposed to fight Johny Hendricks at UFC 192 and he missed weight so it wasn’t like Woodley just ducked fights. Woodley came out looking to drop Lawler early and hit him with a “T bomb” and dropped Lawler with an over hand right. Woodley looked great and I love how he called out Nick Diaz and GSP. He knows that he can make big money on one of these fights and Stephen Thompson said before this fight that he would rather fight Lawler. Woodley should have a good reign as UFC Welterweight Champion and I hope he fights either Diaz or GSP.
UFC 201 had a great main card and was very entertaining. UFC 202 should be a great show and I can’t wait for UFC 202 McGregor vs. Diaz on August 20th.
SEE ALSO: "RJ's Two Cents - UFC 200, The Ultimate Fighter, and UFC Fight Night Predictions"