Last night Khabib Nurmagomedov did what many thought was impossible: he out-grinded Pat Healy, who in turn just out-grinded Jim Miller. Thus he absorbs both their powers like a Highlander. Not only did The Nurma pull off this feat, he did it handily by winning the fight 30-27 across all three judges. Dayum, son. And then there was that killer slam which was not just reminiscent of Matt Hughes but actually inspired by him:
“I was watching a lot of UFC as I was growing up,” Nurmagomedov said. “I was watching Matt Hughes, of course, and I remember that move, and it was kind of my dream to do that one day in the cage. Obviously, I just wanted to make my dream come true.”
That moment in UFC history also happens to be one of Dana White’s favorites, and while Nurmagomedov didn’t end up winning any award bonus money, I’m sure he got a nice fat locker room bonus check dropped in his lap after that performance.
(gif via /r/mma)
The big question on everyone’s mind: are Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson going to have an immediate rematch? It seems like nowadays you can’t have a close fight or a semi-questionable decision without people demanding one. And it doesn’t get much closer than Gustafsson cutting it an inch too short on a few rounds and dropping a decision to a guy he busted up worse than he himself was busted up. So what does El Presidente Dana White say?
Like I said, we don’t know. We gotta wait a few weeks to see how this thing plays out and what we wanna do. It wouldn’t be like we couldn’t do it in Sweden. It’d be pretty great to do the fight there, we love it there. But Vegas is never bad either so Vegas I’m sure…. Or if the timing is right on this fight it could be a Superbowl fight too.
We gotta see how both these guys feel, what’s wrong if anything is wrong with them, and then go from there. Like I said, when you see two guys get busted up like they did tonight, they don’t even wanna talk about fighting for a few weeks. It’s the last thing you wanna talk about. You gotta let them heal up, go home, spend some time with their family, and start to get that itch again. And then they’ll be ready to talk.
I don’t know, we’ll see. You guys are gonna right ‘Yeeaaah, Dana said he wants the rematch, no I’m not saying that. I’m not saying that’s going to happen or that’s the case. I’m saying yes people probably wanna see it. It would make sense. Maybe it could happen. But not even close. I’m not in any way remotely saying that’s next.
I’m getting a bit weary of all these immediate rematches – I’m gonna get Pepperidge Farm on your asses and remember a day when a worthy challenger barely missing his chance to take the belt still had to go back and win another one or two fights before getting another shot. But in this case, what is stopping the fight from happening? Glover Teixeira? His greatest win in the light heavyweight division was over Ryan Bader in a fight that almost took a very bad turn for him.
Teixeira hasn’t really earned that shot at the light heavyweight strap – he was just next on the 205 pound contender conveyor belt. So pushing his turn back a fight in exchange for Gus vs Jones 2 doesn’t seem like that bad of a deal. We get a big fight people are gonna be excited to see, and perhaps Glover gets to put an exclamation point on his contendership that will lead to more enthusiasm when his turn against the winner of Jones / Gustafsson 2 (no more dismissing Alex now) comes up.
And you can already hear Dana White practically drooling at the prospect of The Mauler and Bones going at it again over Superbowl weekend. There’s a lot of fans who are gonna be tweeting him about this fight – because they thought Gustafsson won, because they want Gustafsson to win in the rematch, or just because they want to see another great fight between great competitors. The UFC is into big fights, and this is by far the biggest fight they’ve got at 205 pounds. No wonder everyone is just assuming it’s going to happen next.
Best Title Fight of the Year: Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson. I dunno if it’s the best light heavyweight fight in the history of the UFC (that’d require a little dusting off of some DVDs to conclude), but it was certainly a great match and a treat to see a gutsy contender like Gustafsson take the fight to Jones. Even as Jones returned fire with endless head kicks and spinning elbows, Alexander refused to back down and continued slug it out. All most people expected was for him to make it a little competitive and instead he almost took the belt off the champ – through talent and grit, not champion tomfoolery.
Best Reason to Still Hate Jon Jones: It’s a tie between all those kicks to the knee (who does that? Assholes, that’s who) and Jon congratulating himself for his warrior spirit over and over again during his post fight interview. Then there’s more obnoxious God talk, although that only annoys me because I’m a Satanist. You can also hate Jones for simply winning. Fuck him for that.
Best Rationalization for Jones Taking It: If you’re going to be honest about the scorecards on this fight, Gustafsson locked up round 1 while Jones definitely took rounds 4 and 5. Rounds 2 and 3 were close enough that you couldn’t fault the judges for going either way. Because of this you can’t really call it a robbery. You can’t even freak out too much at the judge who gave Jones the 49-46 decision. Gustafsson came out and took the fight to Jones but only really put a stamp on a single round. Next time, I’m sure he won’t make the same mistake.
Best Performance by a Canadian: Mitch Gagnon. We Canadians don’t have a whole lot to celebrate from this card. It’s going to be a long while before people write articles suggesting fighters think twice before agreeing to fight a Canadian in Canada a la the Brazilians. But Mitch Gagnon showed what a fired up Canuck coming back from a long layoff can do. Sure, it was against Some Guy. But it was still entertaining as hell and I ain’t gonna sleep on Gagnon’s next fight.
Worst Performance by a Canadian: Mike Ricci. I’d like to say Francis Carmont because he was so dominant positionally during his fight that he should have been able to do much more than the squat he did. But this award has to go to Mike Ricci for not only having a terrible and boring fight but losing in it as well.
Best Nappy Nap Time Submission: MORE TIES! I’M MAKING A MOCKERY OF THE ‘BEST OF’ FORMAT! But what can I say, there were two sick ass sleeper subs on this card – Mitch Gagnon put Dustin Kimura to sleep and of course Brendan Schaub got his little FU to the BJJ community that disowned him after his Metamoris match by d’arcing Meathead Mitrione.
Tonight is UFC 165 and I’ll be hanging out in the Fightlinker chat from the first Facebook prelims to the final scrap between Jon Jones and Alex Gustafsson. Come join in on the fun and talk shit about all the Canadian fighters! Or show up afterwards for a bunch of post-fight analysis. We’re going full service for this one, so check it out!
PPV CARD (10PM EST)
- Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson
- Renan Barao vs Eddie Wineland
- Matt Mitrione vs Brendan Schaub
- Francis Carmont vs Constantinos Philippou
- Pat Healy vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
FOX Sports PRELIMS (8PM EST)
- Myles Jury vs Mike Ricci
- Ivan Menjivar vs Wilson Reis
- Chris Clements vs Stephen Thompson
- Mitch Gagnon vs Dustin Kimura
FACEBOOK PRELIMS (6:15PM EST)
- Renee Forte vs John Makdessi
- Michel Prazeres vs Jesse Ronson
- Alex Caceres vs Roland Delorme
- Nandor Guelmino vs Daniel Omielanczuk
(Header by the amazing Nixson Sysanga)
This Saturday Alexander Gustafsson attempts to pull another Chris Weidman and use the power of The Secret to defeat Jon Jones. Fuck that Engine That Could with his ‘I think I can! I think I can’ shit. Gustafsson KNOWS he can. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think Jon Jones is gonna spend half their fight goofing around, so positive thinking may only carry the Swede so far. But if what you’re looking for is a game challenger who will bring the fight to Jones, then this could be the PPV you’re looking for. And keep in mind, Jones almost lost his last two fights – via armbar to Vitor Belfort and via that gnarly toe injury to Chael Sonnen.