The first pay-per view event of 2018 for the UFC went down this past Saturday and delivered with two great championship fights at the top of the lineup. Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic put their belts on the line against heavy hitting contenders in Volkan Oezdemir and Francis Ngannou. Both champs were able to weather the storm in the first round, and after the first horn, dominated the rest of the fight. Along with their performances, many other fighters put on great bouts, which included a couple early knockouts. After a day of rest and looking back at UFC 220 standout performances, here is a list of the best from the UFC’s night in Boston.
#1: Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Sabah Homasi via KO (Punch) at 3:47 of Round 1
Abdul Razak Alhassan and Sabah Homasi had faced each other once before entering their rematch at UFC 220. Why was there a rematch? Well the first time these two met, back at UFC 218, they were going back and forth in what looked like a potential fight of the night. But eventually Alhassan landed a shot on Homasi, and to referee Herb Dean, it looked as if Homasi had been knocked out. Homasi, however, was still in the fight. Being in a tough position, Herb Dean stopped the fight, awarding Alhassan with the win, but immediately after the stoppage, Homasi stood up, looking fine, and began to argue the call.
After the fight, both men agreed to a rematch to put an end to the controversy, and they got their wish as they were booked to face each other once again in Boston at UFC 220. The first round looked competitive, with both fighters landing their own significant strikes, until Alhassan landed an uppercut that shut Homasi’s lights out, ending the fight early in the first round. After the fight was stopped, Alhassan stood over Homasi, shouting at him. There was no controversy this time as Alhassan made sure to get the job done the second time around.
#2: Islam Makhachev def. Gleison Tibau via KO (Punches) at 0:57 of Round 1
Islam Makhachev came into this fight against a veteran in Gleison Tibau, who had well over forty professional MMA fights. Within the first minute of the first round, we didn’t see much action. Both fighters threw maybe one or two strikes. The first significant strike landed in the fight was a hard punch by Makhachev that dropped Tibau. Tibau had seemed like he had no idea where he was, and with one or two more strikes from Makhachev, the fight was stopped. It did not even take a minute for the fight to be ended as Makhachev made sure to finish it early. Be on the lookout for this up and coming Russian fighter that is destined to do big things in his future.
#3: Daniel Cormier def. Volkan Oezdemir via TKO (Punches) at 2:00 of Round 2 to retain Light Heavyweight Title
Daniel Cormier last stepped into the Octagon around five months ago when he took on bitter rival, Jon Jones, at UFC 214. In the third round of that fight, Jones finished Cormier by KO to win back the title he had never lost inside the Octagon. But a few weeks after his victory, Jones tested positive for steroids and was stripped of the belt. As a result, Cormier was awarded the belt once again after their fight was changed to a no contest. The same night Cormier lost to Jones, Volkan Oezdemir claimed his shot for a title after knocking out top contender Jimi Manuwa in under one minute.
It was announced that Cormier would be defending his title against Oezdemir at UFC 220. During the lead up to the fight, Cormier stated multiple times that he was still hurting from the Jones fight. He felt as if he needed to win against Oezdemir, and it needed to be dominant.
During the fight, Volkan was landing good shots early in the first round, but as the round began to come to a close, Cormier was connecting with hard shots and got a take down late in the round. After getting the take down, he got Oezdemir’s back and locked in a rear naked choke, but the bell rang. Cormier started the second round the exact same way he ended the first, landing hard shots and getting a take down. Although this time, he had time to work. He was able to pin Oezdemir’s arm down, and ended up finishing the fight with strikes to the defenseless challenger to retain his title. After the fight, he stated that he felt as if this fight was for the vacant title and it was like he had just won the belt again.
#4: Stipe Miocic def. Francis Ngannou via Unanimous Decision (50-44, 50-44, 50-44) to retain Heavyweight Title
After a brutal first round knockout over Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 in December, Francis Ngannou had earned his shot at UFC gold after only a handful of years of MMA training. Going into the fight, it had seemed that Ngannou was getting the bulk of the promotion, with not as much going towards the champion, Stipe Miocic, who had the opportunity to break the UFC heavyweight record for most consecutive title defenses. A lot of people had Ngannou taking out the champion early in the fight if he could connect with a powerful shot that could shut Miocic’s lights out.
But Miocic was able to weather the storm and escaped the first round with not much damage, just a bad eye. Heading into the second round, Ngannou looked exhausted. During the last four rounds, Miocic was able to use his wrestling to completely dominate the rest of the fight en route to a unanimous decision victory.
With the win, he defended his heavyweight title for the third time, the most ever by a UFC heavyweight. Also, during the fights, Miocic out-landed Ngannou 200-33, landing 73 percent of his strikes, and also adding a total of six takedowns. This performance proved that Miocic should never be doubted, and also possibly cemented him as the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time.
#5: Rob Font def. Thomas Almeida via TKO (Head Kick and Punches) at 2:24 of Round 2
Going into this fight, both fighters were coming off losses and were looking to get back into the win column. In the first round, both fighters looked great. They were able to land good shots that would occasionally stun their opponent. The first round looked as if it really could have gone either way.
In the second round, Font looked great, as he was connecting with hard shots. Eventually he landed a shot that dropped Almeida. He tried to keep Almeida down, but Almeida was able to recover and eventually got up and looked as if he were back in the fight. That was until Font connected with a head kick that stunned Almeida once again. He then landed some subsequent punches that forced the ref to stop the fight. It was a huge win for Font as he looked great. He also got the win against a higher-ranked opponent. The victory could maybe set up either another top-ten fight or even top-five.
With the UFC’s first pay-per view of the year in the books, these five performances stood out over everything else. From quick knockouts to complete domination and records broken. Next week, two middleweights will rematch each other. Jacare Souza looks to make it 2-0 against the surging Derek Brunson, who is looking to get revenge. Join me next week as we look back on that event and all the standout performances from the UFC’s night in Charlotte.
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