UFC 228 was live from Dallas, Texas Saturday as Tyron Woodley put his welterweight title on the line against Darren Till. Plus in the co-main event, we saw a strawweight title eliminator between Jessica Andrade and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. UFC 228 defied everyone’s expectations as all but one main card fight ended in a finish. In fact, nine of the thirteen fights on the card ended in a finish. However, only five, and maybe a few honorable mentions due to how many there were, can make the standout performances list.
UFC 228 currently looks like a potential card of the year at the moment as it entertained from top to bottom. Many guys performed very well and put on excellent performances. Now, it is time to look at the fighters who stood out from the other with their Standout Performances. In order for a fighter to make this list, their performance must stand out among their peers. This could be quick finishes, flashy knockouts, great submissions, dismantling an opponent, or providing an all-around exciting fight. Plus, after every standout performance, we will provide the next fight to make for that fighter from MMASucka’s “Top Five Fights to Make After UFC 228” by MMASucka writer, Wesley Riddle. So, without further ado, let’s get to it.
#1: Tyron Woodley
Tyron Woodley def. Darren Till via Submission (D’Arce Choke) at 4:19 of Round Two
During Tyron Woodley’s current reign as the welterweight king, he has gotten none of the respect he deserves. With close, tactical decisions that fans classify as boring, nobody wanted to watch a Woodley fight. This didn’t stop Woodley from attempting to become the greatest welterweight of all time and he looked to prove that against Darren Till.
Darren Till was coming into his first title shot undefeated and with all the hype behind him. Coming off big wins over Donald Cerrone and Stephen Thompson, people expected Till to be the next champ at 170. Till was very confident coming into the fight and looked to prove to everyone that he is the best in the world.
Once the fight started, Till immediately pressured and backed Woodley up to the fence. But Woodley started much quicker than usual as he landed a flurry of punches and a knee before attempting a takedown. Woodley couldn’t lock up the takedown and instead clinched with Till on the fence, but they were quickly broken up.
The remainder of the first round didn’t see much action as both fighters were feeling each other out. Woodley got Till into the clinch again but like the first time, they were broken up fairly quickly.
Just ten seconds into the second round, Woodley dropped Till with his signature right hand. He immediately jumped on top of Till landing elbow after elbow after elbow but Till was still in it.
For the next three minutes, Woodley stayed on top of Till landing ground and pound. Till was eating everything as he kept moving to keep the fight from being stopped. Finally, with just under a minute left, Woodley locked up a d’arce choke and Till tapped soon after.
Woodley had now defended his title for a fourth time, counting his draw with Thompson. He had derailed the hype train that was Darren Till. It’s time for Woodley to start getting the respect he deserves as a champ.
Who should be next for Tyron Woodley: #1 Colby Covington (14-1)
#2: Jessica Andrade
Jessica Andrade def. Karolina Kowalkiewicz via Knockout (Punch) at 1:58 of Round One
Both these women have tried to capture the strawweight title, but both have failed. Karolina Kowalkiewicz challenged for the title back when Joanna Jedrzejczyk was the champ at UFC 205. The fight was close but Jedrzejczyk was awarded the unanimous decision victory. This was Jedrzejczyk’s fourth straight title defense. Number five came against none other than Jessica Andrade.
Andrade met Jedrzejczyk at UFC 211 last time the UFC went to Dallas. Andrade also managed to take Jedrzejczyk the distance but came up short the same way Kowalkiewicz did, losing via split decision.
But now both fighters had a chance at earning another shot at the title, with Rose Namajunas as the current title holder.
The fight started and Jessica Andrade came out full Wandrade as she marched forward with flurries of punches that were landing.
This was basically the whole story for the entire first round as Andrade was landing everything she threw. Kowalkiewicz had her moments too but that didn’t matter once Andrade showed off her one punch knockout power.
Who should be next for Jessica Andrade: C Rose Namajunas (8-3)
#3: Aljamain Sterling
Aljamain Sterling def. Cody Stamann via Submission (Kneebar) at 3:42 of Round Two
After suffering his first knockout loss at the hands of Marlon Moraes, Aljamain Sterling looked good in his first fight since. He took a one-sided split decision from the undefeated Brett Johns at UFC Fight Night 128. Now he was scheduled to take on the streaking Cody Stamann.
Stamann came into the fight after a big win over Bryan Caraway at UFC 222. A win over Sterling would have put him further into the top ten of the talent stacked bantamweight division.
Both fighters came out quickly as each of them threw their own head kicks to start off. After Sterling threw another head kick, he was able to land a follow up right hand though, and this was something he used a lot throughout the fight.
Sterling continued to move forward and tried to take Stamann down, but came up short. The first round was a really close round as both guys were landing well and had success on the ground. Sterling landed the best shot during the fight when he threw another head kick and followed it up with a perfect right hand that landed.
There were many good scrambles by both men during the first round as well and Sterling also came close to locking up a triangle choke before the round ended.
The second round was close as well, but Sterling was able to get a takedown pretty quickly, getting Stamann down against the fence.
He didn’t do much with the takedown before Stamann was able to reverse position and get a takedown of his own.
Sterling was easily able to get back to his feet after this takedown and they were clinched on the fence again. After some time spent in the clinch, Sterling tried to take Stamann down again with a throw. Stamann tried to roll over and reverse position but Sterling still remained on top.
Once on top, Sterling easily was able to get into full mount and Stamann would then eventually give up his back. Now on Stamann’s back, Sterling was landing really good ground and pound until Stamann stood up with Sterling still holding on. Once this happened, Sterling reached back and grabbed the ankle of Stamann to lock up a brutal kneebar to end the fight. Sterling finished just the second kneebar of it’s kind in the UFC.
Who should be next for Aljamain Sterling: #5 Jimmie Rivera (22-2)
#4: Abdul Razak Alhassan
Abdul Razak Alhassan def. Niko Price via Knockout (Punches) at 0:43 of Round One
To kick off the main card, we got a welterweight clash between two KO artists in Abdul Razak Alhassan and the owner of some of the oddest wins, Niko Price.
Alhassan came into the fight coming off back-to-back wins over Sabah Homasi, both being first-round KO/TKOs. His opponent, Price, came into the fight riding a two fight win streak over George Sullivan and Randy Brown. His victory against Brown came at UFC Fight Night 133 as he knocked him out from the body in an odd position.
There’s not much to say about this fight. Alhassan came out quick as he looked to end it quickly and that is exactly what he did. Just after they touched gloves to begin the fight, Price landed one hard right hand, but after that, it was over for him. Alhassan began moving forward aggressively as he started landing hard combinations. Once he got Price’s back to the cage, he unloaded and knocked him out seconds later for his third straight KO/TKO victory.
Who should be next for Abdul Razak Alhassan: Max Griffin (14-5)
#5: Geoff Neal
Geoff Neal def. Frank Camacho via Knockout (Headkick) at 1:23 of Round Two
Frank Camacho quickly made his name known in the UFC as he racked up three straight fight of the night bonuses. His debut came against Li Jingliang at UFC Fight Night 111 where he lost by unanimous decision. The next one came at UFC Fight Night 121 against Damien Brown at lightweight as he won by split decision. The most recent came against Drew Dober at UFC on Fox 27 where he lost once again by unanimous decision.
Geoff Neal came into the fight coming off three straight wins. The most recent of those wins came against Brian Camozzi at UFC Fight Night 126 where he won by rear naked choke in the first round. He looked to win his fourth straight in what was promised to be a brawl against Camacho.
The fight started and Geoff Neal was firing immediately. This was the story throughout the entire first round. Neal looked to be on a much higher level than Camacho as he landed nearly everything he threw. Camacho, on the other hand, was barely landing anything. In the first thirty seconds, Neal landed a good combo and then followed it up with a head kick that landed.
Neal would continue to land constantly against Camacho and he would stun him every once in a while with hard punches that would land perfectly.
With under a minute left in the opening round, Camacho’s face had already been busted up and he seemed to be gassing already. With just under ten seconds remaining, Neal dropped Camacho. Camacho was quickly able to recover and desperately began to look for a takedown to survive the closing seconds of the round and he did.
The second round started a bit slow until Camacho looked to get a takedown. Neal defended well and clipped Camacho on the break as Camacho stumbled back to the fence. Geoff Neal then began to unload with a flurry of punches as Camacho ate everything and began swinging right back. Neal slipped away from everything that Camacho threw his way and came back with perfect counter punches and even landed a perfect flying knee. The two broke apart and moved back to the middle where Camacho would let out a roar as he was loving what was currently going on.
Once the two were back in the middle of the octagon, it didn’t take long for the fight to be finished. Camacho continued to eat left hands from Neal before he landed the brutal fight-ending head kick.
Who should be next for Geoff Neal: Belal Muhammad (14-2) / Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (19-5) loser
1. Zabit Magomedsharipov def. Brandon Davis via Submission (Kneebar) at 3:46 of Round Two
2. Tatiana Suarez def. Carla Esparza via TKO (Punches) at 4:33 of Round Three
3. Jim Miller def. Alex White via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:29 of Round One*
*Jim Miller made his record-breaking 30th appearance in the UFC
UFC 228 is now in the books as it provided a very entertaining show after people saw it as a not so entertaining fight card. Now we take a look at what is to come next week. The UFC will make it’s debut in Russia as they travel to Moscow for UFC Fight Night 136. In the main event, walk-off knockout master Mark Hunt will take on submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik. So join me next week as we look back on a historic debut and determine the five standout performances from Russia.
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