UFC 199 Final Thoughts…

UFC 199 was held this past weekend and I felt that it exceeded expectations. Numerous highlight-reel  knockouts and hard-hitting showdowns made for an overall entertaining card. Here are some scattered thoughts on the event:
Jessica Andrade defeats Jessica Penne
Jessica Andrade really impressed in her Strawweight debut. She looked as comfortable as ever in the Octagon. I think she can make a lot of noise in this weight class moving forward and I think she should stick around. I would love to see Andrade match up with Joanna Jedrzejczyk ASAP.
I think the most impressive element of Andrade’s performance was her fast and furious offense. She did not relent in her attack. The way she was able to alternately light up Penne with significant strikes to the head and body was remarkable. The fact that Andrade made the fight look so one-sided, especially against the #6 Strawweight in the world, says a lot. Andrade essentially left the fight scratch-less when she won it halfway through Round 2 with a TKO stoppage.  The fight was never close and Penne could not find a groove.
I was actually hoping to see Penne rebound strongly here after her brutal TKO loss to Jedrzejczyk last June. That wasn’t the case this time around and Penne needs to go back to the drawing board. She definitely wanted to bring this fight to the ground, but Andrade did not allow it. Let’s hope this TKO doesn’t leave a negative impact on Penne’s regimen or in-Octagon mentality.
Beneil Dariush defeats James Vick
I was stoked for this fight. Dariush was walking into it feeling like he needed to prove himself; his last two performances were murky. He won a controversial split decision vs. Michael Johnson in August 2015. I felt the win should’ve gone to Johnson, as did much of the MMA community. Dariush came out connecting on all cylinders in his most recent bout vs. Michael Chiesa. Darisush’s striking was on point in that one, but the Jiu-Jitsu black belt fell victim to a Rear Naked Choke in Round 2.
Vick, on the other hand, was walking into this fight with a 9-0 career MMA record on his side. A win here would surely push him up the rankings. These guys slugged it out for a bit, but ultimately it was Dariush who came out on top. The grappler and submission expert used his fists to get the win. A steady succession of punches were enough to drop Vick 4:16 into Round 1.
Brian Ortega defeats Clay Guida
This had to be one of the top fights of the night in my opinion. You had Guida, a seasoned MMA veteran, taking on the undefeated, up and coming and #12 Featherweight in the world, Brian Ortega. Guida looked real comfortable in the first 2 rounds. He was connecting on several creative strikes and combos.
Ortega tried bringing the fight to the ground a few times, to show off his Jiu-Jitsu skills, bit Guida wanted no part of it. Instead, Ortega found his back against the wall in Round 3. He was likely down on the score cards. With 20 seconds left in the 3rd and final round, Guida made a crucial mistake that cost him the fight.
He was looking for a takedown, and his head was left unprotected in the process. Ortega took notice and delivered  a big knee to the head that gave him the KO win. Of note, Guida was still out of it after the knock out. When he woke up, he initially thought Herb Dean was his opponent and he was preparing for a kick while on the ground. He even got back up and was ready to chase down Ortega. Dean had to notify him the result of the fight.
Dan Henderson defeats Hector Lombard
I was uneasy before this fight began. Obviously Henderson is a legend in the sport of MMA . At the same time he’s 45 and had lost 3 of his last 4 fights (a Rear Naked Chock submission to Daniel Cormier in 2014, a TKO vs. Gegard Mousasi in 2015 and a head kick KO from Vitor Belfort in November 2015).
Lombard looked to be in prime fighting shape and dominated the 1st Round. Henderson briefly had Lombard in trouble with a big right hand, but Lombard wisely clinched up and took Hendo to the ground. He was firmly in control and laid in some serious ground and pound and attempted a few submissions. Henderson retaliated in the second round.
Over halfway into the 2nd, Henderson went for a kick to Lombard’s body. Lombard caught it with both hands. This left him defenseless. With all his strength, Hendo shifted his core to the left and landed a massive elbow to the side of Lombard’s head, crubmbling him to the ground in the process.
Henderson celebrated the win with his family in the Octagon. He delivered an emotional victory speech and stated this might have been his last fight. There would be no better way for the legend to go out on top than with one of the best KO’s of his career.
Max Holloway defeats Ricardo Lamas
This was a slugfest in every sense. Although Lamas lost 30-27 on each of the judges’ scorecards, he put up a hell of a fight. The fact that he was still standing at the end of this one is a testament to his chin.
This is another big win that should push Holloway up the ladder. I still think he could have benefited from a finish here. It’s been over a year since Holloway has finished an opponent. If he’s going to get a title shot, he’ll need to go out guns blazing in his next fight.
Dominick Cruz defeats Urijah Faber
Cruz proved that he’s one of the elite champions in UFC by retaining his Bantamweight Championship. His elusiveness, speed and reach dictated the pace of this one. Faber looked outmatched for the most part. The big win for Cruz essentially erases the one blemish on his resume: a submission loss to Faber in 2007.
Faber is a legend in the sport, yet he came up short in another title shot. We’ll have to see if he ever gets granted another one.
Michael Bisping defeats Luke Rockhold
In a night of wild knock outs, this had to be the most surprising. Rockhold came into this one with all the confidence in the world. He punished former Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman in a TKO Championship win back in December. Weidman had to back out from this fight due to an injury he sustained in his camp.
Bisping stepped up and took the fight on 17 days notice. Bisping was coming off a big victory of his own: a unanimous 48-47 win over the legendary Anderson Silva in February.
Rockhold and Bisping were equally trading shots early on. Rockhold made 2 mistakes here: a.) he didn’t take the fight seriously enough (he even admitted so in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan and b.) he exposed his chin too frequently and left it open for Bisping to attack.
Bisping landed a couple of big punches to Rockhold’s chin/jaw that gave him the KO win 3:36 into Round 1. In the process, Bisping redeemd his 2014 loss to Rockhold, became the UFC Middleweight Champion and got to celebrate in the Octagon with his family.
by: Kevin D’Hooge
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