With Fight Night 174 officially in the books, there is plenty to talk about from this event.
After Darren Till’s shaky middleweight debut, we were anxious to see how he will fare against the former champ Robert Whittaker. In the co-main event, former three-time light heavyweight challenger Alexander Gustafsson made his heavyweight debut and elsewhere on the card, Rogerio Nogueira battled Mauricio Rua in their fifteen-years-in-the-making trilogy.
There was plenty of excitement in the undercard as well, so let’s get to it.
Khamzat Chimaev Breaks A Record
For the first time in modern MMA, a fighter fought twice within 10 days, and even more impressively, Khamzat Chimae managed to finish both fights in an exciting manner. This time, he welcomed Rhys McKee to the UFC with a first-round TKO, earning himself a ‘Performance of the Night’ bonus.
Jesse Ronson made his comeback with a rear-naked choke submission victory over Nicolas Dalby in a short, but exciting bout. Both fighters had stints in the UFC earlier in their respective careers, but things appear to be looking up for Ronson.
Tom Aspinall made quick work of Jake Collier who was making his heavyweight debut. Getting finished within the first minute will surely bring him back to the drawing board, but Aspinall is on the up and up after getting his eighth career first-round stoppage victory and showing the world that he is capable of.
Also in the heavyweight division, Tanner Boser continued to impress with a second-round TKO win over Raphael Pessoa bringing his UFC career to a 3-1 and cementing himself as a prospect worth keeping an eye on.
The preliminary card also saw former women’s bantamweight challenger Bethe Correia in a losing effort to Pannie Kianzad. It might not be a surprise that she lost given the bizarre gaffe she made at the end of the first round where she mistook the ten-second clap for the round’s end and ate some unprotected shots. Things went downhill for here from there and Kianzad was able to control the fight and secure the unanimous decision.
In the other women’s fight on the card, the inaugural women’s strawweight champion Carla Esparza ground out another tight decision victory, this time over Marina Rodriguez. This propels her streak to 4 in a row, but with all those victories being tough decisions, she didn’t rise too much in her division’s rankings.
After Francisco Trinaldo’s third-round TKO finish of Jai Herbert, there was a particularly heated moment between Dan Hardy and the referee Herb Dean. Hardy believed that the stoppage was egregiously late and wasn’t shy about expressing himself to the veteran ref. Herb Dean, on the other hand, has since come out and defended his decision with a fellow referee John McCarthy also coming to his aide.
Dan Hardy also responded after the fact.
Shogun Ends Lil Nog Trilogy
These two respected veterans of both ring and cage have fought twice already. The first time in 2005, and then again in 2015, and Mauricio Rua was able to defeat Rogerio Nogueira both times. Just like those two fights, this one went to a decision with Shogun firmly remaining 3-0 over Lil Nog.
Werdum Spoils Gustafsson’s Heavyweight Debut
In what is apparently his last UFC fight, Fabricio Werdum was able to submit Alexander Gustafsson within the first three minutes of the very first round. Although he started with confidence in the stand-up, Gus failed to defend the relentless takedown of Werdum. From there, the Brazillian was able to apply his world-class BJJ and submit the Swede.
Whittaker Makes A Successful Return
After losing his title late last year to Israel Adesanya, Whittaker has been anxious to make his return to the octagon. Opposite of him was Darren Till who looked to make his presence felt in the division. Because of this excellent matchmaking decision, we were gifted an exciting main event that allowed Whittaker to firmly position himself as a top middleweight contender.
Darren Till shouldn’t take this loss too hard either. He has shown the world that he can go toe to toe with the best of the best in the division and certainly has more to show in his upcoming fights.
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