Wow! What a card to end another successful year for the UFC.
Who would’ve thought Julianna Peña would defeat Amanda Nunes and although it was by submission, it all started from the feet. Although in the first round, Amanda caught Julianna with a few beautiful low kicks and controlled her on the ground, Julianna came out all guns blazing in the second with a beautiful jab, right hand combination that constantly rocked Nunes.
In the first round, Peña did try that combination but the right that followed wasn’t tight. She fixed that up in the second. This led to a pretty easy takedown and a rear-naked choke that made Nunes tap almost instantly. Congratulations to Julianna who showed the world if you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything no matter who doubts you.
Sean O’Malley put on another striking clinic against Raulian Paiva. He’s definitely one of the best strikers in the world right now and I’d love to see him face ranked opposition soon. Merab Dvalishvili called out the “Suga Show” so I’d love to see them go head to head next year.
Kai Kara-France defeated Cody Garbrandt, proving how good the UFC flyweights are. He was simply too quick for Cody and Cody’s chin wasn’t able to withstand the barrage of strikes coming for Kai. Kai has put himself back in the title shot picture with this win, however, the main story after this result is, “What’s next for Cody?” He has one win in his last six and as of now he can’t compete with the top guys at Bantamweight or Flyweight. It’ll be interesting to see what the future holds.
Geoff Neal defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio by split decision. First round was pretty close but I edged it to Geoff. Santiago definitely won the second, it seemed as if he found his range and constantly caught Geoff with a right left combination. In the final round, I gave Geoff the win. He was spurred on by his coaches to give everything, which he did. I believe he rocked Santiago a few times but didn’t notice. Nevertheless, I was fine with the result.
In the main event, Charles Oliveira knocked off Dustin Poirier to retain his title. Dustin caught Oliveira multiple times on the way in and I was shocked to find Charles providing the early pressure. Even though he got caught three times, he still walked forward. Round two was Charles domination. He took Poirier down in the middle of the octagon and Poirier didn’t get up from there. I think his plan was to sacrifice the round to win the fight, something he didn’t do against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 242. Despite this, at the start of round three, Charles secured the back off a terrific entry, latching onto a standing rear naked choke for the win.
Dominic Cruz and Pedro Munhoz put on a classic on the prelims, which made a great night even better. We have one more fight night this year until the UFC is done for the year, with Derrick Lewis and Chris Daukaus main eventing a solid card. I cannot wait!