Is there a viable challenger for Charles Oliveira? How will Rose Namajunas rebound?

A 14-fight card at UFC 274 produced some enormous wins, not most likely action, memorable knockouts and a lackluster co-foremost tournament sandwiched between two unbelievable bouts. Jeff Wagenheim and Carlos Contreras Legaspi react to the pay-per-search and offer their ideal thoughts on the night.

Large fight nights headlined by championship bouts most continuously provide clarity. But what UFC 274 delivered as a replace was once contradiction.

On Saturday night in Phoenix, Charles Oliveira stepped into the cage as UFC lightweight champion. He then choked out Justin Gaethje within the very first round — and walked out of the Octagon as ex-champ.

The reason for that mixed-up circumstance is that Oliveira had overlooked weight Friday, leaving the UFC to find away his title the 2nd his fight with Gaethje began. What that led to, at the conclusion of the fight, was once an empty feeling that one thing was once lacking — no “And quiet!” announcement by Bruce Buffer, no belt being wrapped round Oliveira’s waist by Dana White.

And yet one thing is uncomplicated: Belt or no belt, Charles Oliveira is the top most likely 155-pound fighter within the realm.

That was evident everywhere in the 3 minutes, 22 seconds the fight lasted. Oliveira wobbled Gaethje within the opening minute, but moments later Gaethje dropped him with a punch. Then Gaethje dropped him all all over again. But anyone who was once pondering this was once the starting of the cease clearly had now not been gazing Oliveira currently.

The 32-year-outdated fashion Brazilian was once harm badly a year ago in Spherical 1 of his fight with Michael Chandler for the then-vacant title, but Oliveira came out for the 2nd round and abruptly clipped Chandler, then completed him at 19 seconds of the round. Seven months later, Oliveira had to persevere via a rough inaugurate in opposition to Dustin Poirier sooner than choking out his challenger in Spherical 3.

This time Oliveira, his face marked up by the vicious work of Gaethje, scored a takedown midway via the round and hasty seized support alter, hanging him in arena to sink in a rear-bare choke for the 30th attain and 21st submission of his 33-make a choice pro career. For the length of the Octagon, he has 19 finishes and 16 submissions — both UFC recordsdata.

If top most likely there had been a stable grappler within the division who’s likely to devour the skill to take care of Oliveira’s floor sport. Too unhealthy Khabib Nurmagomedov is retired.

Which would possibly perchance ideal move away the job up to Islam Makhachev, a Nurmagomedov buddy and teammate who has been known as Khabib 2.0. The 22-1 Makhachev has been working his design up the lightweight hierarchy, and his emergence would possibly perchance now not devour come at a larger time. — Wagenheim

Must Tony Ferguson truly devour confronted Michael Chandler?


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Michael Chandler reveals off his athleticism as he nails two backflips after knocking out Tony Ferguson.

Early all over fight week, after I was once plotting out the UFC 274 bouts that had been must-search, I also noted a pair that I suspected is likely to be onerous to have a study. One who I picked out ended up now not occurring, after Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone took in unlucky health Saturday, sparing us from the most likely of seeing him lengthen his six-fight winless move in a vogue that can perchance well develop us recoil. The opposite fight I selected did move on and was once certainly troublesome to have a study — but now not necessarily for the rationale I expected.

I feared that Michael Chandler vs. Tony Ferguson would be a painful pronounce of what happens when any individual at or advance the head of his sport (Chandler) faces a fighter whose career has been fading (Ferguson, who was once coming off three brutal losses). It would possibly most likely perchance perchance rating shocking immediate, I believed.

But then Ferguson came out for the lightweight bout and harm Chandler upright away. Early on, Ferguson seemed fluid and unhealthy and clearly competitive. Maybe I was once atrocious about this reserving?

Or now not.

In the opening seconds of Spherical 2, Chandler threw a straight upright kick up the guts, and when the ball of his foot linked flush on Ferguson’s chin, the fight was once over in an instantaneous. Ferguson fell limply on his face, unconscious, and lay there motionless for so much of moments. Even after he came to and was once helped to his toes, Ferguson quiet seemed dazed.

Turn into this horrifying knockout an rapid byproduct of Ferguson being mature, his reflexes too unhurried to guard him and his chin no longer in a position to face up to influence? Or was once this ideal one thing that can perchance perchance happen to anyone, even a champ or high-of-career fighter? No one is aware of for clear, but I’m going to ideal exclaim this: It was once the fashion of ending I was once envisioning as a possibility for Ferguson and Cerrone after I expressed snarl over their bookings.

“Cowboy” and “El Cucuy” are legends of MMA. Each and every devour delivered countless thrills and pretty moments over the years. No one is soliciting for these cease-of-career guys to be shut down completely, but matchmakers must acknowledge when both warring parties are in their careers sooner than sending them into the cage together.

All the plot via a UFC drag highlighted by a 12-fight winning move, Ferguson was once breathtaking. But now when he fights we’re left to support our breath. — Wagenheim

Namajunas-Esparza: A title fight now not like another

“I’m the top most likely! I’m the top most likely!”

That was once the mantra Rose Namajunas said aloud, quietly and resolutely and over and over, as she walked out to the cage for the co-foremost tournament.

I wonder what mantra she had for the lonely stroll support to the dressing room as a frail champion.

Namajunas, to be pretty, has shown herself to be the top most likely strawweight on this planet these past few years, with two reigns as champ and multiple victories over frail champs Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Zhang Weili, as successfully as a make a choice over one more titleholder, Jessica Andrade. But Saturday night she was once now not the top most likely — or a minimal of she opted to now not pronounce us her simplest.

Carla Esparza was once booed after getting her arm raised and having the belt wrapped around her waist. She didn’t deserve that response. She had moved forward all over noteworthy of the fight, but Namajunas saved her distance and refused to make a choice. Esparza completed diminutive over the five rounds, it is upright, but diminutive is healthier than nothing, and that “nothing” is what Namajunas showed till the very cease of the bout, when it was once too unhurried.

Two questions linger: First, was once this the worst title fight in UFC history? It be undoubtedly a contender. Esparza landed ideal 30 important strikes, the fewest in a name victory in a UFC title fight within the promotion’s up-to-the-minute technology. But hello, Esparza is basically a wrestler. Namajunas, on the opposite hand, is identified as a slick striker. She linked with ideal 37.


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Carla Esparza gets Rose Namajunas’ support and scores a takedown in her destroy up-decision victory.

“It be onerous to acquire any individual who doesn’t must fight,” Esparza said within the Octagon after the bout.

That results within the 2nd demand popping out of this fight: What can we develop of Namajunas? Why did a fighter who had stood her floor in opposition to so much of more unhealthy foes dance in some unspecified time in the future of the Octagon for the easier fraction of her 25 minutes in there with Esparza? I devour now not know that there could be a serious reply, but make who will need to devour identified that reply as the fight unfolded? The Namajunas corner. From what I could perchance hear of her coaches, no one tried to gentle a fireplace and rating Rose to fight like Rose.

Namajunas is an enigma, so noteworthy so that this dud of a efficiency doesn’t label a demise. The next time she’s within the cage, she would possibly perchance stare like an world-beater. Which is what she in most cases seemed like… support when she was once a champion. — Wagenheim

Francisco Trinaldo, younger at 43


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Francisco Trinaldo makes Danny Roberts double over after he hits him within the body with a crushing left hand.

For folks that will devour to know how deep the UFC lightweight division is, ideal discover a stare at the unranked frail Francisco Trinaldo. He went all-out in opposition to Danny Roberts — who was once coming off a two make a choice move — to shut the prelims at UFC 274 and find away darkness from the Footprint Heart.

”Massaranduba” earned his 18th victory contained within the Octagon with a complete hanging efficiency and had Roberts in distress more than once everywhere in the fight. He is without doubt one of the many gatekeepers the division has and he’s undoubtedly persistently a fun fighter to have a study, persistently having a watch the knockout attain. Trinaldo has defeated Bobby Green, Jim Miller and John Makdessi.

At 43 years outdated fashion and with over a decade scuffling with for the promotion, he’s standing with a 5-1 file in his final six fights. Admire Andrei Arlovski, who would possibly perchance even be stacking wins in opposition to warring parties who doubtlessly weren’t even coaching when he signed with the UFC, Trinaldo is now not exhibiting signs of slowing down and desires to develop some recollections for his 5-year-outdated fashion son. And tonight was once a official one. — Legaspi

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