Fight of the Night: N/A
Performance of the Night: Dustin Porier vs Conor McGregor 2 | ($50K bonus to Poirier)
Performance of the Night: Dan Hooker vs Michael Chandler | ($50K bonus to Chandler)
Performance of the Night: Andrew Sanchez vs Makhmud Muradov | ($50K bonus to Muradov)
Performance of the Night: Marina Rodriguez vs Amanda Ribas | ($50K bonus to Rodriguez)
The world was left in awe by many of the performances put on at UFC 257. From the UFC’s biggest star Conor McGregor getting knocked out for the first time in his career, to former Bellator champion Michael Chandler making what is considered as one of the best UFC debut’s of all time, to the UFC’s latest hype-train being derailed in stunning fashion, let’s just say there’s a lot to talk about.
So without any further ado, let’s get into it.
CATEGORIES: BLAZING, LUKEWARM, CHILLY, COLD AS ICE
Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor (KO Round 2 – Punches)
UFC veteran and former Lightweight interim champion Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (MMA 27-6-0, UFC 19-5-0, 1 NC) achieved what was once deemed unimaginable by the droves of sports fans who only tune in to catch the biggest fights of the year in his second-round knockout win over the UFC’s first double-champ Conor “Notorious” McGregor (MMA 22-5-0, UFC 10-3-0) at UFC 257.
If you enjoy spending chunks of your day consuming MMA columns (which you probably do since you’re reading this), watching the Dan Hardy‘s of the world perform in-depth fight breakdowns, and debating with your combat-sports-educated colleagues about all the nuances that come with the fight game, then you probably knew this fight was going to be a lot closer than fan predictions made it out to be.
On October 28, 2020, “The Diamond” tweeted that he had “25 minutes to make life fair” in his highly anticipated rematch against the Irishman. Simply put, he did what he said he was going to do. It was the way he did it that stood out most to me.
In the post-fight presser, Poirier admitted that at one point in the fight he was ‘flashed’ by the missile that is McGregor’s left-hand. As we all know, Conor’s rear-hand has been known to possess the metaphorical ‘touch of death’ that has flatlined 19 of the 22 opponents he has a victory over.
Poirier shook off the cobwebs and performed an incredible display of resilience by weathering the storm and aggressively attacking his opponent’s calf – a game-plan that would prove to earn dividends as the fight continued.
How does one defeat one of the most dangerous strikers in open-space? You immobilize them. You keep hammering away, you make them fight your fight, and you show the bully that you’re not scared of them anymore. Once the bully realizes they don’t have the power of fear in their bag of tricks, they begin to break mentally.
Dustin Poirier’s wins have often been understated throughout his career and his losses have been magnified. But I think it’s the losses to Conor McGregor, Michael Johnson, and especially to Khabib Nurmagomedov that built the confidence and composure that he put on display at UFC 257.
Log this one as another great win by “The Diamond.” Though he wasn’t fighting for a belt on Saturday, it’s clear as day that as long as Khabib Nurmagomedov is truly retired, Dustin Poirier joins future Featherweight Hall of Famer Max Holloway in the ranks of fighters who are truly the “People’s Champ.”
Since that honor doesn’t come with any hardware, I see Dustin Poirier vs Charles Oliveira as the fight to make with a real title on the line. It’s not a fight that will sell the most PPV’s, but it’s the fight that brings the biggest contrast of styles and makes the most sense.
Hats off to you, Dustin.
Michael Chandler def. Dan Hooker (TKO Rd. 1 – Punches)
On any other card Michael “Iron” Chandler’s (MMA 22-5-0, UFC 1-0-0) ruthless first-round stoppage against Dan “Hangman” Hooker (MMA 20-10-0, UFC 10-6-0) would have stolen the show.
Not only did Chandler achieve a feat that only few have by notching a first-round knockout in his UFC debut, he’s now one of only two men to knockout Dan Hooker (the other being Edson Barboza in 2018).
To cite the words of UFC president Dana White, “[Chandler] came out and it almost seemed like Hooker froze in that first round. Chandler was just all over him and put on an incredible performance. Listen, man, when you get the platform we had tonight, you make the most of it, and that kid did.”
Chandler spent the entirety of the fight pursuing Hooker and making him circle away from his right hand. If you’ve watched a Chandler fight before, it’s clear as day that his right hand is the most explosive weapon in his arsenal. It was an excellent game plan, because the moment “Iron” realized that “The Hangman” kept circling away from his power hand, he blitzed forward and dropped Hooker with a devastating left-hook and followed it up with ground and pound that ended the fight.
When I racked my brain trying to think of more adequate performances in a UFC debut, the only fighter that came to mind was the legendary Anderson “Spider” Silva (MMA 34-11-0, UFC 17-7-1, 1 NC) when he starched “The Crippler” Chris Leben (MMA 22-12-0, UFC 12-10-0) in less than a round, snapping Leben’s five-fight win streak.
Talk about being in impressive company!
But Chandler made the BLAZING category this week because he answered the majority of questions aimed at him entering his UFC debut. Being that he’s a former 3x Lightweight champion in Bellator, there’s no denying that he’s an elite fighter. And when it comes to delivering on the biggest stage of them all, there’s no denying that he did.
The biggest question looming over his head in my opinion is if he can deliver that type of performance, but over the course of five-rounds against the top-of-the-heap competition that lies in the UFC’s Lightweight division.
As noted prior, Chandler answered a lot of questions in his company debut. I’d still like to see him win at least two more fights against the top-six in the division before he gets a shot at the title. Even UFC 257 main event winner Dustin Poirier doesn’t think Chandler deserves to fight him for the title, at least not just yet.
“No, it does not (make sense),” Poirier noted when MMAJunkie reporter John Morgan asked if he thought the Chandler fight made sense. “That doesn’t really interest me at this point. I’m going to sell hot sauce if that’s the case.” With all the promotion that Poirier’s Louisiana Style Hot Sauce has garnered in recent weeks, that might not be a bad idea after all.
Ultimately, Michael Chander took another step closer to becoming a true household name, at least in terms of MMA fandom. I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a clear betting favorite in his next fight regardless of opponent.
Marina Rodriguez def. Amanda Ribas (TKO Rd. 2 – Punches)
Marina Rodriguez (MMA 13-1-2, UFC 3-1-2) put an abrupt halt the UFC’s latest hype train in her second-round TKO victory over Amanda Ribas (MMA 10-2-0, UFC 4-1-0). Rodriguez managed to notch her first knockout win in the UFC and hand Ribas the first loss of her UFC tenure simultaneously at UFC 257.
However, according to Rodriguez herself, she feels like she should have two knockouts in the UFC since Herb Dean’s botched stoppage led to confusion from both fighters during their bout.
Rodriguez made a clear statement with this performance and though she has every right to be happy with her performance, I think there are clear holes in her game that need to be addressed before she fights the anybody in the top-five of the Women’s Strawweight division.
I spoke about this in All Factors Considered #23, but I think it needs to be reiterated:
In Rodriguez’s only fight of 2020 she was taken down 5 times by Carla Esparza (MMA 17-6-0, UFC 8-4-0). That’s not a surprising result being that Esparza is one of the best wrestlers in the division and has averaged 3.5 takedowns in her last four-fights.
What is troubling to me is when Rodriguez finds herself with her back flat on the mat, she doesn’t necessarily attempt to escape immediately. Rather, she shifts to an offensive mindset and throws nasty elbows, hammer-fists, and other strikes off her back instead.
In terms of savagery, of course that’s what I want to see. But the judges rarely award a fighter with winning a round when they are on their back for most of it, and all six of Rodriguez’s UFC bouts have gone the distance. With two draws and a split decision loss already on her record, Rodriguez needs to clean up her takedown defense so she can fight where she is most effective.
Ultimately, Rodriguez was dominated with her back on the mat for the majority of the first-round in her fight against Ribas. In the second round she was able to keep it on feet and caught Ribas with a right-hook that set up the fight-ending sequence (and the aforementioned botched stoppage by Herb Dean).
If I’m being real, Rodriguez caught Ribas with a great shot, but she didn’t truly dominate her opponent on the feet. In my opinion, her striking was more impressive in the rare opportunities she was able to use it against Carla Esparza.
With this big win the UFC brass has now moved Rodriguez up to #6 in the Women’s Strawweight rankings. But with names like Rose Namajunas, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Yan Xianon, Carla Esparza, and Nina Asaroff inhabiting the top-five slots in that division, I would like to see the Brazilian contender in a bout against Michelle Waterson, who is ranked #8, or Claudia Gadelha, who is ranked #7, to see what she’s truly made of.
Joanne Calderwood def. Jessica Eye (30-27 x 2, 29-28)
Jessica “Evil” Eye (MMA 15-9-0, UFC 5-8-0, 1 NC) had her work cut out for her against Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood (MMA 15-5-0, UFC 7-5-0) going into UFC 257. This bout, labeled as a “bad blood” bout by the majority of the MMA media, was more of a hype-train than a full-fledged beef.
No, former Women’s Flyweight title challenger Jessica Eye doesn’t like Calderwood. And yes, the once potential Women’s Flyweight title challenger Joanne Calderwood did in fact state in a pre-fight interview with James Lynch that “There’s so much violence in me that I just want to take out on her face.”
Regardless of their per-fight antics, the moment these two stepped into the octagon it was apparent that emotions hadn’t followed them in there. Jessica Eye, who successfully made weight after missing in her two contests prior, fought the fight she usually does. She pressured Calderwood with her boxing and stayed in her face the entire time. Calderwood showcased her Muay Thai striking and featured plenty of teeps, knees to the body, and elbows in the clinch to secure a victory.
My major takeaway is that Eye, who is finally healthy after suffering from persistent stomach issues, hasn’t brought anything new to her game in recent memory. Calderwood, among the other contenders in the Women’s Flyweight division, have been adding new wrinkles to their repertoire and all-round mixed-martial-arts game.
Jessica Eye is a longtime UFC veteran and one that I believe will continue to stick around, but if she doesn’t start providing looks that her opponent’s aren’t already game to then I can’t see any attribution other than proverbial gatekeeper being put alongside her name.
I’d like to see Jessica Eye face off against Andrea Lee or Roxanne Modafferi in her next bout. It won’t be a tune-up fight – no such thing exists in the UFC – rather, it would be a matchup that could shake up the middle of the division.
Marcin Prachnio def. Khalil Rountree (29-28 x 3)
This was a rough one for Khalil “The War Horse” Rountree (MMA 9-5-0, UFC 4-5-0, 1 NC). Not only did Rountree open as a -365 favorite in his UFC 257 bout against Marcin Prachnio (MMA 14-5-0, UFC 1-3-0), he was out struck 102-49 (significant strikes) by Prachnio who’s previous best in the UFC was only 15 significant strikes.
After a surprise retirement announcement in December of 2020, Rountree reversed course and signed a new contract with the UFC. This bout was his first since making that retirement announcement and after watching his performance I think it’s safe to say that his woes appear to be much more of a mental issue than a physical one.
I had noted in All Factors Considered #23 that I wasn’t sure which version of “The War Horse” was going to show up at UFC 257. The legendary fighter that is Khalil “Bangkok Ready” Rountree emerged to the world back in April of 2019 in his dominant victory against Eryk Anders (MMA 7-3-0, UFC 5-5-0).
He had notably switched his home-base to Thailand where he began and continues to train at Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket. Of course, that didn’t address the deficiencies he has in his game on the ground, but it shored up his striking and added a ferocity that had yet to be seen in his career.
I have very high hopes for Rountree, but he lands in the CHILLY category this week because of how good he made Prachnio look, who prior to this matchup had been knocked out in all three of his trips to the UFC’s prized octagon.
If Rountree can regain his confidence, continue to work on his takedown defense, and add a little more volume to his offensive approach, I don’t see why he wouldn’t land in the top-fifteen of the Heavyweight division by the end of 2022.
The world wants to see “Bangkok Ready” Khalil Rountree. And I hope we see that version of Rountree soon.
After Further Consideration is the blog space for the All Factors Considered camp. The Stock Report is subjective and represents the stances, views, and opinions of the All Factors Considered camp solely.