In the buildup to UFC 237, the event received a lot of criticism from analysts and fans alike for having one of the weakest main cards in ultimate fighting history. For the most part, they were correct. This was easily the least excited I’ve ever been for an ESPN era PPV and it wasn’t even the most exciting MMA event on that night (way to go Bellator!) However, despite the card being rather lacklustre in terms of star-power and hype, I do think there are some positives and interesting stories that come from the event.
The New Blood
On Saturday night, there was a very welcome addition to the “I can put your fucking lights out with one punch” club in the form of Viviane Araujo. Even more impressively, she accomplished this feat at 135 (A weight class which isn’t know for having one punch kill-esquian fighters), after the vicious finish over Talita Bernardo, Viviane announced her intention to drop down to 115lbs. While she is 32 and that may be too old to be touted as a “prospect”, her KO gave viewers a new name to keep their eyes out for and another reason not to cancel Fight Pass subscriptions just yet.
The Final Chapter
If one were to believe in an MMA God, they used UFC 237 to tell us that the old era is over. Jose Aldo and Thiago Alves were at least in competitive fights and begging them to retire over their losses would be a bit of a stretch, but Anderson Silva and Little Nog on the other hand went out in much more brutal fashion and in the most respectful way possible; I hope they never fight again. Watching two legends of the sport go out the way they did Saturday night didn’t sit well with me, and they truly have nothing else to prove in the world of MMA. Oh well, at least BJ Penn lost and we can celebrate that.
A New Beginning
The Rose Namajunas that showed up to scrap with Jessica Andrade on Saturday was simply phenomenal: Throwing straight punches, showcasing awesome footwork, and looking faster than ever. She was putting on one of the most impressive beatdowns that we had ever witnessed in UFCs 115lb division… and then the most MMA thing possible happened. Andrade’s slamming finish of Rose was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen in a title fight, especially considering the circumstances leading up to it. Andrade really only won about 3 seconds of that fight, but 3 seconds is all she needed to win. The fight those two had was a reminder about how unforgiving this sport truly is, and hell it’s why we love MMA.