After taking 24 hours to reflect on it, here are my top five thoughts on Wednesday night’s card.
1. Condit impresses
First off, credit to both guys for being warriors in there. This was a main event with a lot of hype that delivered, unlike some recent flops and snoozers.
Now, welcome back to the win column Carlos Condit. How great did he look after bouncing back from that first round against Kampmann? There were shades of GSP/Hendricks for a moment, but Condit showed excellent takedown defense, as well as the ability to get back to his feet time and time again. His striking was on another level and Kampmann couldn’t keep up with him. Kudos to Condit for strategically breaking the Hitman down. He answered all questions about their first fight with authority, as well as any doubts as to where he is now after the back to back losses.
This performance was reminiscent of the Condit of old. He was confident in his strikes and threw a high volume and variety of strikes that few guys, if any, in the welterweight division could match. Kampmann fought his heart out and there is no shame in losing to Condit the way he did. A lot of people think Hendricks would have gone down the same way if they had gone to championship rounds. Condit stated he wouldn’t want to fight him (referring to himself) prior to Wednesday night. He was right.
2. Cerrone falls and Dos Anjos raises his stock
Still waiting for Cowboy to take that next step into the higher echelon of the lightweight division. It could be we’ve seen his ceiling now. He will beat 85% of the lightweights in the world, but he can’t make that jump to become one of the truly elite. He’ll embarrass guys not ranked in the top ten, but fighters like Gil Melendez and Benson Henderson would burn right through him. Just when it seems like he has all the potential in the world, Cowboy goes out and loses like this.
That’s not to discredit Dos Anjos, who looked fantastic for the majority of this fight. Had it been a five-rounder, we may have had a different outcome. But both guys knew this was a three round affair from the get-go. Dos Anjos brought the fight to Cerrone from the opening and only slowed down after the fight was already well in hand. Dos Anjos put some people on notice with this performance. Not a lot of guys could outclass Cerrone so clearly.
3. Gastelum deserves the hype
First, he shuts down Uriah Hall to win TUF 17. Then he gets a first round submission win in his next fight. Give this guy a lot of credit for fighting well during and after the show. Hall’s hype bubble popped after his last defeat and he has yet to win in the UFC despite all of the excitement and attention he deservedly created during his TUF stint. Gastelum is the one who is really taking off at the moment, this guy is one to watch for in the future.
4. McGee’s evolution
What the hell happened to Court McGee? His fight against Josh Neer showed a lot of his improvement in striking, but he had a whole new bag of tricks against Whittaker, a guy known for his unorthodox and effective strikes. McGee was throwing everything including the kitchen sink at Whittaker and he did it at a pace that Nick Diaz would have approved of. Where the hell did this come from? We’ll probably get some answers from McGee at some point, because he is not the same fighter he was before, in a good way. A very impressive performance from Court “The Crusher”.
4. Mizugaki shines against Perez
Mizugaki looked great against a very game Perez. He showed a lot of composure, experience and skill in getting out of trouble and also putting the hurt on Perez. He beat Perez to the punch in almost every one of their exchanges. Just a very solid performance all around. Mizugaki displayed his ground game and defense, as well as his ability to get back to his feet. He also ate a couple of good shots and was able to fight through them. This was a fight of the night candidate along with McGee vs. Whittaker before Condit and Kampmann put on their show.
5. Tavares wins four in a row
Tavares was good, but not great. For how much better he was than McDaniel from the start, he didn’t do as well as he could have. And fading in the third round didn’t help his cause. He started off on a mission and was essentially in total control, but for whatever reason he took his foot off the gas. He still came out on top and that’s what matters, but it could be an issue against better fighters down the road, which he should get and looks ready for now. Four in a row makes him 6-1 in the UFC with a bright future.
Tags: Brad Tavares, Bubba McDaniel, Carlos Condit, Court McGee, Donald Cerrone, Martin Kampmann, Rafael dos Anjos, Robert Whittaker, Takeya Mizugaki, UFC Fight Night 27