Holloway, Ngannou, and Alvarez Take Center Stage at UFC 218
UFC 218 is officially in the history books, and fight fans were gifted with an early Christmas present in the form of three exhilarating bouts that delivered jaw-dropping highlights to open the month of December.
Fireworks were on display in Detroit, Michigan, as the legitimate top guys separated themselves from the middle-tier fighters to end their 2017 with a bang. That said, let’s break this event down as we bring you three talking points from UFC 218.
Hawaii’s got a new ‘Prodigy’
Max “Blessed” Holloway put on a clinic for almost 15 minutes as he picked apart José Aldo with sharp jabs for three rounds. Aldo’s bloodied and battered face sums up the story of the fight; Max was able to utilize his four-inch height advantage and the Brazilian didn’t have an answer.
Holloway is Hawaii’s new crowned jewel. And although not as explosive as fellow Hawaiian striker BJ Penn, Holloway proved that he can be as dominant if not more.
Let’s give credit to the former featherweight champion, though. He took the fight on a short notice against the man who already took him out the last time he set foot inside the Octagon. The 31-year-old replaced Frankie Edgar who had to pull out due to a fractured orbital.
Aldo fought smarter and more economic, utilizing his famous leg kicks as his main tool of attack. Conditioning is in Holloway’s favor, however, as the Hawaiian showed no signs of fatigue and dullness to his strikes.
The champion executed his plan to perfection. “My trainers said, ‘Let’s take him to deep water.’ We know he can’t swim there and we were gonna drown him,” Holloway revealed during the post-fight interview.
High Stakes for Rolando Dy’s Second Chance
Fighting in the hallowed Octagon is Rolando Dy’s dream “since Day One.” However, Dy will have to literally fight for his dream to stay alive, as he was given another chance to remain in the roster of the premier MMA league.
Dy revealed that the UFC already decided to cut him last month. “[Nakatanggap] kami ng email sa UFC na they will cut me. So, okay, tinanggap namin ‘yon,” Dy shared. (We received an email from the UFC that they will cut me. So, okay, we accepted that.)
But Dy’s UFC tenure is not over just yet; he received another email from the UFC, asking him to fight on a two-week notice. And although it was a very steep mountain to climb, Dy agreed to fight Wuliji Buren in the preliminary card of UFC Fight Night: Bisping vs Gastelum, in his opponent’s home of Shanghai, China.
Since making his Octagon debut last June, Dy has yet to taste victory inside an Ultimate Fighting Championship cage. Dy showed fire in the opening round of his debut fight against veteran Alex Caceres, but he was TKO’d due to an eye injury that he suffered in the second round.
He then had a shot at redemption three months later, but he was beaten by Japanese Teruto Ishihara via unanimous decision in the undercard of UFC Saitama.
Martin Nguyen has Nothing but Brotherly Love for Eduard Folayang
With just 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the second round, Martin Nguyen found the opening he was anticipating for six weeks. Coming his way was a strike synonymous to his opponent, Eduard Folayang – the spinning wheel kick.
Unlike other fighters who simulate bad blood to draw more publicity, Folayang and Nguyen weren’t shy in professing their friendship. “Eduard’s not only a very good fighter. What inspires me about Eduard is that he inspires the younger generation,” Nguyen said about Folayang several days before the fight.
However, a fight is still a fight, and the only way to come out on the winning end is by inflicting damage to the person opposite you. Once fighters enter the cage, whatever relationship they have developed is put on hold. In those few minutes, they go to war.
Asked about the motivation to challenge for his buddy’s title, Nguyen replied, “In terms of why I’m fighting [Folayang], the aim is to make history in ONE Championship. It’s very rare that these opportunities come.”
And make history he did. Nguyen landed a perfect right overhand counter to the jaw of the Filipino hero right when Folayang was completing another spinning attack. Unfortunately for the Team Lakay leader, his challenger did his homework.
“You know what; I timed that perfectly with that right hand. It was supposed to be a takedown, but I threw a right hand out of instinct.” And just like that, Eduard Folayang lived and died by his signature move.