The organisation keeps growing like an all-conquering octopus with tentacles spreading far and wide from the sin city base of Las Vegas. The latest event held in Croatia was by all accounts a raging success. Some young talent, some brutal violence and a resurgence of a fine fighter ensured positive reviews. Even the obligatory local legend was in attendance and in fine spirits.
FUTURE CONTENDER –
Mairbek Taisumov def Damir Hadzovic (KO rnd 1)
Taisumov rounded off a very tidy performance with another KO victory. He has now amassed four finishes on the bounce since his decision loss stretching his UFC record to 5-1. Sadly, with the late replacement and the speed of success we really did not learn anything new about the Chechen. But his record suggests he is ready to take the next step and the powers that be need to grant him a chance to show off his well-rounded game. The reason why he will go far is that he is a finisher – only one of his twenty-five victories has come by way of a decision. It is just a shame that his division is stacked otherwise he would be well on his way to the belt. Top 15 fight next looms.
HIGHLIGHT REEL FINISH –
Derrick Lewis def Gabriel Gonzaga (KO rnd 1)
The black beast went full beast mode and put away the wily veteran Gonzaga with vicious power and ruthless accuracy. He may have his detractors but he certainly knows how to finish a fight. The knockout artist is keen to take on the ultimate fan favourite Nelson who has been on a slide and consistently come up short against the elite of the division. This fun fight would serve as a marker on his true potential. Gonzaga by contrast is facing being cut from the organisation. His recent record poor he very much risks falling by the wayside into obscurity.
PERFORMANCE OF THE NIGHT –
Junior dos Santos def Ben Rothwell (Unanimous decision)
Junior wound back a few fights and showed up in Zagreb. The walkout tunes set the tone – Rocky the plucky underdog boxer versus the evil superhero death march. He looked sublime in executing his game plan, dancing around the bigger Rothwell on his way to rack up five straight rounds. Rothwell, on the other hand, looked like an awkward robot being slow and clunky in his attempts to lay a hand on dos Santos. The two face different futures, dos Santos with his eyes upward and attempting to get back in the title picture while Rothwell is left to rue a missed opportunity and head back to the drawing board to plan his latest attempt to reinvent himself.
WINNERS MATCHES TO MAKE –
Taisumov vs Magomedov
Lewis vs Nelson
JDS vs Overeem