The Hangover - UFC 259 Edition
The title is somewhat of a misnomer, as I don't drink very often these days, and UFC 259 was a completely sober affair. Still, the show ran long enough — feeling every minute of its 8-hour total event time — and I felt drained and sedated by the end anyway.
The undercard was fine, a serviceable line-up of regional-level talent serving up reasonably quick fights and some violent finishes. The worst part of the undercard was seeing a tenured vet like Joe Benavidez get demolished by more-or-less "some random Russian."
The main card kicked off with an absolute dud in Alexander Rakic and Thiago Santos. The former was incredibly conservative with his effort, while Santos didn't do much besides wait for an advance that never came and land a few single shots here and there. Tremendously boring fight, made even worse by the dreadful commentary of Joe Rogan.
The return of Islam Makhachev lived up to the hype, and his dismantling of Drew Dober — a perennially underrated and constantly improving fighter, I might add — was certainly very reminiscent of Khabib Nurmagomedov. Whether or not he is the real deal or not remains to be seen but he's doing all the right things thus far.
The bantamweight title fight was a huge letdown, as Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling were having a really competitive fight until Yan inexplicably threw a blatantly illegal knee to Sterling while he was a downed fighter. The fight ended in a disqualification, awarding Sterling the bantamweight title in a very controversial manner. Obviously they need to rematch these two and settle it definitively; the scores were very close, with either fighter still able to win when the foul occurred.
Amanda Nunes annihilated Megan Anderson in as lopsided a manner as one could imagine. Nunes picked her shots carefully, which is the only reason Anderson survived longer than Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg combined; I don't think Anderson landed a single offensive strike. The 145 pound women's division can be shuttered now, it never really existed before and nothing materialized around Cyborg or Nunes' reign as champion.
Finally, the main event ended up being somewhat mute, as Jan Blachowicz did what he does best and played spoiler to Israel Adesanya's designs of holding two UFC titles simultaneously. Blachowicz used the Romero fight as a template, maintained a very reserved, patient approach and racked up more strikes than Adesanya. Blachowicz was also able to take Izzy down and keep him down, putting away crucial rounds.
The main event wasn't a dud, it was actually a very smart, tactical fight from Blachowicz. The fact it started at 12:40am and never got out of second gear made for 25 minutes of tension that never resolved. Nothing but respect for Blachowicz for getting the job done; few gave him any respect in this fight and, once again, he made the haters look stupid.
I hope that this is the end of dual championship attempts, but I doubt that will be the case. The UFC hated the idea until Conor McGregor showed them how it can be used as another promotional tool to sell pay-per-views.
Published: March 7th, 2021.