UFC 218 went down tonight (Saturday, December 2, 2017) from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The night was headlined by a championship rematch between new featherweight king Max Holloway defending against 145-pound GOAT Jose Aldo. Their battle, which Holloway once again won by third-round TKO, would have been a lock for Fight of the Night on any normal card. But not UFC 218.
On the prelims, welterweights Yancy Medeiros and Alex Oliveira made a gentlemen’s agreement to eschew any form of defense. Instead, they mercilessly bludgeoned each other for the better part of three rounds. The first was particularly violent and insane. Medeiros broke “Cowboy’s” nose, which spurt blood everywhere, then got dropped multiple times himself. Oliveira seemed on the cusp of getting Medeiros out of there on several occasions but never could.
Despite the beating, the Hawaiian stayed relatively fresh as Oliveira faded down the stretch, perhaps sped along by the shattered nose. Yancy put the nail in the coffin with one final salvo on the retreating and obviously spent Brazilian. Their unforgettable war – and contender for Fight of the Year – garnered them both an extra $50,000.
The fight that was targeted as a FOTY contender going in was between Justin Gaethje and Eddie Alvarez, and they delivered, but in a different way. We didn’t see both men repeatedly stagger one another, only to come back from the brink and return the favor, as we’ve seen them do countless times before. Instead, the lightweight sluggers stood toe-to-toe and consistently put hands and feet on each other in a technical but ultra-violent chess match.
Gaethje went to his patented leg kicks, but perhaps not often enough. A noted weakness of Alvarez, the former champion soon showed signs that they affected him, finally dropping in the third round. But “The Underground King” had been putting body shots in the bank as well. Alvarez threw tight, multi-punch combinations to the head and body, gradually breaking down the inhumanly durable Gaethje.
Alvarez ended the war with one well-placed knee to the face in the third round, instantly raising both hands in the air as Gaethje collapsed at his feet. The two warriors took the second Fight of the Night and the matching $50,000 checks that go with it.
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