Kicking off in Toronto, Canada this past Saturday December 10, UFC 206 proved to be a beast of a card. Capping off another double-header of UFC events, the pay-per-view performed strongly in the face of stacked odds. After dramas with Georges St-Pierre, the loss of the main event and Anthony Pettis missing weight, it looked as though UFC 206 was cursed. Although the short notice main event was now only an interim title bout for Max Holloway, this made little difference at the end of the show.
Showing once again that cards can perform well without McGregor or Rousey, at least in terms of entertainment, UFC 206 was spot on. Following such an exciting show, Monday morning will be a mix of joy and sorrow for the card’s competitors. Join us as we recap the action, and pick out who won big, and lost most at UFC 206.
The biggest win of his career puts Max Holloway in a very elite bracket. Joining the top five longest win streaks in UFC history is sweet enough, but to taste UFC gold from his victory is the icing on the proverbial cake. Taking out Anthony Pettis with a third round TKO, ‘Blessed’ now lines himself for a unification bout with Jose Aldo.
Holloway out-struck Pettis in every round, landing significant strikes at 45% accuracy with a total of 98 out of 212. Holloway landed both attempted takedowns while stuffing both of Pettis’. The future is very bright for the streaking Hawaiian, and a legacy defining fight with ‘Scarface’ awaits, hopefully.
Taking away literally nothing from UFC 206, Anthony Pettis had a terrible time. Failing to make weight for the first time in his career, ‘Showtime’ looked a shell of his former self. Even in his drained featherweight debut against Charles Oliveira, Pettis looked promising. Clearly the brutal weight cut, which he couldn’t complete, took a lot from the ex-lightweight champion.
At the least now he knows lightweight is the only viable option, but this will likely provide little comfort after such a one-sided loss. This is the fight game, things are often severely difficult, and 1-4 in his last five fights, let’s hope Pettis is able to turn around his run of bad fortune.
Donald Cerrone/Matt Brown
Leading up to round three, Matt Brown was actually ahead in significant strikes landed. Donald Cerrone had arguably won the first frame, and Brown the second, and the third round was where it was all to play for. Needing just four significant strikes to get the job done in style, ‘Cowboy’ came away with another huge KO win. For Cerrone, either a bout with Demian Maia or a title fight are next, dependant on circumstance.
For ‘The Immortal’ its sadly a very different predicament. After his UFC 206 loss, Brown rides three straight defeats, and has won just once in his last six outings. He’s been knocked out twice in a row, and started his current losing streak with a submission loss against Demian Maia. After talk of serious concussion earlier this year, some decisions clearly need to be made. Matt Brown is an awesome guy, great fighter and entertaining to watch, but maybe 36 fights in to his 12-year career, it’s time to consider retirement.
Swanson & Choi’s War
Although Cub Swanson took the unanimous decision win, Doo Ho Choi loses zero stock from his first UFC defeat. This fight was thrilling from the first punch to the last, with back-and-forth exchanges keeping us on the edge of our seats. Easily a contender for ‘fight of the year,’ Swanson and Choi had the crowds roaring with excitement during their epic slugger.
‘Killer Cub’ made a huge impression, but perhaps needs one or two more bouts before being considered for a title fight. What’s next? Number one contender bout for Swanson. ‘Korean Superboy’ remains fringe top 10, so perhaps a tune-up is on the cards.
Kelvin Gastelum & Tim Kennedy
This was an extremely ugly fight for Tim Kennedy, who hadn’t seen action since 2014. Returning against the middleweight version of Kelvin Gastelum, Kennedy was met with a painful lesson. ‘Mini Cain’ looked sharper, more conditioned and simply better than Kennedy in every respect. Taking nothing away from Gastelum, Kennedy did look quite rusty.
What’s next? After beating Kennedy by TKO at UFC 206, Gastelum clearly needs to stay at 185 pounds. Barely making or missing weight at 170 pounds just wasn’t working out, and he looked great against the bigger man in Kennedy on Saturday. For the latter, there are some great fights to make at 185 pounds, but perhaps someone like Vitor Belfort or Anderson Silva would make sense. Maybe Uriah Hall?