Recapping UFC 230

The UFC returned to Madison Square Garden on Pay Per View Saturday night with a card that was headlined by a Heavyweight Title matchup. Those two Heavyweights that were in the main event were former 2 division Champion Daniel “DC” Cormier (21-1 1NC Heavyweight Champion) who took on Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (21-5 1NC #2 Ranked Heavyweight). We had one fight scratched from the card due to an illness, but we kept going with the 12 other fights. The UFC may not have loaded this card with names, but the night ended up being a relatively great card. The fights were action packed; even the decisions provided pretty constant entertainment. Let’s take a look back at the night that was UFC 230.

We started the night at Heavyweight as Adam “Siwy” Wieczorek (10-2) took on Marcos “Pezao” Rogerio De Lima (16-6-1).  De Lima came right out looking to find his leg kicks. Wieczorek scored a takedown quickly after and was applying pressure on top. De Lima was able to get back up off the mat and reversed the position to get on top of Wieczorek. De Lima was trying to posture up and unload right hands. Pezao was seemingly in dominant position but not doing a ton of damage. He then postured up and threw a flurry of hooks that all connected. He closed the round strong with some more nice ground and pound. We headed in to round 2 and it was more of the same from Pezao just pressuring his opponent. He was throwing chopping leg kicks that were backing up Wieczorek. There was a brief chance for Wieczorek to get De Lima off him and then pressed him up against the fence but that did not last long. Pezao just landed a nice combination that included a right hand against the fence. They were stalled against the fence briefly and then separated. Pezao came right back in and landed a punch and Wieczorek came running in on him. Pezao was holding a standing guillotine briefly, and they stayed pressed against the fence. Pezao unleashed one last combination against the fence that connected as the horn sounded. We headed to round 3 and it was De Lima moving forward working the leg kicks more and more. Wieczorek grabbed for the clinch and they ended up against the fence. The ended up scrambling on to the mat and De Lima was on top. Wieczorek tried to reverse it, but he ended up simply scrambling back to the feet. De Lima came forward Wieczorek appeared to simply fall to the mat. De Lima was on top of him in guard against the fence. De Lima held him down in that position honestly for the remainder of the fight and we were headed to the judges. They scored it 30-27 across the board for Marcos Rogerio De Lima. This was a dominant win in his return for De Lima. His striking on the feet and heavy leg kicks were the story of the fight. It will be interesting to see where he fits in at Heavyweight going forward.

We jumped up to 145lbs as Shane “Hurricane” Burgos (11-1) took on Kurt Holobaugh (17-6 1NC). These guys came right out and started throwing. Holobaugh was trying to work in leg kicks. Burgos came back with a right hand over the top. Holobaugh ripped a hard combination that ended with a nice right hand. Burgos kept coming forward and Holobaugh unleashed a hard left then right hand that floored Burgos. A smile appeared on the face of Burgos as Holobaugh dove on top of him and Burgos immediately grabbed for an armbar. The submission was in tight and Burgos was able to secure the tap. This was a nice comeback win for Shane Burgos. He was able to overcome immediate adversity and throw up an armbar with some serious speed. Burgos is such a talented guy who can really make an impact at Featherweight as he goes.

Two Lightweights closed out the Fight Pass portions of the prelims as Matt “The SteamRolla” Frevola (6-1-1) took on Lando “Groovy” Vannata (9-3-2).  Frevola was throwing a bunch of kicks early on. Vannata was still coming forward and just missed with a wheel kick. Frevola came firing back with a bunch of head kicks that had to get blocked. Frevola ripped a hard that landed on the chin. There was another exchange and Vannata landed a hard head kick that dropped Frevola for roughly half a second. Frevola was somehow completely fine after eating that head kick and was back throwing shots. Vannata went back for another wheel kick that missed. Frevola was still coming forward looking to land right hands. Vannata kept coming forward and Frevola was eating him up with right hands. Vannata came back with a head kick and then a left hand of his own that connected. Frevola threw a spin kick at Vannata and then hit a right hand that stumbled Vannata to a knee. Vannata came forward and ate a step in elbow from Frevola. Vannata got hit with a huge left hand that hurt him and then ate a flying knee from Frevola. Frevola rushed forward and got taken down, but he locked in a tight guillotine. Vannata was able to sneak out but ended up being mounted as the buzzer sounded. We headed to round 2 and it was Vannata landing a nice spinning back kick to the body. Vannata then landed a push kick to the face that connected. In the next exchange, a big left hand floored Frevola. Vannata pounced and kept trying to finish. Frevola somehow got back to his feet and was taking a ton of punishment. Frevola recovered and then went for a takedown that was stuffed. Vannata was pounding him with elbows and got back to his feet. Vannata went back to working the body on the feet. Vannata was stalking Frevola all around the cage. Frevola was coming back strong and landed a hard left hook on the chin of Vannata. These guys slowed a bit, and Frevola went for a takedown that was stuffed. Frevola scored a late takedown but ended up in a guillotine late in the round. We headed to round 3 and Frevola came out firing kicks. Frevola was smashing shots in on Vannata. Lando caught a kick and as he walked Frevola back to throw him to the mat he got hit with 3 or 4 big punches from Frevola. Vannata was looking for an opening and missed with a big hook that led to a takedown attempt from Frevola. Vannata rolled underneath him and was able to escape and get right back to his feet. Frevola tried for a late push and landed a hard right hand. Vannata came back with one of his own and a big feint ended the fight. The judges would score this one 29-28, 28-28 and 28-28 for a majority draw. Honestly, that may have been the best outcome for this fight as possible. When the scorecards got announced and there was a split decision expectation. That was a fight of the year candidate for sure.

A pair of Welterweights kicked off the FS1 Prelims as Lyman “Cyborg” Good (20-4 1NC) took on longtime UFC veteran Ben “Killa B” Saunders (22-11-2). They came out early and Saunders was throwing hard kicks. Saunders landed a nice kick to the body that connected. Saunders hit a nice punch then another kick to the body. Good came rushing forward and they were in the clinch. Saunders was connecting with knees to the body. Good then uncorked a flurry of uppercuts in the clinch and Saunders collapsed to the mat. Good followed up on the mat and it was all over. This was an impressive win in his return for Good. He ate some early punishment and then just crushed him with uppercuts. Good is very intriguing as long as he remains active.

We dropped back down to 145lbs as Julio Arce (15-3) took on Sheymon Moraes (11-1). They danced around the cage for a lot of the first minute or so and then a big right hand from Moraes knocked Arce down. Moraes was just pounding him with shot son the mat, but Arce was able to somehow survive. Arce scrambled and got back to his feet and had Moraes pressed against the fence. They were engaged in a clinch battle against the fence and it was Arce holding him there. Arce transitioned to Moraes back and he was on Moraes like a backpack. Arce was trying to work for a rear naked choke. Arce had it locked in on the chin very late in the round but ran out of time. We headed to round 2 and another right hand from Moraes hurt Arce. To recover Arce went for a takedown, but Moraes was able to stay on his feet. A giant cut opened up on the head of Arce in the clinch and both guys were just covered. They were back to just trading in the center of the cage. Each guy was connecting with shots as they moved around the center of the Octagon. Moraes missed with a head kick and then uncorked a right hand that dropped Arce. Moraes was on top of him trying to finish. Arce was somehow able to keep him off him and Arce was allowed back to his feet. Moraes missed with a huge right hand and clinched up against the fence at the end of the round. As the third started the blood was already pouring out of Arce’s head. Moraes was consistently landing step in elbows on Arce. Arce was undeterred by the offense of Moraes and was returning shots. Arce was really starting to come back and hit a hard right hand that appeared to stumble Moraes back against the fence. Moraes came back with a nice knee to the body and then a right hand of his own. Moraes came in and clinched and backed up missed with a swinging kick as the round and fight came to an end. The judges would score this one 29-28, 28-29, and 30-26 for the split decision winner Sheymon Moraes. The third scorecard certainly was a bit different, but it was certainly an entertaining fight. Moraes was hitting big shots and looked really good in many spots. He showed off his power as well. Moraes is a really solid prospect moving forward.

We saw the only two females on the card next as Sijara “SarJ” Eubanks (5-2 #4 Ranked Flyweight) went up against Roxanne “The Happy Warrior” Modafferi (22-16 #7 Ranked Flyweight). Eubanks landed a hard inside leg kick early. Eubanks was getting her punches off first and landing in the exchanges. Eubanks was able to score a takedown and was now on top. Modafferi was able to get into guard and try and work off the bottom. Modafferi was doing a good job limiting any damage from the top from Eubanks. Eubanks briefly let Modafferi to her feet, but stayed attached to her and brought her back to the mat. Eubanks ended the round on top of Modafferi on the mat. We headed to round 2 and it was again Eubanks landing the better shots on the feet. Modafferi returned fire with 3 right hands that all connected. Eubanks returned some punches with a head kick that connected. Eubanks followed up with a right hand and Modafferi went to her back. She recovered on the ground briefly and tried to grab for a leg lock. Eubanks backed off and forced Modafferi to stand back up. They were pressed up against the fence and Modafferi scored a big throw and landed on top. Modafferi was working on the ground looking to find an opening on the mat. Eubanks tried to grab in for a kimura from the bottom late, but Modafferi was able to survive and end the round on top. We headed to round 3 and Eubanks landed a hard combination immediately. They kept circling and were going back and forth with combinations. Modafferi was building a ton of momentum with her striking. Eubanks stopped a takedown attempt and Eubanks ended up taking her down. Eubanks stayed on top and was holding Modafferi to the mat. Eubanks just barely hung on to a reversal on the ground and was keeping the fight on the mat. Modafferi was finally able to battle back to her feet late in the round, but Eubanks held on and kept her down until the absolute end of the fight. We headed to the judges and they scored it 30-27 for Sijara Eubanks. Eubanks looked solid for most of the fight, she definitely slowed down and the weight cut seems like it was part of it. She needs to figure out the weight cut because outside of that she is a serious contender at 125lbs.

The Featherweight Division closed out the prelims as Jason “The Kid” Knight (20-6) took on Jordan Rinaldi (14-6).  Knight wasted little time coming right out throwing a combination that finished with a leg kick. Knight kept working that. RInaldi however weathered and landed a hard left hand in return. Knight was moving forward and missed with a left hand that Rinaldi capitalized on with a takedown. Knight was on the bottom in guard trying to get offense going form that position. Knight tried for an omoplata, but Rinaldi slid out of it. Rinaldi was keeping Knight down on the mat but was not able to land anything big. Rinaldi did a great job-keeping Knight on the mat in the round and ended it there. We came out in round 2 and Knight was trying to land on the feet. Rinaldi again got the fight to the mat and was in the dominant position on the ground. Rinaldi was able to take the back of Knight and had the body triangle locked in. Rinaldi was just controlling Knight all over the position. Rinaldi kept working and working until finally almost locking in a rear naked choke. Knight evaded and gave a finger wag despite being dominated for the second straight round. We headed to round 3 as Knight stuffed an early takedown. Knight then scored a takedown of his own and Rinaldi reversed it by searching for a kimura. Rinaldi immediately switched and took his back with a body triangle. Rinaldi just kept going for rear-naked chokes and Knight was staying in the fight. Rinaldi eventually was a Knight backpack as they rose to the feet, but Rinaldi brought him right back down. Rinaldi ended the fight on the back of Knight, which was fitting. The judges would score this one 30-27, 30-25, and 30-26 all for Jordan Rinaldi. This was an absolutely dominant win for Rinaldi in his Featherweight debut. His grappling was just so on point. He dominated a guy that just a year or two ago was in the top 10 at 145lbs. Rinaldi will be very interesting at 145lbs.

The first of 4 straight Middleweight fights on Pay Per View was up as Derek Brunson (18-7 #6 Ranked Middleweight) took on rising star Israel “The Last Stylebender” Adesanya (15-0 #9 Ranked Middleweight). Adesanya came out walking towards Brunson. The fight went right to the clinch from Brunson and he had Adesanya pressed up against the fence. Brunson was letting off some short left hands. There was a shorts grab from Brunson that caused Herb Dean to separate the two of them. Brunson went for a takedown and Adesanya was able to evade. Brunson grabbed right back on to him for the clinch up against the fence. These guys were moving around the Octagon just slowly feeling each other out. Brunson blocked a head kick and then we got back into the clinch against the fence. Then out of nowhere, Adesanya landed a knee late in the round that stumbled Brunson. Adesanya was picking him apart with a mix of knees and kicks. Adesanya dropped him with another right hand and Herb Dean had seen enough. Israel Adesanya is as real as real gets. The guy is just a master on the feet and his takedown defense is spot on. His knees are deadly and the way he is patient with them when he is trying to finish. There is a top 5 or potentially even a title eliminator in his very near future.

Up next, we had Karl “Baby K” Roberson (7-1) and Jack “The Hammer” Marshman (22-8). Roberson immediately came out with a kick and was moving forward. Roberson threw a low kick and barely evaded a big right hand. Roberson was in the clinch and broke off the clinch with a big left hand. A hard counter left hand came back from Roberson. The lefts hands just kept coming hard and fast from Roberson and were landing clean. Roberson ate a straight right hand but connected with a hard kick to the body. Another hard body kick followed with a left hand crushed Marshman back up against the fence, but he bounced off swinging back at Roberson. They continued to circle and exchange for the remainder of the round. We headed to round 2 and Roberson again was trying to land kicks. Marshman blocked and came right back with one of is own. In another exchange, a straight left hand from Roberson snuck in and clipped Marshman. Roberson just kept working the straight left. Marshman returned with a right hand of his own that landed. Roberson went in and dipped into a takedown and slammed Marshman to the mat. Roberson was on top trying to land from side control. Roberson ended the round in that position. We headed to round 3 with more left hands on the feet from Roberson. The left hands just continued to come from Roberson. If anything this proved that Marshman is a tough guy with a hell of a chin and a ton of heart. Roberson changed levels and landed a takedown immediately into side control. Roberson finally transition into full mount and was just all over Marshman. Roberson finally postured up late in the round, but the horn sounded. We headed to the judges and they scored it 30-26, 30-26, and 30-27 all for Karl Roberson. This was an impressive showing for Roberson. He clearly dominated from start to finish. Roberson is a guy who can continue to get better and may make a difference at 185lbs.

We then got David Branch (21-5 #7 Ranked Middleweight) who took on Jared “The Killa Gorilla” Cannonier (11-4). Cannonier came right out with a hard leg kick that landed. Branch came back with a level change and landed a takedown Branch was trying to get to Cannonier’s back, but the defense of Cannonier allowed him to get back to his feet. After some circling again Branch secured a takedown. Branch was just holding him on the mat and looking to get the best position. Cannonier made it back to his feet and landed a big elbow on the break. Cannonier stuffed the next takedown attempt from Branch. Branch was trying again to close the distance, but it was Cannonier who kept him pressed up against the fence. Cannonier landed big punches on the break and was following a back pedaling Branch across the cage. Cannonier stuffed a late takedown and we had the horn. We headed to round 2 and Cannonier got started quickly. Branch tried to go for a takedown, and instead a right hand from Cannonier knocked Branch to the mat. Cannonier just dove on top and poured it on until the referee had seen enough. This was an absolutely impressive debut at 185lbs fro Jared Cannonier. He took down a top 10 opponent in his Middleweight debut. IF he can keep himself at this weight he for sure could be a difference maker at 185lbs.

In the Co-main event former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris “The All-American” Weidman (14-4 #3 Ranked Middleweight) took on longtime contender Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (26-6 1NC #5 Ranked Middleweight). Jacare came right out across the cage and was looking to get in Weidman’s face. Jacare was trying to find a home for his right hand early. They got into a clinch briefly and Weidman threw a flurry of uppercuts. Weidman was trying to find an opening with feints and then landed a nice combination that stumbled Jacare. Weidman didn’t pounce, and let Jacare start coming to him. Weidman kept looking to set up the left-right combination and planted another one on Jacare’s chin. Weidman kept going on the feet and peppering in jabs. Jacare connected on a few kicks to the body that were adding up. They then traded big shots back and forth where they both appeared to stumble. Weidman ended the round stalking Jacare but not unloading anything. We headed to round 2 as Weidman kept coming on with his jab. The jab was setting up the right hand behind it really nicely for Weidman. Jacare was starting to throw in bunches, and they clinched where Weidman landed a knee to the body. Jacare was coming back at him with a ton of punches that were finding a home. In the clinch they both landed hard knees to the body. Weidman clipped him and Jacare was wobbly on his feet backing up. Jacare however came back hard with even more big shots. Jacare was motioning for Weidman to move forward and keep coming.  Jacare threw a head kick that was blocked and Weidman jumped on him to try and grab his back. Jacare scrambled to his feet and Weidman had him pressed against the fence. Weidman tried to pull him to the mat and Jacare rolled out of it and got back to his feet and landed a hard right hand just prior to the round ending. We headed to round 3 and Jacare was trying to work on Weidman’s legs with kicks. A kick to the body came back from Weidman. These guys were leaving it all in the cage and Jacare was landing big right hands on Weidman. Weidman landed a nice elbow back on Jacare and was following up with multiple right hands. Jacare returned a hard kick to the body. Jacare just kept throwing right hands at Jacare. Jacare came back with a big left hand and Weidman was wobbled. Jacare followed it up with right hand that stiffened Weidman up and put him on his back. Jacare motioned to the ref to stop the fight, but he did not and Jacare had to throw two more shots until Dan Miragliotta had to step in and stop this one. This may have been the best fight of the night in a card packed with great matchups. Jacare got it done after appearing to be very hurt early on. He now again puts himself in the conversation for a title shot with this stoppage.

The Main Event was next as Daniel “DC” Cormier (22-1 1NC Heavyweight Champion) took on Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis (21-6 1NC #2 Ranked Heavyweight). DC wasted little time working to get this fight to the mat. The control from DC on the ground opened up the option of land elbows from the top. Lewis finally was able to work his way back to his feet against the fence. Cormier easily transitioned to grab a single leg takedown and was again down on top. Cormier started to unload a little ground and pound forcing Lewis to turn and give up his back. Lewis was trying to scramble, but DC was just attached at the hip to him. Lewis got caught up against the fence and a few more hammer fists from DC ended the round. We headed to round 2 and it was Lewis who came out looking to land, but the head movement from DC kept him out of trouble. Lewis was swinging for the absolute fences, but DC was just out of range. DC was slowly moving forward and landed a trip. Lewis battled back up very quickly and was pressed up against the fence. Lewis was almost out, but an ankle pick from DC got Lewis back on the mat. Lewis tried to roll out and gave up his back. DC immediately locked in a rear naked choke and that was that. Daniel Cormier is just such an overpowering wrestler it is almost unstoppable. It was a completely dominant performance from DC. He now sets himself up for what he says is one last fight with Brock Lesnar (5-3).

The UFC returned to Pay Per View on Saturday and it was a great night of fights. We saw the Lando Vannata and Matt Frevola fight of the year candidate. There was also the main card Middleweight tournament basically that saw a bunch of finishes. Then there was the main event where Daniel Cormier became the first UFC fighter ever to defend both the Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight title in his career. DC is going to get a shot at Lesnar and that is going to be one crazy wrestling matchup. The UFC moves on to next week with the 25-anniversary show from Denver Colorado as “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (14-4 #10 Ranked Featherweight) takes on Yair “El Pantera” Rodriguez (11-2 #15 Ranked Featherweight).

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A longtime MMA fan who has followed the UFC for over a decade. Greg dove headfirst into the MMA world during the rise of Chuck Liddell and now spends most of his free time watching old events on UFC Fight Pass. Also, a die-hard Philadelphia sports fan who will hopefully one day see a Flyers Stanley Cup or an Eagles Superbowl victory, but he's not counting on it.

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