Reflections On The Busiest Month in UFC History
The busiest month in UFC history has come and gone, and with it the inevitable praise and criticism. I’d say that pulling off four cards in four weeks is a very tough task for Dana White and crew, and overall they did a very good job of executing the month full of events. Let’s take a quick look back at the historic month for the UFC.
Early April was marred by the entire saga of Alexander Gustafsson’s cut, which almost ruined UFC Sweden. Ilir Latifi stepped up to fight Gegard MoUSAsi in the main event, but the fight was lackluster at best. Still, the event showcased some good fights and finishes on the prelims to save the card for Swedish fans. Conor McGregor made his debut and could be a force to be reckoned with for some time to come. All was not lost, and UFC Sweden provided a solid if not spectacular beginning to April.
Next came the TUF 17 Finale, an event that could arguably be placed among the best TUF Finales of all time. We saw a ton of great fights and finishes, from knockouts to submissions. And Kelvin Gastelum upset the heavily favored and hyped Uriah Hall to take home the contract, while Cat Zingano secured a coaching spot on TUF 18 by defeating Miesha Tate in a brutal war. The card was so exciting that the main event of Urijah Faber and Scott Jorgensen became a sort of afterthought, and it was a good fight.
The momentum of TUF 17 carried on into April 20th’s UFC on Fox 7, which featured a litany of debuting Strikeforce fighters into the UFC. The main imports were of course Gilbert Melendez and Daniel Cormier. Melendez fought Henderson in a very closely contested bout, one that was again marred by controversy. Some thought Melendez deserved to win, while others thought Henderson deserved another razor-thin victory. Cormier looked a bit unlike himself in beating Frank Mir by pushing him up against the cage, and later blamed the performance on Octagon jitters.
But the main fights were hardly the talk of UFC on Fox 7. The card tied the UFC record for most knockouts on a card with 8. Josh Thomson’s emphatic finish of the always tough Nate Diaz lead the pack, while Matt Brown, Chad Mendes, Anthony Njokuani, Myles Jury, and Yoel Romero also provided highlight reel knockouts. In my eyes, the card was one of the most exciting in UFC history, and that was before the main fighters even stepped into the Octagon.
So that brings us to the enigmatic UFC 159. The pay-per-view had some big shoes to fill after the previous two weeks of action and it may just have been impossible to live up to the hype of Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen. The entire event was a very strange one, with controversies surrounding two eye pokes and a main event that was the easiest to pick in recent memory. Roy Nelson provided a huge KO of Cheick Kongo to add a little excitement, while Pat Healy outlasted Jim Miller in a bloody war at Lightweight. So all was not lost, but UFC 159 showed that it’s tough to force a legitimate title fight onto fans.
Despite the criticisms of UFC 159, the UFC put forth a great month of exciting and relevant bouts for fans everywhere. While it wasn’t all smooth sailing, it’s impossible to please everybody all the time, and it would seem that the promotion is genuinely committed to providing the best product possible for fans. UFC 159′s main event begged to differ, but you can’t always hit a homerun. I thought the busiest month in UFC history was a great one for MMA. What did you think?