Besides immediate members of Conor McGregor’s family, no one was happier to see him swiftly kayo Jose Aldo Saturday night than UFC president and Mr. Clean’s little brother Dana White. After watching his biggest star Ronda Rousey get destroyed and kicked in the head a few weeks ago, then watching in dismay as his next potential superstar (if he wasn’t an uber religious nutbag, anyway) Chris Weidman, get steadily dismantled before being completely annihilated in the co-main event, the only prayers answered Saturday night’s were White’s. McGregor backed up his unprecedented amount of shit-talking to Aldo with basically the most one-sided performance imaginable. Aldo was in such disbelief when he regained his senses that he started warming up for a fight he didn’t realize had already taken place. When informed he had already been knocked out, a visibly distraught Aldo covered his head with his T-shirt and wept. Which was incidentally the same reaction from anybody who went to take a quick piss before the fight and missed it entirely.
Anyway, after Max Holloway earned a lackluster unanimous decision over Jeremy Stephens, and Damian Maia completely outclassed Gunnar Nelson on the ground for three suffocating rounds, the following fights rounded out the PPV:
Yoel Romero split decision over Jacare Souza – In the fight to determine the top contender for the upcoming middleweight championship, former wrestling Olympian Romero earned an appropriately narrow victory over arguably the most decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner in the UFC. Romero dropped Jacare heavily with a spinning backfist midway through the first, and spent the rest of the round relentlessly, if not entirely effectively, ground and pounding Jacare. Even though largely blocked, Romero’s blows were so heavy that Jacare wobbled badly back to his corner at the bell. The second round was largely uneventful, as Jacare tried to regain his bearings while Romero tried to regain his stamina from the previous round’s assault. In the third, Jacare dominated a gassed Romero but never threatened to finish the fight. Technically, after Romero earned a 10-8 opening round and lost the next two 10-9, I felt the fight should have been a draw, but I can’t argue with a split-decision win for Romero because he nearly earned a stoppage in the opening frame. Still, without question Jacare showed a lot of resiliency coming back from that first round pounding to sweep the next two rounds. I wouldn’t mind seeing a re-match between these two.
Luke Rockhold TKO4 over Chris Weidman – The war of words between two of the most polite fighters in the UFC for the middleweight championship concluded when Rockhold took advantage of an inexplicable Weidman mistake in the third round and never looked back. The first two rounds were an epic back-and-forth war the exact details of which are marred by my excitement and alcohol consumption. In the third, Weidman for some reason tossed out an ill-advised spinning back kick to the head that looked bad and ended worse as Rockhold exploded for the fight’s first takedown. The remainder of the round was an absolute clinic from Rockhold in top position, as he stifled Weidman at every turn and landed vicious ground and pound elbows and punches. The last thirty seconds of the round, Weidman was hanging by a thread as referee Herb Dean rightfully allowed him a ton of rope as the undefeated champion. Blood poured from Weidman’s face as Rockhold endlessly hammered him from the mount, with Weidman only able to survive by flailing his arms at Rockhold in vain when Dean would press him to, “Fight back.” Finally, and mercifully, the round ended, and Weidman staggered back to his corner beaten to a pulp and exhausted. He stood from his stool like he was sleepwalking and marched back into the teeth of Rockhold’s assault until the inevitable ending. After another takedown, Rockhold’s ground and pound was stopped appropriately quickly as Dean could see Weidman had nothing left. Unbelievable career-defining performance for Rockhold, followed by a curiously Jesus-free post-fight speech from Weidman. Wonder why.
Conor McGregor KO1 Jose Aldo – The most highly anticipated fight of the year ended with the sound of the bell still ringing in the ears of ringside observers, as the UFC’s first featherweight champion was finally de-throned. Aldo came out aggressively, and charged with a lunging left hook that McGregor saw coming, darted backwards away from, and countered with his signature straight left hand on the button. Aldo toppled forward like a felled tree, and McGregor pounced with a pair of brutal hammer fists that made Aldo go completely limp as Dean rushed in to alter a third blow and stop the fight. There was a strangely subdued reaction from McGregor after the fight, like he knew this was the inevitable outcome all along. During their introductions UFC commentator and Dana White’s hair stylist Joe Rogan mentioned how completely relaxed McGregor looked, while in contrast Aldo looked, “Like he has a world of expectations on his shoulders.” It reminded me of the pre-fight intros to Dillashaw-Barao II, when Barao looked like a man facing a hangman’s noose. Aldo said afterward that he deserves an immediate because he felt this wasn’t a fight. He’s right about fifty percent of that statement.
*Officially listed as thirteen seconds, but I watched the fuckin thing live. It was twleve.