Welcome to the monthly wrap up for October! Here is where I breakdown some of the biggest headlines from the month of October and provide some insight and opinion on it. I would love to hear what you think so please leave a comment down below. You can find the September wrap up here.
1. UFC Fight Night – Holm vs Aldana
The UFC has been dishing out a lot of lackluster cards as of late in order to fulfill its contractual obligation with ESPN for a certain number of events in a year. This was certainly one of those events. It did come with a high-profile main event seeing former women’s bantamweight champion Holly Holm (14-5) take on rising contender Irene Aldana (12-6). Despite losing 5 in her last 7 fights before this fight, she has proved that she still belongs at the top of the division. She completely dominated Irene over 5 rounds on her way to a decision victory. She even had one judge score it 50-44. Now with two victories in a row, Holm is back on track to reach another title fight.
As for Irene, she clearly still has a lot of potential and was just outmatched against a savvy veteran. She also claimed to suffer a neck injury as well. Once she is healthy again, I would love to see her against someone closer to her skill level and experience. I am sure we will continue to see her grow.
2. UFC Fight Night – Sandhagen vs Moraes
In the main even we saw Marlon Moraes (23-8-1) take on Cory Sandhagen (13-2). Moraes took 10-month layoff following his controversial win over Jose Aldo (29-7). Whereas Sandhagen was looking for a quick turnaround from his submission loss to Aljamain Sterling (19-3). This was his first and only loss in the UFC and it was against impressive competition. Sandhagen has long been dubbed the future of the division and he showed why in the match. Cory finished Marlon in the second round with a spinning wheel kick and following it up with punches. It was incredibly impressive and it was a great comeback fight after his loss. He has now put himself in title contention likely facing the winner of Yan vs Sterling should he choose to wait it out.
As for Marlon, that he is clearly still a top tier fighter. Maybe it was the long layoff or maybe it was because everyone was discounting his victory against Aldo that was disrupting his confidence. I am certain we will see Moraes back in the win column soon.
3. Bellator 249
Bellator 249 saw Cris Cyborg (23-2-1 no contest) defend her featherweight against Arlene Blencowe (13-8). Cyborg has been considered one of the best female fighters of all time and she continued that legacy after this fight. She won the fight by second round rear naked choke. Honestly, one of the most shocking and surprising things about this performance was that it was her first submission win of her professional MMA career. To put that into context, she has been fighting since 2005, has 23 wins, and 18 of those were by KO/TKO and 1 submission. As a fan favourite, and being on the wrong side of 30 it is certainly enjoyable watching her and dismantling her competition while we still can. I am happy for her that she is finally in Bellator and working with Scott Coker being respected and treated fairly.
4. UFC Fight Night – Ortega vs The Korean Zombie
After Max’s second controversial loss to the champion Alex, it would be tough to gain much fan fair to see the third matchup in a row. With that in mind, the winner of this fight will be fitted as the next title contender. In the main event saw the comeback of two top contenders in the featherweight division. Brian Ortega (15-1-1 no contest) had been off for almost two years following his loss for the title against Max Holloway (21-6). Chan Sung Chung, the Korean Zombie (16-6) had been out for almost a year following his TKO win against Frankie Edgar (24-8-1). Ortega clearly showed that he worked on the necessary striking skills as he dominated the Korean Zombie over 5 rounds. Ortega certainly has a good chance against Alex especially considering his improvements over the last couple of years. I am certainly looking forward to it being booked
The Korean Zombie cites the spinning back fist in the second round that knocked him down as the reason for his lackluster performance. He claims that he was unable to remember the entire fight up until the fifth round. Which is when he started picking things up again but by then it was too little too late. I am big fan of Jung and looking forward to seeing him bounce back.
5. UFC 254
Back on Fight Island and in Abu Dhabi, we saw one of the most highly anticipated fights of the year. Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) earned his 29th win and 3rd title defense against Justin Gaethje (22-3) who earned his title shot earlier in the year. Khabib once again proved why he is one of the best fighters of all time. Gaethje was considered his toughest test to date with strong wrestling ability, and being a power puncher. Khabib walked right through everything Justin had to throw at him with little concern. He finished the first round with a submission in which the bell saved Gaethje. In the second round Khabib finished the job with a triangle choke putting him to sleep. Khabib showed mercy and chose to submit him instead of knock him out because Justin had his parents watching live in the arena.
There was a lot of emotion leading into this fight. Khabib had sadly lost his father and coach in a Covid-19 complication. There were many speculations as to how he would perform under these circumstances. It certainly did not seem to affect the champion at all during the fight. However, that was not the case afterwards. Khabib shockingly announced his retirement from MMA. He had promised his mother that he would retire after this next fight. He had always committed to reaching 30-0 fulfilling the wishes of his father. Because of this I feel like there is a chance that we see him return assuming it is a compelling opponent. If this is truly the end, I wish him all the best in retirement and thank him for his all of his great performances.
With Khabib seemingly retired, I think Gaethje is a frontrunner for the vacant title. I would let him rest and relax and see how the division plays out over the next few months before throwing him back in.
6. Bellator 250
Bellator 250 saw one of the highest profile fights they can make. The vacant middleweight title was up for grabs. That saw the welterweight champion Douglas Lima (32-8) go up in weight seeking champ-champ status against former middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi (47-7-2). Gegard did incredibly well and won by unanimous decision. Not to take anything away from Lima, he is still a fantastic fighter and one of the best in the welterweight divisions in all of MMA. I think it may have just been the size that made the difference in this fight, as he was clearly the smaller fighter. With Gegard as the champion once again, we are sure to see some exciting matchups for him.
7. UFC Fight Night – Hall vs Silva
Uriah Hall (16-9) had anticipated to fight Anderson Silva (34-11-1 no contest) way back in his Ultimate Fighter days. It finally happened 7 years later. The leadup was special because it was anticipated to be Silva’s retirement fight even though he would have one more fight on his contract. The UFC would want to send off Silva with a special night, tributes, and highlight reels. The fight was a lackluster but did have its special moments. You can tell that Anderson is still capable of being Anderson but it comes at a slower pace and rate. Hall eventually won by 4th round TKO. In the aftermath we saw a very special and heartwarming display of sportsmanship. The two wished each other well and thanked each other for the opportunity for a long while, and tears were certainly shed.
The disappointing moment came after the fight. Dana White completely discredited the fight calling it boring, and ended up releasing Silva from his contract early. I think that if the commentary team and the production team hyped the night recognizing his greatness and appreciating the comradery only to have Dana shit on everything afterwards is a terrible look. He was the one to schedule this matchup. This devalues the years of work Silva has put into this sport and company. Whether he decides to retire or not, Silva definitely deserved better from White following this match.
This is the October Wrap Up! Let me know what you thought, and what stories I might have missed out on.