Welcome to the Monthly Wrap Up for November 2020! Here is where I breakdown some of the headlines and fights for the month of November 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 October Wrap Up here.
1. UFC Fight Night: Santos vs Teixeira
An important fight in the light heavyweight division headlined the first UFC event in November. Thiago Santos (21-8) was returning after a year and a half layoff from his two knee injuries following his close split decision loss in a title fight against Jon Jones. While Glover Teixeira (32-7) at 41 years old is having a career resurgence.
With a win, Thiago would likely have secured a title shot especially considering how close he was to winning the title. Glover had other plans on his hands as he looked as good as ever and ended up finishing the fight with a 3rd round rear naked choke submission. That makes it five wins in a row and four of which are finishes. It has been six years since his title loss to Jones and it looks like he has officially earned himself another chance. I am really excited for Glover, it is really nice to see him turn things around and do so well so late in his career.
As for Thiago, the lackluster performance could have been the combination of the layoff, the injuries and surgeries. Even though he has fallen a few rungs in the rankings I still believe he has the potential to bounce back.
2. Bellator 252
The Bellator featherweight grand prix tournament continued by having champion Patricio Friere (31-4) take on Pedro Carvalho (11-4). Friere proved why he is still one of the best featherweights in the world with a first-round knockout finish. With the win, he moves forward to the semifinals to take on Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4). Despite Sanchez being a great fighter, I do see Friere moving past him and reaching the finals. It would not be a good look for Friere to not reach finals as he has been the face of Bellator for a long time. On top of that, he has also been calling out high profile UFC fighters.
3. UFC Fight Night: Dos Anjos vs Felder
Another main event that has been canceled in the last minute. Rafael Dos Anjos (30-13) was anticipated to take on Islam Makhachev (18-1). This was the second time the match was scheduled. The first time Dos Anjos pulled out from a positive Covid-19 test in October. This time Islam had to pull out because of a staph infection. Paul Felder (17-6) came to the rescue and stepped in on 5 days’ notice. That was a noble act by Felder as without a notable main event, this card likely would have been worth scrapping. The fight was exciting and won fight of the night. Ultimately Rafael walked away with a split decision victory. That is a separate topic of conversation as most people saw Rafael winning all five rounds. It is beyond me how a judge saw it otherwise.
After the event Paul revealed that he had no MMA training in months (only triathlon training), and was in the midst of a retirement. He mentioned that he has rejuvenated his love for the sport, and sent a strong message to all of those people who missed weight. If he could do it in 5 days than anyone can.
4. Bellator 253
Bellator 253 was the continuation of the Bellator Featherweight Grand Prix Tournament. In the semifinal round we saw AJ McKee (17-0) take on former Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell (15-4). AJ has been brought up slowly and surely through the ranks of Bellator and this was his breakout performance. In what has now been dubbed the McKeeatine, AJ earned a neck crank submission rarely ever seen in the history of MMA. All it took was less than 2 minutes to achieve and stamp his way to the finals. He will now take on the semifinal winner of Patricio Friere (31-4) and Emmanuel Sanchez (20-4). AJ continues to impress and I am super excited to see what the future has in store for him.
5. UFC 255
UFC 255 saw a flyweight championship double header. In the main event, Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1) was looking to make his first flyweight title defense against Alex Perez (24-6). In the co-main event, Valentina Shevchenko (20-3) took on Jennifer Maia (18-7-1) for her fourth title defense. Deiveson continued his impressive run at finished Perez within two minutes with a guillotine choke. With 5 wins in a row and 4 straight finishes in that streak is proof that the flyweight division is alive and well. That is a huge difference from a few years ago when it was being rumoured to fold.
I am glad to see next flyweight champion with a big personality as it draws more attention and viewers. To add to this, immediately after the fight it was announced that he would turn around and defend the title again on 3 weeks’ notice. Brandon Moreno (18-5-1) who had big win earlier in the night earned himself a title shot. UFC 256 was still missing a main event which is where these two will come in and save the day. Very impressive considering the circumstances and this will surely pay off financially and with the UFC brass.
In the co main event we saw something happen to Valentina Shevchenko that rarely ever happens. She lost the second round to Jennifer Maia. Considering the odds this was not supposed to happen. This was the largest betting favourite in her career. Despite the blip, this match was a classic dominate performance. Following the matchup, it is difficult to anticipate who is next in line as there are no obvious competitors staking that claim. There is obvious talk about her going up for her third matchup against Amanda Nunes (20-4) but it does not seem like that Dana White is interested in that idea. Nunes is also anticipating to take on Megan Anderson (11-4) at featherweight.
6. UFC Fight Night Smith vs Clark
A highly anticipated matchup between heavyweights Curtis Blaydes (14-2-1) vs Derrick Lewis (24-7-1) had to be cancelled due to a positive Covid-19 test for Blaydes. Fortunately, the fight was rescheduled for 2021. Taking the main event slot was the co main event in Anthony Smith (34-16) and Devin Clark (12-5). This was the perfect fight for Anthony as he had lost his last two and clearly had his confidence shaken in the process. Taking on Clark who is lower in the rankings was a great way to pick up steam. That was exactly what happened as Smith won with a first-round triangle choke. If Smith wants to continue being one of the top guys in the division, this is exactly the kind of win he needed.
This is the November 2020 Wrap Up! Let me know your thoughts, and what stories I might have missed out on.