Welcome to the Monthly Wrap Up for December 2020! Here is where I breakdown some of the headlines and fights for the month of December 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 November Wrap Up here.
1. UFC Fight Night: Hermansson vs Vetorri
As has been a common occurrence in the UFC this year, the main event of this card was affected by Covid-19. The original fight was supposed to be Darren Till (18-3-1) against Jack Hermansson (21-6). Till was removed due to an undisclosed injury and in stepped Kevin Holland (21-5). Holland subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 and was then scheduled to take on Jacare Souze (26-9-1 no contest) the next week. Ultimately Marvin Vetorri (16-4-1) stepped up and stepped in to take on Jack on short notice.
This was a bad situation to be in for Jack. If he won then it would not be a big deal because he was ranked so much higher. He was highly ranked and had several opponent changes which obviously changes his game plan and training schedule. The only benefit for him after all of this was a payday and staying active. This was a lose-lose situation for Jack. On the opposite side, this was a win-win situation for Marvin. If he won then it would be a huge one for his record against a highly ranked opponent and if he lost then it would be understandable, not only was it on short notice but it was against someone so much higher than him in the ranks.
Marvin ran with this opportunity and the two ultimately had a cracker jack of a fight. It ended up being nominated for one of the best fights of year. Marvin walked away with a unanimous decision win and looked as great as ever. He talks a lot of trash towards champion Israel Adesanya (20-0) referencing their close fight back in 2018 that Israel won by split decision. With this victory Marvin gets himself ever so closer to avenging that loss.
2. Bellator 254
The lone Bellator event of December saw the women’s flyweight title up for grabs. Ilima-Lei MacFarlane defended her title against (11-1) against Juliana Velasquez (11-0). Ultimately Juliana won by unanimous decision Ilima-Lei has long been considered a star for Bellator, with a big personality, following and a perfect record. Afterwards she spoke out about the pressures of being champion and she was relieved about losing. It is very rare to have a fighter speak so candidly about the mental health challenges that come with competing in this sport. I am super proud of her for speaking up like that as it should be normalized. Now that she is no longer champion, she should be able to take a break and focus on herself before going back. We should see a new and rejuvenated MacFarlane when that time comes.
3. UFC 256
This was the last UFC PPV event of the year. Originally this event had double title fights in the main event but both of them were lost for various reasons. Because of that the spotlight was on the flyweight who accepted to be the main event slot on less than a month notice. Deiveson Figueiredo (20-1-1) defended his title against Brandon Moreno (18-5-2). This turned out to be a wild fire fight with the two going at it with nonstop action until the fifth round.
In an unclimactic finish, the fight ended in a majority draw. That was because a point deduction was place on Deiveson after an illegal low blow. Had that not happened, Deiveson would have been awarded the win. Due to the draw and the exciting nature of the fight, these two are likely to have an immediate rematch. Regardless of the result, he does get to keep his belt. They both get to walk away with the honours of one of the best fights of the year.
In the co-main event, we saw fan favourite Tony Ferguson (25-5) take on rising start Charles Oliveira (30-8-1). Tony was looking to rebound from a bad loss to Justin Gaethje (22-3) earlier this year. Charles was on a 7-fight finish streak, the best in his entire career. Charles came awfully close to making it 8 with one of the nastiest armbars but Tony continues to prove how tough he is and refused to tap. That was surely the beginning of the end as Charles continued to dominate the entire fight. At 8 in a row, he is awfully close to a title shot. There is just so much up in the air with UFC 257 main event between Conor McGregor (24-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6-1 no contest), and if Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) will remain retired
4. UFC Fight Night: Thompson vs Neal
The last UFC event of the year was anticipated to be one of the best of the year as well. Unfortunately, lots of shuffling needed to happen as more fighters needed to be removed due to positive Covid-19 results. In the end Stephen Thompson (16-4-1) headlined against Geoff Neal (13-3). Thompson showed that he’s still got it at 37 years old. He went on to win by unanimous decision and winning all 5 rounds. He is still shooting for another shot at the title. There seems to be a lot of backlog at the top of the division with Kamaru Usman (17-1) and Gilbert Burns (19-3) scheduled to fight for the title. Then top contenders Colby Covington (16-2) and Jorge Masvidal (35-14) vying for the next shot. Stephen will need to remain active and keep winning if he wants to get another chance at the title.
Anthony Pettis (24-10) finished his UFC contract with a win beating Alex Morono (18-7-1 no contest). Thus, ending his relationship with Zuffa since 2009 first with the WEC and then the UFC. The former champion decided to move his services to the PFL. I love this move for him. He was not having consistent results in the UFC anymore and was bouncing between welterweight and lightweight. At the PFL he will have a consistent schedule because of the season format. With the competition being arguably lighter, he has a great chance to win the millions dollar prize at the end.
This is another fighter in the last few months that are taking their talents elsewhere. It is so great that fighters are finding better opportunities elsewhere. It makes other promotions so much better with better talent which is better for the fans who get to watch better fights. Lastly, it is better for the fighters because they have more opportunities to get paid better.
This is the December 2020 Wrap Up! Let me know your thoughts, and what stories I might have missed out on.