Over the weekend, one of the most stacked UFC cards I’ve ever seen was put on. Looking at those scheduled fights, even the prelims were something to get excited about. Honestly, the prelim card could have been a UFC Fight Night card by itself, headlined by Anthony Pettis and Cowboy Cerrone. Spann over Alvey was actually a relatively boring fight. Bryce Mitchell versus Charles Rosa was a display of incredible grappling and jiu jitsu dominance. Even though the fight was pretty one-sided, it was one of the most enjoyable fights to watch on the entire card. Mitchell was absolutely brilliant. I will again, too, that the UFC really benefits from having a guy like Joe Rogan there to call fights like that. He really does a fantastic job breaking down the techniques that you’re watching in real time. He reminds me, even, of John Madden, insofar as John has the ability to explain in laymen’s terms what an offensive lineman is doing in an informative and entertaining manner. Luque over Price. What a brawl! Great performance that will be overshadowed by some of the later fight but, damn! Those two got after it! Fun fight to watch. Esparza over Waterson. For as much as I’ve defended women’s MMA, saying “the women always bring the heat,” this was probably my least favorite fight on the card. It was amusing that, afterwards, Esparza commented that she heard Cormier’s commentary and adjusted mid-fight. She eventually won the fight but it wasn’t a particularly entertaining tilt. Oleinik over Werdum. Oleinik is low-key one of my favorite heavyweights.... but “the Boa Constrictor” clearly wanted no part of 3 time jiu jitsu world champion Werdum on the ground. So he just waded in and threw bombs. Werdum looked washed, to be honest. It was kind of fun to watch, just because heavyweights throwing leather at each of is always fun and, in a weird way, even more entertaining when they go deeper rounds and get sloppy. Weird, I know. Pettis over Cerrone. Look, no way in hell did Pettis win that fight. He had some shots and it was a good scrap... but nobody can tell me that he beat Cowboy on that night. Showtime fought well enough that I can’t call it highway robbery but it was damned sure shoplifting. Greg Hardy over De Castro. Hardy, the former star defensive end of the Panthers and Cowboys (which makes this whole post kind of football related) was getting his lead leg chopped to smithereens in the first round. Like Esparza, he hears Cormier’s critique and adjusts. He hadn’t been checking the leg kicks at all, which Cormier noted. When he hears it, he checks the next kick...causing De Castro to injure his foot. After that, De Castro’s only remaining game plan seemed to be “don’t get knocked out” as he mounted no offense whatsoever. Kattar over Stephens. Man, lil Heathen was winning that fight. He was winning it pretty convincingly.... until Kattar stepped in with gorgeous elbow that shut Jeremy down. Great strike. Ngannou over Rosenstruik. First off, Ngannou is a walking nightmare. He doesn’t even have to hit you flush to knock you out. And, 20 seconds into the first round, he showed off that power. Holy shit that guy is a killer! Props to Rosenstruik though. That entire division is scared to say Ngannou’s name but Rosenstruik actually called for this fight. He said “I know if I beat Ngannou, that’s my fastest path to a title shot.” It did not work....but props for the mentality and the balls it took. Cejudo over Cruz. Dominick Cruz is one of my favorite fighters... but coming off a four year layoff, he had nothing for Cejudo. Henry was killing him with those leg kicks. After he landed that knee, Cruz was over. Some people have said “early stoppage” but I disagree. After that knee, Cruz got hit by 13 unanswered, undefended shots. Good stoppage. Also, I don’t believe at all that Cejudo wants to retire. He is absolutely leveraging Dana. Doubt it works. Gaethje over Ferguson. Early favorite for fight of the year! I was, of course, pulling for Raider fan and most exciting fighter in years, Justin Gaethje... but Ferguson hadn’t lost in nearly 8 years and was riding a 12 fight winning streak. Ferguson is tough as nails and I have no idea how he withstood the bombs that Gaethje was hitting him with. For real, no idea. At the end of the second round, I though Ferguson ended the fight when he clobbered Gaethje with an uppercut... but Gaethje was saved by the bell. After that, though, it was all Gaethje. Great fucking fight!