Bringing you the weird and wild from the world of MMA, each and every night …
Welcome to Midnight Mania! It’s a little like The Zone … things are just off somehow, and you can’t figure out exactly why (it’s probably because you should be asleep). Today, we will take a look over the amazing violence that was UFC 206, take a look at the memes and .GIFs you all love, and appreciate my man, Jerome-Max Holloway.
I am starting to think Holloway is the budget Conor McGregor. Lasting three rounds with the Lightweight kingpin back in 2013 must have imbued some dormant chakra that is just now being activated, because UFC 206 — where the Hawaiian stopped Anthony Pettis to claim the interim 145-pound title (watch highlights) — was in broad strokes not dissimilar to McGregor’s arrival party, UFC 189.
An event that, because of last-minute injury to one of the main event contestants, featured a questionable interim Featherweight title? Perhaps the pay-per-view (PPV) main card of the year, featuring both what many are calling the “Fight of the Year and “Knockout of the Year”? A Scandinavian Welterweight taking a clean win over a young striker? A 170-pound co-main that was a masterclass of both technique and heart, with an uber-violent finish in the last round? A backup Featherweight fight that more than delivered on it’s promise of action, with the veteran underdog coming up victorious? A young prospect knocking out an aging veteran after a back-and-forth contest? And then there is the headliner, a young talent on a tremendous run, capping off his tremendous run with a beautiful technical knockout finish to win (interim) gold.
Max Holloway has arrived.
There are differences, of course. This is Holloways’s tenth consecutive victory and fifth win in a row over a Top 10-ranked opponent. McGregor, thanks to his mouth, needed only one of those (Chad Mendes) to earn himself a title shot (Dennis Siver was just busywork). Sure, Holloway lacks the raw power of McGregor, but he is more varied in his techniques and has been equally effective in negating Featherweight foes. He is only 25 years old, elevating his trash-talk game to genuinely entertaining levels.
I can also get behind him calling Jose Aldo “Waldo” because it’s true. Aldo’s frequent injuries marred an otherwise stellar reign even before McGregor. Holloway also isn’t making the mistake of seeming desperate for that McGregor fight. McGregor has famously repeated the adage that winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners. What is especially impressive is that Holloway is gaining traction simply by being himself. His ability is unquestioned, and now he faces off with Aldo, ostensibly as soon as UFC 208.
I cannot wait.
While we are at it, lets run down the rest of the highlights, because this card was nothing but straight fire:
This was absolutely incredible, and yes, quite possibly the “Fight of the Year,” up there with Lawler-Condit and Diaz-McGregor 2. Certainly, the second round was the round of the year for me. I’ve always been a huge fan of Swanson, who doesn’t know how to fight boring. And Doo Ho Choi is on some other ish.
Here are the regular highlights of that one, mostly showing Swanson’s work.
Kelvin Gastelum vs. Tim Kennedy was a fun one, too, except for maybe Kennedy, who got torched for as long as the Middleweight match remained upright.
Even Emil Meek vs. Jordan Mein was a great fight:
Oh, and let’s not dare forget the most memorable knockout of the card … and possibly the year:
Lando Vannata is here to STAY. He already beat the crap out of No. 2-ranked Lightweight contender Tony Ferguson on short notice before gassing in the second round and losing via submission. I cannot wait until he is eventually matched up with Edson Barboza …
I posted this yesterday, but since no one reads the weekend Midnight Mania, I’m going to refresh you on a little something called angry Greg Jackson that happened during the Swanson vs. Choi fight.
This was thoroughly hilarious to me, partly because Jackson anticipates Swanson getting rocked like a prophetic savant, partly because it’s incredibly relatable and partly because its so Greg Jackson. The guy is weird, but he’s close to the ideal cornerman, and his advice has included faking Russian accents for his Dagestani fighters, telling fighters (Cub Swanson, in fact, if memory serves me correctly) to “find your waterfall” and shouting “Yeehaw!” at Cowboy Cerrone.
In other news, former Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold called out former Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones. And I am all about this.
I don’t want Rockhold injuring himself, but honestly, I would watch the heck out of that. Jones submitting Dan Henderson last night at “Submission Underground 2” (results here) was as predictable as anything can be, but Jones against the best grappler/defensive wrestler at Middleweight? Yeah, I would watch that all day long. I wouldn’t care at all about this. We’ve already seen the Jones and Chael grappling match in the cage … and it sucked (for Chael).
From a different grappling match involving a UFC veteran:
Random Muay Thai knockout:
Urijah Faber is fighting his last fight this Saturday night (Dec. 17, 2016) at UFC on FOX 22. He was on “The MMA Hour” today and, well, sometimes Faber speaks and I’m not entirely sure what’s coming out of his mouth.
Check the record, bud.
Karim Zidan does actual journalism in mixed martial arts (MMA), and somewhere between the .GIFs and sweet clips that should be appreciated. Here he asks why the Ontario commission sponsored UFC 206 to the tune of $ 150,000.
Oh, and Khabib Nurmagomedov has a huge following in central Asia … one that he claims is bigger than McGregor’s.
Paige VanZant. Never heard the name? She’s not been noticed much, not given many opportunities by UFC or the media, and her talent has gone largely unnoticed, but at least she is a fascinating and interesting person. If only she were blond and photogenic. Oh, wait.
I always thought she looked a little like Khaleesi, the Mother of Dragons.
She thinks so, too.
Anyway, she’s fighting this weekend against Michele Waterson in the UFC on FOX 22 main event. I have no idea why the UFC markets her so heavily. None. Zip. Zero.
The good thing about a match up like this is that it inspires a lot of fan art:
This, though, made me chuckle:
Watch “Road to the Octagon” for this one, if you like:
Reminds me of Tommy Toehold …
The latest Tommy Toehold is great, too. The depictions of Swanson and Choi are accurate:
This is funny because it’s true.
Maybe part of the reason UFC is looking at a “dream” commentary team.
McGregor continues to crop up even though he’s not fighting. This SNL skit parodies him. I don’t know how well, but it parodies him.
I mean, he IS known for spending money …
Podcasts and Audio:
Listen to the Co-Main Event podcast for the week.
The MMA Year-and-a-day (because it’s much, much longer than an hour):
The Monday Morning Analyst:
Swanson on that insane brawl with Choi:
T-Ferg has some things to say, as well as reveals that he is down for a season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) featuring himself and Nurmagomedov.
- T.J. Dillashaw tells about the “last straw” that caused him to join up with the MMAAA. The problem with this is (Cowboy is a great example) getting fighters of totally different situations to all speak together is intrinsically so difficult.
What’s next for Anthony Pettis? Losing four of five puts the Wheaties box veteran in a tough and weird place.
- Mickey Gall claims to have some insight on Sage Northcutt’s training and work ethic.
Stay woke, Maniacs.
Email me at VorpalManiac@gmail.com
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