The UFC definitely started its 2015 season off right with one of the bigger cards in recent UFC memory. The card was predominantly centered around the feud between UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and his bitter rival in Daniel Cormier. Both fighters gave it all they had in the Octagon, but it was clear who the better fighter was after 25-minutes of action. Other important stuff happened earlier in the card however that could have been easily skipped over; here is my UFC 182 recap.
A New Women’s Bantamweight Name To Keep An Eye On
In the very first bout of the night, women’s bantamweights Marion Reneau and Alexis Dufresne fought a 15-minute battle that turned out to be hardly a fight at all; instead, it was a 15-minute beatdown courtesy of Marion Reneau’s boxing skills. She shut down her taller foe with piercing right hands, leg kicks, and tight combinations that kept Defresne on the defensive throughout the whole fight. With Reneau’s successful UFC debut, she now becomes an name to keep an eye on in the ever-growing women’s bantamweight division. I can’t wait to see Reneau go toe-to-toe with someone with equal striking skills as her. What’s even scarier is that Reneau is known to be an expert grappler, but her hands looked solid last night against an experienced first-round finisher in Alexis Dufresne.
Two Prospects On The Rise
Stepping into your UFC debut against a 7-time UFC veteran like Marcus Brimage is definitely a daunting task; let alone when your opponent is coming off of a sensation head kick KO over Jumabieke Tuerxun. However none of this seemed to phase Strong Style Fight Team member Cody Garbrandt. Cody showcased an intense style as he and the athletic Marcus Brimage threw heated combinations for nearly all three rounds. Garbrandt displayed some really fluid counter-striking skills that resembled that of Conor McGregor, as well snappy kicks. Furthermore, Garbrandt finally was able to land cleanly on Brimage towards the end of the third round, and TKO’d the “Bama Beast” in very similar fashion to Conor McGregor’s finish of Brimage in his respective UFC debut. I can’t wait to see Garbrandt pick up some more traction in the bantamweight division because his striking skills look like they could be very problematic for many fighters in the 135lb weight class.
And then there was Paul Felder. It’s hard to exactly voice how sensation he looked in just his second UFC outing. Not only did he perform excellently, but he put away Team Alpha Male representative Danny Castillo who has more-than proven himself in the Octagon’s lightweight division. Felder brought lightning fast reflexes and solid defense to weave and dodge all of Castillo’s powerful combination, and then utilized his Muay Thai skills that he has been working on with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who fought later on the card, to chop down Castillo en route to a sensational spinning backfist KO victory. Felder picked up a performance of the night check and a whole lot of traction as his finish was just one of three out of the entire card, and by far the most spectacular.
Japan’s Horiguchi Is Coming For The Flyweight Strap
The flyweight division is growing ever-so-steadily, and it’s really starting to develop some solid contenders in the process. Among these contenders has to be Japanese standout Kyoji Horiguchi, who picked up his fourth consecutive win in the UFC. With a 3-0 record at flyweight, Horiguchi could very well be in the mix to face the untouched Demetrious Johnson for his flyweight strap. Horiguchi appears to be equally as fast as the champion, and his power isn’t a question either as he as 9 stoppages due to strikes to his credit. Look for Horiguchi to get put in front of a top 10 opponent; if he comes out of that match victorious then we could very well see the opportunity materialize for Japan to claim its first UFC belt.
Cowboy Still On His Saddle
I’ll admit, I was one of the few who fully expected previously undefeated lightweight standout Myles Jury to really rise to the occasion in this co-main even slot and take out the surging striker in Cerrone. I was wrong. Horribly wrong. Cerrone got a chance to showcase some of his underrated grappling skills in the first frame as he put Jury, who instigated the ground game, in all sorts of submission trouble. From then on Cerrone used his precise kicks to chop his opponent down and rack up points on the scorecards. Jury on the other hand offered little to work with as he resorted to circling and avoiding engagement in attempts to get Cerrone off his game; the attempt did not work and all that resulted was a defeated prospect in Jury, and a victorious yet frustrated Donald Cerrone who wanted a finish badly. With that said, Cerrone made his claim on the top half of the lightweight division, and should look to face a top 5 opponent for a number one contention spot by the beginning of summer.
Jon Jones Can Do It All
Several analysts who looked at the grudge match between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier made the assumptions that if Cormier could get inside and tie up with the champion, that he would be able to control the fight, if not dominate. What Jon Jones displayed in his twenty-five minute battle was a fully versatile skill set that virtually beat the Olympian at his own game. Not only did Jones find himself locked up with the stocky wrestler, but he almost welcomed it. Jones put his takedown defense on full display as he refused to let Cormier control the action, and utilized his massive size to make every second of the fight a grueling battle for control. Jones found himself on his back just one time, which he quickly got back up from, and put Cormier on his back a handful of times throughout the contest; this would be the very first time Cormier has ever found himself on his back in the UFC. Jones showcased a bit of everything as he used his rangy striking to punish Cormier on the outside, but also used his absorbent clinch game to stifle Cormier’s wrestling, and further punish the challenger for his efforts with elbows and knees inside. Jon Jones gave Daniel Cormier the dog fight that he wanted, and he emerged as the alpha dog by the end.
At this point it seems like Jon Jones’s only chance of tasting defeat will be by the former title challenger Alexander Gustafsson, who took Jones to a nail-biter of a decision. Gustafsson will have to get past the powerful striker Anthony Johnson though to be able to seek revenge and capture a belt many claim to be rightfully his. A rematch between these two might be one of the biggest fights in UFC history; it might not contain the hype and intensity that this fight had, but stylistically its the fight that everyone wants to see.