Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Biggest Takeaways From UFC 267

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This past Saturday saw the UFC’s return to “Fight Island” in their latest event with UFC 267 taking place from the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The event was filled with memorable moments as a stacked card featuring two championship fights unfolded, giving one of the UFC’s best events top to bottom of the year. But even in a card filled with non-stop action, there were still moments that stood out more than others. Here are my biggest takeaways from UFC 267 in no particular order:



1. The UFC Should Make More “Free” PPVs

Besides having a stacked card, UFC 267 was a special event for American fans for a different reason. Despite being a numbered UFC event typical of the PPV events, UFC 267 was made available to watch at no additional cost on ESPN+. For those who aren’t familiar with how UFC PPVs normally work, they are typically available for a $69.99 purchase exclusively to ESPN+ subscribers, which is a $6.99 monthly subscription. In other words, you need to pay a monthly fee for the right to be able to buy a PPV at an additional cost.

So when the UFC announced that UFC 267 would be available to ESPN+ subscribers at no additional PPV cost, fans rejoiced at this extremely rare treat. Perhaps since the event took place over Halloween weekend, the UFC was in a mood for treats. In my opinion, the UFC needs to do more of this. UFC PPVs have a very special feel to them, one that typical UFC fight nights available on ESPN+ just can’t match. However, $69.99 is a lot to ask of most people, especially if they are just a casual fan who might not be familiar with everyone on the card since, after all, the UFC can’t put names like Conor McGregor, Nate Diaz, or Jorge Masvidal on every single PPV, as much as they’d love to.

Creating a “free” PPV at least once each year gives fans even more of a chance to get the feel of elite UFC action which will cause even more fans to get hooked on MMA and more specifically the UFC.

Additionally, many fans seemed to enjoy that this weekend’s card took place in the afternoon instead of late night. Every once in a while a nice 1 PM start is nice instead of the UFC’s usual 9 PM CST start time.

2. Khamzat Chimaev is LEGIT!

After a breakout year in 2020 which saw him in the running for fighter of the year, Khamzat Chimaev returned to the octagon on Saturday after being forced to take over a year off due to a severe bout with Covid and other injuries kept him away from the UFC. Chimaev was noticeably excited to make his long awaited return to the octagon.

Chimaev returned to face his biggest challenge to date in China’s Li Jingliang. After questions about Chimaev’s lung capacity after his bout with Covid and his time spent away, Chimaev answered any doubters with a very definitive answer.

After starting out the fight by literally lifting Jingliang off his feet and pulling the fight over to be in front of UFC President Dana White so that Chimaev could talk with him during the fight, Chimaev would make quick work of Jingliang by beating him via submission at the 3:16 mark of round 1.

All there is to say after this performance is watch the f*ck out because Chimaev is LEGIT and he is a threat to everyone in the UFC’s welterweight division. It is only a matter of time before he is fighting the top contenders of the division and challenging for welterweight belt.

3. Petr Yan is THE Scariest Man in the Bantamweight Division

In a fight that was originally supposed to be a rematch between former bantamweight champion Petr Yan and Aljamain Sterling, Yan’s opponent was changed on late notice after Sterling was forced to pull out due to injury.

Yan, who lost the bantamweight belt to Sterling in March due to a DQ, would now face an eager Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 for the interim bantamweight championship, with the winner facing Sterling in a title unification bout once he is ready to compete again.

Even though it was a late notice fight, Yan and Sandhagen wasted NO time getting after each other and put on a fight to remember.

Sandhagen would look excellent in round one. He was constantly changing stances and had excellent range management, utilizing his reach advantage to keep Yan at a distance where only Sandhagen could effectively land strikes. Sandhagen had Yan on his toes throughout all of round one and made it look like he could possibly be the one to finally overcome the ridiculous power of Yan by outclassing him.

However, as the fight went on, Yan began to take over. In the second round, Yan began to show his power shots and why he’s been so effective. With 1:09 left in the third round, Yan would knockdown Sandhagen with a beautiful spinning backfist.

From there, Sandhagen would remain in the fight, but it was clear who was in charge. Yan was controlling the fight and landing shots that were far more effective. However, the fight was a spectacle to see. Just look at how the fight ended with some crazy combinations thrown by both fighters:

Yan would win the bout via unanimous decision, making him the interim bantamweight champion (although he was announced as the “now two-time bantamweight champion” which confused many fans).

The reality is Yan looked about as scary as he possibly could have. He looked like the absolute wrecking machine that he has personified, a well-rounded fighter with knockout power that doesn’t make sense for a 135 pound bantamweight fighter. What’s next for him will be a rematch with his foe Sterling to regain the real bantamweight title. Since Yan was winning their first fight until he was disqualified, it’s hard to imagine that Yan won’t be a large betting favorite going into that rematch whenever it is officially made.

4. Light Heavyweight Needs New LifeΒ 

In the main event of UFC 267, 38 year old light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz took on 42 year old challenger Glover Texeira.

In a fight that looked surprisingly easy, Texeira would beat Blachowicz at the 3:02 mark of the second round via rear naked choke submission. At 42, Texeira is now the second oldest UFC champion in history.

Blachowicz looked especially flat in the fight, like he never was able to get going. He was surprisingly quick to tap, seemingly tapping almost as soon as Texeira was able to secure the submission position.

While many fans are happy to see the success of Texeira who has been working at this goal for literally decades, it makes a statement of the state of the light heavyweight division. Texeira’s likely first title defense will be against Jiri Prochazka, a rising star in the division who served as the backup for this fight.

The problem is looking at the rankings past Prochazka, the light heavyweight division is lacking star power and a true standout. Since names like Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones left the division, it has been a rotating door among the top contenders. Obviously this isn’t the UFC’s fault, as they can only work with what they’re given. However, after Paulo Costa horrendously missed weight a few weeks ago, Dana White said that he would be forced to fight up at light heavyweight from now on. While Costa tried to fight the decision, this ultimately might be exactly what the division needs. Costa could bring the new life that is needed, while having a quick and easy shot at the title.

 

The UFC’s next event is UFC 268 on November 6, live on PPV from Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.

 

Tanner Dorow
A proud MMA degenerate covering all things combat sports for Sports Mockery. UFC, Bellator, PFL, Boxing, WWE, and maybe BKFC if Paige is fighting...

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