The Monday After: UFC 253
Source: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
I could start this with a small event recap but...ummm wow! That's all I can say. How can you start with anything other than the main event? Out of all the ways Adesanya could've won that fight I think very few of us thought that it would end with him completely and utterly embarrassing his Brazilian foe. I mean, the man dry humped Costa after dispatching of him.
I have to eat crow on this one. Not only did I overestimate Costa's aggressiveness, I underestimated Adesanya's intelligence. That was my bad and it surely will never happen again. Also, apologises to Kelvin Gastelum, I clearly undervalued him as a fighter too. I was just flat out wrong, but in a way I'm glad I was because that was a special performance.
We came in thinking that this was going to be a war, but realistically it was exactly what Adesanya said it would be; a one-sided clinic. The leg kicks, the feints, the timing, all of the above thew Costa for a loop and instead of firing back, he wanted to try and goat Izzy into a firefight. The ending was as clean and precise as they come and Adesanya left without a scratch.
I don't know if Izzy will ever reach the height of McGregor's popularity but he certainly has the potential to do so. Although we wanted blood, we got something that will probably go in down as a turning point for both fighters careers. Costa will catch a lot of heat for his antics, and rightfully so, but maybe we (I, especially) overhyped him because the moment overtook him, plain and simple.
So where the hell does Adesanya go from here? Well, he's made it very clear that he wants to wipe the division clean by going after all of Anderson Silva's records, and the winner of Cannonier and Whitaker appears to be next. Either way, I don't know how you can doubt The Stylebender, no matter who the eventual opponent is.
As for Costa, well, he has a lot of damage control to do. Coming into this fight he was a wrecking a machine, a bulldozer, and man who would head into battle with reckless abandon. That guy didn't show up, but I think he'll learn from this experience. Let's not forget, he only has 14 professional fights under his highly publicized black belt. Can't write him off just yet.
UFC 253's co-main event was quite the doozy in itself as Jan Blachowicz ran through Dominick Reyes in impressive fashion. Again, I must eat crow, and at this point if anyone has BBQ sauce handy that would be appreciated. Reyes seemed to be taken aback at just how powerful Jan's strikes were. Whether it was the vicious kicks to the body or that pummeling left hook, Reyes just simply couldn't respond.
Of course Jon Jones had something to say afterwards and probably feels somewhat vindicated by the result. Many felt that Reyes beat Jones in their meeting, and those same many people didn't let him forget it. Regardless, for the first time in a decade, neither Jon Jones or Daniel Cormier is the 205 champ, pretty incredible stat.
What's next for Jan is unclear, he wants Jones but Jones is apparently moving up in weight, so until that is cleared up I guess it's either Santos or Glover next. However, you have to give Jan his full due. I don't think a lot of people pegged him as a champion after his rough patch a few years ago, and to be honest, he could hold this belt far longer than expected as well. So kudos to him.
As for the rest of the card there was nothing overly special that took place. Royval and France had a wild tilt, Vieira had a nice comeback win over Eubanks, and Canadian Hakeem Dawodu continues to make his presence known at Featherweight with his 5th straight win. I would love to see him get a shot at Cub Swanson or Shane Burgos for his intro into the top-15.
All-in-all a great event capped off by an exquisite performance by Adesanya. He's the truth and is no doubt on the short list as one of the UFC's biggest stars, the sky's the limit. Looking forward, the UFC's next PPV is Khabib vs Gaethje, October 24th cannot come quick enough!