Despite being torn apart by injury, the WMMA-helmed UFC 184 came through as a very exciting night of fights. Its undercard—though marred by a disappointing no contest—was otherwise packed with back-and-forth decisions and first round finishes. Its main card delivered with just as much variety, as anticipated debuts were made, and fans were treated to victories of all kinds—one of which decisively kept gold around “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey’s waist.
Yes, we all wish the card had kept Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort and “Jacare” Souza vs. Yoel Romero, but in the end UFC 184 emerged as an entertaining and—as the first UFC event headlined and co-headlined by women—a truly historic event.
Below is a recap of the action for those who missed it.
The Main Card:
Ronda Rousey Dominates
14 seconds. That’s all it took for Ronda Rousey to retain her title against her consensus toughest challenger to date. The opening bell rung, Zingano charged in, and after a lightning fast scramble, Rousey added another arm to her collection.
The win is the champ’s 11th in a row, and her 9th by armbar. In victory, she now stands a head and shoulders above her division. Even with challengers like Holly Holm and Bethe Correia circling, few current UFC bantamweights appear to have anything to offer the world’s most dangerous woman. Emphasis on current UFC bantamweights—as Cris “Cyborg” Justino, who is similarly dominant, remains on the outside looking in.
So, at least for the moment, Rousey remains in the company of other seemingly unbeatable champs like Jon Jones and Demetrious Johnson. Really, she may have even surpassed their dominance.
Zingano, on the other hand, doesn’t stand to lose too much stock in defeat. Despite the brevity of her encounter with Rousey—the first loss of her career—she remains the clear-cut number two at bantamweight.
Holm Makes a Successful Debut
Leading up to this co-main event clash, we knew the strengths of the two women involved. Holly Holm had her tremendous striking, and Raquel “Rocky” Pennington had her outstanding heart. After three hard-fought rounds, both had been displayed in a major way. In the end, though, it was Holm who came out on top. A diet of punches and kicks across all levels carried the hyped UFC-debutant to a split decision win.
The victory is Holm’s eighth in a row, and keeps her in an elite class of undefeated fighters. Now—unless the UFC surprises us by giving Cyborg a shot—she looks to be up next for the bantamweight title. That, however, is beginning to look like a blessing and a curse, as the champion is clearly unwilling to surrender her belt.
Pennington, on the other hand, doesn’t stand to lose much ground in defeat. She went toe-to-toe with one of the division’s best, punching her way into the company of lion-hearted fighters like Frankie Edgar and Junior Dos Santos.
Ellenberger Taps Koscheck
The middle bout of UFC 184’s main card was a must-win battle between Josh Koscheck and Jake Ellenberger, both of whom entered the fight on three-fight losing streaks.
In the first round, both fighters had their moments, as Koscheck enjoyed some success with his wrestling, and Ellenberger landed on the feet. In the second round, however, Ellenberger found his momentum, defending Koscheck’s takedowns before locking up a savage north-south choke.
The win, though sorely-needed, is a reminder that Ellenberger remains one of the world’s best welterweights. Despite his recent skid, he can still hang with the division’s best. As such, bouts with Tarec Saffiedine, Rick Story, or the winner of Demian Maia and Ryan LaFlare might be in his future.
Koscheck, on the other hand, has likely fought his last fight. Very few fighters are afforded additional chances on the heels of four-fight losing streaks and, at 37, Koscheck will likely be urged to retire. If he does so, just two cast members of the first season of TUF will remain in UFC competition: Mike Swick and Diego Sanchez.
Jouban Trounces Walsh
In the second bout of the main card, former model Alan Jouban reaffirmed that he’s more than just a pretty face with a first round knockout of Australian Richard Walsh. After a brief gun fight that saw both men land hard shots, it was an elbow to the temple that turned the tide.
In victory, Jouban erases the memory of his most recent fight, a controversial decision loss to Warlley Alves back in November of 2014. It’s the American’s 11th career win and, given its emphatic nature, will probably earn him a big step up in the crowded welterweight division. At 32, the time for a title run is now or never.
Walsh, on the other hand, takes a dangerous stumble down the welterweight ladder, as the loss is his second in a row. At 26, however, he has plenty of time to turn things around.
Ferguson Makes Quick Work of Tibau
The main card began with a clash between Gleison Tibau who, alongside Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, owns the fourth most UFC fights in history, and TUF 13 winner Tony Ferguson. It was classic collision of veteran vs. prospect, and this time around, the latter prevailed in a major way.
In a truly dominant display, Ferguson picked up the second first-round rear-naked choke victory of the evening. The submission win, which followed some devastating strikes, is Ferguson’s fifth in a row. And though his talent has gone fairly unheralded thus far, he now springs into the lightweight division’s top-15, where deserved attention is a foregone conclusion.
In defeat, Tibau waves goodbye to a three-fight win streak. Yet given his veteran status, and the fact that he took this fight on short notice, we can be fairly certain that he’s not going anywhere. At 31, he’s still got plenty of fight left in him—perhaps enough to surpass Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes to compete in the most UFC fights ever.
Carneiro Puts Muñoz Down for a Nap
After defeating three men in one night at Battleground MMA’s 8-man tournament in October, an underdog Roan “Jucão” Carneiro returned to the UFC for the first time since 2008—and he did so in style. Just over a minute into his comeback fight, Jucão coaxed the veteran Mark Muñoz to sleep with a slick rear-naked choke.
The win is the BJJ black belt’s 6th in a row, and 20th overall. And while this win is likely to thrust him into the middleweight division’s stacked top 15 (though he has cited a desire to return welterweight), at 37, Jucão is running low on time.
Muñoz, on the other hand, has likely waved a final goodbye to his days near the top of the middleweight division. Now 1-4 in his last 5, the Filipino-American, who owns some of the best ground-and-pound in the game, stares down the barrel of retirement or a career twilight in a smaller promotion.
Accidental Eye Poke Gives Kid vs. Salazar a Premature End
Disappointing—that’s really the only word that suffices. Whether you watched Yamamoto vs. Salazar as a fan of the Japanese legend, or the American up-and-comer, the end of this one was tough to swallow. After a fairly uneventful first round, a second-round collision of Salazar’s eye and Yamamoto’s fingers forced a doctor stoppage, as the American was deemed unable to continue fighting.
The unfortunate end leaves Salazar winless since joining the UFC in October of 2014 and Yamamoto winless since 2010—1,736 days ago as of fight night, to be exact. The outcome screams for a rematch, but whether the battle-tested, 37-year-old Yamamoto still has the energy for such things remains to be seen. Here’s hoping he’s got one more in him.
Means Blitzes Lima
Many pegged this fight between towering, 6’2 welterweights as a contender for Fight of the Night. Unfortunately for Dhiego Lima, it didn’t last long enough for such things. In what appeared to be a case of too much, too soon for the 26 year old Brazilian, the veteran Means unleashed an assault of strikes—punches, elbows, and knees— to secure a first round TKO victory.
The loss moves Lima, the younger brother of current Bellator welterweight champ Douglas Lima, to 1-2 in the UFC. Means, on the other hand, is now on a three fight win-streak and looks like a new fighter since moving up the welterweight division.
Lewis Pulverizes Potts
Ruan Potts had his moments early in the bout, nearly securing a leg-lock in the first round. Derrick Lewis’ second round meteor shower of ground-and-pound, however, was too much for the South African to withstand. The end came at 3:12 of round 2.
In victory, Lewis moves to 12-3 overall, and 3-1 in the UFC. Though he faltered against Matt Mitrione in his last fight, his octagon-shaking power—which has now stopped 11 men—makes him a dangerous test for any heavyweight on the roster.
In defeat, Potts moves to an ugly 0-3 in the UFC, having been stopped by Soa Palelei, Anthony Hamilton, and now Lewis. The skid should prove more than enough for the organization to send him packing.
Lazaro Ekes Out Win over Krause
The second bout of the night ended with the same result as the first; as José Aldo teammate Valmir Lazaro stole a close but entertaining split decision win from James Krause. The victory is Lazaro’s first in the UFC, having lost his debut to James Vick in August of 2014. Krause, on the other hand, now enters the first two-fight losing streak of his UFC career, having alternated wins and losses in his four previous fights with the organization.
Fullen Outduels Torres
In the first bout of the night, TUF: Latin America competitor Masio Fullen scored his first UFC win with a split decision over his former cast mate, Alex Torres. In victory, Fullen moves to 10-4, while Torres moves to a precarious 2-2 pro record.
It was an exciting night of fights which, in retrospect, had two themes: the possible ends of a few long careers, and a whole lot of stoppage wins—enough to end the broadcast a full hour ahead of schedule.
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