The former Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz took back what was rightfully his last night in Boston. Let’s take a look at the good, the bad, and the aftermath.
(Author’s Note: Bit of a shorter Aftermath tonight. It was an alright card, but not too much was worth noting in a blog with this format.)
TJ Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz
The second UFC Championship fight of 2016, much like the first one, did not disappoint. TJ Dillashaw vs Dominick Cruz lived up to every last bit of the hype. The footwork on display was just beautiful to watch. Cruz’s punch-slipping abilities are back in full force, and like he predicted, there was no ring rust. I said after Round 1 (which I scored to Cruz) that his pace was great, but I was questioning whether or not he could keep it up, which he did.
There was once again some controversy with the split decision victory. I scored the fight 48-47 Cruz, giving him the first three rounds, and Dillashaw the championship rounds. I saw the stats this morning, and they only reenforced my prior thoughts. I mean, TJ Dillashaw missed 299 of his punches. Yeah, TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY NINE. Many people last night said, “The fight should be scored as a whole, and because Cruz can barely walk, TJ wins.” Uhhh, what? No. I’m sure the Dominator could have gone a few more rounds on that foot. He didn’t let the injury become visible until the final round, and he still wasn’t slowing down very much.
Overall, it’s one of the all time 135 fights, and I’m glad I had the privilege of watching it.
Paul Felder’s Rear Naked Choke
I’ve been a Paul Felder fan for a while now, and it was nice to see him pick up this win after his previous two losses. His loss to Ross Pearson was pretty clear, but I really thought he won the split decision loss against Edson Barbosa. I said before the final round that Felder needed to finish the fight to win, and he did, surprisingly with a rear naked choke! It was the first submision of Felder’s career, and he was very emotional after the fact.
Patrick Cote’s Button Mashing Uppercuts
What do you do when you’re fighting someone like Ben Saunders, who has a great chin? You press the uppercut button as many times as humanly possible until he drops. Not a ton to talk about, but it was impressive, and worth noting.
The second biggest story coming out of last night was eye pokes. Travis Browne poked Matt Mitrione in the eye with his pinky really bad early on in their fight. So bad, that I thought he for sure had a scratched cornea. Mitrione was able to open his eye and tell the doctor he was okay, so the fight went on. Browne then poked him in the eye a second time with his thumb, almost as bad as the first, maybe worse. Mitrione tried signaling to the referee that he’d been poked again, but Browne kept hitting him, and they had some more exchanges. Finally, Matt Mitrione told the ref he was seeing double, and the fight was stopped and resumed one more time. A punch to that eye then broke Mitrione’s orbital bone, and his eye swelled up into one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen in my life.
Mitrione was TKO’d by Browne, but here’s the issue. After those two eye pokes you see above, a point was not taken away from Travis Browne. MMA needs to change the rules, to where intentional or not, a point is taken away on the first eye poke, cage grab, or nut shot. I don’t care whether or not some may be accidental. Many are not. Many are guys taking advantage of the warning rule. I guarantee that fighters will be a lot more careful if they know there a legitimate consequences.
Anthony Pettis vs Eddie Alvarez
Super underwhelming fight where both dudes were just trying to grind out a win. The third round was one of the worst Pettis rounds ever. It sucked. I hated this fight.
What’s next for these fighters?
Unfortunately, Dominick Cruz is hurt again. It’s not a terrible injury like the last ones, but he’ll likely need some time off. Cruz has plantar fasciitis, a pretty common injury. It causes a ton of discomfort on the heel of your foot, but it’s nothing that insoles don’t usually heal.
In the meantime, I think TJ Dillashaw vs Urijah Faber is the fight to make. Maybe for the Madison Square Garden show. That’s a fight everyone wants to see, not because of the fighting styles clashing-I think everyone knows TJ is going to destroy Faber-but because of the story being told. There’s also talk of Mighty Mouse coming back up to 135 and challenging for the title, which he and his coach seem to be open to.
I’d like to see Dustin Poirier face Anthony Pettis next, and Eddie Alvarez gets Tony Ferguson.
Matt Mitrione’s UFC contract is up and he expressed interest in testing out free agency, so I assume he’s sticking to that. I think Travis Browne will get Junior Dos Santos.
Paul Felder’s opponent, Daron Cruickshank, will probably be cut from the UFC. This was his third loss in a row, and before that, had a no contest. Cruickshank hasn’t won since October of 2014.
Thanks for joining me. Next Aftermath will be on UFC Fight Night: Johnson vs Bader, to which I have been credentialed for. Your boy will be cageside for that one.