UFC 207’s Biggest Winners

TJ DillashawWith UFC 207 behind us, there were many noteworthy performances which saw fighters’ stock rise. Jay Primetown takes a look at the key performers and what’s next for them. TJ Dillashaw Overview: Having previously lost to former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, Dillashaw needed to put on a dominant performance to convince the UFC brass that he should get a potential rematch with the Alliance MMA fighter. Tasked with fighting heavy hitting second-ranked bantamweight John Lineker, Dillashaw put in some of his finest work. He avoided the heavy hands and secured takedowns regularly in this fight dominating Lineker on the mat. He not only won all three rounds of this fight, but all three judges scored the second round 10-8 to give him a 30-26 win on all three scorecards. In what appeared to be a No. 1 contender fight, it’s hard to win more dominant than that without a finish. What’s Next: The best thing for Dillashaw had nothing to do with his specific fight at UFC 207. In the fight directly after Dillashaw, Cody Garbrandt dethroned Cruz as bantamweight champ. With Dillashaw previously training at Team Alpha Male, there’s a built-in storyline of previous Team Alpha Male king against the new one. To me this is a new brainer fight to make next. Cody Garbrandt Overview: There was a lot of talk prior to his fight with Cruz if this was too big a moment too early for Garbrandt. He had never faced anyone as experienced or with the movement that Cruz possesses. While others had struggled with Cruz’s foot movement, Garbrandt appeared to embrace it. He not only out-landed Cruz in this bout, but he gave the now former champ a taste of his own medicine. Garbrandt’s footwork was excellent, as he was even showboating at times in this bout. It was a well-deserved win and puts him in the elite class of fighters in the sport. What’s Next: While Garbrandt has said he’d welcome a rematch with Cruz, the fight to make is the one with Dillashaw. In my eyes, Dillashaw and Garbrandt are currently the two best fighters in the bantamweight division. Given the bad blood when Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male, this is an exciting fight between two great fighters. It’s the fight that should be made. Amanda Nunes Overview: Despite Nunes having headlined a bigger card (UFC 200) in her previous bout, her UFC 207 main event against Ronda Rousey was the biggest fight of her career. This fight was a real opportunity for Nunes to make a name for herself given that there would be a lot of eyeballs watching to see Rousey’s return to the sport. Not only did Nunes win the fight, but she did so in spectacular fashion, knocking out the former longtime champ inside of one minute. As soon as she landed her first clean punch in this bout, it was clear Rousey could not handle Nunes’ striking power. It was as impressive a win as Nunes could have hoped for. What’s Next: Nunes has now finished former champions Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate in consecutive fights. She’s proven to be the division’s most dangerous striker and a fighter that needs to be feared. The UFC has made a No. 1 contender fight between Julianna Pena and Valentina Shevchenko. Of those two fighters, I see Shevchenko being the more difficult and intriguing fight. When the two fought in early 2016, Nunes was able to secure takedowns in the first two rounds, but she slowed down significantly in the third. If they square off in a five-round fight, Nunes will need to show improved endurance to hold onto her championship.

Written by Jay Primetown

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