Brock's World was a horrible place for Mark Hunt to spend much of his fight. Anderson Silva found himself in that same world at the hands of Daniel Cormier. Cain Velasquez showed Mixed Martial Arts fans around the world that's his still a huge player in the heavyweight division as he steamrolled the bigger Travis Browne. Shit, even Jose Aldo bounced back strongly against Frankie Edgar from his KO loss at the hands of Conor McGregor.
When Dana White announced that Jon Jones would be cut from UFC 200, on the spot he said that Lesnar vs Hunt would become the main event and I wrote my preview soon after. White and the UFC soon adjusted that and announced that Miesha Tate's title defence against Amanda Nunes would become the main event - rightfully so when you consider that this fight was the only genuine title fight on the card.
UFC 200 was still pretty damn epic but Nunes' victory against Tate overshadows even Lesnar's performance for me and that there are so many damn talking points from UFC 200 only shows you how successful the event was ... even if it wasn't quite as big as it could have been.
Nunes and Tate headlined UFC 200. Two female fighters headlined the biggest UFC fight card ever, allow that to sink in.
Then take note of the fact that Nunes is the first openly gay UFC Champion.
Nunes is a fast starter and everyone including Tate knew that going into this fight. The general consensus was that Nunes would come out firing on all cylinders, Tate would absorb that like she did against Holly Holm with freakish toughness and then pounce when Nunes is weaker, later on in the fight. Tate couldn't absorb Nunes' onslaught and in a mark of just how dangerous Nunes is, she caught Tate with a heavy shot or two and then submitted her.
In beating Tate, Nunes blew the women's bantamweight division wide open. As you were wondering about Ronda Rousey, infatuated by her standing in pop culture, the bantamweight belt has changed hands twice since Holm beat Rousey. Tate and Holm went to war in a highly entertaining fight and now Nunes has defeated Tate, in the form of a first round hurricane.
Earlier in the night, Julianna Pena (ranked #5 before UFC 200) beat Cat Zingano (#3) as well. Nunes and Pena both beat fighters ranked ahead of them in the women's bantamweight division. Here I was enjoying the situation in this division before UFC 200 and now I'm fairly confident that the women's bantamweight division is the most interesting division in the UFC.
Nunes is the champion and in the post-fight press conference, Pena reminded everyone that she has effectively won seven fights in a row (including Ultimate Fighter fights). There's a chance that Nunes' first title defence could come against Pena, with Holm to fight Valentina Shevchenko (#7) in the coming months. Rousey is yet to make her return to the UFC and at the moment it's nearly impossible to think that she'll waltz back into a title fight; Rousey will likely need to take a fight to prove that she is worthy.
Tate will also need to bounce back and the Tate/Rousey/Holm triangle of female fighters that had me so intrigued a few months ago is now a triangle of contenders. Those three are trying to get themselves in position for a title shot and it's Nunes who holds all the power, assuming that Nunes can defend her belt for a few fights as Holm lost the belt in her first defence after beating Rousey and Tate lost it in her first defence after beating Holm.
Brock Lesnar beat Mark Hunt by locking Hunt down in Brock's World and I'll go deep into Brock's World later this week (I hope to never-ever go into the actual Brock's World that Hunt found himself in, that shit would suck). Hunt needed to stand up with Lesnar and engage Lesnar, trade blows with Lesnar and wait to land that killer blow, instead Hunt found himself underneath Lesnar for the majority of this fight and it's hard to see anyone beating Lesnar from that position.
That was a worst-case scenario for Hunt, which shouldn't have any dramatic impact on Hunt's immediate future in the heavyweight division. It does halt any momentum Hunt had built up over the past 18 months so it will be interesting to see how Hunt gets back on the wagon.
Regardless of what happened against Lesnar, Hunt would have still needed to grab a win or two against top-ranked heavyweights to put himself in the title mix. There's no shortage of heavyweights who Hunt could fight - look for him to fight again this year - and the presence of Lesnar could work in Hunt's favour if there's uncertainty surrounding Lesnar's title ambitions.
As long as Hunt is still fighting, there's a chance that he could get a KO win in three consecutive fights and that means that the chance of him being heavyweight champion is still there.
Both Cain Velasquez's win over Travis Browne and Daniel Cormier's win over Anderson Silva have a connection to Lesnar's win over Hunt. I'll start with Velasquez, who was back at his overwhelming best against Browne with Velasquez the king of relentless attack and Browne had no real answer for the flurry of punches and takedown attempts that came from Velasquez; Browne looked kinda helpless.
Velasquez is back and as long as he's healthy, he's a dangerous contender in the heavyweight division. There were shades of the Velasquez that we all fell in love with before injuries sat him back in the chasing pack and if that's the Velasquez that we are going to see frequently moving forward, this heavyweight division will be very interesting.
Browne could be a good fight for Hunt now while Velasquez said he wants a title shot, facing the winner of Stipe Miocic vs Alistair Overeem. Velasquez has beaten Lesnar before and Lesnar might want some revenge at some stage, especially as Lesnar would need to win another fight if he wants a title shot. Lesnar's lurking around that heavyweight division and Velasquez has announced that he's still very much a contender.
Cormier basically did to Silva, what Lesnar did to Hunt. However, Cormier was boo'd every time he took Silva down and Lesnar was celebrate as that's his main strength. Weird how that plays out right?
Only a fool would try and strike with Anderson Silva, so why would Cormier want to trade blows with Silva? Cormier had endured a pretty crazy week, something that could be best described by the term 'emotional rollercoaster' and he still had a fight to win against Silva. The best way Cormier was going to beat Silva was to take him down and wrestle him as Cormier's strength as a light heavyweight is wrestling.
This wasn't a celebration for Silva, this was a fight and Cormier did what he had to do to win. Shout out to Cormier for going through with this fight, a fight against the greatest, a fight that Cormier had very little to win and a lot to lose.
What I loved about Cormier vs Silva, was that Silva's wizardry was still on display, it just didn't come in the form of his crazy striking ability. Cormier took Silva down rather easily but Cormier was unable ground and pound Silva with any great consequence, nor was he able to get Silva into position to submit him. This is because Silva is still a jiu-jitsu master and shout out to Joe Rogan for his commentary in this fight, he pointed out the work that Silva was doing with his left leg to limit Cormier's effectiveness on top.
Cormier spent the majority of the fight on top, in a dominant position, yet Silva was always a step ahead. Silva never let Cormier rain blows on his face and Silva certainly didn't give up any opening for Cormier to pounce.
Kudos to both Cormier and Silva, it was one for the nerds.
And Jose Aldo, what a performance from Jose Aldo. Aldo is very similar to Silva in that he's more than capable on the mat and Brazilian stereotypes mean they are highly skilled in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, although it's the striking of both that catches the eye. Aldo is super fun to watch because he moves and strikes with scary efficiency, no strike is wasted and they come from nowhere to do damage.
Aldo came up against a dangerous Frankie Edgar who did a fine job in the first three rounds of testing Aldo. Those first three rounds were close and uncertainty flowed until Aldo came out in the last two rounds and showcased his unique ability. Edgar landed blows on Aldo, he caught him many times but every time Aldo caught Edgar he hurt Edgar, each shot from Aldo did some damage while Aldo was comfortable with Edgar's power by that stage.
The funk here stems from Aldo's loss to McGregor, which can be put in that one-off bucket. McGregor smoked Aldo with some swift punches which happens in fighting and Aldo needed to show that he's still more than capable to fight in that upper echelon. Aldo did just that and McGregor's KO win looks to have had a scary impact on Aldo as he looks better now than he did around that time.
Aldo won the interim featherweight belt and McGregor has the featherweight belt. McGregor is down to fight Diaz and had planned to fight Rafael Dos Anjos previously (Eddie Alvarez defeated dos Anjos for the lightweight belt on Thursday ... so much going on!) for the lightweight belt, which has many people wondering if McGregor will go back down to featherweight to defend his belt against Aldo. McGregor was there at UFC 200 and Aldo made sure he sent a message to McGregor.
In all honesty, once this McGregor vs Diaz chapter is over, I want to see McGregor vs Aldo and I want to see that storyline play out again. Both are highly skilled and this fight would do the business that the UFC and McGregor would want, obviously Aldo wouldn't mind some of that cash either. If McGregor's good enough to play this two-division game he's playing, then great, he'll need to beat Aldo before he gets too far down that track though.
When you ponder the various shockwaves that UFC 200 sent through the UFC world, it definitely lived up to the hype. Consider the following...
Nunes blew open the women's bantamweight division, in a main event and she's the first gay champion in the UFC.
Pena's win pushed Tate/Rousey/Holm down the pecking order.
Lesnar made his return - wtf is going to happen now?
Velasquez made his presence known in the heavyweight division - he'll be a dangerous opponent for whoever emerges as the champ from Miocic vs Overeem.
Aldo is also back - Aldo vs McGregor looks to be in the future and that's bloody exciting.
Could Silva move up to light heavyweight? He doesn't want any part in fighting Jacare Souza who deserves a title shot in the middleweight division and he's a capable light heavyweight.
Silva did a good job on two days (!!!!!) notice and the GOAT could be an interesting presence up a division.
Cormier got the job done and should be known as the undisputed light heavyweight champ - bring on a challenger.