Christmas comes early for the citizens of Toronto, but what gifts does it bring for the UFC? Join me in figuring out who got a steaming pile of coal in their stocking as we take a lighthearted look at each main card fight for Unpopular Review: UFC 206!
Emil ‘In-shape Mall Santa’ Meek def. Jordan ‘Chow’ Mein
It’s easy to take a look at this fight and hitch your wagon to the ‘Shoulda stayed retired’ train. Mein’s return looked more like it should have been his debut, and after watching Meek repeatedly drag him to the canvas, it appeared the talented Mein may have felt the rust of his retirement. I’ll assume he was subsequently handed an ugly Christmas sweater from the UFC brass somewhere in the locker room after this fight, to go with this equally unimpressive ‘L’.
Kelvin ‘Gingerbread’ Gastelum def. Tim ‘Kringle’ Kennedy
I had prepared several ‘Old guy putting them young’uns in their place’ jokes prior to watching this fight, and now, thanks to Gastelum, I won’t be using any of them. Thanks, Kelvin.
Tim Kennedy, for all his accomplishments, comes up short in this bout not because of any particular fault of his, but because father time cracks more chins than anyone (just ask Chuck Liddell). Gastelum isn’t a slouch by any means, but his lack of commitment to making weight paints him out to be the Grinch in this scenario (which was actually par for the course for this event) and cracking the fan favourite Kennedy’s ornaments did him no favours. Cue my shaking of fists into the sky, it looks like everyone’s favourite ‘Gun Nut’ gets the wrong end of this sleighing.
Santa, why you gotta be like that?
Cub Swanson def. Doo Ho Choi
There’s no way around it; This fight went into the woods, cut down the trees, put up some planks, hammered the supports and lit the barn on fire until it burned to ash. What can I say? I got into it. Watching the Korean Superbae go three rounds with such a wily striker brought me the Air Canada Centre to its feet as both combatants decided neither one of them liked any of their teeth enough to stop throwing leather.
There’s kind of an endearing quality about Choi, and while I won’t comment on the way he looks (insert ‘lost on the way to _____’ joke here) it’s plain as day that his career is going to be filled to the rafters with pugilistic greatness.
There’s a strange disconnect that happens when a fighter’s head and feet do opposite things. Choi at several points had been hit with punishment so hard his head bobbled like dashboard ornament, all while his feet did nothing but march forward. Throwing technique out the window, wild haymakers became the dinners’ main course as Cub would find out just how much effort it would take just to knock Choi down, which wouldn’t be enough put him out.
If this isn’t a fight of the year candidate I’m going to “Show up to Dana Whites’ house” and beg him to change it in person.
Donald ‘Missile Toe’ Cerrone def. Matt ‘Jingled His Bell’ Brown
Since moving to welterweight, Cerrone has been on a tear, handing out losses to anyone silly enough to sit in his lap. Brown, however, has been putting hard hours in the workshop, trying to figure out what new toys he can bring out to prevent an unfortunate three fight skid.
The damage throughout his career has certainly caught up to Brown, who at one point gave everyone in front of him a bloody case of ‘Rudolph Nose’ and now finds himself on the receiving end of consecutive TKO, submission and knockout losses. These sorts of losses are hard to watch, especially given Brown’s particular style of fan pleasing violence. He favours the clinch, and his body wears it- His chin, however, hasn’t ever looked as suspect until quite recently. At nearly 36 years old, his days of snowball throwing with the welterweight elite may be on ice.
This fight ended as any you’d imagine all Brown fights should, with a swift and sudden knockout. It’s just unfortunate Brown ended up seeing stars.
Max ‘Hashtag’ Holloway def. Anthony ‘Plum Pudding’ Pettis
It’s a miracle! Max Holloway finally picks up the opportunity to wear the belt! Granted, he was the only one to have that chance, and it only came after the original main event fell through, and a certain Irish record breaker was unceremoniously pried away from the title, but it’s still a great opportunity, right?
Following the duo of fights with spectacular endings in Swanson/Choi and Cerrone/Brown arrives the pairing of Pettis and Holloway, which, while ending the way everyone thought it would, came out like taking Christmas pictures with your extended family.
Everyone involved knows it has to happen, but no one actually wants to have it happen.
This fight puts Pettis between under the mistletoe of a questionable future, having lost his crown at 155 and struggling to make weight at 145. Barring any more drama regarding who has the interim belt at featherweight, we’re all set to go for 2017’s smackdown between a champion who quit? retired and the man revving the engine on the hashtag “#WheresAldo”. Sounds like we’ve got ourselves a divisional eggnog just waiting to be stirred.
Eggnog? More like ‘Blegg-nog’, am I right?
This just about wraps up all the holiday references I can handle without being stuffed in a stocking. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to do carolling before it gets dark out.