UFC 206 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Pettis vs. Holloway Fight Card
The belt may not have been the gold standard, but the fight certainly was.
After Daniel Cormier’s injury forced the cancellation of the original UFC 206 main event, UFC brass filled the void with a little sleight of hand. They stripped Conor McGregor of his featherweight titlehe’s got another one, right?and handed it to Jose Aldo.
But wait, you say. What is this dark magic, and how is it relevant to my daily life or this UFC 206 card, given that neither of those fighters are appearing there?
Because they had to take McGregor’s belt to make Aldo, who was the interim champ, the lineal champ so they could make the new main event, Max Holloway vs. Anthony Pettis, a battle for the newly available interim title.
So now that it’s been explained, perhaps you can understand why the interim featherweight title is not what you might call the most coveted title in sports.
Whatever luster the belt lost in the shuffle shouldn’t carry over to the battle between Holloway and Pettis, the former on a nine-fight win streak and the latter the ex-champ at lightweight. Can they restore some shine to this title?
The rest of the card wasn’t bad, either. In the co-main event, Donald Cerrone and Matt Brown fought. Now you know that was a good scrap. Don’t forget about a certain Korean Superboy, either.
As always, the final stat lines only reveal so entertainment news hosts much. Here are the real winners and losers from UFC 206.
Full card results appear on the final slide.
We have a new UFC interim featherweight champion.
It’s not the realest of belts, but it was the realest of beat downs when the great Max Holloway used great movement, controlled aggression and a bunch of really nasty body shots to crumple and defeat Anthony Pettis by TKO in the third round.
It started with a kick to the head, a two-punch combination and Holloway simply smelling metaphorical blood. He swarmed and hammered Pettis’ body along the fence. Pettis fell and referee Yves Lavigne stopped the action.
Holloway’s 10th straight win was his best, even if it came at least in part because, as fans later learned, Pettis broke his hand in the first round.
“Let’s go get the real one,” Holloway told broadcaster Joe Rogan in the cage after the fight, in a reference to the lineal belt.
Helpfully, Holloway also pointed out the UFC’s upcoming February card in Brooklyn, New York, as a potential setting for his fight with Aldo. That’s a quick turnaround, but if they can do it, I’m all for it. That bout will be freaking amazing.
As cool as this fight was, though, it wasn’t the primary headline from the evening.
This fight was the main headline of the evening.
If you missed the fight between Cub Swanson and Doo Ho Choi, do yourself a favor and find a way to rectify that.
As Dana White himself tweeted (warning: language NSFW): “f–kfight of the night this is fight of the year.”
I’m not even sure how to accurately describe it. It was just a full-on brawl for three rounds between two incredibly skilled competitors. Swanson repeatedly crushed Choi with huge right hands and big punch combinations. There was a cartwheel kick at one point, followed closely by a spinning backfist.
The Korean Superboy, who entered this fight on a tidal wave of hype, was up to the challenge. Under that boyish visage is a chin of pig iron. And he countered with his trademark power and precision.
Choi didn’t hit the canvas until the final seconds of the fight, when he simply couldn’t take anymore and folded to the canvas. He did enough to stave off a stoppage but was almost certainly substantially concussed in the effort.As was Swanson, most likely; Choi gave as well as he got.
Almost. In the end, it was the veteran whose hand was raised.
“He made a mistake by calling me out,” Swanson told Rogan of Choi in the cage after the fight. “That made me question myself…don’t ever question me again!”
No problem, Cub. No problem.
The Korean Superboy became a Superman Saturday night.
See what just happened? Ah, but seriously, the 25-year-old earned a slew of gravitas, not to mention fans, at UFC 206. The valiant loss, which showed Choi (15-2) might have the best chin in the featherweight division, was only the second of his career and first in four UFC fights.
“If this is what losing feels like, I’m going to train even more, and I’m not going to lose again,” Choi told Rogan through a translator, earning still more fans.
In a losing effort, Choi probably improved his stock among UFC fans and brass alike. Whatever they give him as a post-fight bonus, it’s not enough.
Thirty-four seconds into the third and final round of an amazing, back-and-forth scrap, Matt Brown ducked into a Donald Cerrone head kick, and the sound of shin hitting face rang out across Air Canada Centre.
It was Cerrone’s fourth straight win and, consequently, fourth win since joining the welterweight division, where he looks very comfortable.
So why is he a loser?
Because Fight of the Night honors were already taken. Sorry, Donald, case closed. And the distinction of the evening’s best knockout was also spoken for. Hey, speaking of which…
UFC 206 contained new entrants for Fight of the Year and Knockout of the Year. In the case of the latter, the perpetrator was one Landon “Groovy” Vannata.
That’s right. Move over, Yair Rodriguez.Vannata is an unorthodox striker to the point of distraction. John Makdessi is orthodox like pot roast and potatoes, working behind one of the stiffest jabs in the business.
Score one for the groove.
Not two minutes into the bout, Groovy Lando threw a side kick to Makdessi’s legs. He went to throw another kick, and Makdessi moved to check it. But The Bull was fooled by a groovy matador this time, oh yes he was. Vannata went upset Makdessi’s head with a spinning wheel kick. The point of Vannata’s heel cracked Makdessi’s jaw, and the Canadian was out before he hit the ground.
And then Vannata just stood there, breathing in the vapors of Makdessi’s soul, waiting for the referee to catch up to the present and wave off the bout Vannata knew was over.
That was some sick funk, and it further cemented the Greg Jackson trainee as must-see TV in the lightweight division.
Everyone loves Canada. Who doesn’t love Canada?
But they had a rough night Saturday in Toronto.
Canadian fighters ended up 2-5, with Jason Saggo, John Makdessi, Mitch Gagnon, Valerie Letourneau andJordan Mein all coming up short. Olivier Aubin-Mercier got the Great White North on the board, then Russian-Canadian Misha Cirkunov followed suit. But it wasn’t quite enough.
But Toronto’s still a great city. You should totally visit.
The MMA world cheered earlier this year when Emil “Valhalla” Meek knocked out Rousimar Palhares at a random show in Italy. It jeered Friday when the Ontario Athletic Commission forced him to shorten that sweet, sweet Viking beard.
The question: Would Meek’s shorter beard lead to a Sampson-like power depletion? On Saturday, we had our answer. No, it did not.
A Norwegian pyre of black-metal fire, Meek overcame what looked to be an early rib injury to take down, furiously pound upon and generally outlast Jordan Mein, who appeared to run out of gas or will or something in his first fight back since stepping away from the sport in 2015.
Meek was no worse for the beard trauma, and after watching that hyper-aggressive performance, a new question emerges: Is he available for yard work?
Max Holloway def. Anthony Pettis by TKO, 4:50, Rd. 3 (for interim UFC featherweight championship)
Donald Cerrone def. Matt Brown by KO, 0:34, Rd. 3
Cub Swanson def. Doo Ho Choi by unanimous decision
Kelvin Gastelum def. Tim Kennedy by TKO, 2:45, Rd. 3
Emil Meek def. Jordan Mein by unanimous decision
Misha Cirkunov def. Nikita Krylov by submission (guillotine choke), 4:38, Rd. 1
Olivier Aubin-Mercier def. Drew Dober by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:57, Rd. 2
Viviane Pereira def.Valerie Letourneau by split decision
Matthew Lopez def. Mitch Gagnon by unanimous decision
Lando Vannata def. John Makdessi by KO, 1:40, Rd. 1
Rustam Khabilov def. Jason Saggo by unanimous decision
Dustin Ortiz def.Zach Makovsky by split decision
Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. For more stuff like this, follow Scott on Twitter.