UFC 219 Results: Matches to Make for the Winners and Losers
Cris Cyborg took control in the championship rounds to defeat Holly Holm at UFC 219 in Las Vegas.
Cyborg retained her title at T-Mobile Arena and got through her toughest task to date. Holm didn't make it easy for her, but she could not do enough to get her hand raised.
It leaves the UFC looking for another challenger.
In the co-main event, Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated Edson Barboza. He made it look easy. Now Nurmagomedov looks for a title shot, but there are no clear answers at 155 pounds. Barboza will head to the back of the line and try to rebound after a disappointing result.
All told, 20 fighters took to the cage on Saturday. That means there are 20 fights UFC matchmakers have to book for 2018. What should they do? Well, let's put on our caps and get to work. Here are your matches to make following UFC 219.
Preliminary Fights Quick Hits
Tim Elliott def. Mark De La Rosa via submission (anaconda choke) at 1:41 of the second round
- Mark De La Rosa vs. Henry Briones
- Tim Elliott vs. Cody Stamann
Matheus Nicolau def. Louis Smolka by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
- Louis Smolka vs. Ashkan Mokhtarian
- Matheus Nicolau vs. Sergio Pettis
Marvin Vettori and Omari Akhmedov fought to a majority draw (28-28, 29-28, 28-28)
- Omari Akhmedov vs. Bradley Scott
- Marvin Vettori vs. Eric Spicely
Myles Jury def. Rick Glenn by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Rick Glenn vs. Makwan Amirkhani
- Myles Jury vs. Ricardo Lamas
Michal Oleksiejczuk def. Khalil Rountree Jr. by unamious decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Khalil Rountree Jr. vs. Bojan Mihajlovic
- Michal Oleksiejczuk vs. Misha Cirkunov
Carlos Condit vs. Neil Magny
Neil Magny def. Carlos Condit by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Carlos Condit didn't look completely washed against Neil Magny, but it was apparent his style will have trouble against the elite at 170 in 2018. Does that mean he should walk away? Not necessarily.
If he returns, a fight against Matt Brown would be the right move. It's a fight we never got in 2013, and both fighters are in the twilight of their careers. It's a fun stylistic matchup, which is all it needs to be.
Magny's win puts him back in the hunt.
Of the available welterweights, Robbie Lawler looks to be the best option. For Lawler, it's a chance to rebound against a ranked foe. For Magny, he can defeat the former champ and move one fight away from a legitimate claim to a title shot.
Carla Esparza vs. Cynthia Calvillo
Carla Esparza def. Cynthia Calvillo by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
This was expected to be a changing of the guard at strawweight, but the former Invicta FC and UFC champion had other ideas.
It was tightly contested, but Esparza's improved striking helped change the tide of the fight. She was able to work her wrestling into the mix in the second and third rounds to help secure a victory.
Calvillo is still someone to watch, and the loss may serve her well in the future. A return bout against Cortney Casey is most likely her best option.
For Esparza, there is one fight that makes sense. Just one. Claudia Gadelha.
The two were supposed to fight in Invicta. And with Joanna Jedrzejczyk's emergence, the two just never crossed paths at the right time inside the Octagon. Now they are primed for a showdown to settle their score. It's the only fight fans should be asking for involving the two talented strawweights.
Dan Hooker vs. Marc Diakiese
Dan Hooker def. Marc Diakiese via submission (guillotine choke) at 0:42 of the third round
This fight got bumped to the main card during fight week. Dan Hooker and Marc Diakiese are not your typical main card scrapers for a pay-per-view. The first two rounds showed why, as they were largely uneventful.
But Hooker came through in the opening minute of the third. He caught Diakiese shooting in and finished.
Diakiese and Lando Vannata match up well in the lightweight division. It's a fun fight for fans, and their striking styles should mesh well to ensure some excitement.
Hooker now has back-to-back wins in the UFC. A step in the right direction could be a UFC Fight Night meeting against Scott Holtzman. Both fighters would be seeking their third straight, and a win for either man could result in a fight with a ranked opponent. Let's see what they got.
Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Edson Barboza
Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Edson Barboza by unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-24)
Khabib Nurmagomedov did Khabib Nurmagomedov things to Edson Barboza.
Barboza showed a lot of heart, but he just couldn't stay upright. James Vick has been calling for a big fight, and even with a loss, Barboza will be a big fight for him. It could be the right time to book this fight and give Vick a chance.
For Nurmagomedov, it's simple. He should fight for the belt.
The problem? There are two belts.
Does Conor McGregor return to fight Tony Ferguson in a unification bout, or does Ferguson defend against Nurmagomedov? Nurmagomedov should be hoping for the latter. If the former happens, he will have to take yet another fight before getting a chance at gold.
The fate of Nurmagomedov's title bid is in the hands of McGregor.
Cris Cyborg vs. Holly Holm
Cris Cyborg def. Holly Holm by unanimous decision (49-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Holly Holm was game against Cris Cyborg, but she just didn't have enough to topple the featherweight queen.
Holm showcased a solid strategy, but size does matter. Both women landed, but Cyborg's strength and power made her shots count more. And over the course of five rounds, Holm slowly faded, allowing Cyborg to take control of the fight.
Holm should return to 135 and rematch Germaine de Randamie. They met for the featherweight title in early 2017, but it was a fight with a lot of questions thanks to de Randamie's fouls. Holm should get a shot at redemption, and the winner will be in line for a title shot.
There are no contenders for Cyborg. The only other competent featherweight is Megan Anderson, who is not ready for the title shot.
There are also no contenders for UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes waiting in the wings.
It's a rare time where a superfight between two champions would not stunt either division. In fact, it gives the divisions time to find a proper challenger. If both women want to scrap, the UFC should book it. They'll never get a better window than right now.