The Real Winners and Losers from UFC Fight Night 160
The UFC made its first trip to Denmark as it hit the Royal Arena in Copenhagen for UFC Fight Night 160.
Jared Cannonier came into hostile territory and silenced the crowd with a second-round TKO performance over Jack Hermansson. The victory showed that Cannonier is a force to be reckoned with in the middleweight division. The other middleweights need to take note immediately.
But it was more than a one-fight event.
The home crowd was electric for the debut of Olympian Mark Madsen. The debut lasted just 1:12. Madsen, unsurprisingly, landed a takedown and finished with a slew of unanswered punches. Madsen's emphatic debut will make him a lightweight to watch.
But who truly won and lost in Copenhagen on Saturday?
Some fighters stood out and made a push to be recognized, while others faltered and took heavy setbacks. A real win or loss is much more than the result of the fight.
Let's jump into the fray to pick out the real winners and losers following the action at UFC Fight Night 160.
Winner: Jared Cannonier
Jared Cannonier is a problem at middleweight.
Cannonier, a former heavyweight, had mixed results at light heavyweight before dropping to middleweight. But at 185, he looks fantastic. He is shredded and maintains serious power that alters the course of any fight he is in. In his middleweight debut, he put out David Branch.
He followed that up by brutalizing Anderson Silva's leg and injuring the former champion.
The Silva performance may have been his coming-out party, but the showing on Saturday was an announcement that he is a title contender in the division. He won the first round and finished in the second. In his first main event, Cannonier had no problem with top-level opposition.
Twenty-seven seconds into the second round and he was being pulled off Jack Hermansson.
Cannonier is a true contender at this weight, and with one more win, he may punch his ticket to a 2020 title tilt against whoever the champion may be.
Loser: Gunnar Nelson's European Performances
When Gunnar Nelson first appeared in the UFC, he was a prospect with a championship-level ceiling. With a four-fight win streak and undefeated record, Nelson fought a contender in Rick Story and came up short. Since that loss, he has gone 4-4 in the UFC.
And he has lost his last three in Europe.
In 2017, Santiago Ponzinibbio knocked out Nelson in Glasgow, Scotland. After getting a win at UFC 231, Nelson returned in March against Leon Edwards. He lost a split decision in London on that night. Saturday, he battled Gilbert Burns. Burns was another former prospect, but Burns has found his stride and picked up his fourth consecutive victory after downing Nelson by a unanimous decision in Copenhagen.
Nelson was supposed to be Europe's welterweight title hope. But his last three outings close to home have been crucial losses that put him well outside of the upper echelon of 170.
Nelson is a tricky opponent for most, but recent results show that perhaps the bloom is off the rose for good.
Winner: Ion Cutelaba
Ion Cutelaba was gaining a bit of steam in the light heavyweight division before running into Glover Teixeira earlier in 2019. Meanwhile, Khalil Rountree Jr. was gaining steam after besting Eryk Anders. It seemed this bout was two fighters heading in opposite directions.
Well, Cutelaba decided he wasn't going down the ladder and put together an incredible 2:35-long performance.
He steamrolled Rountree.
Once Rountree was on the mat, Cutelaba dropped heavy shots on him until referee Marc Goddard was forced to step in to save him. Cutelaba pummeled Rountree. It wasn't competitive.
This was the type of performance Cutelaba needed to prove he was a true threat. Per ESPN's Marc Raimondi, Cutelaba then called out Ovince Saint Preux. A solid victory with an appropriate call-out is always a win. Cutelaba isn't jumping back into the deep end just yet, and a meeting with OSP would help move the winner back into the top 10 of the division.
Winner: Ovince Saint Preux
Ovince Saint Preux weathered a storm in the opening round, but he ate Michal Oleksiejczuk's best shots and got to the second round.
And then it happened again.
A rare submission named the Von Flue choke—after Jason Von Flue, who first did the choke in the UFC—had only been done five times. After Saturday, that count is now six, and four of those six times have been completed by Saint Preux.
It's no wonder why it is now being dubbed the "Von Preux" choke. He has earned the rename of the submission.
The win was also big for Saint Preux, as he avoided a three-fight losing skid. The win puts him back on the path to being a ranked light heavyweight. He will not go quietly into the night. Instead, he'll use his signature move to stay a constant threat to any 205-pound fighter under the UFC banner.
Loser: The Referee of Nicolas Dalby vs. Alex Oliveira
Referee Rebin Saber got off to a rough start in the assignment of Nicolas Dalby vs. Alex Oliveira, and it only got worse.
Through the first five minutes, it was apparent he was out of his depth. The Octagon jitters don't only affect fighters. They affect refs as well. He was doing too much and interjecting himself into the fight.
The first major error came at the end of the second round. After an illegal up-kick, he took the position away from Dalby. It could have been disastrous had Oliveira finished the fight. Luckily, Dalby avoided major damage and got to the third round.
Oliveira looked good in the final frame and was working from top position. Actively working. Enter Saber with an ill-advised stand-up. Unlike his second-round blunder, this one did potentially alter the course of the fight. Without his nonsensical stand-up, Oliveira may have taken the third round and won the fight.
Instead, Dalby got in control and closed out the fight from top himself while delivering ground-and-pound.
All three judges scored the fight 29-28 with the third round going to Dalby.
Saber's judgment wasn't just questionable; it was outright wrong. He potentially cost Oliveira the win. Maybe one day he will be ready to officiate a UFC bout, but it is obvious he should take a step back and not be given any more assignments at the elite level of this sport.
Loser: Macy Chiasson
Macy Chiasson burst onto the UFC scene through The Ultimate Fighter and looked like a strong contender.
After winning TUF, Chiasson won two more fights by TKO to run her professional record to 5-0. She appeared on the UFC rankings at No. 11 heading into the fight against Lina Lansberg. After a TKO win over Sarah Moras, it wasn't a giant step up in competition.
All things were looking up for Chiasson, and a win would have potentially thrust her into a title eliminator in the winter. After all, the bantamweight division is wide open and needs a fresh contender.
Well, Lansberg put a stop to the hype in a clear-cut decision victory.
Ultimately, the loss could prove to be a valuable learning experience for Chiasson. But it was still a damaging loss. She was getting some buzz and looking to be a potential contender. After a fringe contender stymied her, that's all gone.
Chiasson could blossom into a contender one day, but Saturday's loss was a potential two-year setback in her earning a title shot. Ouch.
UFC Fight Night 160 Full Card Results
UFC Fight Night 160 Main Card (ESPN+)
- Jared Cannonier def. Jack Hermansson by TKO at 0:27 of the second round
- Mark Madsen def. Danilo Belluardo by TKO at 1:12 of the first round
- Gilbert Burns def. Gunnar Nelson by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ion Cutelaba def. Khalil Rountree Jr. by TKO at 2:35 of the first round
- Ovince Saint Preux def. Michal Oleksiejczuk via submission (Von Flue choke) at 2:14 of the second round
- Nicolas Dalby def. Alex Oliveira by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
ESPN+ Preliminary Card
- John Phillips def. Alen Amedovski by KO at 0:17 of the first round
- Makhmud Muradov def. Alessio Di Chirico by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Ismail Naurdiev def. Siyar Bahadurzada by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-25, 30-25)
- Giga Chikadze def. Brandon Davis by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- Lina Lansberg def. Macy Chiasson by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-28)
- Marc Diakiese def. Lando Vannata by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
- Jack Shore def. Nohelin Hernandez via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:51 of the third round