Calling Cyborg featherweight champ having fought two non-featherweights feels.......eh. I dunno. It's hard to really support her reign as the greatest female fighter when basically she's fed on smaller fighters her entire career.
That's my thoughts on that and it's not going to change. Holm's gameplan involved circling directly into the power hand of her orthodox opponent. It also did no leg work or lead leg punishment in early rounds and so Cyborg dialed in her right hand by the later rounds and wasn't diminished from body punches or lead leg kicks. I'm not a high level coach, but after 4 years of muay thai, 2 years of amateur boxing, 5 mma bouts, and as a longtime student of the classic fighters in both boxing and muay thai, the gameplan I saw on display, frankly, left me a bit mystified. What was the actual gameplan to take away Cyborg's weapons? Obviously clinch to double underhooks and tie against the cage was one part. The forward strafe 4-5 punch combo with a kick ala Carlos Condit and other Jackson-Wink fighters was there, but from a strategic standpoint, I'm honestly curious what ring generalship they drilled and implemented in training camp. I was at a loss in the early rounds. You could say Cyborg cut her off and outfoxed her, but Holly's footwork from such a long boxing and kickboxing career makes this explanation feel implausible at best.
Anyhow, my main takeaway from the fight was simply the question as to what was the route to victory Holm and camp actually planned to implement? That being said, I think 2 judges scored it 48-47 showing it was indeed a close fight.
I can't say I'm honestly excited to see Cyborg continue to fight puffed up non-featherweights. It just feels disingenuous at best.
Khabib: I actually have to start by giving credit to Barboza because after that first round Khabib-centric shellacking, he prevented the death knell pieces of Khabib's ground and pound: he prevented the far side wrist control from locking in and he also denied Khabib from triangling his legs from top near the cage. This probably let Edson off the hook in terms of a finish. That being said, Edson was still dangerous at the close of the third round on his feet. I wouldn've liked to see a 4th and 5th round, if anything, to answer questions about Khabib's nutrition/weight cut and championship bout duration level preparedness, but I say this, a fight with him and Ferguson will be fireworks everywhere it takes place. Khabib does so much work so quickly when he puts a man down, and with the more likely 10-8 rounds being given out these days, he's banking serious numerical advantage even if it goes to a decision. He crushed Barboza on the scorecards. It was truly a great display of his combat-grappling acumen, and how quickly against the cage he can score with takedowns and simply dragging Barboza off the cage later after the first round beatdown. Earlier on the prelims, Tim Elliott beat a woefully unprepared opponent in their UFC Debut, but I like Elliott (have since he truly impressed me against Mighty Mouse) and these 3 fights alone made the event worth watching for me as we close out 2017. I've given the UFC a lot of heat for poor/uninspired event cards over the year at times, but this year was a blockbuster year of match-ups, titles changing hands, and truly was makes mixed martial arts great. That also being said, some critical match-ups fell apart due to injury but the UFC made lemonade out of lemons and the Fall was equally impressive for me as a fan as was the first half of the year.