Photo Credit mmajunkie.com
In case you missed the action this past Saturday UFC 218 took place in Detroit, Michigan at the new Little Caesars Arena which serves as the home arena for the Detroit Red Wings. Maybe I am a bit of a historian but It was pretty darn sad to see the Joe Louis Arena become a vacant relic. "The Joe" was one of the most iconic arenas in sports. As they say though onward and upward. It is time for new memories to be made in a new house. It is safe to say that new memories were made. Well, guess what it is safe to say that the Ultimate Fighting Championship made some new memories in the newest arena in Detroit rock city. This was a special night.
I have spent many Saturday night's with the boys watching the fights at Buffalo Wild Wings are on some occasions forcing everyone to fork over the cover charge at my front door while I play host and buy the event. UFC 218 was a weird one though. As a fan, I originally thought well maybe I will get this one and invite some friends over maybe I will go out for a night on the town and watch it. I did neither. I bought the PPV around 9:50 Eastern Time and decided I will make myself some food and watch it in my new upstairs setup. Man, was I happy that I did. As I alluded to from the top this was a special night. A night that MMA fans can look back on and think to themselves that was one of the most entertaining cards in recent memory. From Francis Ngannou's emphatic uppercut from hell to Eddie Alvarez earning the title as the UFC's "most violent fighter" and last but not least the defining moment of the now reigning, defending, undisputed Featherweight Champion of the world Max Holloway. I could have easily written a piece on each of the three biggest winners of the night that was UFC 218 but why don't I just give my take on the event that was right here right now?
Francis Ngannou: I want to let it be known. If the world didn't know who Francis Ngannou was before the Overeem fight they sure should now. After knocking out two of the sports most devastating heavyweight strikers in Andre Arlovski and Allistair Overeem, Ngannou is a SUPERSTAR. Most fans feel as if he deserves this treatment (myself included) while others feel as if Ngannou has been propped up a bit. Both sides are right. Ngannou is the next big thing in the UFC and he is the next big thing that the UFC Heavyweight Division desperately needed. I can't wait to see this man inside the octagon with Stipe Miocic for the title of the "baddest dude on the planet". A bout has been confirmed for January 20th in Boston. I just might an appearance for what is set up to be the biggest heavyweight title fight since the days of Brock Lesnar.
Eddie Alvarez: After two lackluster performances drawing an 0-1-1 record the former Lightweight Champion had every "expert" picking against him. Everyone but the real expert... me. Seriously I could not pick against the former champion in this fight. His back was against the wall. He needed to win this fight. He needed to silence the haters. He did. It was really nice to witness Eddie battling through adversity through an extremely tough opponent in the then undefeated former World Series of Fighting Champion Justin Gaethje. Both fighters were willing to bleed. The fight was advertised as a fight that could be the most violent fight in Mixed Martial Arts history. We witnessed both fighters coach against each other during the latest season of the Ultimate Fighter and we didn't see bad blood but we saw two coaches who wanted to win against each other in at any rate. The Alvarez vs Gaethje fight was one that had fans licking their chops and once it was all done as the referee stopped the action in the 3rd round it the fight itself delivered. Welcome back Eddie Alvarez we missed you.
Max Holloway: The man of the hour the man that every MMA fan should be praising. Max Holloway is doing his latest Jon Jones impression. Holloway is continuing his quest to become the greatest of all-time as he added another win over the best featherweight of all-time in Jose Aldo. Not only another win but another technical knockout loss. I could make the argument that the 2nd performance vs Aldo was just as if not more impressive than the first. "Blessed" threw three times as many punches as Aldo and looked as if he barely broke a sweat. I honestly believe this kid could go down as the best of all-time. Outside of a unanimous decision loss to Conor McGregor four years ago on an undercard, Holloway has a 12 fight win streak. I can't wait to see what is next for Max Holloway.
All in all UFC 218 was a fantastic night for the UFC we have a new heavyweight superstar, we are witnessing the return of the down but not out Eddie Alvarez, and we could be witnessing the body of work of a living legend. This is a night that most UFC fans should never forget.