Curtis Blaydes saved rolling Saturday, defeating Alexander Volkov within the UFC Struggle Evening essential occasion by unanimous determination in Las Vegas, however Dana White wasn’t proud of the efficiency. White mentioned Blaydes seemed “silly” for not having the ability to again up his speak.
No matter model factors, Blaydes gained his fourth straight combat, outlanding Volkov 40-Three in whole strikes in Spherical 1. “Razor” made historical past, too, recording 14 takedowns — a heavyweight single-fight document that topped Cain Velasquez‘s mark of 11.
Although White wasn’t thrilled about the principle occasion, the co-main earned the $50,000 fight-of-the-night bonus. That noticed Josh Emmett win a thriller over Shane Burgos in what some are calling a fight-of-the-year candidate, and veteran Jim Miller shortly submitted rising prospect Roosevelt Roberts.
However earlier than these performances, there was some controversy involving the UFC debut of Max Rohskopf within the night time’s opening bout. Rohskopf entered his combat with Austin Hubbard 5-0, however took a pounding within the second spherical and stop moments later regardless of his coach, Robert Drysdale, making an attempt to speak his fighter out of it.
ESPN’s professional panel of Ariel Helwani, Brett Okamoto, Marc Raimondi and Jeff Wagenheim addresses a few of the night time’s finest performances, what occurred with Rohskopf and extra.
Who’s subsequent for Curtis Blaydes?
Curtis Blaydes talks about his exhaustion after his victory over Alexander Volkov and provides there may be extra work to be accomplished if he will combat for the heavyweight title.
Helwani: Ordinarily this may be a straightforward one: Blaydes vs. Francis Ngannou subsequent. Easy. They’re each on four-fight profitable streaks now and it is a stable combat. Downside is, Ngannou is 2-Zero in opposition to Blaydes already. In order that is mindless for Ngannou proper now. In consequence, I feel Blaydes ought to combat the winner of the Derrick Lewis vs. Aleksei Oleinik conflict set for Aug. 8. I’ve all the time needed to see Blaydes vs. Lewis, and sure, I do know Blaydes has a win over Oleinik, however if you happen to recall, that 2017 combat ended with controversy, so it might be a straightforward one to run again.
Okamoto: Uncertainty. Sleepless nights. Checking headlines. Blaydes did his job. He went out and beat Volkov in a UFC essential occasion. That is what he was in command of. Now issues are out of his management. What occurs within the trilogy title combat between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier? Which ones retires? Neither? Each? Solely DC? After which what? What occurs with Ngannou, whom Blaydes has misplaced to twice? Does Jon Jones transfer up? Blaydes cannot do something about any of those issues, however all of them impression him. I am saying Blaydes deserves to attend for a title shot if he needs, regardless that that is an extended, lengthy wait. And if each Miocic and Cormier had been to retire, I might be in favor of Blaydes combating Ngannou a 3rd time. However once more, all of that’s up within the air, and it is all out of his management.
Raimondi: By any metric, Blaydes must be getting a title shot subsequent. He has gained 4 straight, has seemed dominant and has just one loss in his previous 11 fights. At heavyweight, that’s extraordinarily robust to tug off. He has been constant and remains to be solely 29 years previous. However the issue right here is that Blaydes has two profession losses — they usually’re each through end to Ngannou, the highest contender within the UFC heavyweight division. Ngannou completely should get a title shot after the Miocic-Cormier trilogy is sorted out at UFC 252 in August.
Blaydes is sort of in no-man’s land. It does not make sense for him to combat once more. He has accomplished sufficient for a title alternative, however Ngannou is firmly forward of him. There is no means round it. Blaydes in all probability should compete another time, and the opponent that makes probably the most sense is the winner of the upcoming combat between Lewis and Oleinik.
Wagenheim: If I am Blaydes, I am not signing a combat settlement till after Aug. 15. Cormier has dedicated to retiring on the finish of that night time, and Miocic has hinted that he would possibly do the identical. If each guys depart their gloves on the middle of the Octagon, that may create two spots in a heavyweight title combat, and Blaydes would deserve considered one of them. It could be his third matchup with Ngannou, who has knocked him out twice. However a championship combat deserves a matchup of the 2 finest, and that may be them. If Miocic beats Cormier and opts to stay an energetic fighter, and the subsequent title shot rightfully goes to Ngannou, Blaydes would possibly as effectively look ahead to the winner. He already has defeated the large man located proper behind him within the ESPN Prime 10, Junior dos Santos, so there is not any have to show himself but once more.
Who must be subsequent for Josh Emmett?
Helwani: Emmett is slowly however certainly getting into that contender dialog at 145. Sadly for him, fellow contenders Chan Sung Jung, Yair Rodriguez, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Brian Ortega would possibly get matched up quickly. So, I feel a combat in opposition to the winner of subsequent month’s Calvin Kattar vs. Dan Ige essential occasion makes loads of sense. Now, that’s assuming Emmett’s knee harm is not all that critical. Whether it is, that is all moot as a result of he may be out for an prolonged time period. If not, he positively deserves to be in that dialog after his third win a row.
Josh Emmett takes Shane Burgos down with a strong left hook early within the third spherical of their bout at UFC Struggle Evening.
Okamoto: Man, I sort of want the UFC hadn’t simply booked Kattar vs. Ige on July 15 — as a result of Emmett vs. Kattar would certain make loads of sense proper now. There are lots of matchups for Emmett close to the highest, however the issue is, they could all be booked quickly. Magomedsharipov vs. Rodriguez is a combat that should occur and has been booked earlier than. Ortega vs. Jung, very same deal. These are nice fights, and I would not wish to see them get damaged up. So, truthfully, the reply is, I haven’t got a solution proper now. I feel the division must play out a bit. In lower than a month, we’ll know the outcomes of Alexander Volkanovski vs. Max Holloway and Kattar vs. Ige. I might see Emmett’s subsequent opponent presumably popping out of a type of two fights. Undoubtedly Ige, if Ige had been to beat Kattar.
Raimondi: Featherweight is fairly stacked on the high proper now, is not it? Volkanovski is defending the title in opposition to former champion Holloway subsequent month at UFC 251. Then there’s Magomedsharipov, Rodriguez, Jung and Ortega. Plus Kattar and Ige, who’re combating one another in July. Emmett belongs proper there in that group. However I’ve a little bit of an outside-the-box matchup for him subsequent, supplied Emmett does not have a torn ACL and isn’t out for a lot of months. How about Arnold Allen? He is 6-Zero within the UFC and has gained 9 straight general. He’s badly in want of a step up in competitors, and Emmett — who seemed improbable Saturday night time in opposition to Burgos — certainly is that.
Emmett vs. Allen could be an impressive combat. With the opposite six guys within the combine, put them collectively in some permutation and whoever is most spectacular can get the subsequent shot on the Volkanovski vs. Holloway winner. What a division 145 kilos is in the mean time.
Wagenheim: First off, I wish to acknowledge the superb matchmaking on this co-main occasion, which appears solely truthful after I have been so vital of many latest UFC combat bookings. Emmett is No. 9 within the ESPN males’s featherweight rankings, and he obtained the higher of No. 10 Burgos regardless of hurting his knee early on and absorbing a groin shot in Spherical 3. That is the sort of resiliency that propels a fighter towards the highest of the division. Downside is, everybody ranked above Emmett is both booked in opposition to one other contender already or a minimum of has been talked about for a matchup. Emmett must be in entrance of his TV on July 15 watching Kattar, No. Eight within the ESPN Prime 10, tackle Ige. The winner of that one would make a superb subsequent opponent for an Emmett combat that would produce much more fireworks than Saturday night time’s slugfest with Burgos.
What was your tackle Max Rohskopf not popping out for the third spherical?
Hear in as Max Rohskopf and his coach, Robert Drysdale, debate Rohskopf’s eager to cease the combat after the second spherical.
Helwani: I really feel very snug saying this: That was a few of the worst — if not the worst — nook work within the historical past of the UFC. Atrocious, reckless job by Rohskopf’s chief cornerman, Robert Drysdale. I counted Rohskopf saying “name it” 9 instances in that minute, and that does not embody the opposite instances he was clearly making an attempt to state he was accomplished. Essentially the most uncomfortable half was watching him having to whisper, “name it” in an try and keep away from the embarrassment that for (some cause) is hooked up to quitting on the stool. At no level did the cornermen ask Rohskopf what was fallacious. At no level did they provide any constructive teaching. All they did was ignore his a number of verbal cues and dangle their fighter out to dry.
Earlier than Saturday, I believed the nook work — or lack thereof — within the Amanda Nunes vs. Raquel Pennington combat two years in the past was the worst we might ever seen. If you happen to recall, Pennington needed out of the ladies’s bantamweight title combat going into the fifth, however her nook ignored her and despatched her out to get completed within the fifth. That was reckless, too, however I assume if somebody needed to they might make the argument that it was a title combat and price taking the chance. I disagree with that argument, however others made it on the time. This? This was a short-notice prelim combat. Come on. What are we doing right here, guys? Stay to combat one other day and be taught to hearken to your fighter. If the cornermen aren’t there to guard the fighter in these weak moments, finally what’s their function?
Good on Rohskopf for ignoring his nook and going to the inspector to ask out, and good on inspector Charvez Foger for listening to him. Rohskopf ought to by no means have been put in that place, however no matter embarrassment which may come from that — and there must be none — it pales compared to the extreme harm he would have taken within the third.
This can be a robust sport and there’s no disgrace in being accomplished when you’ll be able to’t go any additional. I personally could be in remorse for the remainder of my life however hey I haven’t got to combat Austin
— Randa Markos (@randamma) June 20, 2020
Okamoto: I believed it was a particularly good move, and I want his coach would have made it for him. Rohskopf requested his coach to name it — mainly begged him to — however his coach opted to present a pep speak as a substitute. Look, there are occasions when a coach wants to present his/her fighter a chat, after which there are occasions when coaches have to shut up, hearken to and defend that fighter. I noticed some on Twitter saying, “Hey, that is MMA, something can occur. A combat can change in a second.” Sure, that is true. However on this case, the fighter himself was saying, definitively, “I can not flip this round. I am in hassle. I would like out.” This wasn’t a UFC title combat, it was a curtain-jerker that Rohskopf took on quick discover. He is 25 years previous. He was outstruck within the second spherical 45-6. He mentioned he was accomplished, and I imagine him.
Raimondi: It was a extremely distinctive prevalence in MMA, one I want occurred extra. That is a particularly harmful sport. If a fighter is aware of she or he is completed and there is not any sense going again on the market, why hassle? What is the level? You are solely risking additional harm. UFC president Dana White mentioned it himself Friday. It’s extremely simple for one thing to go fallacious in MMA after which abruptly a promising profession is derailed or worse. I do not blame Rohskopf in any respect for not eager to proceed. He was coming in on quick discover and is extremely inexperienced. He wasn’t prepared for this UFC debut and was self-aware sufficient to confess it within the second, defending himself from additional harm. It is a disgrace his coach, Robert Drysdale, did not see it that means and tried to proceed to goad him into going again out.
Wagenheim: What a hype practice Rohskopf rode in on for his UFC debut, after having completed all of his earlier fights by submission. The 25-year-old seemed calm throughout introductions, and he put Austin Hubbard in hassle on the canvas early. However when Hubbard turned the tables, Rohskopf not solely had no solutions, however he additionally questioned himself. And that didn’t change in the course of the break after Spherical 2. It is by no means a superb look, quitting on the stool, but it surely was a good worse search for his coach, Robert Drysdale, to disregard his fighter’s repeated pleas to “name it.” By my depend, Rohskopf spoke these phrases or another type of give up 18 instances over lower than 40 seconds within the nook. It was high quality for Drysdale to make a few makes an attempt to perk up his fighter, particularly with Rohskopf not showing to be severely broken bodily. However at what level do you simply resolve to hearken to your athlete? Rohskopf is younger. He has time on his facet, in addition to some important combat instruments, to rebuild himself from a nightmarish finish to this night time. Drysdale has some studying to do, too.
Lauren Murphy catches Roxanne Modafferi with a proper hand jab that sends her stumbling within the second spherical.
Helwani: I am going to vote in favor of Murphy. She has now gained 4 of 5 at 125 and has the second-most wins at flyweight behind champion Valentina Shevchenko and Katlyn Chookagian, who’ve 5 apiece. Additionally, maybe most significantly, she explicitly referred to as out Calvillo afterward: “I wish to combat Cynthia Calvillo subsequent,” she mentioned. “She’s the lady to beat proper now. She’s a extremely, actually glorious fighter. She walked proper into the division and she or he took the No. 2 spot, and I feel that is an amazing matchup for me. I feel I can beat her and I wish to present all people that I can.” Signal me up.
Okamoto: Calvillo simply made her flyweight debut final week. There are limitless choices for her subsequent combat at 125 kilos. So sure, Murphy or Robertson would work — and I might be down for both one — however I feel there are higher choices on the market for Calvillo. She’s already very extremely ranked after beating Jessica Eye in final week’s essential occasion, however she’s additionally new to the division and has mentioned she needs to be energetic. There is no actual cause to hurry her right into a title shot, or have her wait round for one. I like potential matchups in opposition to Montana De La Rosa or Hannah Goldy, however there’s actually no fallacious reply right here.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 20, 2020
Raimondi: I wrote final week that the winner between Roxanne Modafferi and Lauren Murphy would make a superb subsequent opponent for Calvillo. Murphy seemed very stable in beating Modafferi. She has gained three straight, and shifting to Houston the place she trains with the likes of Derrick Lewis below coach Bob Perez has clearly clicked for her. Calvillo remains to be behind Joanne Calderwood, who’s about to get the subsequent ladies’s flyweight title shot in opposition to Valentina Shevchenko. Katlyn Chookagian is within the combine, too, although she misplaced to Shevchenko earlier this 12 months. Calvillo vs. Murphy might find yourself being a title eliminator. So far as Robertson, she seemed nice in beating Cortney Casey, however she was coming off a loss to Maycee Barber, who has misplaced to Modafferi. She nonetheless wants one other win or two to be thought of in that higher echelon of the ladies’s 125-pound division.
Wagenheim: Rely me in for Calvillo vs. Robertson, and the way about we begin the combat on the canvas? Robertson scored her fourth profession submission on Saturday, giving her probably the most in UFC ladies’s historical past. She broke a tie with 4 different ladies, Calvillo amongst them. These are two of the strongest grapplers within the flyweight division, and evidently if a challenger goes to get to Valentina Shevchenko, it may occur on the mat. Sure, the champion is a judo black belt with seven profession submissions (two within the UFC). However do you want anybody’s probabilities in opposition to her in a standup combat?
Whose efficiency exterior of the principle and co-main occasions was probably the most spectacular?
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 21, 2020
Helwani: I am going to go along with Justin Jaynes. As of Wednesday, Jaynes wasn’t even within the UFC. He was signed solely after Matt Frevola was pulled from the cardboard after his cornerman and fellow UFC fighter Billy Quarantillo examined constructive for COVID-19. So he mainly took this combat on two days’ discover after which gained his debut Saturday night time with a 41-second TKO over Frank Camacho. That’s supremely spectacular. I additionally preferred that he referred to as out UFC veteran Drakkar Klose afterward as a result of he beat him in a highschool wrestling championship. That is enjoyable.
Okamoto: Lyman Good. That in all probability sounds wild, contemplating Good misplaced to Belal Muhammad, however Good went into this weekend having overcome COVID-19 earlier this 12 months and not too long ago enduring the lack of his father. Muhammad is a particularly underrated welterweight. He is now 7-2 in his previous 9, and people losses got here in opposition to two of one of the best younger contenders within the sport in Vicente Luque and Geoff Neal. He’s a man who can crack the highest 10, possibly high 5, of this division, and Good took him to the brink of defeat, regardless of a few of the most tough emotional circumstances below which one might compete. Good is not the primary athlete who has ever been capable of compete on the highest stage below emotional duress, nor will he be the final, however that does not make it any much less spectacular to me.
Raimondi: It’s wonderful that Jim Miller continues to rack up wins and finishes. He was on a four-fight shedding streak in 2017 and 2018. Being in his mid-30s on the time, it appeared as if which may have been it for the New Jersey native after a elegant, constant profession. If that ended up being the case, it might have been OK. Miller was coping with Lyme illness and it was clear he wasn’t as bodily or robust as he as soon as was.
This can be a time period that will get overused in MMA, however I will say it right here: Jim Miller is again. At 36 years previous, he has gained 4 of his previous six fights, and all 4 of these victories have come through submission. Roosevelt Roberts is a reputable light-weight prospect, and Miller took him out inside a spherical. Absolutely recovered from Lyme illness, Miller has his athleticism and motor again. He is one of many winningest fighters in UFC historical past (tied for third) and there’s no finish in sight to this run. Few have epitomized guts, will and consistency in UFC historical past like Miller.
Wagenheim: Jaynes scoring a 41-second KO in his UFC debut, coming in on three days’ discover, is hard to beat. However I used to be most impressed by fighters taking their opponents out of their sport. Austin Hubbard opened the night time by heading off the wrestling of Max Rohskopf. Tecia Torres did the identical in opposition to Brianna Van Buren. I’ve to go along with Jim Miller, although, as a result of he knew he had a bonus on the canvas in opposition to Roosevelt Roberts and he seized it within the opening seconds. Then he didn’t let up till he had effectively submitted Roberts in lower than 2½ minutes. Miller is finest identified for his longevity — he is tied for many UFC fights — however on this night time the 36-year-old confirmed off why he is nonetheless competing at a excessive stage.