*This was originally published on January 23, 2022

UFC 270 lived up to every expectation as the first PPV of the year. We saw Francis N’Gannou regain his title of the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion with a surprising display of wrestling. Before that we saw another title fight, the trilogy fight between Figueiredo and Moreno that left the series at 1-1-1 with a close win from the now 2-time champion Figueiredo. We also saw a whole group of rookies make their first walk in the Octagon including BLÜ’s first Rookie of the Month, Victor Henry, and Michael Morales and Jack Della Maddalena who both left with a TKO win. All of the bouts from UFC 270 are covered below along with BLÜ’s favourite performances of the night: the BLÜ BONUSES.

Prelim. Action

Fight #1

BLÜ’s Prelim. Pick #1

Jasmine Jasudavicius vs. Kay Hansen

I included this one because I’m a HUGE fan of Kay Hansen, plus, it’s always good to see young talent in the women’s divisions. Jasudavicius won her last fight just a few months ago on the Contender Series after getting a nice decision win. As for Hansen, she had 2 fights in the UFC before this one; she’s got an impressive submission win over Jinh Yu Frey and lost a close, close decision to Cory McKenna in her last one (most people thought she won that one). Considering the extra experience,( the obvious skills she possesses) and those changes she made over the past year, I believed Kay Hansen was a clear choice in this fight. It should also be noted that Hansen is a little over 10 years younger as well. Jasmine is tough so I thought Kay would have a hard time getting a finish, but I thought she’d be able to use her ground skills, extra speed and stamina to get a decision win.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Hansen by Decision

The fight started off dead even with both women fairly even on the feet despite Jasmine’s substantial reach advantage. Going into the fight, it seemed as though Hansen would have a grappling advantage. This was very clearly not the case as Jasmine shut down almost all of Kay’s takedowns, controlled her on the ground and landed a slew of elbows throughout the first two rounds. Kay brought it back in the final round with some crisp striking, but Jasudavicius was the very clear winner in the decision here.

Result

Jasmine Jasudavicius def. Kay Hansen by Unanimous Decision

Fight #2

Vanessa Demopoulos def. Silvana Gomez Juarez by Submission in the 1st Round

This was a wild one for as long as it lasted. The fight seemed like it was all over about a minute into the fight after Silvana SMOKED Demopoulos with a huge hook, dropping her to the floor. Then Vanessa woke up (literally), used her Jiu-Jitsu and ended up locking in a devastating armbar to get a come-from-behind submission win in the very first round!

Fight #3

Matt Frevola def. Genaro Valdez by TKO in the 1st Round

These two came in ready to put on a show! Both men threw HUGE bombs at each other, both landing some big shots but Frevola was clearly ahead in those exchanges landing 5 or 6 knockdowns. These weren’t just some light knockdowns either, 4 of those landed Valdez on his back with his eyes shut. In the end, Frevola realized he wasn’t going to be able to actually knock out Valdez on his feet and instead opted to get on Genaro’s back and swarm him with some ground and pound to get a wild 1st Round finish.

Fight #4

Tony Gravely def. Saimon Oliveira by Unanimous Decision

This one started off almost as frantic as the last fight, but this time using clinches and submissions. Right away it seemed as though Oliveira had won, sinking in a deep, deep guillotine, but Gravely managed to get out of it. The second round this continued with Gravely getting caught in a couple deep submission attempts but getting top control time and landing some strikes on the feet. The third round was even more of the same except for Gravely landing a couple more significant strikes. Realistically, a couple rounds could have gone either way but Gravely did enough to edge ahead on the cards each round.

Fight #5

Jack Della Maddalena def. Pete Rodriguez by TKO in the 1st Round

It was a battle of the rookies in this one as two Octagon newcomers were matched up. It came down to who looked more comfortable here. Jack looked loose, smooth and just picked Rodriguez apart. Pete just looked hesitant and stiff as if the situation was a little too much. Jack is young, very skilled and very confident, he’s going to be dangerous in the near future.

Fight #6

Victor Henry def. Raoni Barcelos by Unanimous Decision

This bout continued the stretch of absolutely electric fights with the bantamweights bouncing around the Octagon, piling up the strike totals. At first, it seemed as though Barcelos had the clear advantage with his crisp striking, but at the end of the first round and into the second and third rounds, Henry turned it around and started to land the bigger shots. After 3 rounds of record-breaking output from both fighters, Henry won a fairly clear unanimous decision, overcoming his title of ‘biggest underdog of the night’. Although the flyweight title fight later in the evening was entertaining, this fight was non-stop action and is the rightful recipient of BLÜ’s Brawl of the Night bonus. Not only that, but thanks to his incredible performance, Victor Henry is the Most Valuable Fighter of the Night and ALSO the winner of the first Rookie of the Month BLÜ Bonus.

Main Card Action

Fight #7

Michael Morales def. Trevin Giles by TKO in the 1st Round

Early in this short fight the momentum was favouring Giles, but late in the first, Morales stumbled him, swarmed him with the ground and pound to get a fairly easy 1st Round finish to maintain his undefeated record.

Fight #8

Cody Stamann vs. Said Nurmagomedov

Cody had lost his last 2 against one of the top contenders Merab Dvalishvili and currently unranked Jimmie Rivera. Said may have Khabib’s last name, but he doesn’t have his record. In fact, he actually lost a fight in 2019 to Raoni Barcelos. Other than that, he hasn’t really fought anyone noteworthy in the UFC quite yet. The betting lines may have suggested that Said was heavily favoured in this fight, but I believed it was much closer than it appeared. This betting line mostly reflected his name and the fact that he’s a Dagestani wrestler. That being said, because he is a Dagestani wrestler, he was likely training like a savage for the past year with Khabib’s team and Stamann was on a bit of a slide, I thought Said was likely going to get a win here. I had said that he was probably going to get a finish, but a decision win was as also possible; the Dagestani style is to grind along the fence and on the ground to wear your opponent down and I thought he’d be able to do that. This style of fighting is also VERY effective when you have a 5 inch reach advantage like Said had over Stamann.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Nurmagomedov by Finish

Nothing to say about this one other than Said impressed the world of MMA even more than we thought he would. He landed some strikes but it was all about the ground game as he took Cody to the ground and got a quick submission win.

Result

Said Nurmagomedov def. Cody Stamann by Submission in the 1st Round

The Future

Clearly, after a performance like that over someone who was previously ranked, Said deserves someone ranked in the top 15. Perhaps someone like Frankie Edgar or Assuncao who have lost one or two and are making their way down the rankings, maybe even Yadong or Simon who are near the bottom of the rankings right now. They’re both great fighters on their way up the rankings, Said would be a tough matchup for either of them.

Fight #9

Michel Pereira vs. Andre Fialho

Michel Pereira is one of the most explosive, unique and truly entertaining fighters in the UFC, regularly doing flips and spinning moves in the cage. He also had a 3 fight win streak going which included recent decision wins over Khaos Williams and Niko Price. Andre Fialho is MUCH less experienced being that this was his first fight in the UFC and had lost to UFC fighters before they had made it here. I had no idea why these two had been matched up, Pereira is one of the best welterweights in the world and he was matched up against someone who had never fought in the UFC. Being that Pereira is so explosive and unorthodox, it seemed very likely that he would be getting a finish here, maybe even within the first couple rounds.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Pereira by Finish

Due to Pereira’s history, we expected some explosive offence from his side but Fialho did a fantastic job of shutting that down with constant forward pressure. The second round we started to see the Pereira we all know and love as he threw out spins, flips, elbows and knees all over the place, stumbling Fialho multiple times. This left the score at 1 round to 1 going into the final round. After all 15 minutes were gone, the story of the fight was Pereira’s diverse set of skills as a striker, using knees, elbows, kicks and punches to pick Fialho apart and win the decision.

Result

Michel Pereira def. Andre Fialho by Unanimous Decision

Co-Main Event (Flyweight Title Fight)

Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo

In the first title fight of the year, we saw the 3rd fight in the trilogy of Moreno and Figueiredo. In the first, we had a draw so Figgy retained his belt. Then, in the rematch, we saw Moreno become the first ever Mexican-born UFC champion after submitting Figueiredo in the 3rd Round. As most people will say, this is still the most exciting matchup in the entire division. We could watch these two fight every few months and it would always be fresh, entertaining and still unpredictable, there’s not a whole lot to say when you’re talking about two people that have only fought each other for the past 13 months. Obviously, you have to give the edge to the one who won the last fight, Moreno, because he won the last one and looked fantastic in the first matchup too. But you can never count Figueiredo out; he’s one the most fearsome, dangerous and ruthless fighters in combat sports. This was a real toss-up and could have gone either way but I gave the edge to the champ: Brandon Moreno.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Moreno by Decision

Just as expected, this fight started off dead even. Both men were careful, limiting their offence, trying to save their energy for later and not make any early mistakes. It remained completely even the whole fight. Figgy was using a lot of leg kicks and landed a big shot in the third round to drop Moreno. On the other hand, Moreno stumbled him a few times early on in the fight. Really, after 25 minutes, nobody could say for sure who the judges would pick. This is one of the few fights I’ve ever watched where I had absolutely no idea who was winning or who I would have picked to win. After the 5 rounds were done, the judges all had it 48-47 for the now 2-time champion, the god of war, Deiveson Figueiredo.

Result

Deiveson Figueiredo def. Brandon Moreno by Unanimous Decision

The Future

Everyone watching the fight and the fighters themselves all seem to agree that a 4th fight makes sense. For the first time in UFC history, a trilogy is completely even at 1-1-1 and really… you can’t tell who the superior fighter is. Personally, to keep the division moving, I’d say Figgy should fight the winner of Askarov and Pantoja. As for Moreno, possibly Kai Kara-France. That being said, I see why they want to make a 4th fight; they’re completely even, plus, if one of them ends up losing to Askarov, Pantoja or Kara-France, it wouldn’t make much sense to do a 4th fight because it wouldn’t be for a title any more. Plus, as I mentioned in the pre-fight analysis, we could watch these guys every few months and it would always be entertaining and fresh.

Main Event (Heavyweight Title Unifier)

Francis N’Gannou vs. Ciryl Gane

I’ve been talking about this matchup since the summer when Gane beat Lewis and it was the same situation we’ve seen a few times now with the heavyweights: power puncher vs. well-rounded fighter. N’Gannou gained the title after getting a VIRAL KO over Stipe, but if you were watching the fight, you’d know that Stipe was winning and sticking to the gameplan up until that moment. He was controlling Francis’ power by keeping his distance and then clinching and slipping in some strikes. That’s what you have to do with a power-puncher like N’Gannou. Stipe got SLEPT after he noticed he stumbled Francis, jumped in too quick and paid the price. Gane is more patient and had executed this plan to perfection in pretty much all of his fights. Last year alone, he executed this exact plan 3 times, beating 3 KO artists, Rozenstruik, Volkov and Lewis and none of them won a single round against him. Record aside, these two are the exact same height and have the same reach but differ widely in weight. Francis, being that he’s a mountain of a man, cuts down to just below that weight limit of 266 while Gane is slightly smaller at around 245 or 250, using his speed and athletic ability to move in and out without getting hit. I said this title fight would likely begin the reign of one of the greatest heavyweight combat sports athletes of all time because Ciryl Gane is too quick, too smart and too well-rounded for any heavyweight to compete with him. I also said it wasn’t impossible that N’Gannou, or any future heavyweight, could knock him out, but that Gane would have to lose focus and make crucial mistakes for this to happen because of his style of fighting and because he’d have to avoid the world-record-breaking punches of Francis, I thought Gane would likely win this fight by a decision, bouncing in and out, minimizing damage, using clinches and possibly landing some takedowns.

BLÜ’s Prediction

Gane by Decision

Right away we could see that Gane was sticking to the plan; he stuck to the outside, landed kicks and some well-placed strikes to take the first 2 rounds. But in the 3rd and 4th rounds, the fight took a turn that most people would’ve never expected: Francis turned into a wrestler! With a previous personal best of 1 takedown, he shattered that record with 4 takedowns in those two rounds. In fact, it was the first time Gane had ever been put on his back in a UFC fight. With that it was 2-2 going into the final round. Gane had an amazing chance to win the round, finding himself on top of Francis, but then he went for a leg lock. It was a decent attempt, but Francis then reversed him and won the round with some ground control. It’s tough to say this because it was a decent leg lock attempt… but if Gane had just left that alone and done everything he could to maintain control on the top, even for another minute, there’s a good chance the decision would have swung in the other direction. The commentators attributed this to the fact that Gane is still only a few years into his MMA career. As expected, the judges gave the decision to the (once-again) undisputed champion Francis N’Gannou.

Result

Francis N’Gannou def. Ciryl Gane by Unanimous Decision

The Future

It’s impossible to say what’s going to happen with Francis N’Gannou. He says he’ll need surgery because of his injuries going into this fight, so there’s that. But the main concern is what everyone’s been talking about for the past month: his contract dispute with Dana White and the UFC. In fact, if you were paying attention, Dana wasn’t the one who put the belt on Francis, Also. he didn’t show up to the post-fight press conference. Apparently there’s a champion’s clause in the contract that says they’re bound to the UFC for a year as long as they hold the belt so he can’t leave the UFC now, But, he mentioned he could just not fight for the next year to let the contract run out. If he were to fight, a rematch with Stipe or even Gane would make sense. Plus, there’s the obvious addition of Jon Jones who will be returning to the UFC in 2022 in his new home: the heavyweight division. The same matchups would apply to Gane. Interestingly, either of those matchups could end up being for another interim belt if Francis is going to wait out his contract.

BLÜ’s Record for the Night

Prelims: 0-1

Hansen (L)

Main Card: 2-2

Nurmagomedov (W)

Pereira (W)

Moreno (L)

Gane (L)

BLÜ BONUSES

KO of the Night: Matt Frevola

Sub. of the Night: Said Nurmagomedov

Brawl of the Night: Raoni Barcelos vs. Victor Henry

Most Valuable Fighter

Victor Henry

He was the biggest underdog of the night and fought a dangerous UFC veteran in Raoni Barcelos. Not only that, he did the fight on 2 weeks notice, didn’t look tired at all and never stopped moving.

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