UFC Fight Night 95: Stars, takeaways and highlights
- Wrapping up all the action from UFC Fight Night 95, where Cris Cyborg proved her dominance in her second appearance in the Octagon.
The UFC went to Brasilia for the first time on Saturday for Fight Night 95. Headlining this card was Cris "Cyborg" Justino, just her second appearance in the Octagon. That itself speaks to Cyborg's star power, especially considering that she is essentially a fighter without a home in the promotion. She is the 145-pound champion in Invicta FC, but there is no featherweight division for women in the UFC and no plans to add one.
But we'll get to that later.
To fight her the UFC signed Lina Länsberg, a woman who normally fights at 135 pounds.
Many expected a first-round knockout, but Länsberg survived to the second round. But she wasn't able to escape the dominance of Cyborg, and in the second round Cyborg's ground and pound overwhelmed her to get the stoppage and a win.
In the co-main event, former bantamweight champion Renan Barao defeated Phillipe Nover by decision in his second featherweight fight after moving up from bantamweight. Barao went from being in consideration for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world to struggling to regain momentum, and this was a much needed win.
Heavyweights Roy Nelson and Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva squared off midway through the main card. Nelson won with a devastating second-round knockout of Silva, which was his sixth knockout loss in his last eight fights. It's time for Silva to hang it up.
Nelson was frustrated that referee John McCarthy took so long to stop the fight and seemingly kicked McCarthy in the butt afterwards. He then began to flip him the bird.
1. Don't make Cyborg fight below 145
Cris Cyborg, who is a big enough star to main event her second UFC card ever, was forced to fight at 140 pounds in both of her UFC appearances. The weight cut to 145 pounds, where she has spent most of her career, is brutal enough, and that extra five pounds takes a disastrous toll on her body. Don't believe me—watch this documentary and witness her struggle to make 140 pounds. She is almost broken when she reaches 145 pounds.
This is her stepping off the scale after cutting weight and needing people to catch her before breaking down in tears.
Fine, the UFC doesn't want to add a women's featherweight division. It doesn't need to in order for Cyborg to fight. After all, there isn't a 140-pound division either. Cyborg fighting is an attraction because she is a star and 140 pounds is an arbitrary and unnecessary number that puts a fighter's health in danger.
2. Add more women's divisions
The women provide some of the most entertaining matchups. Ronda Rousey was the UFC's biggest star until Conor McGregor came along, and since she lost the belt, the chaos atop the division has been fascinating to watch. Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk is technical, and it is beautiful to watch her fight.
So why not add a 125- and 145-pound division for the women? What is the downside to adding two more divisions? Two more belts means two more titles to put on the line in events. That means more titles to be defended on Fox cards. More titles to take a weaker PPV card with one title fight and add a second.
How can you determine Cris Cyborg is a big enough star that she can headline a show, but not have a division for her to compete in or a belt to hold? Cyborg could be one of the biggest stars in the UFC—why wouldn't you want her sporting a title strap?
3. Cut out the post-fight antics
Twice this month we've seen inappropriate behavior after a fight. Fabricio Werdum gave coach Edmond Tarverdyan a front push kick after his win over Travis Browne at UFC 203. It sparked a little scuffle in the cage that was unnecessary. Werdum isn't entirely to blame—Tarverdyan shares some of that—but regardless, it's inappropriate.
And at UFC Fight Night 95, Roy Nelson gave referee John McCarthy a kick to his hind while he was checking on Bigfoot Silva after the knockout loss. Nelson's disdain for McCarthy goes back a ways, but he was particularly perturbed with how slow McCarthy was to stop the fight.
But that doesn't give you permission to touch the referee. If you thought it was clear he was out, you could've walked off like other fighters have. Just don't touch the referee. Nelson could be facing repercussions for this.
1. Cris Cyborg — It was her show and she lived up to the hype, delivering another dominant performance and a TKO win.
2. Vicente Luque — He fought on the UFC Fight Pass prelims, but he might have had the highlight of the night when he dropped Hector Urbina like an accordion.
3. Roy Nelson — Got a big knockout win over Bigfoot Silva. Would've been higher on this list if it wasn't for two things. 1.) Silva has lost a lot since 2013, and by TKO to boot. 2.) Nelson put his foot on the referee's backside and pushed after the fight, a huge no-no.
Brazilian Vicente Luque had a huge knockout to get the crowd going early.
Erick Silva beats Luan Chagas with the rear naked choke out of nowhere.
Eric Spicely gets a huge upset win with a rear naked choke.
Roy Nelson knocks out Bigfoot Silva.
Cyborg gets the TKO win.
The next card is another Fight Night event in Portland. In the main event, John Dodson and John Lineker square off in a bantamweight bout. Will Brooks also steps into the cage for the second time since leaving Bellator for the UFC.
The following week the UFC heads to Manchester, England, for UFC 204. In the main event of that bout, middleweight champion Michael Bisping makes his first title defense against Dan Henderson, seeking revenge for a vicious knockout at UFC 100. Henderson is looking to add the missing piece to his legendary MMA career, a UFC title belt, and says he will walk away regardless of the outcome.