Tom's Take #6 // UFC235 and the Night Out That Can Never Fulfill Its Promise
We’ve all been there - the night out that has been hyped for months in advance and billed as the one to rule them all. UFC 235 felt much the same way, with that perfect blend of big names and ‘trade fights’ from the prelims right through to the main event. With such anticipation, it was perhaps always doomed to fall short of our sky-high expectations, no matter how good. In fact, the whole card played out much like that glorified night out…
The Headcase of the Group Acts Like…a Headcase
Johnny Walker did what Johnny Walker does - looked insane, fought insane and celebrated insanely. Invite a guy like this to the event and something is going off - in this case it was his rotator cuff, with his overzealous celebrations representing a far greater risk to his health than Misha Cirkunov ever did. Never quite sure what will happen, you know this guy will be fun as long as he’s here.
“Whatever You Do Don’t Get Into a Fight”
Every group has a friend that needs to heed this advice…and never does. Step forward Cody Garbrandt. Two losses against TJ Dillashaw as a result of him standing and trading with his chin hanging out apparently did not represent a lesson learned as he slugged it out with teak tough Pedro Munhoz and came up short. Hot-headed under pressure, a loose cannon will always be fun to watch as long as you’re not too close it and you’ll have to be careful what event you invite this guy to moving forward.
An Injustice Befalls the Nicest Guy in the Group
Poking his head out from the relieved pressure of Ben Askren’s arms, Robbie Lawler was left circling the octagon with all the injustice of your mate that’s not been allowed in the nightclub. A veteran of the game, respected by all, it’s unfair that such a miscarriage of justice should happen to Lawler as occurred when Herb Dean called an end to the contest. Sure he stumbled (did briefly look unconscious), but that doesn’t mean the bouncer needs to step in. Like every battle he’s faced he took it in his stride and held his head high, ready for whenever he will receive the call again. Such a gentleman will always be invited back.
A Once Great Champion Fails to Show Up
People mellow over time - friends settle down and lose that desire to go out with the boys they first held as an 18 year old, while MMA fighters slowly lose that ‘eye of the tiger’ they had as an up and coming contender. It’s unclear what happened to Tyron Woodley, but few envisaged him losing to Kamaru Usman, even fewer saw him being dominated throughout the five rounds and no-one saw him going down without at least a swing for the fences if so. Continued excellence is easy to take for granted and we perhaps only fully appreciate it when it ends. For past glories he deserves a chance to prove this is not the end of the road, but much like that happily settled friend - it’s going to prove hard to get himself up for the challenge of going over old ground and the calls will only come for so long if you’re not up for it.
The Cream Rises to the Top
Jon Jones, even if not at his own emphatic best, showed himself to be head and shoulders above the rest. Accolades and titles gravitate towards him like bottles of Grey Goose and photographers to the Geordie Shore cast on a night out. Many men will fall, (octagon) girls will come and go, and as you’re struggling to keep your eyes open in the early hours of the morning one prominent figure remains. Love him or hate him, if you had to bet your life on one man in the UFC it would be Jones. Reliable, dependable (inside the octagon if not outside) you can be sure you’ll see him at the next big one.
So there it is - a breakdown of UFC 235 that you’ve probably (maybe even hopefully) not seen before. Atlanta, Georgia has a lot to live up to with 236…