One of the wildest cards of the year so far took place this past weekend and the UFC bantamweight division is finally shaping up for 2021.
Marlon Moraes took on Cory Sandhagen in the main event with title picture implications, and a masterful performance from the US native on Fight Island saw him come away with a spinning wheel kick TKO victory in the second round.
It was a highly impressive performance from ‘The Sandman,’ who was bouncing back from a humiliating submission loss to Aljamain Sterling back in June. He used his range well to from distance and avoid damage from the Muay-Thai black belt.
It was a sign of confidence in the second round that he told the world that Moraes had a broken orbital bone just moments before he knocked him out. He was so comfortable in the cage with one of the best strikers in the division that he decided to play mind games in the middle of a fight.
Following his huge win, he acknowledged that he is behind Aljamain Sterling in the pecking order for the title fight against Petr Yan and decided to call out two former champions instead. With disgraced former champion TJ Dillashaw due back from his suspension in January and Frankie Edgar firmly in position in the 135lbs division following his win over Pedro Munhoz, Sandhagen sees his path to a title fight coming after a win against one of those two.
It likely means he won’t fight again this year which gives him plenty of time to start training towards those potential bouts and focus on whoever wins between the inevitable clash between Petr Yan and Sterling.
I can’t let this card go by without mentioning the most incredible knockout, potentially ever, that took place on the card too.
During the Impa Kasanganay vs Joaquin Buckley fight, both men were throwing heat throughout the opening round. Buckley came out with strong hooks and wobbled Kasanganay a few times but the undefeated fighter looked to come back with body shots, using his long limbs to try and keep distance. In the second round though Buckley threw a head-kick that Kasanganay caught but with his foot still in Kasanganay’s hand, he spun off the floor and hit a heel kick straight to the jaw of his opponent. Buckley moved away as Kasanganay crashed to the canvas already unconscious with his eyes rolling back in his head.
It was a stunning knockout that caught the eye of the entire world and Buckley will now look to ride that momentum in the 185lbs division as he looks to push into the Top 15 rankings.
There were several impressive performances on this card so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on all the fighters that were involved going forward.