From the first fight at MSG last night, there was electricity in the air.
Ricardo Ramos opened the card with a highlight reel spinning elbow that was worthy of its own bonus. OSP didn’t get another von flue choke but the headkick was just as poignant as he made a bold call out of Ilir Latifi afterwards.
The TBL team breaks down the best and brightest moments from the opening fights at UFC 217:
James Vick left it all in the octagon to close out the prelims last night. ‘Irish’ Joe Duffy was looking dangerous in attack and had some solid moments but Vick was that much more composed in the end. This win marks three in a row for the lightweight contender as he looks to finally make the jump to ranked competition. It was a night full of mayhem and upsets but Vick didn’t let the magnitude of the moment get the better of him. His sleek uppercut to close out the fight made Tristar go 0-3 heading into the main card. James Vick made his case for a ranked opponent yet again in the post fight interview. Let’s see if Vick can get his hands on a household name at 155 to further his credentials within the UFC.
Ovince Saint Preux has shown time and time again why it’s imperative that he gets fights on big PPV’s like this. Corey Anderson seemed laser focused heading into this fight. Lots of positive pressure put on him to show out and make his case for top five. But OSP is truly in a class of his own when it comes to the mixed bag of skills he possesses. Jon Jones couldn’t figure out the puzzle, Manuwa had success along with a few others. When push comes to shove though, OSP delivers and this KO was emblematic of that. The Ilir Latifi call out was the cherry on top to a successful outing. Whether or not he has two weeks or two months to train for an opponent. You always have to be weary of the damn right scary power of OSP.
Ricardo Ramos’ frame and dexterity at bantamweight is truly a puzzle to decode. Aiemann Zahabi dealt with the pressure well at times but Ramos’ spinning elbow was something to behold. The finish now puts the Brazilian at 2-0 with the UFC. A fruitful 2017 will surely be followed up with greater things to come. There is a sneaking suspicion that Borrachinha was not the only up-and-coming Brazilian to feature on the card.
Randy Brown is a name that gets lost with all the hysteria that happened last night. But it’s crucial that we don’t overlook the impressive win he got over a young Mickey Gall. Brown did well to neutralize the go-to tactics from the young NJ native and made it a scrap from the opening bell.
Curtis Blaydes shows more layers to his game as the trial against a battle tested veteran Oliynyk got cut short. The Chicago native was kicking his feet towards the end of that stoppage. But his efforts will be rewarded with a win (albeit controversial) and the next challenge awaits on the horizon. Blaydes was not at all happy with the way the fight ended though. Next outing for him will be crucial to keep his performances in good standing with the MMA faithfuls.