The drama and chaos surrounding Jon Jones and the relocation of UFC 232 dominated the headlines and discussions from Sunday to Friday final week.

Even earlier than issues went sideways final weekend and the occasion was moved from Las Vegas to Inglewood, Calif., the depth and high quality of the cardboard was being ignored. The deal with the main-event combatants — and particularly Jones — intensified after every little thing went down, leaving everybody else within the shadows.

The motion took over when the athletes hit the Octagon on Saturday night time, and a brand new set of tales and speaking factors emerged. A number of actually stood out.

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Right here are 10 issues we discovered from UFC 232:

1. Jon Jones: Nonetheless unmatched

Jones once more sits atop the UFC gentle heavyweight division after a third-round stoppage victory over Alexander Gustafsson in the principle occasion.

A minute into the third spherical, Jones hit a fantastically timed takedown within the heart of the Octagon and went to work, turning Gustafsson belly-down and unloading a torrent of punches that prompted referee Mike Beltran step in to wave off the struggle. This was a traditional Jones efficiency: He used the primary spherical to search out his vary, the second to start out opening up, and the third to show up the strain. He collected the dominant victory he wished after reducing it shut in his first assembly with the Swedish standout 5 years in the past.

Few fighters are on Jones’ degree when it comes to expertise, and his preparation and in-fight changes separate him from the pack. He finds little holes and exploits them, making opponents pay for leaving delicate openings that others would not even see. He assaults in any respect ranges and in all phases. He is without doubt one of the most unbelievable abilities to ever grace the Octagon.

Jones won’t ever be capable to escape his earlier indiscretions, however his potential to set them apart and switch in excellent performances like Saturday’s is a testomony to his abilities, his focus and the group round him.

2. As soon as extra, however this time at heavyweight

After beating Gustafsson, Jones playfully invited Daniel Cormier to return again to gentle heavyweight and attempt to reclaim the title he relinquished Friday. Jones snickered at Cormier’s declare of being a “double champ” and his resolution to let go of the belt now that Jones is again within the fold. He urged they run it again as soon as extra at 205 kilos.

Given the stress between the 2, a 3rd struggle is actually a chance and could be welcomed, however there actually is little to be decided by them combating at gentle heavyweight. They’ve carried out it twice already and Jones received each occasions, doing so extra handily the second time round.

Sure, there are questions on Jones’ cleanliness and that may very well be an element, however why not struggle at heavyweight?

Cormier is undefeated as a heavyweight and has received his final two fights within the division in spectacular trend. He’s the undisputed heavyweight champion and lots of consider that combating in that class is the place DC would possibly maintain a bonus over Jones, which may very well be why “Bones” continues to push for the struggle to happen at 205.

If Jones is on the lookout for a manner so as to add to his legacy and set a few of his troubles behind him, nevertheless, a clear run-up to a 3rd struggle after which beating Cormier at heavyweight could be one method to do it.

3.  Amanda Nunes, two-division UFC champion

Nunes is the brand new girls’s featherweight champion and the primary feminine to carry two titles concurrently after amassing a blistering 51-second, first-round, walkoff knockout of Cris Cyborg.

The dueling champions threw warmth from the soar, rolling the cube that they might be capable to take no matter got here their manner whereas touchdown the larger blows. Nunes landed first and most continuously, staggering Cyborg with a proper hand after which occurring the assault. Figuring out the dominant titleholder was harm, “The Lioness” pressed ahead and put her away, leaving Cyborg face down on the canvas and the capability crowd at The Discussion board in hysterics.

This wasn’t only a victory — this was a shellacking, the form of efficiency that cements Nunes’ standing as the very best feminine fighter within the historical past of the game and a famous person contained in the Octagon. She has now laid waste to Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Cyborg, beating all three within the first spherical with minimal resistance. She additionally wins over flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko and Raquel Pennington for good measure.

UFC 232 LIVE BLOG: Nunes makes historical past, blasts Cyborg

Nunes has spent lots of time lately sharpening her instruments and tightening up her recreation, and Saturday night time’s efficiency was the fruits of that work — a shocking, fascinating victory over a beforehand unstoppable juggernaut.

Possibly now, two years after trouncing Rousey, ruling the bantamweight division and including one other title to her assortment, individuals will cease worrying about pay-per-view purchase charges and mainstream recognition and acknowledge that Nunes is a dominant power and a large expertise.

4. Chiesa impresses in welterweight debut

Michael Chiesa confirmed he’s an intriguing addition to the division by dominating Carlos Condit on the canvas and securing the victory with a modified kimura only a minute into the second spherical.

From the skin, the previous light-weight proved to be the superior wrestler, taking Condit to the canvas with relative ease. Although he was compelled to defend a pair completely different submission makes an attempt from “The Pure Born Killer” within the opening body, Chiesa managed to keep away from getting caught and went again on the offensive early within the center stanza.

After placing Condit on the mat with ease, Chiesa attacked a kimura alongside the fence, shifting to a one-handed variation that straightened Condit’s arm out into extra a wristlock and compelled the veteran to faucet.

It was a dominant efficiency by the previous “TUF” winner, who has the scale to compete at 170 kilos and can not be depleting his vitality reserves in making the lower to light-weight. With the division in a state of flux, there’s a enormous alternative for Chiesa to rapidly climb into key fights in 2019, and if he can replicate the efficiency he turned in Saturday, “Maverick” might change into a contender in his new division earlier than the yr is out.

5. Welcome to competition, Alexander Volkanovski

In a yr wherein New Zealanders Israel Adesanya and Dan Hooker made waves of their respective divisions and Australia’s Tai Tuivasa established himself as one to look at within the heavyweight ranks, Alexander Volkanovski arguably had the very best yr of anybody representing the Oceanic nations.

After handing Jeremy Kennedy his first skilled loss and placing a hurting on Darren Elkins in the summertime, the diminutive Australian turned simply the fourth fighter to defeat Chad Mendes. The opposite three are Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor and Frankie Edgar.

The previous rugby man — who performed entrance row at a staggering 97 kg (214 kilos) — fortunately waded into the pocket to commerce pictures with the two-time title challenger and got here away on the glad aspect of the exchanges. He was fast to get again to his ft at any time when Mendes bought him down and harm the Workforce Alpha Male fighter with quick, sharp strikes inside, finally felling him with a good collection of punches alongside the fence.

Now an ideal 6-Zero contained in the Octagon and using a 16-fight profitable streak total, Volkanovski described himself as “Max Holloway’s worst nightmare” in his postfight interview. Relying on how issues shake out within the subsequent couple of months, “Alexander the Nice” would possibly get the chance to check that concept towards the dominant champion in 2019.

6. Concern for Cat Zingano

The extremely anticipated conflict between Zingano and Megan Anderson lasted simply 61 seconds and ended with everybody nervous about Zingano’s eyesight.

In one of many early exchanges, Zingano circled out of hazard simply as Anderson was throwing a excessive kick, and Anderson’s huge toe clipped the previous bantamweight title challenger instantly in the precise eye. Zingano instantly squinted and hustled to security, making an attempt to alert referee Marc Goddard to the scenario.

The damage was the results of a authorized strike, nevertheless, so the struggle needed to proceed. After Anderson mercifully landed a shot to the physique and held again on a head shot, Goddard was compelled to convey the struggle to an anticlimactic however regarding finish.

Zingano hadn’t opened her eye by the point the choice was introduced and Anderson was being interviewed within the cage. There was a real concern all through the MMA group about whether or not she escaped critical damage. Fortunately, preliminary experiences from The Discussion board urged that Zingano simply suffered a lower to her eyelid, which was repaired, and was not transported to the hospital.

Anderson stated she’d be glad to run it again with Zingano if she had been so inclined. With the UFC headed to Melbourne for UFC 234 on Feb. 9, including the pairing to the cardboard is likely to be an choice.

7. Petr Yan is an issue (for future opponents)

Yan goes to have a tough time discovering opponents in 2019 as a result of, by way of his first three UFC appearances, the previous ACB standout has confirmed that he is a harmful addition to the bantamweight ranks.

Saturday night time, “No Mercy” bludgeoned Douglas Silva de Andrade, prompting Silva de Andrade’s nook to throw within the towel after a hellacious second spherical wherein their man mustered little or no offense. After scoring a unanimous resolution win in a “nearer than anticipated, more durable than it regarded” tilt towards Jin Soo Son, Yan confirmed why he’s thought-about top-of-the-line up-and-coming contenders on the roster by operating by way of the beforehand ranked Brazilian.

After a efficiency like this — and with critical hype behind him — it will likely be attention-grabbing to see which top-10 bantamweights, if any, are going to be keen to share the cage with the 25-year-old within the yr to return. Yan is a high-risk opponent for just about everybody who’s ranked forward of him; that ought to make for attention-grabbing alternatives and thrilling fights in 2019.

8. Finish of the road for Penn

B.J. Penn shouldn’t struggle once more.

Saturday night time, the Hawaiian legend misplaced his sixth consecutive contest, succumbing to a nasty heel hook by Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace Ryan Corridor halfway by way of the primary spherical of their preliminary-card affair. It was an excellent entry and end by Corridor and Penn tapped instantaneously, however “The Prodigy” by no means discovered himself in that sort of scenario throughout his heyday. Because the losses mount, the explanations for him returning to the cage change into fewer.

Nobody likes suggesting athletes ought to retire, however there comes a time when the proof is simply an excessive amount of to miss and we have reached that time with Penn.

The truth is, if I’m being trustworthy, we reached that time after Penn’s third loss to Frankie Edgar, when the previous two-division champion provided a tearful farewell as he launched into a retirement that lasted 2 1/2 years.

His three fights since returning have been heartbreaking. Penn doesn’t look all that completely different from his days atop the light-weight division, however his abilities have eroded, his athleticism has pale and the ferocity that helped make him a legend is all however gone. That is the way it was at all times going to finish for Penn, however this could most undoubtedly be the final time he steps into the Octagon to compete.

9. Bantamweight prospects to look at

The Combat Move prelims had been bookended by a pair of dynamic performances by bantamweight newcomers whom individuals must control in 2019.

Within the first bout, Montel “Fast” Jackson lived as much as his nickname by dispatching Brian Kelleher in 100 seconds, stinging him with strikes earlier than forcing him to faucet to a slick D’Arce choke. Within the featured bout on the UFC’s streaming platform, 25-year-old English upstart Nathaniel Wooden collected his second stoppage win in as many Octagon appearances, scoring a late submission of Andre Ewell.

Whereas they arrive from completely different paths — Jackson was an Olympic hopeful who has solely been a professional for 18 months; Wooden is a former Cage Warriors champion and protege of Brad Pickett — each have proven flashes of elite potential of their preliminary forays into the UFC cage.

10. Begin within the shallow finish

Bevon Lewis regarded excellent in Season 2 of the Contender Sequence. He collected a first-round stoppage win and punched his ticket to the UFC. Within the opening two rounds of his bout with Uriah Corridor, it regarded as if the Jackson-Wink MMA product was going to stroll into the Octagon and take out a top-15 opponent in his first look.

Ninety seconds into the ultimate body, Corridor uncorked a proper hand that stopped Lewis lifeless in his tracks and introduced the struggle to an prompt halt.

That is the draw back of placing collectively fights wherein promising newcomers are hustled into tough matchups towards seasoned, struggling veterans.

Confidence and momentum play vital roles within the struggle recreation, and reasonably than giving the 27-year-old Lewis each alternative to construct slightly of each by working his manner up the divisional ladder, his UFC tenure has began with a knockout loss — the primary lack of his profession.

There are some younger, inexperienced fighters who could make this sort of soar — to go from beating stable regional competitors to besting polished, skilled, world-class expertise — however the majority want time to develop. With the depth of expertise within the UFC, there isn’t a actual purpose to place newcomers within the deep finish out of the gate.

Let these guys splash round within the shallow finish for a short while, construct some confidence, get a pair wins below their belts and work their manner into greater alternatives organically.

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