Each week, we’ll launch a brand new MMA combine tape entitled “The Remix” that appears again at not solely the most important tales of the final seven days, however among the ones that aren’t getting sufficient consideration too, with some weekly awards and a prospect to observe going ahead added in for good measure.

Cejudo’s huge win means delays for bantamweight hopefuls

Henry Cejudo didn’t want very lengthy Saturday night time to make issues very sophisticated in two completely different divisions.

The reigning flyweight titleholder took solely 32 seconds to efficiently defend his title in opposition to bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw, shoving the challenger to the canvas and catching him with a proper hand on the way in which up that began a frenetic sequence of landed blows and determined scrambling that prompted referee Kevin MacDonald to step in and produce the combat to a halt. It was a triumphant efficiency for the Olympic gold medalist, who received the belt by break up choice again in August, and one which creates a number of challenges for the UFC going ahead.

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Initially, Cejudo’s dominant effort makes all of it however not possible to shutter the flyweight division right now.

Whereas the UFC has by no means explicitly mentioned that was the plan, that appeared like the place issues have been headed and Dillashaw believed he was being despatched in to do the corporate’s soiled work. Solely Cejudo had different concepts and after closing out the UFC’s debut on ESPN+ with a bang, it might be a horrible look to strip him of that title and shut up the division any time within the subsequent eight to 12 months.

Add in that Joseph Benavidez, who holds a win over Cejudo in a crackerjack of a combat, picked up a victory to cement his standing because the worthy title challenger and Brazilians Jussier Formier and Deivison Figueiredo have been added to the March 23rd occasion in Nashville, Tennessee and it turns into actual onerous to tug the plug on the boys’s 125-pound weight division for the time being.

Headache No. 2 is determining what to do subsequent at bantamweight.

Following Saturday’s fundamental occasion, Cejudo mentioned he’d be pleased to run it again with Dillashaw up at ’35, which might give the UFC one other “Champion vs. Champion” conflict, however the one-sided nature of their first encounter makes it rather less interesting, at the very least straight away. Had it been a back-and-forth affair that went into the latter stage or ended on the scorecards with Cejudo gathering the win, you possibly can make a case for doing it once more at bantamweight straight away, however Dillashaw had little to supply and whereas doing it in his pure weight class modifications the dynamics of the matchup, it’s onerous to promote a rematch on the heels of a 32-second knockout.

However the UFC has additionally proven a desire for top profile pairings over the matchups that take advantage of sense from a divisional standpoint and will use a bantamweight title combat as a strategy to additional set up Cejudo as a bankable star going ahead. He’s had back-to-back spectacular outings in opposition to two of the highest pound-for-pound skills within the sport and profitable a second belt at bantamweight, the place he’s fought and seemed large earlier than, would catapult him to a brand new stage of recognition and respect.

If the group decides to go that route, it creates a variety of points for the contenders who’ve been patiently ready for his or her flip to enter the championship race, particularly after Dillashaw solely defended the title as soon as final 12 months, in an pointless instant rematch in opposition to Garbrandt.

Raphael Assuncao and Marlon Moraes, the consensus high two contenders within the division, are set to sq. off in the principle occasion of the UFC’s subsequent present, with everybody anticipating the winner to get the subsequent shot on the bantamweight strap. Whereas there are by no means any ensures relating to title photographs, the prospects of the winner having subsequent have change into murkier and now hinge on how the promotion opts to proceed with Cejudo and Dillashaw.

The identical applies to Benavidez and the remainder of the hopefuls at flyweight, who usually are not solely ready to see what occurs with Cejudo, however with the division as an entire as properly.

The entire thing is one large, sophisticated “Select Your Personal Journey” state of affairs with only a few favorable outcomes awaiting the contenders in every of the burden courses.

The best factor to do can be to have every champion defend their titles of their respective weight class and see if a rematch can acquire some natural traction two, three, 4 fights down the highway for every man, however when has the UFC ever opted for the simplest play?

Gillespie, Calderwood make instances for competition

Gregor Gillespie goes to have a tough time discovering opponents in 2019.

Saturday night time, the unbeaten former Div-I Nationwide champion wrestler racked up his fifth straight end, sixth straight UFC win and 13th consecutive victory total by sporting down and finally pounding out sturdy Hawaiian veteran Yancy Medeiros halfway by the principle card.

The Lengthy Island, New York native is a suffocating grappler with excellent palms who’s all the time pursuing the end, which makes him a fancy assortment of issues for Prime 15 lightweights to deal with and likelihood is, only a few are going to be lining as much as share the Octagon with “The Reward” as soon as he’s again from his celebratory fishing journey and able to get again after it.

Whereas Gillespie continued displaying the identical dynamite kind he’s displayed all through his profession, Joanne Calderwood as soon as once more demonstrated that she’s making critical strides and beginning to discover her approach by knocking off KSW champ Ariane Lipski.

Now 2-Zero since completely relocating to flyweight (and 3-Zero within the division total) and shifting to Las Vegas to work with John Wooden and the crew at Syndicate MMA, the soft-spoken Scottish expertise has proven large enhancements on the bottom and significantly better reactions when the leather-based begins flying in shut. A part of that’s definitely primarily based on now not reducing all the way down to strawweight, however the technical and tactical changes are a results of placing in work within the gymnasium.

She’s within the combine on the high of the flyweight division and a date with a Prime 5 opponent — doubtlessly with a title shot hanging within the stability — must be in her future.

Although they’ve nonetheless received some work to do earlier than they’re thought of contenders, Alonzo Menifield, Cory Sandhagen and Geoff Neal all turned in terrific efforts on Saturday night time as properly.

Menifield made fast work of Vinicius Moreira in his promotional debut, whereas his Fortis MMA teammate Neal picked up his third UFC win in as many begins, pulling away from a really recreation Belal Muhammad down the stretch of their entertaining back-and-forth affair. As for Sandhagen, the Elevation Battle Staff member — and this occasion’s addition to the Below the Radar household — scored a 3rd consecutive stoppage win by operating by late alternative Mario Bautista.

All three have critical upside of their respective divisions and may proceed to make waves all year long.

And So Begins the ESPN Period

Battle followers are all the time going to search out one thing to complain about and Saturday night time’s UFC debut on ESPN was no completely different.

Some didn’t like the truth that the published seemed and felt quite a bit just like the FS1 broadcasts of the final seven years. Others disapproved of the inclusion {of professional} yeller Stephen A. Smith, who jumped into discussions with Michael Bisping and the commentary workforce of Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier all through the night time.

Others nonetheless disliked the truth that the ESPN+ broadcasts included commercials and didn’t hum alongside on the tempo of a card airing solely on Battle Move.

All of that being mentioned, this was an awesome begin to a brand new period for the UFC.

As the assorted personalities mentioned all through the night, there may be simply one thing completely different, one thing larger about being on ESPN and you possibly can really feel it all through the published. Merely little issues like seeing Anik, Cormier holding microphones with ESPN flags and the cleaner, extra crisp execution of the completely different interstitial segments all confirmed that the model (and there for the game) has risen to a brand new stage.

Including highly-respected placing coach Trevor Wittman to the published for infrequent insights, particularly popping out of the corners, was terrific and he dealt with his debut with aplomb, whereas Smith was much better than he might have been, deferring to Cormier’s experience all through the night with out ever actually going full Stephen A. Smith.

Plus, he received all of the names proper and didn’t recommend somebody who wasn’t on the cardboard was going to have a giant night time, which is an enchancment from his current soccer evaluation.

One occasion in and you’ll see the positives and may know that the wrinkles will get ironed out and issues are solely going to proceed to enhance from right here on out.

Battle of the Weekend: Geoff Neal vs. Belal Muhammad at UFC Brooklyn

Donald Cerrone and Alexander Hernandez took dwelling the bonus cash for Battle of the Evening, however personally, I although this one was way more entertaining and even.

Neal has shortly proven he’s somebody to regulate at welterweight — a man with fast palms, legit energy and a penchant for placing shin to temple — whereas Muhammad is a tricky cuss who’s going to get pleasure from a protracted profession participating in enjoyable battles within the 16-25 vary within the 170-pound ranks.

These two received after one another proper out of the chute and turned it as much as 11 down the stretch, with Neal pouring on the offense and Muhammad responding by displaying that he may be a terminator:

As enjoyable because it was to observe “Cowboy” return to light-weight and take out a brash, younger upstart, this was the most effective for the night time in Brooklyn and the highest combat of the weekend in my books.

Submission of the Weekend: Paige VanZant submits Rachael Ostovich by armbar at UFC Brooklyn

The precise submission itself was stable, as VanZant adjusted properly after getting somewhat too excessive on Ostovich’s again, but it surely was the sequence earlier than this that basically stood out.

That’s an excellent again take — it’s fast, athletic, she will get the hooks in straight away and instantly begins isolating arms and seeking to provoke offense. When Ostovich rolled, VanZant went along with her, shifting into again mount and delivering strikes, sustaining her dominant place all through the one-minute alternate that finally produced the end.

VanZant catches a variety of criticism for getting an enormous push proper out of the gate, however this efficiency must be a reminder that the 25-year-old has apparent potential and nonetheless has tons of room to develop as a fighter. She received away from actually utilizing her athleticism throughout her days at Staff Alpha Male, but when she will get again to taking part in to her strengths, VanZant has the potential to go on a run at flyweight.

Knockout of the Weekend: Donald Cerrone TKO’s Alexander Hernandez at UFC Brooklyn

There have been another spectacular knockouts this previous weekend within the MMA house, however none hit you within the feels the way in which Cerrone’s return to light-weight in opposition to Hernandez did.

Lots of people pegged this because the younger buck’s popping out occasion — an opportunity to knock off the salty previous canine who was dropping again down in weight for the primary time in three years — however as an alternative, “Cowboy” confirmed that he’s going to be an element within the light-weight division by doing what he’s performed extra instances than anybody in UFC historical past — selecting up a stoppage victory.

The setup was classic Cerrone too:

He’s hit that head kick on lots of people and he was in search of it earlier within the bout, however didn’t pull the set off. He did, nevertheless, bash Hernandez with some indignant elbows that busted him up within the first and you possibly can inform previous Cowboy didn’t take to properly to all of the junk “Alexander the Nice” was speaking earlier than the combat.

This was a traditional efficiency from the all-time chief in wins and finishes in UFC historical past and a reminder that it’s best to maintain off to ensure a person is useless earlier than you begin digging his grave.

Prospect to Watch after this Weekend: Cory Sandhagen

Issues are getting actual fascinating within the bantamweight division and it’s beginning to remind me of featherweight a pair years in the past when guys like Max Holloway, Brian Ortega and Mirsad Bektic all began to get it rolling.

Sandhagen turns into the second straight bantamweight to man this place, following Petr Yan at UFC 232, and in the event you’re not already pumped about seeing the 26-year-old in motion once more after he picked up his third straight end in as many appearances within the Octagon, I don’t know what to say.

Listed below are the highlights from his bout with Mario Bautista:

He confirmed final outing in opposition to Iuri Alcantara that he’s stupid-tough and all types of gutsy and now on Saturday, he did the factor that you simply’re purported to do if you’re the closely favored man dealing with a short-notice substitute with restricted expertise — he completely styled on Bautista and confirmed he’s on the verge of becoming a member of the bantamweight elite.

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