Top 3 Performances From UFC Glendale

Poirier vs Gaethje

Ranking the Top Performances From UFC Glendale

Okay, let’s start with the bad from UFC Glendale. The card was just too damn long. As i’m about to point out, there were several fun moments and praise-worthy finishes. However with fourteen fights on the card, it dragged to an excruciating level. Even the great performances early on have been wiped from my memory thanks to the loads of contests I subjected myself to.

Never again….by the way, UFC Chile is just as long.

Now for the good. The card delivered on all levels and provided some good wholesome fun. Yes it was too long, but if you’re a fight fan–you could find enjoyment in every single one. But there can only be three top performances from UFC Glendale and i’m tasked with determining them.

No easy job, but someone’s got to do it.

#3 Antonio Carlos Junior

Another rear naked choke finish for “Shoe face”. No surprise here.

The Brazilian hung tough on the feet with Tim Boetsch, but once the fight hit the floor he was in his element. ACJ worked his top game, found the back and sunk in the choke later in the first round to finish yet another opponent in dominant fashion.

It was an impressive feat of skill to say the least and it drew plenty of attention coming out of UFC Glendale. Any time a fighter can piece together the type of run ACJ is currently on, you’ve got to applaud it.

The win represents his fifth in a row and the rear naked choke is responsible for all but one. He’s quietly becoming the Demian Maia of middleweight and perhaps that will carry him to an eventual title shot. But for now he needs a big fight so his momentum can continue. Who could offer that to him?

Who’s Next?

Brad Tavares knocked out alphabet Jotko earlier in the card. The win gave him four in a row with his last loss coming to Robert Whittaker. Perhaps he should be given a better fight; something he can build off of. But in all honesty, i’m just not that impressed with him.

Tonight marked his first finish since UFC 125 and it came against an opponent who has now lost three straight. Tavares is a fine fighter, but I think he needs more time before he goes knocking on the doors of the big dogs.

Enter Antonio Carlos Junior. His performance at UFC Glendale was one of the best of his career and that may mean he’s hitting his stride. If “Shoe face” can keep this train rolling, who knows what he’s capable of. I’d be hard pressed to find a middleweight who could handle him on the ground and his striking seems to be getting sharper by the day.

I’m high on ACJ right now and a fight with Brad Tavares could be just what he needs to make a push to the top-10. Just do it.

#2 Alex Oliveira

This is a tough one to swallow for many.

Carlos Condit has become an overwhelming fan-favorite over the years and has never disappointed. Unfortunately, sometimes you’re the windshield and sometimes you’re the bug. This time, Alex Oliveira had the fortune of being the man of the hour and it was well deserved. The first round was tough. He found himself on bottom and having to overcome his own adversity. But in round two, an up-kick stunned NBK and a high elbow guillotine forced him to the ground. From there, it was all over.

The performance was marvelous and the win earns him a real crack at the top of the welterweight leader board. Was it the cleanest win of all-time? Of course it wasn’t. But to step up on short notice against a legend in the co-main event is ballsy and it paid off.

Good on Cowboy for making the most of that opportunity and hats off to Carlos for being a warrior time and time again.

Who’s Next

Ah, now we take a peak into the crystal ball.

Oliveira was coming off a loss for this one so it sullies a bit of his ability to call for the big fights. However, because he beat a big name like Condit and did the UFC a huge solid by taking this on short-notice, I suspect he’ll get a nice reward.

A reward in the shape of a top-15 opponent. Yes, NBK was a top-15 fighter, but let’s be honest he shouldn’t have been. So who should he draw as his next foe?

Well, unfortunately most of the welterweights are booked at the moment so he’ll have to wait a bit if he wants a serious name. Perhaps he could take on the loser of Nelson x Magny. Either man would engage in some fun submission battles with the Brazilian Cowboy. Plus both are solidly entrenched in the top-15 and would be going nowhere if they lost.

Let’s do it.

Alex Oliveira vs Loser of Gunnar Nelson vs Neil Magny

#1 Dustin Poirier

Stand up and applaud the toughness and skill shown by both Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje in the main event of UFC Glendale. Those two left everything in the octagon for our enjoyment and though it seems cliche; there was no loser tonight.

But,,,there was a winner. That man, was Dustin Poirier.

Poirier had to overcome some serious problems as he slowly but surely chipped away at the chin of Gaethje. He battled through shin-splitting leg kicks and several eye-pokes that seemed to be partially responsible for his swollen and closing right eye. There were certainly times where he could have given in, he could have quit and simply settled for the praise he’d undoubtedly receive after the fight of the year candidate. But he didn’t.

He gutted it out and threw down until his left hand badly hurt the unflappable Gaethje. That marked the beginning of the end for “The Highlight”. Pressure makes diamonds and Dustin Poirier proved that tonight. I’m in awe of what I witnessed and i’m sure you are too. This is what fighting is about.

THIS is what the UFC is all about.

Who’s Next?

I pushed this narrative in the lead up and after the fight, I still felt the same way. Dustin Poirier deserves to fight for the title next, let me tell you why…

Obviously the two clearest options for Khabib to defend against would be Conor and Tony. Now, will Conor spend a long time on the shelf? Probably not. But, I don’t think he’ll be fighting this year because of his legal problems.

Tony tore his MCL about a week ago. I’m no doctor, but it’s gonna take a while before he can hit a bag nonetheless train for a title fight. Plus, Tony x Khabib has already been booked and fallen out four times. Yes it will eventually be scheduled again, but we can delay that for a bit.

Eddie has just one win in his last three as opposed to the 3-0-1 Poirier run. And finally, if Kevin Lee wins next week, he could be given the opportunity. But he fought for the belt no long ago, so let’s give a new face a chance.

Dustin Poirier is 7-1-1 since returning to lightweight and just added his fifth knockout to that stretch over the toughest dude on planet earth. For better or for worse, he must step into the octagon with a belt up for grabs. He’s earned every bit of that opportunity and if the UFC has any sense, they’ll give it to him.

Dustin Poirier vs Khabib Nurmagomedov 

 

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