• Drew Pierce

PIERCE: UFC Fight Night holds potential ‘Fight of the Year’

Photo: Josh Emmett and Shane Burgos exchange shots at UFC Fight Night (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Although much of the hype surrounding Saturday’s UFC Fight Night was surrounding the heavyweight main event between No. 3 Curtis Blaydes and No. 7 Alexander Volkov, it was the co-main event that had viewers tuned in.

No. 8 Josh Emmett and No. 10 Shane Burgos duked it out in the featherweight division for a full 15 minutes, forcing the judges to decide a victor. Ultimately, Emmett came out on top, but the show put on by both has had fans and fellow fights alike buzzing.

“Fight of the year candidate,” Retired UFC two-division champion Henry Cejudo said on Twitter. “Beautiful to see two artists go to work in MY weight class.”

The pair of 145-pounders exchanged multiple blows, with Emmett knocking down Burgos on multiple occasions. Burgos out-struck Emmett 148-136, but Emmett’s knockdown power and Octagon control was enough to win him the victory.

Emmett took on several troubling injuries in the first round, including hurting his knee, which live broadcasters argued was likely which was either hyperextended or even a potential torn ACL.

“He (Emmett) looked good, considering his knee in the first round, he kept throwing bombs. Both guys have unbelievable chins. That fight was incredible and obviously a candidate for the fight of the year…”

Although he did not walk away with a win, Burgos fought hard and made a name for himself in the fight, taking chins beautifully that would have knocked many other fighters out of commission. UFC fighters unconscious. Despite the main victory being awarded to Emmett, Burgos is not walking away from this fight as a loser.

Although the internet blew up with talks of “Fight of the Year” in the co-main event, the main event had an excellent matchup between a striker and a wrestler.

No. 3-ranked Curtis Blaydes and No. 7 Alexander Volkov engaged in a heavyweight bout that dragged out through all five rounds.

Despite the interesting matchup, The first three rounds had Blaydes not utilizing all of his opportunities, as he would often take down Volkov and not do anything on the ground. Now, Blaydes is calling for a title shot in the near future.

“He would be considered next in line [after Francis Ngannou for a title shot],” UFC President Dana White said. “With his performance tonight and his cardio, I wouldn’t wait around if I was him. I’d stay active. I like Curtis Blaydes, but Curtis Blaydes has the wrong attitude…”

This attitude White mentioned is a lot of trash talk without following it up with an impressive performance.

Despite his lackluster attitude in the ring, Blaydes executes some impressive takedowns against Volkov, managing 14 takedowns in five rounds.

Although the first few rounds were stale, things began to heat up towards the end of the fight.

The tides began to turn as Volkov, with him landing a few good shots to the head at the end of the fourth round, causing Blaydes to bleed from the mouth. Volkov was even able to secure a takedown of his own.

This spurt of energy came too late however, as Blaydes clearly won the first three rounds. Blaydes was long steam while Volkov was picking up steam, and Blaydes was barely able to squeeze by to the end.

The next event will be UFC Fight Night: Poirier vs. Hooker at UF Apex in Las Vegas, NV next Saturday.

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