Real Talk 33: Looking back at UFC 241

Daniel Cormier entering the Octagon for the main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (August 17th, 2019)Daniel Cormier entering the Octagon for the main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (August 17th, 2019)

I was at UFC 241 in Anaheim on Saturday night. Right now, I’m going to talk about the highlights, and a lowlight, from UFC 241 from a live perspective.

Nate Diaz, his dominant performance over Anthony Pettis, his superstar status, possible Masvidal fight?

In the last few years, the UFC has had a problem with creating and maintaining new stars. Georges St. Pierre fought once since 2013 and is now retired. B.J. Penn, who was once considered one of the best fighters in the world, has only won one fight this decade. Ronda Rousey, who was heavily pushed by the UFC, left the sport after suffering two straight brutal losses and became a pro wrestler. Anderson Silva, who is still popular among fans, has been on a downturn in recent years. There’s also Conor McGregor, who hasn’t been very active since 2016.

While the UFC has had problems being able to create stars, one fighter solidified himself as the UFC’s last true superstar.

Heading into UFC 241 the Honda Center on Saturday afternoon, I noticed a big amount of Nate Diaz supporters. There were a lot of people wearing the Represent LTD. Nate Diaz Aug 17 MMXIX Official Walkout Tee. If you’re a pro wrestling fan, think of it like how people wore Bullet Club shirts to wrestling shows between 2016-2018. People were also wearing various Nate Diaz merchandise. On August 17th, 2019, the Honda Center in Anaheim was 209 South. Even before the doors were open, there was no doubt that the crowd was overwhelmingly pro-Diaz.

When the opening video package before the main card was shown inside the arena, the fans cheered loudly when Nate Diaz was shown. When his opponent, Anthony Pettis, was shown, a loud chorus of boos rang out in the Honda Center. During the hype video that preceded the co-main event fight, the fans did the same. Cheers for Diaz, boos for Pettis. When Nate Diaz walked onto the arena floor for his fight, the crowd gave him a hero’s welcome. When Anthony Pettis came out, the crowd overwhelmingly booed him. It wasn’t that they hated Pettis. He had some fans. Even some Diaz supporters were saying they liked him. The problem was Nate Diaz was everyone’s favorite. You could’ve put Anaheim Angels outfielder Mike Trout in that Octagon with Nate Diaz, and the crowd would’ve booed him too.

Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis pre-fight introductions in the co-main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (August 17th, 2019(

Nate Diaz vs. Anthony Pettis pre-fight introductions in the co-main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (August 17th, 2019(

Once the fight began, it was practically all Diaz. He kept getting the better of the striking exchanges with Pettis. He got the better of Pettis in the grappling department. When Diaz got Pettis in the clinch, he landed several heavy knees to the head of Pettis. He turned the bout into a phone booth fight and did damage inside. In every aspect of the fight, Nate Diaz was on another level. To Anthony Pettis’ credit, he suffered a broken during the fight and managed to fight to a decision. Even though he lost, he deserves a lot of credit for continuing even when he could’ve had his corner stop the fight. Not to take away from Nate Diaz’s masterful performance though. He really put on an MMA clinic on Saturday night.

Nate Diaz after defeating Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (August 17th, 2019(

Nate Diaz after defeating Anthony Pettis in the co-main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA (August 17th, 2019(

After the fight was over and the decision was read, the fans celebrated loudly. It was clear that Nate Diaz was a true superstar that night. When he made a challenge to Jorge Masvidal, one of the UFC’s current rising stars, it became clear what the UFC’s next big money fight is. Even if there is no official championship on the line, a battle between those two would be enough to headline any card in any arena.

Cormier vs. Miocic: The Rematch

On July 29th, 2017, Daniel Cormier defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against Jon Jones at UFC 214 in the Honda Center in a rematch of a fight from January 3rd, 2015 in Las Vegas. The rematch ended when Cormier was knocked out. As a result, he initially lost the title. Less than two months later, Cormier was awarded the title back after Jones failed a drug test. On July 7th, 2018 in Las Vegas at UFC 226, Cormier, who was still UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at the time, faced the UFC Heavyweight Champion, Stipe Miocic. For the first four minutes, Miocic was maintaining distance and getting the better of Cormier with some punching combos. Eventually, Cormier was able to clinch up with Miocic and landed a huge shot inside to knock him out and become a two-division champion.

That brings us to August 17th, 2019. Once again, Daniel Cormier walked into the Honda Center to defend a title in a rematch. This time, it was against Stipe Miocic. And just like the last time he stepped into the Honda Center, Cormier was knocked out and lost his title to an opponent looking to regain a championship they once held.

The fight started out with Daniel Cormier imposing his game plan on Miocic. He was coming at him early and had a strong start. At one point in the first round, Cormier picked up Miocic and held him up for several moments before slamming him to the ground. The first two rounds were won by Cormier. Cormier was landing lots of heavy shots, pushing the pace, and out-grappling Miocic. Miocic was landing several shots as well during the first two rounds, but Cormier was making it his fight by getting in the pocket and landing combinations.

Heading into the third round, Cormier was still landing shots and throwing strikes in high volume. As the round went on, Miocic began to find his range and started to go back to what made him successful in the past. He started to control distance, used his boxing, and forced Cormier to chase after him. Cormier still landed shots, put pressure on Miocic, and won the round in my eyes. Still, Miocic was on the verge of a comeback.

In the fourth round, Miocic made an adjustment. He started to attack Cormier with some lead left hooks to the body. He was landing them at will, and it started to impact Cormier’s performance. Cormier started to back down, dropped his hands, and threw fewer strikes. Miocic’s change in approach worked very well, and he took a lot of gas out of Cormier’s tank. At 4:58 of Round 4, Miocic landed a body shot that badly hurt Cormier and had him backing up. Seconds later, Miocic dropped Cormier with a flurry of punches before referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the fight.

Stipe Miocic after defeating Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim (August 17th, 2019(

Stipe Miocic after defeating Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 241 at the Honda Center in Anaheim (August 17th, 2019(

This was a great heavyweight fight with two fighters who fought at the pace of lightweights. Both guys went at it and put on what should be considered one of the best heavyweight title fights in UFC history. While Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier has been a longer, more prolific feud filled with bitterness, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have had an amazing rivalry with none of the results of their fights being tainted (yet). At this point, I’d much rather see them have a trilogy fight if Cormier decides to continue his MMA career now that he’s in his 40s.

Costa vs. Romero 

The UFC awarded Paulo Costa vs. Yoel Romero Fight of the Night honors and gave them each $50,000. It was a great back-and-forth battle that saw both men trading heavy shots. Right from the start, this fight was full of action. Around the first minute of the fight, both guys dropped each other with some punches in a matter of seconds. The punishment these guys dished out and took was beyond human. Any normal person wouldn’t be able to withstand the stuff these guys were taking. The final minutes of the fight were also some of the most exciting moments of the night. Both guys went all out trying to get a finish, but they still went the distance in an exciting war between these two powerful middleweights.

All three judges scored this fight the same in favor of Paulo Costa. 29-28..On their scorecards, Costa won the first two rounds, and Romero won the last round.  When the decision was read, the crowd booed very loudly. In their minds, Yoel Romero won the fight. I could see the argument why. Even I thought Romero won when watching this fight live. He landed some powerful shots and scored a takedown at the end of the second round. But after watching the replay of the show, I thought Costa won the first two rounds. The judges scored it the same way. In hindsight, this was a very fair decision.

Before this fight, Costa hadn’t had as much experience against high-level opponents like Yoel Romero. With his performance here, he solidified himself as a guy who can hang with former title contenders. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes from here, as his stock has risen a lot after his win. Same goes for Romero. He didn’t get dominated in this loss, os his stock should still be high.

The Night of Slams

While the UFC is full of fighters with extensive grappling backgrounds, you rarely see many slams on cards. But at UFC 241, there were a few slams that are worthy of being shown on a Best of 2019 highlight package. The first slam of the show came during Drakkar Klose vs. Christos Giagos in the final round of their thrilling undercard battle.

One fight later on the prelims, Raphael Assunção took Cory Sandhagen for a quick ride during their fight.

And in the main event, Daniel Cormier showed off his power by lifting Stipe Miocic on his shoulders before sending him down to the canvas.

The Lowlight: Drunk Mom in Section 214

During the prelims, a woman who appeared to be in her 30’s was walking to her seat in Section 214, Row N with her young daughter. Her daughter couldn’t have been more than six years old. I was in an aisle seat across from her, so I saw her walk down. She looked like she was about to fall into my row, but she stumbled while holding her daughter’s hand and started laughing maniacally before falling. This woman was obviously struggling to maintain her sobriety. Well, it wasn’t like she was putting up much of a fight to begin with.

About two fights later, I looked over to my left and noticed her falling backward as she stood up and fell into her daughter. People in the area looked around in confusion as she laughed and her daughter cried. The woman was helped up by an usher before she left. Another woman nearby began to follow her with the possible intention of alerting security about her while others informed the usher of her intoxication.

It was at this point I noticed the guy behind her talking loudly about what had happened, and the guy in front of her walking around upset. I asked what happened, and the guy who was behind her said she threw up and got some on others. Another guy behind him said she completely reeked of alcohol. It wasn’t even 6:00 PM and she was hammered. The usher in Section 213/214 brought in a cleaning crew to clean the mess. The damage was done, though. A poor child has possibly been traumatized for life, and a woman ruined her own night because she couldn’t handle her liquor.

Honda Center staff cleaning up a drunk woman's puke at UFC 241

Honda Center staff cleaning up a drunk woman’s puke at UFC 241

There were several people I felt sorry for during all this. The first was the guys who had to clean this woman’s vomit. I know it’s their job to clean the arena and such, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for these dudes dealing with this specific mess. I also felt sorry for the people sitting around her. While they managed to have a great time at the event and have a story to tell, nobody wants to get puked on by a drunk woman. Well, nobody normal that is. Lastly, I felt really bad for the woman’s daughter. If this is the way her mother acts at a public sporting event, I don’t want to know what she’s like when she’s not at a sporting event.

Colby Covington: The UFC’s Most Hated Fighter

Even though he wasn’t on the card, the most disliked fighter in the building was Colby Covington. Over the last few years, Covington has taken a page out of Chael Sonnen’s playbook by being a brash loudmouth who made personal insults towards other fighters. He comes off as a wannabe pro wrestling heel looking for heat. Some of his most recent antics include being a vocal supporter of the current U.S. President Donald Trump, visiting Trump in the White House, and wearing Trump’s infamous red “Make America Great Again” hat. Trump’s two sons were even in attendance for Covington’s last fight against Robbie Lawler, and Trump himself sent out a tweet praising Covington. Oh, and this was the same day as the El Paso shooting.

UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champion Henry Cejudo, who has also been acting obnoxious in his recent rise to prominence, was booed by fans as he made his way to his sea at UFC 241. But when Covington walked to his seat while wearing a red M.A.G.A. hat and the interim belt he once held, the crowd erupted with louder boos. As Derek Brunson vs. Ian Heinisch was taking place, several chants of “COLBY SUCKS!” and “FUCK YOU COLBY!” echoed through the arena. People really don’t like the guy.

Final Thoughts

Aside from the drunken woman who fell into her daughter, UFC 241 was a great time. The top three main card bouts each delivered, and the undercard was full of fun moments. I also have to say that the atmosphere in the building was great. There was a lot of electricity in the building that night, especially during Diaz/Pettis. The UFC also set a new record for the highest live gate for an MMA event in California. Southern California has been a great market for the UFC in the last few years, so I hope they run more cards out here.

About the Author

Andrew
SoCal's favorite son.