The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 245 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship on Saturday closed out its pay-per-view schedule for 2019 with UFC 245—an event that featured three title fights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Some stocks rose, and others took a dive.
Kamaru Usman: After what seemed like an eternity of buildup, the UFC welterweight champion finally got the opportunity to test his mettle against archnemesis Colby Covington inside the Octagon; and Usman made good on his promise to finish him late, taking home a fifth-round technical knockout while breaking the American Top Team product’s jaw in the process. The fight was competitive over the majority of four-plus rounds, but Usman’s punching power turned the tide. The win moved Usman to 11-0 inside the UFC, as he recorded his first title defense. Afterward, UFC President Dana White expressed interest in booking Usman’s next title defense against Jorge Masvidal—a bout that would put the champion’s striking to the test once more.
Petr Yan: The Russian bantamweight contender picked up a marquee win to open up the UFC 245 main card, as he knocked out UFC hall of famer Urijah Faber with a well-timed head kick in the third round. Yan’s combination of technical boxing and fight-ending power during all phases of the fight make him a tough out for anyone at 135 pounds. The victory moved Yan to 6-0 inside the UFC, and while he currently sits at No. 4 in the bantamweight rankings, he appears to be closing in on a title shot sooner rather than later. It remains unclear when Henry Cejudo will return to the Octagon to defend his bantamweight title, but when he does, Yan has put his name on a short list of possible suitors.
Geoff Neal: The Texas-based Fortis MMA export remained perfect inside the UFC, moving his record with the promotion to 5-0 by picking up another stoppage victory, this time over “Platinum” Mike Perry to close out the UFC 245 prelims. Neal has begun to hit his stride at the right time, and his combination of power and diverse striking skills will make him a problem on the feet for most welterweights. Entering his latest appearance, Neal sat at No. 14 in the rankings, and on the heels of another impressive performance, he should be in the running for a Top 10-ranked opponent. Fights against Santiago Ponzinibbio, Robbie Lawler or Gilbert Burns would all make sense as a next step on his path to contention.
Max Holloway: Throughout Holloway’s championship run, his ace in the hole had always been his tremendous pace and pressure, which made most opponents wilt come the championship rounds. At UFC 245, Holloway’s game plan was almost completely nullified, as Alexander Volkanovski matched the “Blessed” Hawaiian shot for shot and refused to fade at any point over five rounds. Volkanovski’s defense was near-perfect in all phases of the fight, and Holloway simply could not put the combinations together to get his opponent in trouble. In addition, his disregard for his opponent’s leg kicks saw Holloway lose his featherweight title and head back to the drawing board. After a long look in the mirror, Holloway will need to make some major adjustments to his plan of attack if he hopes to regain his title in a future rematch.
Germaine de Randamie: When de Randamie found herself in position to strike with reigning women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in their rematch, she enjoyed plenty of success, rocking her opponent with well-timed knees and punches. However, her problem was takedown defense, and before long, it became clear that the Dutch kickboxer had no answer for Nunes’ wrestling skills. Whether it was a willingness to work off her back or engage in a clinch battle along the fence, “The Iron Lady” failed to take advantage of her opportunities on the feet and lost a lopsided decision. Having lost twice to Nunes, it will be difficult for de Randamie to secure another shot at the title anytime soon.
Mike Perry: Throughout his tenure with the UFC, Perry has been thrown into big fights largely due to his fan-friendly brawl-first mode of attack. However, his approach has begun to work against him, and after falling to 2-5 in his last seven outings, “Platinum Mike” finds himself in need of some soul-searching if he wants to get back to divisional relevance. For now, Perry will have to opt for a step down in competition as he looks to regain the momentum he lost during his 2019 campaign. Perhaps a change in camps could do him some good, although a short stint at Jackson-Wink MMA before returning to Florida may signal a hesitance to do so. As it stands, Perry remains an entertaining action fighter with knockout power and a solid chin but not much else going for him. His willingness to stand and trade will only get him so far with the UFC brass. At some point, he has to start winning fights if he wants to stick around with the promotion.