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The Ultimate Fighting Championship will reach the 500th event in its 26-year history in November. However, until Saturday, the promotion had never staged a show in Demark. UFC Fight Night 160 in Copenhagen was headlined by a clash of ranked middleweights in Jack Hermansson and Jared Cannonier.
The crowd threw its support behind the Swede, cheering loudly for Hermansson. However, Cannonier spoiled their hopes by taking out Hermansson via second-round technical knockout.
Since the MMA Lab representative moved down to middleweight, he has gone a perfect 3-0. Cannonier, 35, appears unafraid to enter enemy territory. Prior to upending Hermansson in Europe, “The Killa Gorilla” fought and defeated former middleweight champion Anderson Silva in his native Brazil at UFC 234 in May.
“The next fight should either be in [Las] Vegas or Dallas, Texas, or anywhere in the U.S.,” Cannonier said on the ESPN+ post-fight show. “The two people that aren’t scheduled right now are [Yoel] Romero and [Paulo Henrique] Costa, but I’m not going to call them out. I would rather call out the champion. Ain’t no point in calling anybody out except who holds the belt.”
While Cannonier might have ruined the final act for the Danish audience, those in attendance had plenty of other reasons to cheer. In the co-main event, Denmark’s own Mark O. Madsen put on a stellar performance in his Octagon debut, as the undefeated Olympic silver medalist needed only 72 seconds to dispatch Danilo Belluardo with ground strikes. The decorated wrestler’s showing made such an impression that many on social media now expect big things from him in the future. While some want to match him against high-level competition, Madsen has already pumped the brakes on any push.
“To be honest, I’m roughly 19 months old in MMA,” Madsen said. “It has been 19 months since I returned from wrestling and moved 100 percent into MMA, so I’m pretty young. I have to work everywhere. Doesn’t matter if it is standup, in the clinch [or] ground-and-pound. I just got to be grinding.”
The other Dane on the card, Nicolas Dalby, made his long-awaited return to the UFC after being released in the wake of back-to-back losses in 2016. He defeated Alex Oliveira by unanimous decision in a back-and-forth affair at 170 pounds.
“I’m not being lazy with my language, but it is very difficult to describe with my words,” Dalby said. “I have been through a rough path, and now I’m back again. I am happy for that experience that I learned, but it has been a tough road.”
After his release from the UFC, Dalby battled substance abuse and mental health issues before turning around his life and professional career. The 34-year-old had gone 3-0 with a no-contest since April 2018, while also capturing the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship interim welterweight title. Recent success led to his being brought back to the UFC.
“I suffered from depression,” Dalby said. “Not only did I battle myself through that, but I managed to get back into fighting shape and took up fighting again. I won the personal battle, but I also managed to get back to the UFC. Not many people would do that. I got to be the first Danish fighter for the first Danish event in Denmark. That’s crazy.”
While many fighters would be satisfied with overcoming the personal demons Dalby has had to exorcise, the Dane has already focused on what comes next.
“I have a couple [people I would like to be matched with next],” Dalby said. “Mike Perry is the first one on the list. That could be an exciting fight. He comes to throw down, and I like these fights.”