December 31, 2018

UFC 232: Storylines Emerging From the Most Memorable Event of the Year

By Adam Martin

One of the most historic events in UFC history has come and gone, and there's much to talk about. UFC 232 is always going to be remembered as the event the UFC moved from Las Vegas to Los Angeles on less than a week's notice, but thankfully that's not all it will be remembered for. From top to bottom, UFC 232 was one of the most memorable and important cards of the year, and perhaps ever, as history was made. Below are some of the most important storylines emerging from UFC 232:

Jones Puts Controversy Aside For Destructive KO Win

It was arguably the toughest week in the career of Jon Jones, as news came out early last week that he was flagged by USADA for picograms of banned substances in his system, and the UFC was forced to move the card to a whole different state to keep his fight against Alexander Gustafsson alive. The rematch to perhaps the greatest MMA fight of all time finally happened five years later, and this time the result was much more conclusive, as Jones won via third-round KO to become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion for the third time. We still have to see if Jones passes his post-fight drug test, but for now he has another win over Gustafsson on his resume, and it's another notch on the belt of Jones, who is probably the greatest MMA fighter to ever lace up the four-ounce gloves.

Nunes Makes MMA History

The most important fight on the whole card turned out to be the co-main event, as Amanda Nunes made history by becoming the first female double champion ever, scoring a stunning first-round knockout over Cris Cyborg. Nunes moved up in weight for this fight, but you wouldn't have known she was the smaller fighter, as she looked to be more powerful than Cyborg and scored the KO 51 seconds in to become the UFC Women's Featherweight Champion. We don't know yet for sure if Nunes is going to stay at 145 lbs or go back to 135, but for now she's a rare dual champion and is going to go down in history as the greatest female mixed martial artist who has ever lived.

Chiesa Taps Condit, And Possibly Retires Him

It was hard to see Carlos Condit lose once again, this time submitting to a kimura by Michael Chiesa in the second round. Condit has now lost five straight fights and looks like a completely shopworn fighter at this point. He could very well retire after this latest setback. As for Chiesa, this was his first fight at welterweight and he looked great in his new weight class. The win over Condit should have Chiesa ranked in the top-15 at welterweight and should earn him another big fight.

Volkanovski Emerges As Featherweight Title Contender

The "Fight of the Night" saw Alexander Volkanovski and Chad Mendes swing bombs at each other until someone fell down, and on this night it proved to be the Aussie who was victorious via second-round TKO. Volkanovski is now riding a 16-fight win streak and is a perfect 6-0 in the UFC. He's clearly one of the top five featherweights in the sport right now, and could fight UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway for the belt in 2019.

Zingano Loses Via Freak Eye Injury

In one of the strangest stoppages we've seen all year, Megan Anderson landed a high kick on Cat Zingano that cut her eye open and led to a quick first-round TKO. It was a weird fight, and it's possible the UFC could run this one back as it wasn't definitive by any means, but for now Anderson just picked up the biggest win of her career and could potentially be a future challenger to new UFC Women's Featherweight Champion Amanda Nunes.

Yan, Wood Emerge As Future Bantamweight Stars

Two young bantamweights emerged as future contenders in the UFC's loaded 135-pound division. Petr Yan defeated Douglas Silva de Andrade via second-round TKO, while Nathaniel Wood beat Andre Ewell by third-round submission. Both men are riding long win streaks and are on the right side of 30. I could see either one of these guys eventually competing for the UFC bantamweight title.

Hall and Hall: Two Namesakes Pick Up Stoppage Wins

Both Ryan Hall and Uriah Hall picked up stoppage wins on the undercard. Hall won a "Performance of the Night" bonus for his stunning first-round heel hook over BJ Penn that gave "The Prodigy" his sixth straight loss inside the Octagon. It's amazing to think Hall may be the guy who retires Penn. As for the other Hall, Uriah, he picked up a stunning third-round KO over Bevon Lewis in a fight he was losing up until that point. Hall is such a tough fighter to predict because he often loses fights he should win and wins fights he should lose, but you can't deny that he has special KO power in his hands.

Overall, UFC 232 was one of the most exciting and historically important events of the year, if not ever. As the FOX era comes to an end and the year 2018 finishes up, it's exciting to see what happens inside the Octagon in 2019. With the new ESPN deal kicking off, it's going to be a huge year for the UFC, and the sport in general. I can't wait to see what happens.

UFC 232
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 2 (UFC Light Heavyweight Championship): Jon Jones def. Alexander Gustafsson via TKO (punches) at 2:02 of Round 3.
UFC 232
Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino vs. Amanda Nunes (UFC Women's Featherweight Championship): Amanda Nunes def. Cris Cyborg via KO (punches) at 0:51 of Round 1.
UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustafsson 2 took place December 29, 2018 at The Forum in Inglewood, California (formerly T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada).

Click HERE for more UFC 232 Post-Fight Analysis

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