What were the standout moments from UFC Fight Night 231 at Ginásio do Ibirapuera in São Paulo? Here are some post-fight reflections:
5. Angela Hill Reaches Top Strawweight Wins Record
Angela Hill earned a unanimous decision over Denise Gomes after three rounds, placing her at the forefront for the most wins in UFC strawweight history.
Despite a resume that may not mirror the stature of former 115-pound champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Carla Esparza, with whom she shares the record, Angela Hill has carved her path to the top with steadfast persistence and resilience.
With a record of 16-13 in MMA and 11-13 in UFC, she stands as the most active athlete in the strawweight class’s history, outpacing the runner-up by five bouts. She’s the strawweight’s answer to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, and this relentless drive has secured her a unique legacy in the sport.
Angela “Overkill” Hill is one of the UFC’s most dependable female fighters. Renowned for accepting bouts regardless of the conditions, she’s poised to be a fixture in the league. Given her sustained performance level, she’s expected to remain a prominent figure as long as she continues in the sport.
4. Caio Borralho’s Callout Goes Ignored
This isn’t a criticism of Caio Borralho. Still, it seems he could have chosen a more grounded or realistic target in his callout after securing a unanimous decision victory over Abus Magomedov.
Borralho (15-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC) continued his impressive run, stretching his win streak to 14 consecutive fights, and has remained unbeaten in his first five UFC matchups. He provided the Brazilian audience with a standout performance that night, invigorating the crowd, followed by a dynamic post-fight interview with Michael Bisping.
During the interview, Borralho made a direct callout to Dricus Du Plessis, proposing a matchup he suggested could propel him toward a UFC middleweight title opportunity. From Borralho’s point of view, this strategy seems ideal, and if granted, it might unfold just as he envisions. He has mentioned Du Plessis’ name several times before, but currently, it’s unlikely that Borralho is a blip on Du Plessis’ radar.
This isn’t meant to downplay the Brazilian fighter’s capabilities—it’s simply the situation as it stands. Du Plessis is likely in line as the next contender for the middleweight champion Sean Strickland, or at the very least, poised for a title eliminator bout against a competitor with a much higher ranking than Borralho.
It might have been better to see Borralho call out a fighter within his reach yet still a notch higher in the rankings. Nevertheless, with the caliber of his recent wins, he’s justified in seeking that next level of challenge.
3. Nicolas Dalby Secures a Stunning Victory
Nicolas Dalby captured the spotlight on the card, interrupting the buzz surrounding the previously unbeaten Brazilian prospect Gabriel Bonfim with an electrifying comeback and a second-round TKO.
Marking the night’s most significant betting shocker, Dalby (23-4-1 MMA, 7-3-1 UFC) was viewed merely as a footnote in Bonfim’s ascent to fame. However, the resilient Dane defied expectations, withstanding an initial barrage before turning the tables on Bonfim in the second round. This led to a decisive finish with a brutal sequence of knees.
Despite experiencing various highs and lows throughout his tenure, Dalby is on a strong trajectory in the welterweight division, with only one defeat in his last 12 bouts. This track record, combined with the emphatic nature of his recent victory and his first stoppage win in the octagon, certainly justifies the heightened competition he has requested.
Dalby’s resilience in the cage makes him a formidable opponent for anyone he faces. With no official finishes against him in his career, adversaries know they’ll need to secure a definitive end to halt his relentless pace. This level of toughness is particularly impressive, considering he’s just shy of his 39th birthday by a mere 11 days.
2. Derrick Lewis Displays Notable Improvements Despite Loss
Let’s set aside any bleak predictions about Derrick Lewis’ career and his recent 1-4 run for another time. His standing in the heavyweight division should be clear to anyone paying attention. Despite the one-sided nature of his latest outing, Lewis demonstrated that he’s in the game for more than just the financial reward.
Lewis (27-12 MMA, 18-10 UFC) endured a punishing 25-minute onslaught from Almeida, yet he never conceded to the easier exits available during the fray. He could have surrendered to a swift submission or tucked in for a TKO, hastening an outcome many might have foreseen based on some of his past defeats.
Nevertheless, Lewis stayed as collected as possible, determined to weather each grueling moment. Clinging to the slim hope of landing a game-changing knockout in the rare instances he was upright, he reached the end of the fight without being put away.
While an earlier surrender might have spared everyone a prolonged bout of tension, Lewis chose the harder path. His resilience not only extended the fight but also served to quash any doubts about the grit and heart of “The Black Beast.”
1. Jailton Almeida’s Performance: Victory with Room for Improvement
In the aftermath of a somewhat underwhelming main event, let’s shift our focus to Jailton Almeida, who’s poised to receive some valuable feedback regarding his performance against Lewis. Despite the critique, it’s crucial to maintain a positive outlook as Almeida emerges victorious from this encounter with his eyes on the bigger picture.
While it may not have been the flashiest display, Almeida (19-2 MMA, 6-0 UFC) demonstrated resilience by going the full five rounds for the first time in his career. This accomplishment is a significant stepping stone for the 32-year-old fighter, especially if he aspires to make a serious run at a championship title. However, it’s worth noting that the bout didn’t challenge him significantly in terms of pace, which remains a potential area for improvement.
Subduing a man nearly 30 pounds heavier round-after-round is no easy feat, and he had to do just that. It seemed as though he had multiple opportunities to defeat Lewis, yet he didn’t. When his array of attacks didn’t lead to a knockout, he seemed bewildered. A fighter at this level should have a more extensive arsenal of strategies.
Almeida missed numerous opportunities to unleash his ground strikes, which Lewis appeared to dislike the few times he experienced them. This isn’t the kind of performance that fans or UFC executives expect from someone with star and championship potential. So, whether it’s fair or not, his reputation might have suffered a slight blow here.
It’s not the worst outcome, however, and it provides Almeida with an opportunity to enhance its reputation. The initial main event for this card featuring Curtis Blaydes was an excellent match-up, and many, including myself, are eager to see that match-up revisited in light of what transpired with Lewis.
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