Welcome back to “3 Up 3 Down!” In case you missed it, HERE are the three trending up from UFC 262. And now on to the three trending down.
Once the proud owner of a 12-fight winning streak that lasted nearly 6 years, the former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion suffered his third consecutive blowout loss Saturday night at the hands of Beneil Dariush. Moreover, once again, Tony’s other-worldly toughness was on display as he refused to tap from an inside heel hook in the 2nd round, which clearly tore one, if not several ligaments in his knee. Tony was unable to mount any offense on the feet and, save for one hail-mary D’Arce choke submission attempt, was stifled on the ground. This once great fighter appears to have slowed considerably since the beating he sustained at the hands of Justin Gaethje at UFC 249. Moreover, the unique style he used to employ in his fights no longer gives his opponents the same struggles it once did as the division itself has clearly caught up with “El Cucuy”. Ultimately, Ferguson’s window for a championship run is now firmly closed.
In defeating Michael Chandler, Charles Oliveira defeated the second of two Bellator lightweight champions he has faced in his career (Will Brooks being the other). Going into this fight, Chandler had set himself up as an incredibly strong challenger with his destruction of Dan Hooker at UFC 257. Bellator, with Patricio “Pitbull” Friere as their Featherweight and Lightweight Champion, had interestingly positioned themselves to capitalize on a Chandler title win, by claiming they had the true top 155er, since Chandler had lost to the Bellator champion 18 months prior. Instead, Oliveira once again stopped a former Bellator Champion, and their potential avenue for bragging rights and divisional superiority took a major blow.
Women’s Flyweight Division
Vivianne Araujo was matched up against perennial gatekeeper Kaitlyn Chookagian in a potential showcase bout for Araujo. The powerful Brazilian striker turned in a lackluster performance on her way to losing a unanimous decision to Chookagian. While Chookagian, who faced some interesting questions regarding her Twitter feed this week, is a talented fighter who continues to turn back nearly every flyweight contender, Chookagian’s lone title shot was a one-sided affair in which she was soundly defeated by the great Valentina Shevchenko. Chookagian’s victory Saturday night showed that the division is truly devoid of fresh challengers for Shevchenko, and UFC matchmakers will soon have to get very creative in identifying who will challenge the Bullet for her title.