Fans expected big things in the UFC’s return to its home state and the promotion came through with what some touted as being the best card on paper in recent memory. With two title fights capping off the night and more than a dozen ranked fighters on the bill, delivering a strong show seemed like an inevitability.
With the dust settled, four fighters were able to emerge $50,000 richer. Let’s take a deep dive into their performances.
Performance of the Night: Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez (29-11) added to his incredible run in the UFC while beginning yet another win streak with his second round TKO finish of Mickey Gall (5-2) to begin the UFC 235 prelims. “Nightmare”, who won the first season of The Ultimate Fighter at middleweight in 2005 was able to pick up his 18th win in the UFC by blitzing the young grappler Gall. Sanchez’s pressure afforded him the opportunity to throw caution to the wind and land 61/92 total strikes while also hitting all four of his takedown attempts. The vintage performance from the 37-year old JacksonWink product was enough to net Sanchez his eighth bonus with the company.
Performance of the Night: Johnny Walker
Two sub minute stoppages in the span of a month have skyrocketed the Brazilian enigma that is Johnny Walker (17-3) to the top of the UFC’s light heavyweight division. His funky walkouts and antics have seemingly won over fans along with jaw-dropping performances helping to boost the man who’s been able to win four fights under the promotional banner since August 2018. It took Walker four total strikes to stop the Canadian-Latvian Misha Cirkunov (14-5), ending the fight with a crisp jump knee.
Fight of the Night: Pedro Munhoz vs. Cody Garbrandt
Former bantamweight champ Cody Garbrandt (11-3) made his return to the Octagon on Saturday to take on the well-rounded Pedro Munhoz (18-3) kicking off the PPV portion of UFC 235. The Ohio native had been on the shelf since suffering a second TKO loss to T.J. Dillashaw in August at UFC 227 and was looking to self-correct against the ninth ranked Brazilian Munhoz. “The Young Punisher” came in to the fight with results all the opposite, out grappling Brett Johns and finishing Bryan Caraway to boost his stock and climb the rankings. What ensued was a single round of mayhem, with both men standing and trading until Garbrandt dropped in similar fashion to his two previous performances. While both men threw wild, Munhoz was able to land 53% of his shots compared to Garbrandt’s 35% before the fight was ended by referee Marc Goddard at 4:52. $50,000 was awarded to both men and now the ultimate question has to linger as to what’s next for the former champ Garbrandt now coming off three straight TKO losses.
In all, the card was generally well received and fans were able to enjoy solid performances with exciting finishes and upsets abound! Be sure to stay tuned with Fight Night Picks heading into next weekend’s UFC on ESPN+ 4: Lewis vs. Dos Santos with our pre-fight analysis and live fight companion on SportsBooth and YouTube!