Dec. 31, 2016
The end of Ronda and the rise of Cody
While all the focus was on the return of megastar Ronda Rousey, UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunez cemented her place as the top dog in the division with a decisive 45 second destruction of the former baddest woman on the planet. With the win, the Brazilian upped her record to 14-4. Even better, she delivered an awesome post match promo totally burying Rousey that either made you want to see her get killed in her next fight or continue to dominate. Either way, you now care about Nunez, who was a total afterthought in the preshow hype, despite being the champion. In that regard, Rousey did her job as the drawing card she was. She made a new star, whether she likes it or not.
For her part, Ronda just didn't look like she wanted to fight anymore. She was never aggressive, just standing there, taking haymakers, and she couldn't last long taking those shots, until Herb Dean mercifully stopped the shortened bout. She looked mentally tapped out from the beginning, and I would be shocked if she decided to fight again. It's no shame as she's had a brilliant career, putting Women's fighting on the map. Everyone's time comes to an end and this was hers. Where does she go from here? The 29 year old may very well end up in the WWE, as that would be a natural fit for her. Either way, it's been a remarkable run, with a few missteps on her way out the door.
The semi main event proved to be the fight of the main card from the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas. Cody Garbrandt, the 25 year old cocky Bantamweight from Ohio, claimed the title in a shocking domination from Dominick Cruz. The fight was all standing, and showcased Cody's remarkably quick hands, as he repeatedly knocked down Cruz in a fight that never reached the ground, to the point even when Cody had a punishing knockdown, he would not follow Cruz and risk some grappling. Constantly playing to the crowd and showing no respect for the opponent, this was also a starmaking fight, as how could you not be impressed by what he did to the spectacularly skilled Cruz. Next likely looms a juicy title defense against TJ Dillashaw, who thoroughly dispatched John Lineker earlier in the evening.