Saturday’s UFC 228 event is in the books, and now that the dust has settled in Dallas, it’s time to go to the scorecard to see who the big winners were at American Airlines Center.
1 – Tyron Woodley
The talking points from Tyron Woodley leading up to Saturday’s main event against Darren Till focused a lot on his quest to become the greatest welterweight of all-time. Well, “The Chosen One” isn’t there yet, as there are a couple of guys named Matt Hughes and Georges St-Pierre ahead of him on that list, but after his dominant win over the previously unbeaten Till, Woodley is getting closer to that goal. Already a stellar wrestler with knockout power, the newly-minted jiu-jitsu black belt showed off his submission attack against the Liverpool product, showing that at 36, he’s not done evolving. And that’s a good sign for a fighter who has his sights set on the type of SuperFight that can cement his legacy as an all-time great once and for all.
2 – Jessica Andrade
Some fighters have a tough time earning a second shot at a world title, with the road back being one in which you almost have to double your efforts to get back to that number one spot. Jessica Andrade has done just that, with a trio of victories over Claudia Gadelha, Tecia Torres and Karolina Kowalkiewicz leaving no doubt that the most enticing challenger for Rose Namajunas’ strawweight crown is Brazil’s “Bate Estaca.” From the time she was waved into battle against Kowalkiewicz, Andrade was on a mission to destroy, and less than two minutes into the fight, it was mission accomplished. Namajunas vs Andrade would be epic, and the sooner this fight is made, the better.
3 – Tatiana Suarez
Former strawweight champion Carla Esparza is a heck of a wrester. Tatiana Suarez was an Olympic hopeful who was only sidelined by cancer. The difference was evident on Saturday, as Suarez simply mauled the gutsy Esparza for 14 minutes and 33 seconds, using a devastating ground attack that has many wondering if Suarez’s next step is a crack at Rose Namajunas’ strawweight belt. I’d like to see her get a win or two more before that talk heats up, but based on what she’s done thus far in the Octagon, would you count Suarez out against anyone at 115 pounds?
4 – Abdul Razak Alhassan
You know the funny thing about Abdul Razak Alhassan? He is a black belt in judo. Not that any casual onlooker would know that given the fact that all ten of Alhassan’s pro wins have come by first-round knockout. But hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and there’s no reason for Alhassan to alter a style that sees him hurt everyone he hits. Most of us were expecting Alhassan’s bout with Niko Price to be a thrilling three-round war. And while it started like that, standing in front of Alhassan’s incoming missiles ended Price’s night in 43 seconds. Now 4-1 in the UFC, it’s time to Alhassan challenge a top 15 welterweight the next time out.
He's overcome the odds.
5 – Jim Miller
Thirty UFC fights. No one has ever entered the Octagon to fight as many times as Jim Miller, and though that storyline is one for the record books, Miller’s performance against Alex White is the story this blue collar battler is happier to go home to New Jersey with. Diagnosed with Lyme disease, Miller was faced with an opponent he was having trouble vanquishing, but after getting things under control, he delivered one of the best efforts of his 30-fight run in the UFC, stunning, then submitting White in just 89 seconds. The year ain’t over yet, but this may be the feel-good story of 2018.