To say that UFC’s venture to Prague was a hit with the people of Czech Republic would be an understatement.
Over 16,000 fight fans packed into the sold-out O2 arena to watch the event, making yesterday’s card the largest MMA event in the history of the Czech Republic. It was also the highest grossing one-day sporting event in arena history.
The crowd was incredible from the opening fight on the prelims until the conclusion of the main event. And with a show like that, they should have been.
The main event did not disappoint, as Thiago Santos continued his surge to the pinnacle of the light heavyweight rankings with an explosive TKO finish of Jan Blachowicz.
Here’s what we are talking about now that the dust in Prague has settled:
It’s Hammer Time
In just a few days we will see Jon Jones attempt to defend his belt against Anthony Smith, whose incredible three-fight finish streak propelled him to a title shot in less than a year. Just barely over a year ago “Marreta” defeated Smith by TKO prompting “Lionheart” to jump up to 205lbs. Santos has found an almost identical path since the two last met, moving up to light heavyweight and finishing three-straight opponents.
Santos (11 KO wins) has quietly moved his way into a three-way tie for most KO wins in UFC history joining Anderson Silva and Anthony Johnson.
If history repeats itself as far as title shots are concerned, then Santos definitely has a good case. And he knows it too.
No matter what happens in the main event of UFC 235, there will be plenty of storylines in regards to who has next dibs. And you can fully expect Santos’ name to be at the top of the list.
After adding the Czech Republic to the list of countries that have been home to an UFC event, it’s more than evident that global expansion of mixed martial arts is at an all-time high. 25 countries have hosted the Octagon and that list is only going to continue to grow.
An example of that growth can be found in the UFC’s maiden voyage to Russia last September.
The event in Moscow was one of the highest attended UFC events in history and now the UFC is set to return to Russia on April 20th in the great city of St. Petersburg. This type of expansion truly shows the growth in popularity and diversity of mixed martial arts.
No Yawning When Yan Is Fighting
UFC Bantamweight Petr Yan continues to show why he might be the hottest prospect in the division. His relentless attack and pressure perfectly identifies with his nickname: “No Mercy”.
And he certainly didn’t show any to John Dodson.
Yan peppered Dodson with his high-volume, accurate boxing that had Dodson on his heels the entire fight. The unanimous decision victory for Yan improves his record to 12-1, with a victory over the No. 9 ranked Dodson. It was easily the biggest win in Yan’s career and sets him up for a chance to fight one of the top contenders in the division.
Yan actually called for a fight with Jimmie Rivera following his win, for no particular reason other than he knows Rivera doesn’t have a fight booked. It will be interesting to see how Yan computes with the mainstays of the division.