Fight fans who stayed up late to watch UFC 237 and Bellator 221 on Saturday night were rewarded with a pair of highlight-reel finishes that will live long in the memory.
After the first round of the main event bout at UFC 237, virtually everyone watching knew who was going to win the straw-weight title fight between Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade.
Well, they thought they did. We ALL thought we did. And we were all very, very wrong.
Namajunas lit up Andrade like the proverbial Christmas tree for almost the entire first round, sticking her with jabs at every available opportunity, then doubling up with some slick one-twos and countering brilliantly as the Brazilian came charging forwards. It was, without argument, the best we’ve ever seen ‘Thug Rose’ inside the octagon.
But MMA can be a weird, unpredictable sport sometimes, where sometimes the better, more skilled fighter doesn’t always win.
Because there are so many ways to win – and lose – a mixed martial arts fight, even the slightest slip-up can end with a supposedly dominant fighter staring up at the arena lights wondering what the hell just happened.
And that’s pretty much what happened here, as Andrade picked up Namajunas and slammed her into the mat.
Usually this just takes the air out of your lungs and you get on with it. But on this occasion Namajunas landed head first, with her neck folding up in a horrible-looking way on impact.
WOW! WOW! WOW! 😱
Jessica Andrade with the SLAM KO OUT OF OF NOWHERE!
— Watch UFC 237 live on BT Sport (@btsportufc) May 12, 2019
It knocked her out, and ref Marc Goddard instantly – and wisely – stopped the fight. It gave Andrade the win and crowned her the world champion after a spectacular move that you rarely see inside the octagon.
Namajunas didn’t see it coming, and neither did any of us watching.
LIMA FLATTENS PAGE
There was another spectacular KO during the other big MMA show taking place on Saturday night.
Patricio Pitbull stunned Michael Chandler in the first round of the main event to become a simultaneous featherweight and lightweight world champion.
But that wasn’t the moment of the night. That came during the co-main event, when Brit Michael ‘Venom’ Page looked like he was warming up nicely against dangerous two-time former Bellator welterweight champ Douglas Lima.
Then, just a second or two after rocking the ex-champ with a solid right hand, Page was out cold.
Lima swept MVP’s left leg out from underneath him with a thumping low kick, then connected flush with a huge right uppercut as the Brit tried to scramble back to his feet.
Bellator commentator (and WWE play-by-play man) Mauro Ranallo greeted the incredible KO with his trademark “MAMA MIA!”
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) May 12, 2019
Mama Mia indeed!