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UFC 188 Aftermath: Another G.O.A.T Bites the Dust…


(via Getty.)

Time and time again, we like to convince ourselves that a champion is unbeatable. Anthony Pettis was unbeatable, except for when he was defeated by Clay Guida in his first UFC appearance, then again by Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 185. Renan Barao was a pound-for-pound king, until he got torched by a massive underdog fighting on short notice. Cain Velasquez was unbeatable and the supposed greatest heavyweight of all time, except for when he was KO’d by Junior Dos Santos in just over a minute a handful of fights ago. For how often we like to claim that so and so is the best his division has ever seen, or better yet, the GOAT, we rarely seem to actually pause and look at the evidence to support such an audacious claim.

Heading into last weekend’s UFC 188, Cain Velasquez had not competed in 2 years, and held just 14 professional contests to his name, yet he was pushed with the same “greatest of all time” narrative that we’ve heard a dozen times over. And once again, we were only setting ourselves up for disappointment.

This is not to say that Velasquez’s shocking defeat at the hands of Fabricio Werdum was entirely his fault, or a result of the altitude, or whatever excuse you may have. “Cardio Cain” was simply outworked by a much more prepared fighter, which, after 2 years on the shelf, isn’t all that hard to understand. Werdum’s brilliant gameplan was evident from the very opening of the fight: minimize movement, pick his shots, and slowly wear down a man that few (if any) have ever worn down before. Werdum’s fight-ending guillotine on his exhausted opponent was as academic as it was bewildering. The GOAT, losing via guillotine?

Fabricio Werdum killed the king, as Jack Slack would say, though I suppose he was more of an absentee king than anything else. But now I ask: How long is it before we start labeling him as the greatest heavyweight of all time? Two title defenses? Three? It doesn’t matter, because anyone who knows anything about the sport knows who that title actually belongs to. In the meantime, we’ll just keeping slapping that label on who we deem necessary, as another G.O.A.T bites the dust.

As for the rest of UFC 188? Well, it kinda sucked. Chalk it up to the altitude or whatever you want, but there was a distinct lack of energy throughout the night. The only highlight-worthy moment from the co-main event match between Eddie Alvarez and Gilbert Melendez came in between rounds, when Alvarez attempted to clear his nose in the most amateurish of ways and only succeeded in sealing his eye shut. Kelvin Gastelum put a beating on a clearly dunzo Nate Marquardt, doing little to convince Dana White 9f giving him another shot at 170 pounds in the process. Cejudo and Torres underwhelmed, Yair Rodriguez surprised, and Cathal Pendred cashed in on all that unnecessary hate he had been receiving with one of the worst performances of the year. Freaking Cathal Pendred.

The full list of UFC 188 results is below.

Main card
Fabricio Werdum def. Cain Velasquez via submission (guillotine)
Eddie Alvarez def. Gilbert Melendez via split decision
Kelvin Gastelum def. Nate Marquardt via second-round TKO
Yair Rodriguez def. Charles Rosa via split decision
Tecia Torres def. Angela Hill via unanimous decision

Undercard
Henry Cejudo def. Chico Camus via unanimous decision
Efrain Escudero def. Drew Dober via submission (guillotine)
Patrick Williams def. Alejandro Perez via submission (guillotine)
Johnny Case def. Francisco Trevino via unanimous decision
Cathal Pendred def. Augusto Montano via unanimous decision
Gabriel Benitez def. Clay Collard via unanimous decision

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