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    The old man was finished off after Makhachev and the belt was taken away: Spain has its first UFC champion

    At the Honda Center arena in Anaheim (USA) ) the 298th edition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tournament died down, the main card of which was filled to capacity with cool fights. About the defeat of the merciless Siberian, the main victory in the career of the Georgian “Machine” and the new collapse of the dominant champion – in the material Sport.

    A sad day for Russian MMAs Last year was the best in the career of our Roman Kopylov: in 2023, the Siberian went on a streak of four victories by knockout and came close to getting into the middleweight rankings. And then compatriot Ikram Aliskerov withdrew from the fight against American Anthony Hernandez – a native of the Kemerovo region took a risk and came on as a substitute.

    The owner of the cage expectedly bet on the fight. And he succeeded: despite Roman’s hard blows to the body in the first round, in the second Hernandez applied hard pressure and still made a transfer. On the ground, the American quickly went behind Kopylov and, throwing a choke, forced his opponent to knock… While the road to the top 15 middleweight is closed for the Russian, we are not upset and are waiting for the start of a new winning streak for the modest knockout artist.

    Farewell ” triple champion”? Former holder of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) belts in two weight categories, Olympic champion in freestyle wrestling Henry Cejudo retired from his career back in 2020. Then he left at the peak: after declassing TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz, with two belts on his shoulders and the status of one of the greatest in the history of mixed martial arts.

    It would seem, what other farewell chord can athletes dream of?

    But three years have passed. And it seems that Henry has run out of money… The famous fighter returned to the game to spoil his record with two defeats. First, Cejudo lost in the title fight to Aljamain Sterling, and today he found himself powerless against the pressure of the Georgian Merab Dvalishvili. And if the meeting with Aljo turned out to be competitive, then with “Machine” (Dvalishvili’s nickname – editor’s note), the winner of the 2008 Games was only enough for the first round. Otherwise, the Georgian simply crushed the tired Henry, showing the best performance both in the stand and on the ground. A defeat by unanimous decision puts an end to Cejudo's career… As the athlete himself admitted before UFC 298, if he fails, he will retire.
    Merab received congratulations from Mark Zuckerberg, who was sitting in the front row, brought his winning streak to ten (!) fights and is now awaiting his well-deserved “title”. Currently, the belt in the bantamweight division is held by American Sean O'Malley, who will defend the belt for the first time in March (his opponent is Ecuadorian Marlon Vera, who inflicted Sugar's only defeat).

    Irish sleeping pills The most boring fight was given by the undefeated Ian Machado Garry and the experienced American Jeff Neal. For the entire 15 minutes, the fighters avoided aggravations, only worked at a distance and occasionally engaged in a clinch. The talkative successor of Conor McGregor took the fight, albeit by a split decision, but this was clearly not the kind of performance expected from the prospect from Dublin so hated by the public.

    To the whistle of the stands, Harry admitted that he enjoys such “attention” from MMA fans, and challenged the equally controversial American Colby Covington, who mediocrely fought a title fight against Leon Edwards. An excellent opportunity for the Irishman to break into the top 5 of the welterweight division – we are waiting for an answer from Donald Trump's favorite.

    The long-awaited return of Borracigna In contrast to the “cut” between Neil and Garry, sparks flew in the co-main fight of the evening. Brazilian Paulo Costa, who had not competed for a year and a half, cured staphylococcus, which prevented him from fighting Khamzat Chimaev, and had a worthy fight against former UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker.

    The Australian was eager to end his early defeat to new champion Dricus Du Plessis, and he succeeded. Despite a standing knockdown after a head kick, the experienced Rob pretty much beat his opponent's left leg, slowing down Costa and retaining the initiative. As in the best of times, Whittaker was calculating: he did not make exchanges and did not pay attention to Paulo’s behavior. The unanimous decision victory showed that the Australian is still in the game.
    And Costa’s defeat did not change the opinion of the Brazilian “pitching” at all. After all, he is still spectacular and formidable – after a long period of inactivity, Paulo turned out to be a cool performance that will allow Borracinha to remain in the title race.

    Era of the MatadorThe main event was graced by the fight of Alexander Volkanovski, who defended the UFC featherweight champion title for the sixth time. The Australian put everything on the line: not only did he return less than four months after a knockout from the promotion’s best pound-for-pound fighter (P4P), Russian Islam Makhachev, but he also took on the self-confident Spaniard of Georgian origin, Ilia Topuria. The latter, before the main battle in his career, was wished good luck by such sports stars as world football champions Iker Casillas and Andres Iniesta, as well as famous tennis players Rafael Nadal and Carlos Alcaraz.
    The undefeated Matador got used to the image of McGregor as best he could: and provoked the title holder, and made fun of the age of 35-year-old “old man” Alex, and snatched the belt at a press conference.

    It was not possible to piss off the experienced Wolf – the champion entered the cage and calmly got to work. After spending the entire first round in a standing position, the Australian took the starting five minutes, not losing at all in speed to Ilia.
    However, after the break we saw a repeat of the nightmare in Abu Dhabi. The pressing Topuria caught the favorite with a series and simply “put out the light” for the king of the featherweights – Volkanovski collapsed senseless towards the net and finally lost his former greatness. Now the ex-champion has three defeats in his last four fights (two of which were early), which indicates the decline of Alex’s career. There is no confidence that after such a defeat he will receive immediate revenge.

    The matador, like the early McGregor, answered for his words and shocked the MMA world. The army of fans continues to be replenished with thousands of former haters – a huge line of tops is lining up for Ilya’s belt. Here are Max Holloway, Yair Rodriguez and Brian Ortega, and the undefeated Movsar Evloev, who can now both beat for the belt and punish his hated opponent with an updated record of 15-0.
    BONUSES

    • Best fight: Amanda Lemos vs Mackenzie Dern;
    • Best Performance: Ilia Topuria, Anthony Hernandez and Zhang Minggiang.
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