A Look Back at Last Week: Vol.1 (Apr. 21-24)

If you’re reluctant to move on from last week’s action-packed slate of mixed-martial-arts, you’re in the same boat as me. 

As an MMA fan, I’m certainly used to memorable moments being delivered on a week-to-week basis, but these past few days felt very special. With ONE on TNT continuing their Wednesday night success, the PFL returning, and a full capacity crowd for UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida, the week truly felt iconic. Those three weren’t the only ones supplying entertainment, as ACA, LFA, Combate, KSW, and many other promotions were keeping the die-hard’s busy. 

If you want to re-live the hype, or were unable to catch some of the action, I’ve got you covered with some of my favourite finishes from last week. 

John Lineker defeats Troy Worthen via KO, 4:35, Round 1, at ONE on TNT 3

If you missed this performance, I suggest you take the time to watch the 275 seconds of white knuckle brawling from John Lineker. I promise you will not regret it. After repeatedly attacking the body, it was Lineker’s footwork that baited Worthen into fire with his hands low which set up the finish. 

Lineker may be known as “Hands of Stone”, but he’s got much more to offer than just heavy hands. I expect him to challenge Bibiano Fernandes for the ONE Bantamweight Championship soon, and Lineker has the skillset to defend gold for a long time if he can get the belt around his waist. 

Brendan Loughnane defeats Sheymon Moraes via KO, 2:05, Round 1, in Week 1 of the 2021 PFL Season; Takes #1 spot in PFL Featherweight standings

If there was a Performance of The Night bonus in the PFL, Brendan Loughnane would have some extra money coming his way. Luckily he had the confidence to not only place this bet, but more importantly cash it. 

Never in doubt 😉

Originally tweeted by Brendan Loughnane (@BrendanMMA) on April 24, 2021.

The 31-year old fighting out of Manchester, England entered the octagon full of confidence and improved his record to 20-3 in quick fashion with this knockout over former UFC fighter Sheymon Moraes. If you listen closely in the video below, you can hear Brendan follow the advice from his cornermen perfectly which leads to the highlight-reel finish.

Originally tweeted by PFL (@PFLMMA) on April 24, 2021.

Loughnane is amongst the best in the world and if he isn’t on your radar to win the PFL Featherweight Grand-Prix, it’s time he should be. 

Canaan Kawaihae defeats Jake Childers via Submission, 0:20, Round 1 at LFA 105

I hope you were seated and ready for action when the LFA co-main event between Canaan Kawaihae and Jake Childers began, as it only last 20 seconds. Kawaihae, a 23-year old prospect representing Kailua, Hawaii, entered the octagon with a 5-1 record and locked in this beautiful ninja-choke for the quickest stoppage of his career. 

Canaan’s victory marked the fifth time out of his six professional wins that he has finished his opponent in the opening round, and I’m confident he will get a chance for redemption on Dana White’s Contender Series this summer.

Piera Rodriguez defeats Svetlana Gotstyk via TKO, 1:15, Round 5, to become the new LFA Women’s Strawweight Champion at LFA 105

As per usual, LFA provided an entertaining evening of fights and the main event between Piera Rodriguez and Svetlana Gotsyk for the vacant Strawweight Championship did not disappoint. The two warriors kept a high-octane pace for the opening 20 minutes, with momentum shifts taking place on both sides, but it was Rodriguez with the advantage. Her relentlessness was on full display in the final round as she poured it on and kept the judges out of it with this devastating ground and pound.

Rodriguez checked a lot of boxes in this performance as she proved she can fight at a high pace for five rounds, has power in both hands, great defensive grappling, and the heart of a warrior. Piera Rodriguez is a name to remember moving forward.

Valentina Shevchenko defeats Jessica Andrade via TKO, 3:19, Round 2, to retain the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship at UFC 261

The Bullet did her thing. Flawless. Stunning. Strong. Smart. Fast. Untouchable. There is an endless list of positive traits to describe the UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion, and she managed to display all of them in one performance that lasted less than nine minutes. 

We all know how strong Jessica Andrade is, yet we watched Valentina physically dominate her in a wrestling-heavy fashion that is a privilege to watch as MMA fans. The performance has left me wondering how long this commanding era as Champion can last for Shevchenko, because at the moment, it’s hard to picture her ever being dethroned. 

Rose Namajunas defeats Weili Zhang via TKO, 1:17, Round 1, to become the new UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion at UFC 261

“Thug” Rose Namajunas’ officially has a knack for dismantling champions. Her unpredictable striking caught the world by storm once again as she landed a pin-point accurate front kick on Weili to send the crowd into pandemonium just 77 seconds into the bout. 

Masterful taekwondo at it’s most pure form.

Kamaru Usman defeats Jorge Masvidal via KO, 1:02, Round 2, to retain the UFC Welterweight Championship at UFC 261

I remain in awe of this a few days later. Truly unforgettable. In a world that loves viral moments, Usman has skyrocketed into a bonafide top 5 superstar in the sport (if he wasn’t already) in the last three months. He has earned the status of being the #1 pound-for-pound male fighter in the world as far as active champions go. Kamaru has finished his three most recent challengers while being one of the most active champions and improving his game at a scarily rapid pace. 

To end this chapter of his career in enemy territory, with his formerly incarcerated father watching him perform live, is bone-chilling enough for me. The fact Kamaru completed the moment by defending his belt in the explosive fashion of his career is something you cannot script any better. 

Mike Beelby

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