What mattered most at UFC 301 at Rio Enviornment in Rio de Janeiro? Listed here are just a few post-fight musings …

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Mauricio Ruffy makes a powerful impression in debut

Could 4, 2024; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, BRAZIL; Mauricio Ruffy (pink gloves) fights Jamie Mullarkey (blue gloves) throughout UFC 301 at Rio Enviornment. Necessary Credit score: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports activities

The hyperbole was off the charts for Mauricio Ruffy after robust displaying his octagon debut with a first-round knockout of the always-tough Jamie Mullarkey. And for essentially the most half, it was warranted.

UFC commentator and coach Din Thomas stated Ruffy (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) reminded him “of a younger Conor McGregor” whereas he picked Mullarkey aside with strikes then completed the job in Spherical 1. Daniel Cormier then proceeded to say Ruffy’s efficiency was “one of many best UFC debuts we’ve seen in a very long time.”

It was robust phrases throughout the board for Ruffy, who proceeded to ship a message to light-weight champ Islam Makhachev that his reign will quickly be below risk. That’s placing the cart means forward of the horse in arguably essentially the most stacked division within the sport, however you’ll be able to respect the boldness.

Let’s see what Ruffy can do shifting ahead. He beat an opponent who’s sub-.500 within the UFC in Mullarkey, and he’ll must do rather more work earlier than his feedback towards Makhachev are taken with any seriousness.


Caio Borralho continues to roll

Could 4, 2024; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, BRAZIL; Paul Craig (pink gloves) fights Caio Borralho (blue gloves) throughout UFC 301 at Rio Enviornment. Necessary Credit score: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports activities

Caio Borralho continued to construct momentum within the middleweight division with a near-flawless efficiency towards Paul Craig, marking his thirteenth consecutive victory total.

Borralho (16-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC) has been steadily climbing up the rankings, and towards his most expertise and established foe so far in Craig, he shined en path to a second-round knockout end.

He referred to as out Jared Cannonier within the aftermath of the struggle, and whereas he may not get that subsequent with Cannonier rumored to tackle Nassourdine Imavov in an upcoming predominant occasion, he’s taking pictures a greater shot than he has prior to now – which I’ve criticized him for.

It’s time for Borralho to get a harder check little question, although. He’s off to a begin in his octagon tenure that few different 185-pound names have matched prior to now, and that’s deserving of one thing significant.


Michel Pereira cannot be stopped

Could 4, 2024; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, BRAZIL; Michel Pereira (pink gloves) fights Ihor Potieria (blue gloves) throughout UFC 301 at Rio Enviornment. Necessary Credit score: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports activities

There was a number of pleasure round Michel Pereira when he was signed to the UFC due to his flashy fashion and epic spotlight reel. However even essentially the most optimistic of his supporters couldn’t have seen one of these success.

Pereira (30-11 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has now gained eight consecutive fights contained in the octagon after a 54-second submission of Ihor Potieria, with the previous three of these victories coming in a mixed 3:01. It’s no coincidence these performances have coincided together with his full-time transfer to middleweight, and it’s clear that is the fitting weight class for the Brazilian.

Though you would poke some holes within the high quality of competitors throughout this profitable streak from Pereira, what can’t be referred to as into query is the problem of placing collectively an eight-fight streak within the UFC, interval. Solely a small assortment of fighters have pulled that off.

Much like the assertion on Borralho above, although, Pereira wants an actual step up in competitors. If he can do what he’s executed to current foes towards a top-15 title at 185 kilos, then issues get actual.


Anthony Smith refuses to go quietly

Could 4, 2024; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, BRAZIL; Anthony Smith (pink gloves) fights Vitor Petrino (blue gloves) throughout UFC 301 at Rio Enviornment. Necessary Credit score: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports activities

Simply when everybody thought Anthony Smith had a fork in him and was cooked – once more – he comes out and takes no harm in submitting the beforehand undefeated Vitor Petrino in two minutes flat.

We shouldn’t be shocked, I assume. That is the kind of stuff Smith (38-19 MMA, 13-9 UFC) has constructed his profession and popularity on, however this felt like a very tough hurdle to recover from. However, he will get the job executed and injects life into his profession as soon as once more.

What’s Smith able to at this level in his profession? Who’s anybody to say.

He has the title, credentials and favor of the UFC brass to get one other large alternative coming off this win. He must benefit from it, although, as a result of you would need to assume that is most likely his final probability to make a run. Nonetheless, we’ve stated that earlier than, so proceed with warning in the case of making a judgement on his capabilities.


Jose Aldo turns again the clock and in addition spins it ahead

Could 4, 2024; Rio de Janeiro, RJ, BRAZIL; Jose Aldo Junior (pink gloves) fights Jonathan Martinez (blue gloves) throughout UFC 301 at Rio Enviornment. Necessary Credit score: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports activities

Jose Aldo admitted throughout his post-fight interview that he couldn’t have imagined such an ideal night time in Rio de Janeiro in his wildest goals. It’s a must to consider that after he outclassed the surging Jonathan Martinez for a unanimous choice.

Aldo (32-8 MMA, 14-7 UFC) returned from a 20-month retirement to finish his UFC contract towards Martinez. If that was his last UFC struggle, it was probably the greatest methods to shut the door for a legend in historical past. Proper up there with Robbie Lawler’s win over Niko Worth, however respectfully, Martinez is a far, way more spectacular opponent to do it towards.

Now the world is Aldo’s oyster. The UFC allowed the legend to take some boxing fights throughout his MMA retirement with its blessing, however as soon as he will get via an unique matching interval he’ll be fully free, and that might imply all kinds of choices.

The MMA fan in me desires to see Aldo maintain going within the loaded UFC bantamweight division and see if he could make one other run. However unselfishly, he positively must discover his choices and see what sort of paydays he can fetch on the open market. Aldo is a scorching commodity after this win, and solely good issues are coming his means.

For extra on the cardboard, go to MMA Junkie’s occasion hub for UFC 301.