The UFC once again proved its ability to deliver an incredible show with UFC 290. The event, held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as part of International Fight Week, featured title wins by Alexander Volkanovski and Alexandre Pantoja. It was a stacked card that showcased Dricus Du Plessis’ impressive rise, Robbie Lawler’s emotional farewell, and much more. Let’s delve into the six most significant takeaways from UFC 290.
- UFC 189’s magic remains unparalleled: Eight years ago, I had the privilege of attending UFC 189, a card that set the MMA world ablaze and featured an unforgettable seven-fight run. It remains one of my fondest memories in over a decade of working in this sport. UFC 290 may not surpass the legacy of UFC 189, but it certainly takes the lead as the front-runner for Event of the Year. If it doesn’t claim that title by December, it will be an extraordinary second half of 2023.
Alexander Volkanovski’s dominance: Volkanovski’s legacy continues to grow in a remarkable way. As my number one pound-for-pound fighter in MMA, Volkanovski showcased his brilliance by defeating Yair Rodriguez, stealing his spirit in a manner reminiscent of Frankie Edgar’s victory in 2017. Despite facing a dangerous striker, Volkanovski absorbed only 13 significant head strikes in 14 minutes of action. His pursuit of title defenses defines greatness, and a bout against Ilia Topuria would be a defining moment for him.
The Flyweight division’s resilience: It’s amusing to look back and see how the UFC nearly discarded the flyweight division due to its disagreements with Demetrious Johnson’s stance against T.J. Dillashaw. Since then, the division has consistently produced thrilling fights, including the captivating battle between Alexandre Pantoja and Brandon Moreno at UFC 290. Pantoja’s long-awaited shot at gold resulted in a brilliant performance, solidifying his position as the new champion.
Dricus Du Plessis shines: The decision to pit Dricus Du Plessis against Robert Whittaker seemed questionable, as it risked his momentum against someone who had previously defeated the champion. However, Du Plessis showcased his potential by overwhelming Whittaker, elevating his grudge match against Israel Adesanya to new heights. This matchup has become significantly more compelling, and it is a testament to the UFC matchmakers’ astute decision-making.
Robbie Lawler’s perfect retirement: The UFC often mishandles retirements of legendary fighters, but Robbie Lawler’s farewell at UFC 290 was a flawless example of how it should be done. With a knockout victory in just 38 seconds, Lawler ended his incredible career in spectacular fashion. He was the last fighter remaining on the UFC roster who had competed under Pride FC and represented a different era of MMA. Lawler’s violent style, memorable fights, and unexpected resurgence make him a true legend of the sport.
Herb Dean’s hilarious moment: MMA referee Herb Dean provided an all-time comical sequence during UFC 290, leaving Tatsuro Taira perplexed. It was a remarkable display of officiating that deserves recognition.
UFC 290 delivered an unforgettable night of fights, showcasing the sport’s excitement and drama. It will be remembered as a significant event in MMA history.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about UFC 290 Highlights
What were the main highlights of UFC 290?
The main highlights of UFC 290 included Alexander Volkanovski’s dominant performance against Yair Rodriguez, Alexandre Pantoja’s impressive win over Brandon Moreno, Dricus Du Plessis’ breakout performance against Robert Whittaker, Robbie Lawler’s emotional retirement, and the hilarious moment involving referee Herb Dean.
Who were the title winners at UFC 290?
The title winners at UFC 290 were Alexander Volkanovski, who defended his championship in a victory over Yair Rodriguez, and Alexandre Pantoja, who captured the flyweight title with a win against Brandon Moreno.
How did Alexander Volkanovski’s performance stand out at UFC 290?
Alexander Volkanovski showcased his dominance by defeating Yair Rodriguez with an impressive display of skill. Despite facing a dangerous striker, Volkanovski absorbed minimal significant head strikes and further solidified his status as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.
What made Robbie Lawler’s retirement significant at UFC 290?
Robbie Lawler’s retirement at UFC 290 was noteworthy due to the perfect ending it provided to his legendary career. Lawler delivered a quick knockout victory, showcasing his trademark aggression and leaving a lasting impact as one of the most violent and entertaining fighters in MMA history.
Was there a memorable moment involving the referee at UFC 290?
Yes, referee Herb Dean provided a memorable and comical moment during UFC 290. His interaction with Tatsuro Taira left the audience amused and added an entertaining element to the event.