MMA Weekend Recap: Finishes galore

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This Saturday was completely filled with fights and several incredible finishes. Over in Bellator, Oliver Enkamp extended his finishing streak to three fights with an impressive first round Japanese Necktie. Enkamp had a very short stint in the UFC. He was booted from the organization after two losses, one of which was on short notice. It might have been for the best, as the 29-year-old Swede is now 3-0 in Bellator and calling for a main event in his home country. 

Michael ‘Venom’ Page won a unanimous decision over Ross Houston in a somewhat uneventful bout. Houston completed a takedown toward the end of the third round, but for the rest of the fight, it surprisingly was Page who was landing takedowns. Often criticized for having untested ground defense, Page showed that those opinions might be misplaced. Houston was a bit enchanted by Page’s snake charming defense and never really put up any offense of his own. Hopefully Page is given a more even matchup in his next fight. 

In the main event, Timothy Johnson defeated Cheick Kongo by decision. The result must be disappointing for Kongo, who fought in his home country of France in the first major event since it was legalized, but he should have increased his output if he hoped for a different result.  

Two time zones to the east, the UFC held its third consecutive event in Abu Dhabi. Many fighters got to showcase their skills during the 13-fight event, but none more so than Joaquin Buckley. The 26-year-old Missourian, who was finished in his UFC debut in August, made sure that this time he would be the one delivering the knockout. If you haven’t already seen the knockout, I will say that it is surely the knockout of the year, and I am confident enough to say this because it is currently being debated as the greatest knockout in MMA history. Buckley threw a kick, which was caught by his opponent, Impa Kasanganay. While his left leg was still being held in the air, Buckley pivoted on his right before jumping into an inside spinning back kick that landed clean to the dome of Kasanganay. Kasanganay’s muscles immediately went stiff and slowly crashed backwards onto the canvas. While being interviewed, Buckley was approached by UFC president Dana White, who voiced what we were all thinking, “No one has ever seen anything like it.”  

In the main event, Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Moraes looked to make a statement that would earn them a shot against the winner of a title fight between champ Petyr Yan and Aljamain Sterling. Odds for this fight made a late reverse, and when the cage was locked, Sandhagen was favored to win. It’s unlikely that Sandhagen would be aware of this, but he certainly fought with confidence. Early in the second round, Sandhagen showed a jab and then fired off a spinning wheel kick. The move was so clean that Moraes never even reacted before Sandhagen’s leg slammed into his head. The ref called off the action and Sandhagen got his first knockout finish since his UFC debut in 2018. Moraes complained that the stoppage was early, but I do not think any fans share this sentiment. Sandhagen might try to wait for a title shot, and with Cody Garbrandt sidelined by a torn bicep, this move would make the most sense. 

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