UFC 232 always did look like a major show on paper and there’s no denying that it ended the world’s biggest MMA promotion’s 2018 with a bang. Whether that bang was a good thing or not is another question entirely.
We saw the two title matches at the top of the card both end in dramatic fashion, and a range of cool finishes and fun fights up and down the card. Really, of the televised bouts, the only dull fight was Andrei Arlovski vs. Walt Harris, a plodding affair that brought to a close the UFC’s time on Fox.
Here are the best and worst moments from UFC 232.
#1 Best: Nunes shocks the world
I’ll freely admit it, coming into UFC 232 I felt Amanda Nunes had little to no chance of beating Cris Cyborg for the UFC Women’s Featherweight title. I even wrote a piece detailing why this would be another win for Cyborg. How wrong I was. Cyborg came out looking impatient and winging punches in her famed berserker style, but Nunes simply absorbed a couple and caught her with cleaner, more accurate – but no less powerful – shots that knocked her silly in under a minute.
Given Nunes took 5 rounds to finish Raquel Pennington, and never really hurt Valentina Shevchenko, to see her spark out Cyborg – who had rarely even been stunned in almost a decade of fights at the top – was unbelievable. This was an upset that probably ranks up there with Serra over GSP, Holm over Rousey, and the other greats, although I certainly wouldn’t call it a fluke. Had the show ended there, I would probably be a lot happier writing this right now, but well, we’ll get to that later.
At any rate, the crowd treated this like the coronation of a true superstar as well, and given Nunes had proven to be a weak pay-per-view draw beforehand, this could be a watershed moment for her in terms of her star power – similar to Anderson Silva’s 2010 win over Chael Sonnen. Who ‘The Lioness’ fights next is a total guess given she now holds the 135lbs and 145lbs titles, but it’ll likely be a big deal regardless. Simply put, this was an awesome moment.