The best and worst from UFC Fight Night 158: Cowboy vs. Gaethje
- UFC Fight Night 158 was an excellent show overall - here are the best and worst moments.
#2 Best: Cirkunov is back with a vengeance
Time stands still for no man in MMA and Misha Cirkunov knows that better than most. The Latvian-Canadian Light-Heavyweight came into the UFC back in 2015 and after reeling off four straight wins using his powerful striking and crushing grappling, many fans saw him as the future of the 205lbs division.
But then he lost pretty badly to Volkan Oezdemir and Glover Teixeira, essentially showing a lack of durability was his major weakness. Sure, he rebounded last year with a win, but was then knocked out by Johnny Walker in March, and it honestly felt like we’d see him slowly slide down the totem pole. Turns out that’s not the case.
Not only did Cirkunov go back to his bread and butter – his grappling game – against young prospect Jimmy Crute, but he also survived some bad positions in the fight, particularly when the Aussie was hitting him with largely unanswered punches. And when the time came to finish, he busted out an ultra-rare submission – a Peruvian Necktie – to earn himself a Performance of the Night bonus.
Does this win make Cirkunov a contender again? Not just yet I don’t think, but he’s definitely still in the conversation just below title contention. Matching him with anyone else in the top 15 sounds good to me. The fact that he might’ve pulled off the best submission of 2019 was the icing on the cake here.Published 15 Sep 2019, 15:51 IST