On paper, at least, UFC Fight Night 179: Moraes vs. Sandhagen looked like a two-fight card at best. The show was filled with largely unknown or unproven fighters, and the buzz coming into the show on Fight Island was hardly massive.
Sometimes though, these kind of throwaway UFC cards end up producing brilliance, and that was certainly the case last night. Simply put, this was one of the best UFC shows in recent memory, with some tremendous scraps and even better knockouts up and down the card.
Here are the best and worst moments from UFC Fight Night 179: Moraes vs. Sandhagen.
#1 Best: Buckley uncorks one of the best KO’s in UFC history
Given that the clip already appears to have gone viral, if you’re an MMA fan, there’s a chance you’ve already seen Joaquin Buckley’s knockout of Impa Kasanganay. If you haven’t, you’re missing out as this was one of the greatest KO’s in UFC history, period.
Essentially, after a back-and-forth opening round, Buckley – who appeared to have a slight speed advantage – threw a head kick at Kasanganay, only for ‘Tshilobo’ to catch it. Somehow though, Buckley responded by jumping into the air and landing an incredible spinning kick to the face with his free leg, sending Kasanganay crashing to the ground.
To be quite honest, we’ve never seen anything like this kick in UFC history. The closest thing to it would be a move that pro-wrestling star Rob Van Dam would use in his WWE days, but even that wasn’t quite the same.
Is Buckley likely to go on to win the UFC Middleweight title? Well, no, but does it really matter? Not only did he win himself an extra $50k last night, but he’ll probably find himself on UFC highlight reels for decades to come. Simply put, this was an unbelievable moment.
#1 Worst: Could the UFC have handed out more bonuses?
Traditionally, the UFC hands out four $50k bonuses on each of their events, either for ‘Fight of the Night,’ ‘Performance of the Night,’ or a combination of the two. Last night, whoever hands out the bonuses – probably UFC president Dana White alongside his matchmakers Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard – would’ve had a hard job choosing.
In the end, Cory Sandhagen, Tom Breese, Chris Daukaus, and Joaquin Buckley found themselves $50k better off, but that could easily have been different. Tom Aspinall and Dricus du Plessis also scored dramatic and excellent knockouts. Simultaneously, the best fight on offer was the wild, scramble-filled showdown between UFC newcomer Ilia Topuria and Youssef Zalal.
Maybe I’m being unfair, then, but could the UFC not have forked out an extra $200k to give each of those men an extra $50k, too? The UFC’s fighters are arguably underpaid as it is, but a show like this – with so many crazy, entertaining fights and finishes – is rare.
It would’ve been an easy win for the UFC to simply pay a little extra and gain some favor with the fighters and the fans for once. And at $200k, it wouldn’t have even set them back all that much more money. It’s times like this when it’s hard not to be disappointed with the MMA juggernaut.