UFC 255 was an absolutely stacked card, complete with not one but two title fights. Two dominant champions stepped into the octagon once again to take on two very game challengers. Plus, some great young stars made some big steps toward reaching their ultimate goals of becoming UFC champions.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of the night and break down the three fights we looked at in out UFC 255 preview.
Coming off of his Knockout of the Year candidate, middleweight Joaquin Buckley stayed hot with an impressive knockout win over Jordan Wright. Buckley overwhelmed his opponent with some big power punches and put him away early in the second round. The promising young star is in line for a big fight after this win.
In the final fight fo the prelims, number one-ranked flyweight contender Brandon Moreno and sixth-ranked Brandon Royval put on quite a show both on the feet and on the ground. Unfortunately, the fight ended when Royval sustained a shoulder injury after a scramble on the ground. Still, it was an impressive win for Moreno who is now looking for a title shot in the flyweight division.
Main Card Highlights
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, a true legend of the sport, weathered the early grappling storm from the younger Paul Craig, but eventually it became too much for the veteran. Craig got one advantageous position after another, and while Shogun managed to escape most of them, he gave up one too many. Craig eventually got Shogun’s back, flattened him out and forced the legend to tap to strikes. The 15th-ranked light heavyweight will certainly be moving up the rankings after this big win.
In a bout between two very highly-ranked women’s flyweights, Katlyn Chookagian outclassed Cynthia Calvillo in the striking game. Calvillo had a hard time finding her range against the much bigger Chookagian, who showed off a very good jab and left hook throughout the fight. The judges gave the fight to Chookagian with a unanimous 30-27 score, sending the former title challenger back into the championship picture.
Tim Means def. Mike Perry
After missing weight for this welterweight bout, Perry surprised everyone by coming out of the gate looking to impose his will in the grappling game. Means managed to escape a very dangerous position and get the fight back to the feet, where he used his jab very effectively. The two fighters traded some big shots in what was a very entertaining fight. The third round looked similar to a game of Rockem Sockem Robots at times, but neither fighter was able to put their opponent away and the judges scored the fight unanimously for Means. This win could launch Means back into the welterweight rankings.
My pick: Mike Perry via 3rd round knockout
Result: Tim Means via Decision
Valentina Shevchenko def. Jennifer Maia
When the betting line closed on this fight, Shevchenko was a -2000 favorite. Those are crazy odds that created potential for the biggest upset in UFC history. Maia had a lot of people on the edge of their seats when she controlled the champ against the cage to win the second round, but Shevchenko eventually turned it on and showed that she is just on another level. The champ had some really powerful takedowns and landed some hard strikes en route to what ended up being a fairly dominant decision victory. Maia may have lost this fight, but her really strong showing is only going to raise her stock for the future.
My pick: Valentina Shevchenko via 5th round submission
Result: Valentina Shevchenko via Decision
Deiveson Figueiredo def. Alex Perez
The odds in the main event weren’t quite as steep but the champion Figueiredo was still a heavy favorite. These two guys put on a show very early, showcasing some serious skills in just about every aspect of the sport. They traded kicks, punches, takedown attempts, submission attempts and scrambled for position, and this all happened in a span of just two minutes. That’s all it took for Figueiredo to catch Perez with a guillotine choke and put a stop to the fight. It was almost a shame to see the fight end so early because it was clear these two could put on an instant classic. Still, it was very fun to watch the champ get such an impressive win while still seeing that Perez has a bright future ahead of him. After the fight, Figueiredo specifically called for a fight with Brandon Moreno, who won earlier in the night.
My pick: Deiveson Figueiredo via 3rd round knockout
Result: Deiveson Figueiredo via 1st round submission
Overall, UFC 255 was a great night of fights loaded with some really impressive performances. Not only did two champions continue their dominance to retain their titles, but we also may have seen their next opponents lined up as well. We also saw a couple of up-and-comers get big wins in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions while a veteran welterweight may have done enough to get back into the top 15.
The UFC will return to ESPN+ next week for UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis. Be sure to check back next week for a preview of the event.