Tony Ferguson picked up the biggest win of his career on Saturday night.
And it was on the biggest stage he’s ever been on, too. He squared off with former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Fight Night 98 in Mexico City, Mexico in his first main event. There didn’t appear to be any added pressure for “El Cucuy” and being in the spotlight didn’t seem to affect his performance, either. He went five rounds for the first time with ease, and with the event taking place at high elevation, that’s rather impressive.
Although Ferguson looked good — he was able to keep distance for the majority of the 25-minute bout and was very crafty on the feet — dos Anjos kept it close. He started out really well; in the first round, he pressured Ferguson, not allowing Ferguson room to move around and be creative. But that slowly changed as the fight went on, Ferguson started to bust the Brazilian up in the later rounds, and was eventually given the unanimous decision nod.
What was the highlight of the fight?
It’s pretty hard to pick out one highlight of Ferguson vs. dos Anjos because it was such a fun technical scrap. But, similar to many of Ferguson’s fights, I think the highlight in this bout was Ferguson’s creativeness. He doesn’t have ridiculous speed nor is he known for devastating knockout power, but he fights from all angles, is so unpredictable, and uses strikes that few fighters use. He has a variety of attacks to use and so many ways to win. That’s why he’s so good.
Where do these two go from here?
Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor are fighting next weekend for the lightweight strap. Even with Khabib Nurmagomedov on the same card, Ferguson should absolutely fight the winner of the UFC 205 main event. He’s the only fighter in UFC lightweight history to win nine fights in a row, and in a stacked division that 155 pounds is, that’s a massive accomplishment. Plus, he has several big name wins on his record, including Edson Barboza and now dos Anjos. In his next outing, “El Cucuy” should be announced as “the challenger.”
Dos Anjos, on the other hand, now finds himself in an odd position. He had a dominant 2015 with two championship wins, but has now dropped two in a row in 2016. It’s back to the drawing board for the former champion, the place he found himself after his loss to Alvarez this past July. He’s still one of the best in the world, but he’s going to need to prove that before fighting in a high-profile matchup again.
Watch now, later, or never?
Ferguson vs. dos Anjos was rewarded “Fight of the Night” honours for good reason; the bout may even be a candidate for “Fight of the Year” after 2016 is all said and done. I’d give this one a watch right away if I were you.