The final UFC card of 2017 seemed destined to be full of average fights with decision finishes ended with two fantastic fights.
Of the eight fights preceding the co-main event, five ended in decision finishes. Tim Elliot, winner of The Ultimate Fighter 24, submitted Mark De La Rosa via Anaconda Choke, and Dan Hooker submitted Marc Diakiese with a guillotine choke in the third fight of the main card for the only finishes of the night.
Marvin Vettori and Omari Akhmedov fought to a majority draw in a closely contested bout.
The final two fights were decisions as well, but were great fights to end UFC’s 2017 on.
Khabib Nurmagomedov, in his first fight since November 2016, absolutely dominated Edson Barboza for three rounds. Barboza was able to slightly slow Khabib’s attack with some body shots late in the fight, but had no other counters for Khabib’s unrelenting offense. Nurmagomedov remains undefeated at 25-0, and is almost certainly in line to face Tony Ferguson for the interim UFC Lightweight title. The winner of that fight will be set on the path for a mega-fight with Conor McGregor.
Cris Cyborg faced what many pundits and fans called the greatest challenge of her career when she faced former UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Holly Holm in the main event.
For Holly Holm, it was a shot at redemption. This was her second chance at the UFC Women’s Bantamweight title, with the first being her controversial loss to Germaine De Randamie in the fight for the inaugural Women’s Featherweight champion. Some of those other pundits and fans expected the knockout artist Cyborg to dominate Holm in no time flat.
The fight was a five-round bar brawl, with Holm and Cyborg’s faces both being bruised, bloodied, and swollen by the end.
Though Holm managed to take Cyborg to the fifth round for the first time in Cyborg’s career, she ultimately lost the fight via a unanimous decision.
UFC will begin 2018 with Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi on January 14.