With spectacular performances by all fighters, amazing comebacks, devastating injuries and a debut that fell short, most expectations for UFC 203 were met. Although each fight on the main card was entertaining in its own way, the anticipation of each fight paid off.
18,875 were in attendance at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio to see the debut of a former WWE SuperStar and a Heavyweight Championship bout like no other.
That being said, here’s is the Main Card review:
Women’s strawweight fight: Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade vs. Joanne “JoJo” Calderwood
(Outcome: Jessica “Bate Estaca” Andrade winner by submission”
To start off UFC 203, two of the most talented woman fighters in the strawweight division, with different styles of Mixed Martial Arts, battled it out inside the Octagon to prove not only to themselves but also to the UFC that the women’s strawweight division is full of potential. Jessica “Bate Estaca”Andrade, who was previously a bantamweight, gave her best shot in the strawweight division and she did not disappoint, going up against a wrecking ball like Joanna “JoJo” Calderwood. Andrade took it upon herself to show the world that she can fight in any division by completely manhandling Calderwood and submitted her with a Guillotine in the first round. Andrade showed she is remarkably comfortable fighting at 115 lbs and she is looking to dominate the rest of the strawweight division.
Bantamweight fight: Urijah “The California Kid” Faber vs. Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera
(Outcome: Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera winner by decision)
Urijah “The California Kid” Faber took on Jimmie “El Terror” Rivera looking to redeem himself after his previous fight. Although Faber was ranked number two in the world and Rivera was ranked number 12, Rivera was favoured to win. Rivera must have studied Faber long and hard to execute such a mind-blowing beating in every round from head to toe. With multiple combos thrown by Rivera and powerful, gruesome kicks, Faber bravely stuck in and answered the attacks. Both fighters gave it everything in the last round, but Rivera won by unanimous decision in all three rounds. In nearly 13 years of Faber’s professional MMA career, he had never lost back-to-back fights.
Middleweight fight: CM Punk vs Mickey Gall
(Outcome: Mickey Gall winner by submission via Rear Naked Choke)
The most anticipated fight and debut featured former professional wrestler CM Punk, who was ready to show the world what he was made of, and Mickey Gall ready to put Punk is his place. As soon as the referee started the fight Punk and Gall went at each other like animals. Punk, who was tricked by a punch, got taken down immediately and was dominated by ground and pound as well as submission tactics. As soon as Gall saw the opportunity to lock on a Rear Naked Choke, he took it. Within seconds of the choke being locked on, a gassed Punk tapped out at 2:14 of the first round of the fight. Gall jumped up shouting, “What do you think was going to happen?” Although Punk’s debut fell short of what he and his WWE fans expected, he said he was humbled by the experience and this isn’t the last time the UFC will see him.
Heavyweight fight: Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum vs Travis “Happa” Borwne
(Outcome: Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum winner by Unanimous decision)
The fight between Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum against Travis “Happa” Browne started like any fight but got weird and went south quickly. The referee stopped the fight in the first round after Browne called for a time out, but the ref did not know if he should stop the fight or if the fight would stop by itself. Doctors checked out Browne’s hand and said that it was okay for him to continue. The rest of the two rounds consisted of Browne knocking down Werdum with heavy punches and Werdum dominating Browne on the ground. Before the announcement of Werdum winning by unanimous decision, Werdum and Browne’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, exchanged words and as Tarverdyan proceeded to approach Werdum violently, Werdum threw a front kick to the coach’s chest. Both teams exchanged words and were looking for a fight. Werdum was booed by the arena and Browne’s team was escorted out of the Octagon by security.
Heavyweight Championship fight: Stipe Miocic vs Alistair “The Reem” Overeem
(Outcome: Stipe Miocic winner by TKO)
A classic fight scene between two powerhouses Stipe Miocic and Alistair “The Reem” Overeem was the main event of UFC 203. Miocic was dropped early in the fight by a thunderous punch from Overeem and almost submitted to a deep guillotine choke. Miocic managed to escape and started to put the pressure on Overeem. Overeem, confused by such an incredible comeback by Miocic, did not know what to do with Miocic as he was chasing him. Miocic and Overeem later exchanged heavy blows and Miocic got the upper hand by taking him to a ground. Miocic found the opportunity to get into a standing full guard position and just hammer down on Overeem. Overeem had nowhere to go and no proper way to defend himself as he took many blows that eventually put him to sleep. Miocic defeated Overeem at 4:27 of the first round by TKO.