According to a Dec. 19 report from MMA Fighting, all the results are in from the UFC on FOX 17 fighting event that emanated from Orlando’s Amway Center. In the main event, Rafael dos Anjos put his UFC lightweight title on the line against Donald Cerrone, in a championship rematch that was more than two years in the making.
The first time Dos Anjos collided with Cerrone inside the world-famous Octagon, there was no title on the line. The men went the distance the first time around, with Dos Anjos outlasting the Albuquerque sensation. At UFC on FOX 17, Cerrone headed into the fight as a much more confident and well-rounded scrapper.
Dos Anjos, who was riding a four-fight win streak heading into UFC on FOX 17, had also gotten much better since 2013. This time around, the fight was much shorter than their first encounter. Dos Anjos hurt Cerrone early, and got the finish with strikes in the opening frame.
In the UFC on FOX 17 co-main, Alistair Overeem instantly climbed the heavyweight ladder with a crisp performance against former UFC heavyweight champ Junior dos Santos. Overeem, who trains with Greg Jackson in Albuquerque, New Mexico, spent much of the opening frame getting his timing right and feeling out the former champ’s rhythm.
Fans started to boo with the slow pacing of the opening round. But once Overeem had Dos Santos’ movement down, it was just a matter of time before he connected with a fight-finishing bomb.
Overeem floored Dos Santos with a crisp cross, finishing the fight via strikes in the second round. The win moves him into prime position for a title shot in 2016. He’ll be eyeing the winner of Cain Velasquez’s upcoming title clash with Fabricio Werdum.
In the lead-up to UFC on FOX 17, Overeem told the media he planned to test the open market after the fight. But with a victory over Dos Santos under his belt, there’s no way the UFC lets him walk. Fight fans can look for him to return to action in 2016.
Elsewhere on the main card, Nate Diaz made his grand return to the cage following a year-long layoff. Diaz, 30, went the distance with Michael Johnson, showing why fans fell in love with him in the first place. In all honesty, it was the best Diaz ever looked.
He worked his jab, looked brilliant in the standup department, and even did some of his classic taunting. Diaz called out Conor McGregor during his post-fight speech. The UFC hasn’t announced what’s next for him, but that would certainly be a clash that fans would buy on pay-per-view.
Diaz looked fresh and rejuvenated following his lengthy hiatus. Additionally, the UFC on FOX 17 main card featured a successful promotional debut from Karolina Kowalkiewicz. She went the distance with Randa Markos, proving to the world that she’s deserving of fighting on the grandest stage in all the world.