With all the eye and hype surrounding the upcoming (and admittedly stacked) UFC 225 and UFC 226 occasions, many had been too fast to look previous the UFC’s most up-to-date go to to Rio. And like so many beforehand neglected and undervalued playing cards, UFC 224 responded with a stunning, jaw-dropping slate of performances, lots of which can go down ceaselessly in MMA lore. Of the 13 bouts, eleven ended with a end, tying the fashionable UFC period file (beforehand held by UFC Battle Night time 55: Bisping vs. Rockhold). Other than being a satisfying spectacle for viewers worldwide, it left us with a preponderance of story traces.

These are the UFC 224 speaking factors.

Nunes Reigns Supreme

It’s an uncomfortable relic of historical past that Amanda Nunes claiming the bantamweight title from Miesha Tate, after which retiring Ronda Rousey in her subsequent struggle resulted in an abundance of press that was extra about how Tate and Rousey had misplaced as an alternative of how Nunes had received.

If Nunes has not been given the credit score and acclaim she deserves, now’s the time to alter the narrative. Other than completely dominating the most effective opponents within the division, Nunes continues to visibly enhance, evolve and get stronger each single struggle.

Her final loss was in 2014, and her victory final Saturday over Pennington passes Ronda Rousey for many finishes in ladies’s UFC historical past with seven. With the win, she additionally ties Jessica Andrade for essentially the most wins in ladies’s UFC historical past with 9.

Individuals are once more clamoring for a struggle with Cris Cyborg, and it is smart; with continued ascension like Nunes has been displaying, it’s exhausting to think about anybody else within the recreation that would give her a greater problem.

MORE FROM UFC 224: Octagon Interviews – Amanda NunesKelvin GastelumLyoto Machida

Mighty Middleweights

When the ultimate bell sounded on the co-main occasion between Jacare Souza and Kelvin Gastelum, everybody watching around the globe sat ahead to listen to who had received, as a result of in actuality, no person of their coronary heart of hearts knew who would win considered one of solely two choices fights of the night.

The truth that it was a break up choice was one of many least shocking outcomes in latest reminiscence; the struggle was that shut. Each fighter dug approach down deep to get by way of it, each teetering on the sting of victory and catastrophe all through.

The win, coupled with the motion of some fighters as much as mild heavyweight, leaves a newly resurgent Kelvin Gastelum sitting fairly for a title shot. “I positively really feel like a title shot needs to be subsequent. I really feel like I deserve it,” he confirmed on the post-fight presser. “I’ll sit out till my UFC 224 Speaking Factors: Nunes, Gastelum, Dern & extra | UFC &reg shot is subsequent.”

Souza has nothing to hold his head about, and lots of had their scorecards going for him after a dominant first spherical. Though a loss, the hassle reestablished his risk to all the division.

No matter who both fights subsequent, you possibly can add Gastelum vs Souza 2 to the checklist of fights everybody desires to occur.

Legends at Divergent Crossroads

The primary spherical of the struggle between Lyoto Machida and Vitor Belfort rapidly devolved from riotous celebration of two of Brazil’s favourite sons to impatient restlessness when the combatants appeared hesitant to throw any punches in any respect. Then simply as rapidly, the temper swung again within the different path with the sound of ten thousand jaws hitting the ground when Machida retired Belfort with one superbly timed entrance kick to the pinnacle.

It wasn’t the tip anybody, even Machida, had pictured for dwelling legend Belfort, who debuted within the UFC greater than 200 pay per views earlier. Nonetheless, that crowd bought to their toes and gave him a hero’s sendoff.

Machida is now on a two-fight win streak and nonetheless has aspirations within the division for a final crack on the belt, though he’s practical that his personal MMA profession is nearer to the tip than the start. Nearly mischievously, he known as out Michael Bisping, himself considering retirement, unable to flee the need to retire one other legend with that well-known karate kick.

Dern Goes 2-Zero Regardless of Setback

A lot has been manufactured from Mackenzie Dern lacking weight forward of her sophomore UFC outing in opposition to Amanda Cooper. Cooper did conform to take the struggle, whatever the disparity of their weights, and the talk round this matter is unlikely to go away within the brief time period.

What just isn’t debatable, nonetheless, it the Brazilian jiu-jitsu prowess that led Dern to this second within the UFC. Upon knocking Cooper to the mat within the first spherical, it was actually like watching an indication of learn how to submit an opponent. There was little question as they went to the bottom what was about to transpire.

Dern has expressed remorse for the burden problem, and has acknowledged she’s open to utilizing the steerage of the UFC’s Efficiency Institute to keep away from comparable pitfalls sooner or later. That’s signal. If that bonafide expertise may be married with an MMA fighter’s self-discipline, the sky is the restrict for Dern.

Steve Latrell is a digital producer and author for UFC.com. Observe him on Twitter at @TheUFSteve

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