UFC 247 ended up being a thrilling event with several points of discussion left in its wake. The majority of those pertaining to the main event. And after seeing how things played out this past Saturday night, they’ve immediately impacted this upcoming weekend’s UFC Rio Rancho headliner between Corey Anderson and Jan Blachowicz.
No matter what happened at UFC 247, the main events of each card were going to be tied together. As in the controversial Houston, Texas showdown, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was taken to the limit by the young and hungry challenger Dominick Reyes.
Prior to the announcement of Jones vs. Reyes, there was an argument to be made for Anderson being the next man up to challenge Jones. Currently riding a four-fight winning streak after starching the rising Johnny Walker at UFC 244, Anderson had seemed to do exactly what he needed to do.
Instead, Reyes got the shot off the heels of his first-round knockout of former middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Thus leading to a rematch between Anderson and the Poland native in Blachowicz.
The rematch between the pair was already being looked at as the likely No. 1 contender bout for the winner of Jones vs. Reyes. But now, things have changed somewhat drastically after seeing “Bones” and “The Devastator” square off.
Jones would end up being the one to walk away once again with the title. However, it wouldn’t be to the satisfaction of most. What was objectively a close and competitive fight was still viewed as a robbery by many. Not that that’s saying much these days.
Two 48-47 scorecards and a questionable 49-46 all for Jones gave him the unanimous decision nod and his 14th career win in a UFC title fight. Ultimately, the community didn’t agree as 78.8 percent of fan votes out of 2013 (via MMADecisions.com) scored the fight in favor of Reyes. 71.7 percent giving him a 48-47 scorecard by winning the first three rounds. 14 of the 21 media scorecards scored the fight for Reyes.
As a result, the door has been opened for the possibility of an instant rematch for Reyes. Something that has historically been a rarity for challengers that just lost their attempts at the title. But it wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen it in the UFC.
If we go back to UFC 104 in 2009, Lyoto Machida made his first and only UFC light heavyweight title defense by earning a unanimous decision nod over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Due to the closeness of the fight and many believing “Shogun” did enough to claim the 205-pound crown, he got an instant rematch. One that he capitalized on as he knocked out Machida in the very first round.
With all that in mind, it now leaves the possible next contenders needing to go out and prove themselves in more ways than just walking away with their hand raised. Because more often than not, Anderson’s performances generally aren’t as exhilarating as the one against Walker. As for Blachowicz, his last victory over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza was less than stellar as well. You’re only good as your last fight, right?
Going back to UFC 191 for the first Anderson vs. Blachowicz meeting, it was a rather forgettable bout. But a vintage Anderson performance none the less. Dominating with his great wrestling, Anderson earned the unanimous decision win and was awarded two 30-25 scorecards with a bizarre 29-26 to boot.
Both fighters have only gotten better since that Sept. 2015 clash and with all these surrounding factors and stakes, this fight should be even better than it was originally expected to be. This goes without even mentioning the addition of five rounds. The pressure is on for all light heavyweights now that Jones has proven to be beatable in 2019 and onward. These two in particular.
It’s hard to say if it will truly matter what happens in the Anderson vs. Blachowicz rematch after Reyes’ impressive showing. But it’s hard to imagine that these two former foes won’t go out and try their hardest to garner their own interest for the next title shot now that UFC 247 has concluded.