Here are 5 unforgettable moments at UFC 290

At times, blockbuster pay-per-view events that look stacked on paper can struggle to make good on the hype their matchups promise. This, however, was not the case at the T-Mobile Arena.

UFC 290 just wrapped up and after the event’s conclusion, there’s no doubt it’s in contention for the finest card of the year.

The card was headlined by a unification bout between the promotion’s featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski and the interim titleholder crowned during his brief absence earlier this year, Yair Rodriguez. Meanwhile, the co-main event featured yet another rematch between Brandon Moreno and a Brazilian.

This time, however, it wasn’t against Deiveison Figueiredo, but Alexandre Pantoja. A middleweight title eliminator between Robert Whittaker and Dricus du Plessis was also prominently featured. With the card all but over, this list looks at five of the biggest things that happened at UFC 290.

UFC 290 – #5 Robbie Lawler gets a fairytale ending to his MMA career

Robbie Lawler is a legend of the sport and a former UFC welterweight champion. Few will forget his all-action war against Rory MacDonald at UFC 189, a fight that’s often regarded as arguably the greatest of all time. Unfortunately, since losing his title to Tyron Woodley, ‘Ruthless’ underwent a massive decline.

After going 2-5 in his last seven fights, he realized it was time to hang up his gloves. But before doing so, he gave the fans one last show at UFC 290 when he faced Niko Price. While many expected his younger foe to emerge victorious, Lawler would not be denied his moment.

Within 38 seconds, he tied Price up in a Thai clinch and battered him with hooks and an uppercut that sent him tumbling towards the mat in an unconscious heap. It was a knockout reminiscent of the Robbie Lawler of old, and the win allowed him to ride off into the sunset on a high note.

UFC 290 – #4 Donald Trump appears at UFC 290 and interacts with fighters

Former United States president Donald Trump is a close friend of Dana White. The UFC President has frequently credited Trump for helping the promotion during its dark ages, when American venues refused to host MMA fights and the sport was regarded with disdain.

Thus, it is no surprise that White often welcomes the former American President to any and every event he shows interest in. At UFC 290, Trump sat cage-side with the promotion’s President and even interacted with undefeated middleweight Bo Nickal, after the latter’s knockout win over Valentine Woodburn.

It was an unexpected sight, but the three-time NCAA Division I champion wasn’t the only fighter to interact with him, as Dricus du Plessis did as well after his massive upset win over Robert Whittaker.

UFC 290 – #3 Dricus du Plessis earns a title shot and a face-off with Israel Adesanya

How does Dricus du Plessis keep winning? The South African middleweight isn’t the most skilled fighter in the division, and has some glaring holes in his striking fundamentals, but it hardly seems to matter due to his freakish athleticism. He’s exceptionally powerful, strong, tough and as willful as they come.

It all led to the biggest win of his career, as he TKO’d former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker in the second round to go 6-0 in the UFC and solidify his claim as the next title challenger for Israel Adesanya’s divisional crown. In the post-fight proceedings, ‘The Last Stylebender’ entered the cage.

It led to an explosive face-off, with the Nigerian-New Zealander shouting racial expletives at du Plessis, who kept his composure, despite chirping back as much as he could. The two are now set for what is possibly the most anticipated middleweight clash of the year, given the enmity between the two men.

UFC 290 – #2 Alexandre Pantoja dethrones Brandon Moreno as the flyweight champion

Brandon Moreno is no stranger to rematches. His quadrilogy against Deiveison Figueiredo has become the stuff of flyweight legend, and culminated with him defeating ‘Deus da Guerra’ with the other two bouts being a loss and a draw. However, he hasn’t been nearly as fortunate against Alexandre Pantoja.

Before UFC 290, the two men had crossed swords twice, with the Brazilian defeating him both times: first via submission, then via unanimous decision. While ‘The Assassin Baby’ hoped to exact his vengeance, ‘The Cannibal’ denied him that privilege and handed him a third consecutive defeat in their rivalry.

Now, Alexandre Pantoja reigns as the new flyweight champion, and Brandon Moreno continues his search for a successful title defense.

UFC 290 – #1 Alexander Volkanovski defeats Yair Rodriguez and makes an argument to dethrone Jon Jones as the #1 P4P fighter

Ahead of the main event, much was made about Yair Rodriguez as the most dangerous opponent Alexander Volkanovski had yet faced. However, barring a few moments in the third round, ‘El Pantera’ barely had the opportunity to showcase his skills, as he spent the majority of the fight on his back.

His takedown defense faltered against Volkanovski, and ‘The Great’ simply proved to be too physically strong. In the third round, the Australian countered his foe mid-kick on his open side, rocking him and unloading combinations against the fence, before scoring a takedown en-route to a TKO win via ground-and-pound.

It was a dominant performance, and one that will have many people arguing that ‘The Great’ should be ahead of heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the P4P rankings. With his fifth title defense at featherweight, the sky is now the limit for Alexander Volkanovski, and a matchup with Ilia Topuria awaits.

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