So then, they were probably left feeling pleasantly surprised when all THREE of the championship showdowns wound up delivering in ways that few could’ve legitimately anticipated.
In the bantamweight grudge match we witnessed the former champion TJ Dillashaw knocking out youngster Cody Garbrandt, in what will almost certainly be seen as an upset given that TJ was knocked down towards the end of the first round.
Plus, and this needs to be stated, just about everyone was starting to jump on the No Love bandwagon in the lead-up to the UFC’s second annual event at Madison Square Garden.
Garbrandt made the mistake that allowed Dillashaw to cease his second title reign and, given the nature of their rivalry, that may have been the best result possible for the UFC moving forward.
Now they can build towards the story of Cody eventually getting his rematch, which will only help to strengthen the division in the long run.
But prior to that fight we had what was arguably the story of the night, when the seemingly unbeatable Joanna Champion saw her title reign laid to rest by the calm and composed Rose Namajunas.
The build-up to this one was reminiscent of the Rousey vs Holm extravaganza over in Australia, and in many ways, we wound up with a similar result.
Jedrzejczyk was drawn into a false sense of security following her endless mind games, and now we’re left to wonder whether or not she’ll ever be the same.
Throughout the entire week in the lead-up to the fight it seemed as if Joanna was almost trying too hard to make a statement, and that was reflected in the betting markets where more and more fans were tipping Rose to come away with the upset victory.
She did, and now the possibilities for that strawweight division are more interesting than ever before. Several challengers who have bested Rose in the past will be attempting to claw the belt away from her, meanwhile Joanna will rightly feel like she is entitled to an immediate rematch.
So whilst our commiserations go out to Cody and Joanna, we can’t praise TJ and Rose enough. All four are the living, breathing definition of stars.