With two title fights and some high profile names to boot, UFC 235 was preceded by some lofty expectations. But thanks to efforts from fighters like Diego Sanchez, Johnny Walker, and Kamaru Usman, it absolutely delivered.
Let’s take a look at the biggest winners from the event:
It didn’t start out well for Ben Askren, but he weathered Robbie Lawler’s furious storm to remain unbeaten in MMA.
Say what you will about Askren, but he gets the job done. Although his victory over Lawler is controversial, it will stand as a W regardless. And he’s certainly content to take it.
As for what’s next for Askren, UFC President Dana White suggested he and Lawler run it back, though the former Bellator and ONE champ himself has ambitions to fight the winner of Darren Till and Jorge Masvidal’s upcoming fight.
Kamaru Usman’s performance to capture the welterweight title at UFC 235 was absolutely flawless.
With the win, Usman remains unbeaten inside the Octagon and improves his overall record to 15-1. He thoroughly dominated the former champion Tyron Woodley for the entire 25 minutes of their fight, making it look easy at times.
Dana White has stated that former interim welterweight champion Colby Covington would be the first to challenge Usman for the title, though things could certainly get complicated. We’ll see.
Johnny Walker is pure entertaining, both inside and outside the cage.
The 26-year-old Brazilian defeated Misha Cirkunov with a flying knee just 36 seconds into the first round on Saturday night. This charismatic light heavyweight is one of the real bright spots in the sport of MMA.
Walker (17-3) was sitting at No.15 in the division but he should see a decent bump in position due to his UFC 235 victory.
There is a new face on the middleweight scene to keep an eye out for — the 21-year-old Edmen Shahbazyan.
Shahbazyan continues his accent in the 185-pound division as he absolutely melted Charles Byrd with elbows at 38 seconds of the first round.
The win makes it three straight in the Octagon for the young Shahbazyan who will likely be looking at a top 15 opponent next.
He may not have finished Anthony Smith, but Jon Jones was dominant in his performance on Saturday night.
Going 25 minutes with another high-level UFC fighter is no easy feat. Yet Jones made it look like just that. Jones improves his overall record to 24-1 and he adds to his claim to the GOAT title.
Dana White seems dead set on Thiago Santos as the next man up for Jones.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 3/4/19.