Three takeaways from UFC 244 prelims

Sporting News

There is too much good going on at UFC 244 to only focus on the main event.

There were seven fights before the main event even started and they certainly were good. Almost every fight was entertaining and there were some crazy finishes along the way.

Here are some thoughts from the night's opening bouts.

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Three takeaways from UFC 244 prelims

Edmen Shahbazyan is the real deal

If there was any question about this before, there isn't now. The 21-year-old middleweight came into his bout with UFC veteran Brad Tavares undefeated but relatively unknown.

After his performance against Tavares — who took middleweight champion Israel Adesanya the distance earlier in his career — there is no doubt Shahbazyan is a top middleweight in the world.

Shahbazyan wasn't in the cage long, but it was long enough to impress. The 21-year-old first hurt Tavares with a big right hand and moments later he finished off the 31-year-old with a devastating high kick to the head.

Is Shahbazyan an immediate title contender? It's unlikely with just a win over Tavares, but make no mistake, the young star is coming for the top of the division.

Give Corey Anderson some respect

UFC 244 was supposed to be about everything Corey Anderson is not. Anderson is a tremendous wrestler known for controlling the pace and landing some punches when he needs to. Johnny Walker, on the other hand, is flashy.

He was being talked about as a potential contender for Jon Jones with a convincing win over Anderson. But Anderson had different ideas. He didn't come out and immediately shoot for a takedown, he stood with the 6-foot-6 star and traded blows. Well, traded is a strong word because it was Anderson who dealt out the punishment.

He hurt Walker quickly and pounded until the ref had to step in and stop the fight. Anderson said the UFC wouldn't give him a title shot with a win before this fight and was met with boos when he won it. But he flashed his middle fingers to the crowd and made his point on the mic.

“UFC, nobody give me no respect," he said. "I train here in New York, and y’all boo me. Boo me now baby!”

Lyman Good is ... well ... Good

Good came into this fight against Chance Rencountre, a journeyman middleweight who has fought in Bellator on undercards and now finds himself on the Fight Pass prelims. But don't let that fool you — Rencountre can take some shots and he can win fights with his length and insistence to move forward and push the pace.

But Good was just too good for him. He consistently countered Rencountre with hard shots and dealt out punishment to the taller man all night long. It took Rencountre three rounds to go down, but that was more a testament to his toughness than Good's lack of power.

MORE: UFC 244: Darren Till worried about fight during turbulent week: 'Eveything else is bulls---'

He put him down eventually and honestly, Rencountre's corner could have thrown in the towel earlier. Good is very good and this might've been the best he has looked lately.

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