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‘El Cucuy’ made himself into the phantom of the opera for MSG show

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The benefit of fighting in a picture-sharpening main event a week ahead of the Year’s Biggest Card is that people are going to talk. Tony Ferguson went to Mexico City and fought the former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos as if to send a ripple up to New York. Nevermind that he was above 7,000 feet, an elevation that nearly did Marcin Held in just a bout before — Ferguson is the kind of fighter that could put pace on the sherpas at the Hillary Step. What Ferguson did by beating RDA was put pressure on current lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, and — perhaps even more so — that big challenger at UFC 205 next week, Conor McGregor.

Ferguson distinguished himself as the No. 1 contender beyond any shadow of the doubt. Khabib Nurmagomedov, who has been the honorary occupant of that space for a couple of years, is no longer the guy. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson were supposed to fight a couple of times only to the bout dissipate for one reason or another, which was a shame for A) people who were enthusiastic to see that absurd stylistic clash (as in, everybody), and B) divisional clarity. Yet Ferguson has made it easy through action. He has won nine straight fights in what is the UFC’s toughest division. He just beat RDA in a fight that he started strong in, faded a bit in the middle, and then took command over in the championship rounds. Ferguson showcased well on Saturday night. Very well.

Now it’s left for things to play out.

If Alvarez defends the lightweight title at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden, Ferguson will likely fight for a title his next time out. If the featherweight champion McGregor beats Alvarez to hold a second ….View full article

Source:: mma fighting