JANUARY 3, 2015
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Marion Reneau def. Alexis Dufresne via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25)
Note: Dufresne had one of the single worst performances of any fighter in the history of the UFC. She was essentially a stationary punching bag for Reneau throughout the fight, and got beat up badly for 15 minutes. Embarrassing “fight” for the UFC to have put on.
-Omari Akhmedov def. Mats Nilsson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Note: Akhmedov was pretty tired after the first, but Nilsson allowed too many takedowns and let Akhmedov dictate the pace enough to take a decision in a close fight.
=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: EVAN DUNHAM VS. RODRIGO DAMM (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Dunham pressed Damm to the cage early, but got cracked by a two-punch combo. Dunham popped Damm’s head back with a couple of his own in return. Dunham reached in with a few strikes but didn’t really get through. Dunham caught a leg and landed a couple of punches. They traded punches. Damm landed a solid left. Dunham came back ahead and landed a few right hands strikes. Dunham connected on another combination. Damm landed a right, but got hit hard by a counter. Dunham kept pressing in, connecting on several strikes. He ended another combination with a body kick. Damm continued to retreat around the cage as Dunham tried to chase him down. Dunham cracked Damm with a few more punches. Dunham connected on another hard combination. Damm tried to fire back but missed. Dunham kept pressuring at the cage, but Damm took the shots. Dunham kept pressuring and landing. He rocked him with another right hand, but didn’t over-commit. He kept tagging him through the end of the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dunham. Huge amount of output made that a really one-sided round. Bordering on 10-8 there.
ROUND TWO: Damm tried to come ahead swinging, but Dunham again cracked him, beating him to the punch in a couple of exchanges. Damm fired in with a body kick. Dunham shot in for a single leg but Damm kept it to the clinch at the cage. Dunham landed a few short strikes. They separated. Dunham landed another combination. Damm connected on a couple of strikes. Dunham caught a kick, landed a few strikes, and tried to get on top, but Damm got back to his feet. Damm landed a good counter-right. Dunham landed a right hand out of another short flurry. Dunham went high with a kick, but it was blocked. Dunham kept up the offense, pressing Damm back and landing combinations intermittently. He wasn’t throwing a ton of power strikes, but he remained effective more than anything. Damm tried to fire out a few strikes but missed the mark. He took a heavy breath with a minute left. Dunham continued pressing forward, mixing up his attacks. Damm avoided a late rush before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dunham. More of the same, not quite as damaging as round one though.
ROUND THREE: Damm came out firing and they traded some early strikes. Damm got in a solid head kick but it was partially blocked. Dunham fired back with some more strikes. Damm tried to move forward, and they traded strikes again. Damm landed a hard body kick. Dunham came back with one of his own. Damm tried to press forward again, but ate a right hand. Damm was bleeding from the nose and ear, but he kept pressing. They traded hard strikes again. Damm got in a short forearm. Dunham landed a right and Damm started hitting himself in the face to egg on a brawl. Damm popped in a hard knee to the body. Dunham cracked him again. Damm kept trying to goad Dunham into a firefight, but kept eating strikes when Dunham obliged. Dunham landed another strike. Dunham kept popping Damm’s head back with strikes, but the Brazilian stayed standing and tried firing back. He’s tough, no doubt. Dunham landed another combination, then got in a couple of knees. He landed one more uppercut before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dunham. Landed a ton in this one, should walk away with a clear decision. Smart, effective fight from Dunham tonight to get the win.
WINNER: Dunham via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Solid fight. Nothing special, but entertaining enough. Damm’s pretty tough, but it was essentially rinse/repeat in all three rounds, as Dunham kept tagging Damm with strikes for the entire 15 minutes.
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: SHAWN JORDAN VS. JARED CANNONIER (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Jordan took the center and looked to move ahead. Both fighters almost identical in frame here. Cannonier landed an inside leg kick. Jordan got in a short punch in close. Both a bit tentative early. Cannonier landed a right after Jordan missed a couple punches. They remained tentative as they hit the midway point of the round. Canonier landed a few kicks. Jordan tossed out a hook kick high. Not something you see often from a guy his size. They traded punches in the center. Jordan dropped Cannonier with a right hand to the ear and pounced immediately. He finished up with strikes on the ground for the first round win.
WINNER: Jordan via KO at 2:57 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Nice finish, but not much to the fight itself. Both were fairly tentative, then Jordan landed to the ear and finished the fight.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: MARCUS BRIMAGE VS. CODY GARBRANDT (BANTAMWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Both guys circled around each other to kick things off. Garbrandt tossed out a high kick that was blocked. Both started a bit tentatively. Garbrandt got in a nice inside leg kick. He connected with a nice combination. Brimage landed a low kick that brought a halt to the action. As they restarted, Garbrandt came ahead and landed a nice counter combination. He landed another left and right combo. Garbrandt with another hard combination. Brimage went high with a kick that was blocked. Garbrandt got Brimage to the ground after catching a kick. Brimage kicked him off after a couple strikes and popped to his feet. Brimage got in a left to the body after Garbrandt missed a strike. Garbrandt tossed out a head kick, again partially blocked. Brimage tried to press in. Garbrandt just missed a jumping knee. Brimage got in a nice left hand counter. Brimage landed a second groin kick, bringing the round to a halt once more. They restarted with just over 30 seconds left in the round. Garbrandt threw out a capoeira kick but Brimage was out of range. Garbrandt rocked Brimage late with a huge flurry, then kept landing, but Brimage somehow stayed on his feet as the horn sounded.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garbrandt. Very nice round from the debuting prospect, Brimage is lucky this is going to a second round after that late flurry.
ROUND TWO: Garbrandt missed an early strike and Brimage tried to rush him with a flurry. However, he did a solid job avoiding much there. They traded strikes, with Brimage countering with a solid left. Garbrandt connected with another short combo. Brimage landed a body punch. Garbrandt went high with a kick that was blocked. They traded strikes again. Garbrandt landed a nice counter as Brimage tried to step in. Garbrandt landed a hard left hook. He landed another, though ate a left himself. They traded punches again. Brimage has a real solid chin, no question. Garbrandt landed a nice leg kick with a combination of punches behind it. Garbrandt went high with the kick and landed another combo. Brimage tried to fire back but didn’t really connect. They each landed in another exchange. Garbrandt got in a good body kick. Garbrandt again with a two punch combo. Brimage pressed in. He came back in and connected on a good right hand. Garbrandt missed a jumping knee, but landed a left hook. He connected again in a flurry. Garbrandt landed a hard knee and slipped, but popped back up. They traded again before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Garbrandt. A bit less effective than in the first, but still solid. Should be well ahead into this final frame.
ROUND THREE: Brimage pressed in, but ate a head kick and punches behind it. Brimage landed a hard right hand after a low leg kick. Garbrandt got in a good knee to the body. They traded blocked high kicks. Garbrandt landed a nice left hook. Garbrandt landed a couple of hard counter strikes. Brimage pressed in with a high kick that was blocked again. Brimage landed a leg kick that tripped Garbrandt up. Garbrandt set up a triangle, but used it to get to his feet as Brimage had to step out. Garbrandt landed a good counter-left. Garbrandt landed a knee to the face but Brimage took it. They traded strikes. Garbrandt landed more counters as Brimage stepped in. Garbrandt got in another good kick. Brimage landed a leg kick. Brimage popped in with a straight left. They traded strikes again, with Garbrandt getting the better of it. Garbrandt landed another short combo. Garbrandt missed a couple of hard winging strikes. Garbrandt shot in but got stuffed. Brimage went high with a kick but it was blocked. Garbrandt landed a big combination. He dropped Brimage with a huge flurry. Brimage got back up and kept trying to swing but he was out on his feet. Garbrandt kept the pressure up and dropped Brimage again, forcing the stoppage. Great debut from a very promising bantamweight prospect.
WINNER: Garbrandt via TKO at 4:50 of the third round
STAR RATING: (***) Really entertaining fight, and an excellent finish from the debuting Garbrandt. Especially considering he said after he broke his right hand in the first round. Great performance from Garbrandt in his debut.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: DANNY CASTILLO VS. PAUL FELDER (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Felder landed several leg kicks early on in the round. One of them got in to the groin and the action was halted. They restarted, and Felder continued to land kicks on the outside. Castillo was having trouble doing much in the first two minutes. Castillo landed a couple of hard strikes. He ate a hard right hand that had him briefly off balance. Felder landed another hard leg kick. He kept landing hard kicks. Felder landed a good spinning kick to the body. Felder got in a couple of good knees. He covered up from a strike by Castillo. Felder timed another knee nicely to the body. Felder kept landing kicks. Castillo connected with a right hand to the body. Felder again landed a knee. He got in another hard kick. Felder connected to the body with a kick. Castillo just barely avoided a spinning kick. Felder just missed a side kick and spinning back fist before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Felder. Big round for Felder. Castillo looked lost out there.
ROUND TWO: Felder opened with more kicks. Castillo wound up on some strikes but missed. Felder cracked him with a knee. Castillo shot in, got stuffed, and ate another knee. Felder walked Castillo down. Castillo landed a left. Felder with more kicks to the legs and body. Felder landed a sick spinning back fist and Castillo went out cold. Holy freaking hell.
WINNER: Felder via KO at 2:09 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***+) That’s going to be up there for “Knockout of the Year” no matter what comes in the next 44 and a half events. Unbelievably sick KO.
=====Pay-Per-View Main Card=====
-If your anticipation level for this main event hasn’t been steadily rising tonight, you may be dead inside. We’re only about two hours away now, time to get this main card going!
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: HECTOR LOMBARD VS. JOSH BURKMAN (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Lombard moved forward and threw an opening combo. They both swung wild and Burkman landed a hard right hand. Lombard kept pressing in, with both connecting. Burkman tossed out some leg kicks and switched his stance up a few times. Burkman tried a punch by kicking off the cage. Lombard caught a leg kick and got Burkman down briefly. Burkman got to his feet and tagged Lombard with a few strikes. Burkman again beat Lombard to the punch. Lombard walked him down again and landed a short right hand. Burkman threw a straight kick to the leg. Lombard landed a hard right hand. Lombard landed a leg kick and a hard right hook. He landed another leg kick. Lombard unleashed a hard uppercut after Burkman missed a strike. Burkman telegraphed a spinning kick and it was blocked. Lombard kept pressing forward, but things slowed down from both a bit. Lombard got in a few hard combinations, but Burkman avoided major damage and fired back. Burkman shot in but got stuffed. He sprung himself off the cage again but was blocked. Lombard got in a hard outside leg kick. Lombard landed a good right hand. He got in another short combo, with Burkman covering up. They traded punches before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lombard. Close round, and Burkman had some nice offense early, but Lombard remained the aggressor and started opening up late a bit. Could go either way, but I’m leaning Lombard there.
ROUND TWO: Burkman landed a left as Lombard came in. Burkman connected on a hard body kick. Lombard tried to get inside but ate a left. They both started swinging wildly. Lombard tried to rush and Burkman cracked him with a couple. Lomabrd got him to the cage and unleashed a few strikes. Burkman fired back, and then Lombard rushed a clinch. Wild opening minute. Lombard landed another big flurry on the cage, but Burkman fired back a right hand that slowed him down. Burkman got in a kick to the body. He threw a side elbow as Lombard tried to walk him down. Lombard kept the pressure on with more strikes, but Burkman stayed in there. He landed a few counters, but kept backtracking. Burkman landed an outside leg kick. Another telegraphed spin from Burkman. Both swung hard and missed. Lombard got in a couple of strikes. Burkman stood hands down trying to get Lombard to come in. He nonchalantly circled. They traded strikes in close. Lombard got through with a few punches. Lombard pressed in again, and Burkman dropped his hands. He ate a strike, but landed a sneaky right hand at the same time. Lombard tried to press in again, but Burkman connected on a few strikes as he got close. They traded right hand strikes. Lombard landed a hard leg kick. Then another, and got in a couple of punches before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lombard. Again, Burkman got in some offense, but that one was more clearly in Lombard’s favor. Both still looking for to do damage with every exchange.
ROUND THREE: Lombard opened with a kick. Burkman got in for a clinch, but it was Lombard who took him down. Burkman briefly got up, but Lombard dragged him back down into half guard. Lombard got in a short forearm. Burkman tried to lock his leg down, but Lombard tried to sneak it out. He passed to side control. Burkman scrambled to his feet, Lombard stayed on his back briefly and landed a strike, but Burkman turned around and got separation. Lombard landed a hard leg kick, and just missed a left hook as Burkman was off balance. Lombard rocked Burkman badly with a huge uppercut and more strikes, but Burkman just took it and stepped away. Crazy chin on Burkman. Lombard caught him low and there was a brief delay, but he was alright. Lombard came in and landed a couple, but Burkman fired back with a right hand that connected. Brief slowdown and Lombard moved ahead again. Lombard got in a nice left hand. Then another. Then an uppercut. Burkman was getting worn down, but he kept firing back himself. Lombard missed a right hand. The crowd got a little restless as things had slowed a bit. Lombard landed another hard leg kick that clearly hurt Burkman. Lombard landed a right hand. Lombard just missed a right hand. Burkman got in a few strikes. They traded late. Burkman swung wildly, but Lombard did a good job avoiding damage. Lombard landed a left hand at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Lombard. Even if he lost that first round, the last ten minutes was all his. Really smart, patient fight from Lombard, as he didn’t let himself get worn down late as we’ve seen in the past.
WINNER: Lombard via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**+) Really good performance from Hector Lombard. Smart fight, and a very good win.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: KYOJI HORIGUCHI VS. LOUIS GAUDINOT (FLYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Tentative start to the fight. Gaudinot got in an early leg kick, but Horiguchi took control. He started popping in and out with kicks, punches, knees. Horiguchi continued pressing, while Gaudinot tried to fire back. Horiguchi pressed in late with a takedown, but it turned into a clinch to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Horiguchi. Gaudinot just didn’t do much in a fairly inactive round.
ROUND TWO: Horiguchi landed a big early combination, then jumped in with a knee at the cage. Horiguchi accidentally landed a low blow. Gaudinot tried to wrap up an arm triangle standing at the cage, but he had to let it go. His cheek was bloodied up. Horiguchi tried to power him down, but wound up needing to back off. Gaudinot tried to press in, but missed a few strikes. Not much happening in this one. Horiguchi connected on a head kick after a few strikes, but it wasn’t flush. Horiguchi got in several strikes in a fast combination. Both fighters avoided several rushes from each other. Horiguchi landed a big combination. He got in takedown late and landed a few strikes to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Horiguchi. Still not much happening, but Horiguchi’s a lot more effective.
ROUND THREE: Gaudinot got in an early strike. Horiguchi avoided a few rushes and came back with strikes again. Gaudinot covered up from a few flurries. Horiguchi got in with a few strikes. Horiguchi landed a hard right hand, but Gaudinot took it. Horiguchi popped in again. He landed a right hand as Gaudinot popped in. Gaudinot tried to jump for a guillotine but lost it and got pressed to the cage. Horiguchi tossed Gaudinot down late but let him up. Gaudinot missed a couple strikes. Neither landed anything before the horn. Unfortunately little happening in this one.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Horiguchi. He out-pointed Gaudinot, but that was the extent of it. Much duller than expected.
WINNER: Horiguchi via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (*) Just there. Not what was hoped out of Horiguchi tonight, but it was enough to win.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: NATE MARQUARDT VS. BRAD TAVARES (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Tavares pawed out a jab and pressed Marquardt back. He got in a solid inside leg kick. Marquardt landed a knee in a brief clinch. Marquardt wasn’t getting much going in the early portion of the fight. Tavares got in some kicks. Marquardt finally connected with a hard inside leg kick. Tavares pressed him back and landed an outside leg kick. Tavares landed some more kicks and kept Marquardt backing up. Marquardt landed a punch. Really dull opening round, and the crowd started getting restless. Marquardt got in an inside leg kick. They traded kicks again. Tavares ended the round with a front kick to the face and celebrated like it was a massive achievement as he walked to the corner.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tavares. Not a good round, but Tavares was more active.
ROUND TWO: Marquardt ate a kick and tried to score a takedown to no avail. Marquardt got a clinch but couldn’t secure anything. This is just extremely dull and tentative from both fighters. Marquardt then landed a right hand just after that was typed. Tavares got in a hard leg kick. He popped Marquardt’s head back with a jab, then got in another leg kick. Tavares landed another jab. The crowd rained down boos as things were not going anywhere. Tavares threw Marquardt down in a counter briefly, but Marquardt got up. Marquardt turned him around, but failed on his takedown attempt. They separated. Tavares landed a couple of jabs late and raised his hands.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tavares. He’s winning, but this fight is awful.
ROUND THREE: Tavares landed a combination early. They clinched and Marquardt got in a solid knee. He tried to drop down for a takedown but Tavares held him off. More boos from the crowd. They were separated. Marquardt’s face was busted up from jabs. He caught a kick but Tavares got free. They clinched in the center, Marquardt got in a knee, then ate a right hand. Tavares landed a couple of strikes. Tavares continued to do a little offensively, while Marquardt did nothing, and the crowd continued to hate it all. They traded strikes late and Tavares landed a hard left. He got in another jab. Tavares finished strong at the cage, but that fight was terrible.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Tavares. Just a bad (see: non-existent) performance from Marquardt, and Tavares was just active enough to win.
WINNER: Tavares via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (*-) Dreadful fight. Not much more to say there.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: DONALD CERRONE VS. MYLES JURY (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cerrone closed the distance early, but Jury quickly took him down. Cerrone went for an omoplata and Jury need to defend from the side. Jury stayed patient as he tried to get loose, but Cerrone did a good job trying to extend the position. Cerrone forced Jury to roll out, and he wound up in side control. Nice sequence. Jury gave up his back and Cerrone took his back and quickly locked up the body triangle. Jury rolled to that side and kept defending. Really interesting battle here on the ground. Jury threw some punches behind him to Cerrone. He kept effectively defending, but with the body triangle he couldn’t turn into him. Cerrone switched the body triangle to the other side. Jury couldn’t get free. Cerrone locked on the rear naked choke, but Jury peeled himself free. Really good defense. Jury held off and kept defending as the round wound down. Cerrone went for a late armbar but the horn sounded.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cerrone. Good round for Cerrone, but Jury’s defense is solid, and he’s certainly not out of it here.
ROUND TWO: The crowd chanted for Cerrone as he tried to walk Jury down. Jury shot in but got stuffed. Jury feinted a kick and tossed out a jab. Cerrone landed a hard leg kick. Jury landed a hard kick, and Cerrone tossed one back. Jury landed some strikes from the outside. They were both trying to find the range in the center. Jury threw a spinning back fist but was off the mark. Jury connected on a right hand. He blocked a head kick attempt. Cerrone was a bit cautious. He landed an outside leg kick. Jury missed an overhand right. Cerrone landed a good body kick. The crowd got a little restless as they had slowed the attacks a bit. Cerrone landed a right, but Jury got in a body kick. He landed another hard body kick. Jury tried to shoot with a counter but backed off. Cerrone landed a hard outside leg kick. Jury got inside with a kick. Cerrone landed a good strike. They traded strikes, with Cerrone getting the better of it with a knee to the body. Cerrone landed a couple more kicks late in the round. That was not as good as the first round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cerrone. I think. Jury needed to pressure more that round and just didn’t do much. Granted, Cerrone didn’t, either. That brought this one down a little bit after a good first round.
ROUND THREE: Jury landed a good combination at the cage as Cerrone came in. They traded kicks. They both blocked body kicks. Jury missed a spinning back fist again. He got in a knee to the body as Cerrone came forward. Cerrone landed a hard outside leg kick. Jury needs to do a hell of a lot more in this one if he hopes to win. Cerrone walked him down to the cage. Jury caught a kick and grabbed a tight clinch. He had to let it go and separate. Cerrone caught Jury with a head kick. Jury tried to take him down as he advanced but failed. Cerrone tried to pressure, landing a body shot. He popped Jury’s head back with a jab. Jury was trying to get out of dodge, but Cerrone kept advancing. Cerrone held off another shot and pressed in with a right. He landed another leg kick. Jury tried to get away and Cerrone kept walking him down. Cerrone landed another kick and Jury shot in. Cerrone stuffed it and landed some strikes. Cerrone got in an elbow. Jury flopped to his back and was forced to stand. Cerrone stalked. He got in some more kicks. He landed a hard jab. Jury shot in again, but got stuffed again. Cerrone shot in and just shoved Jury to the ground. He started unleashing brutal kicks to the legs as Jury was on his back through the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cerrone. Statement round from Cerrone to close this out. Jury just got taken out of it in this one, and never found his confidence again. Good performance from Cerrone, though far from his best.
WINNER: Cerrone via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) Not a great fight in the middle stretch, but the first round was solid, and Cerrone’s final couple minutes in the third were very good as well.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: JON JONES VS. DANIEL CORMIER (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Cormier tried to press in. Jones threw a straight kick, then an axe kick that missed. Cormier tried to press but Jones avoided him. Jones landed a kick to the body. Cormier tried to press, but he ate an elbow, then an uppercut. Jones caught a kick then tripped Cormier down and took his back. Cormier quickly worked up to his feet in the clinch. Jones backed off. He landed the oblique kick. He got in a quick jab. Jones landed an elbow. Jones clinched, he went for a takedown, but Cormier sprawled. Jones backed off. Jones went high with a kick. Cormier got in a couple of strikes. Jones landed a big straight left. He threw a head kick that was blocked. Jones landed a straight kick. They clinched and traded strikes. Jones got in a hard knee to the body. Cormier got in a nice right hand. Jones landed a few punches and kicks. Jones landed a brutal step in knee to the body. Cormier came back with a jab. Cormier blocked a high kick. Jones landed a hard punch to the body. Cormier landed an inside leg kick. Cormier landed a kick with a left hook behind it. He avoided a jab. Jones missed a spinning back kick, but got in a straight kick to the leg. Jones landed a nice body punch again. Jones blocked a few strikes, then landed a couple of jabs. Cormier got through with a couple. Jones got in a big knee. Cormier got in a combination. Jones landed a kick to the body. Jones went for a flying knee but missed. They traded strikes at the horn. Great start to this fight.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jones. He’s got such a diverse array of attacks, and though Cormier connected at times, that was definitely the Champion’s round.
ROUND TWO: Jones landed a hard body kick early. Cormier connected on a few strikes. Cormier got inside with a leg kick. He caught a kick and tried to shoot, but Jones threatened with a standing guillotine. Cormier tried to close distance, but Jones held him back. Cormier got in a right hand. Jones clinched and turned him around at the cage. Jones got in a shoulder strike. Cormier tried to grab for a guillotine but Jones was easily out. Cormier circled out and landed a body kick. Jones went high but it was partially blocked. Joned threw out a few kicks. Cormier got in an uppercut in a brief clinch. Cormier landed a few strikes. He got in a body kick and Jones clinched. Jones landed a couple of elbows in the clinch. Jones got in a knee. Jones shot but got stuffed. They traded strikes in close. Jones landed several kicks. He popped Cormier with a jab, then Cormier landed an uppercut. More dirty boxing from both, with Jones getting in a couple of elbows. Cormier got in a knee to the body. Jones fired back. Jones got in an elbow. He landed a head kick, then a couple of elbows. Cormier got in a leg kick and a few strikes. Jones clinched and pressed him to the cage. Cormier got in a couple strikes. He shrugged Jones off and landed a few uppercuts in the clinch. He landed a hard right hand. Jones got in a left. They traded punches. Jones missed a knee. Cormier connected on a couple and Jones fired back.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cormier. He edged it. Not by much, but he was very effective in the clinch, and got in more damage than we’ve seen Jones take in a while.
ROUND THREE: Cormier opened with a leg kick. Jones threw a side kick to the thigh. Then one to the body. He went back to the body with a punch. Jones landed a few strikes on the outside. Cormier got in with a kick to the body. Jones fired back with a few kicks. Cormier closed the distance and got in a right hand. Jones threw a side kick to the body. He got in a hard body punch. Cormier pressed him back, but Jones backed him off. Jones landed an elbow. Cormier got eye poked, and things were briefly halted. Well, only took two and a half rounds this time. As they restarted, Jones landed a hard kick to the body. Jones shot in, but failed, Cormier tried to turn it into him, and Jones stuffed it. Awesome sequence. Cormier pressed him to the cage and landed an uppercut. Jones got in an elbow and separated. Jones got in an upward elbow. Jones got in a knee in the clinch again in the center. He got the elbow in. Cormier got in a couple of strikes. Good battle here. Cormier tried to shoot but failed. Jones landed another elbow. Jones went high, then low with kicks. Jones with a combination. Cormier got in an uppercut. Jones got in another short elbow in the clinch. Jones turned him around and landed a hard knee to the body. Jones landed a few more strikes before Cormier could separate. Jones landed a left, then a right, then a body strike. Cormier got in a right hand, then an uppercut. Another elbow from Jones. Jones got in a flying knee to the body. Cormier pressed with a couple of strikes. Jones landed a shoulder strikes. Jones tried to jump for something but it didn’t work.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jones. A lot more active that round, and though Cormier again got in some offense, it wasn’t enough to take the round.
ROUND FOUR: Jones worked from the outside. Jones landed a hard body kick. He got in a head kick. Another body kick. Cormier blocked the head kick. Jones got in a short elbow and a knee to the body in the clinch. Jones shot in and took Cormier down! He landed strikes on the cage as Cormier got up. Jones landed a side kick as he held the clinch. He took him down again! This time he got into half guard and started trying to set up a choke. Cormier’s fading here. Jones stood over him and landed a punch. He let Cormier up and landed a big punch and an elbow. Cormier tried to hold tight in the clinch. Jones got in some knees. Jones kept pressing Cormier in the clinch, getting in some short strikes. Jones landed a nice combination in the clinch to the body. Jones landed a side kick while in the clinch. Crazy flexibility. Cormier finally got loose, but ate an elbow. Cormier tried to come forward, but Jones landed several strikes from range. Cormier got in a leg kick. Jones clinched. Jones separated with a knee. Cormier tried to chase him down, but Jones turned him around. They jockeyed for position on the cage. Jones tossed Cormier down one more time at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jones. He took that over entirely. Huge, huge round for the Champion.
ROUND FIVE: Jones went high with his kicks. He landed a straight kick. Cormier got in a couple of uppercuts. Jones stuffed a takedown from the clinch. That’s been so impressive all fight. Jones got in some knees. Jones got in a knee to the body. Jones landed a combination to the body. Cormier tossed in some uppercuts of his own. Jones dropped down, but gave it up. The crowd booed the clinch work. Jones landed a few strikes. Jones snuck behind Cormier, but Cormier turned back into him and clinched. The crowd wasn’t happy with the stalled clinch battle here. Cormier tried for a takedown, but Jones again stuffed it, then pressed him back to the cage. Jones landed a couple of strikes as they jockeyed for position further. Jones got in a hard knee to the body. Cormier shot in, but Jones again held him off. Jones landed some hard elbows to the body. Cormier picked Jones up and threw him down, but Jones was right back to his feet. Jones pressed him back to the cage. He landed a spinning elbow to the head. Cormier shot in, but Jones went for the choke. Jones raised his arms and they traded strikes. Cormier hit Herb Dean at the horn. Jones gave Cormier a DX crotch chop afterward.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Jones. That was a big performance from the Champ. Cormier gave it his all, but he’s just not as good as Jones. That’s just reality.
WINNER: Jones via unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)
STAR RATING: (***+) Fantastically competitive for the first 10-12 minutes, then Jones just went to another level. That fourth round was incredible, Cormier was worn out, and Jones did what he needed in the fifth to finish that out. He’s the best fighter in the world, and though Cormier was game for a time, it just wasn’t enough.
-They gave Jones less than a minute for post-fight comments as they ran out of pay-per-view time. That’s what they get for giving McGregor a ten minute spot earlier. Tone deaf move on the UFC’s part. That’s our report for tonight, we’ll have a lot more to say on this one throughout the week, so stick around MMATorch.com in your phone or tablet browser as we continue on with a busy January from the UFC!
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]