MAY 23, 2015
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
=====UFC Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Justin Scoggins def. Josh Sampo via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Note: Scoggins was just the much better fighter start to finish in this one. He did some great work from distance, scoring some nice side kicks to the body and head, and catching Sampo off guard with several strikes he wasn’t ready for. Sampo managed to get one takedown in the third, but couldn’t do a thing with it. Solid overall performance from Scoggins.
-Islam Makhachev def. Leo Kuntz via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:38 of the second round
Note: Great work from Makhachev in his debut. Beautiful throws, excellent ground work, great instincts, really just as good as you can look in a UFC debut. Really fun performance, and Makhachev is going to be a guy to watch moving forward.
=====Fox Sports 1 Prelims=====
A game between the Braves and Brewers on Fox Sports 1 has pushed the prelims to Fox Sports 2. Will update as soon as we’re able here… And just like that, the Braves finish it off quickly in the bottom of the 11th, and it seems we’ll get to the UFC broadcast before the first FS1 fight begins.
PRELIM FIGHT ONE: MIKE PYLE VS. COLBY COVINGTON (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Covington was the aggressor early, and quickly closed distance to shoot for a takedown. Pyle held it off in the clinch, but Covington continued to work for it. They kept battling on the cage for a bit, and Pyle nearly broke free, only to be held on the cage. Covington landed a knee to the groin and that brought a halt to things quick. After a fairly lengthy break, they restarted. Covington tossed out a high kick but it was blocked. He landed a looping left hand. Pyle tagged him as he shot in and stuffed the takedown attempt on the cage again. Covington was eventually forced to back off, but he came right back in for the clinch. Pyle landed a knee to the body and continued stuffing the takedown attempt. Pyle grabbed for a kimura and tried to roll with it, but Covington stayed on him and took his back standing. He finally secured the takedown and planted Pyle on his back with two minutes left in the round. Covington got in some strikes from the top, but Pyle did a solid job locking him down to avoid many big shots. Pyle attacked for a triangle, but Covington got loose. He ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Covington. In complete control right now, but Pyle’s not giving him a ton.
ROUND TWO: Covington immediately scored a takedown, but Pyle worked to his feet quickly and got separation. Covington landed a solid right hand. Pyle threw a desperate right as Covington shot in, but he nearly got taken down. He wanted to attack for the kimura with Covington on his back standing. He grabbed the cage and Herb Dean was going to separate them, but Covington stayed on him and took him down. Pyle tried for an armbar from the bottom but Covington got out. Covington held top position, but wasn’t getting in a ton of offense. They were eventually stood up due to that inactivity. Pyle landed a jab. Covington threw a couple of sloppy strikes. Pyle landed a hard knee and tried to press in late. Covington kept throwing heavy, but they were sloppy.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Covington. Not doing a ton, but not letting Pyle get much of anything going, either.
ROUND THREE: Pyle got in an early knee, then Covington shot in. Pyle tried to grab a guillotine choke, but Covington got out, and wound up on top in a scramble. Covington continued to hold position without scoring much meaningful offense. Covington got in a couple of spurts as he continued holding position, but Pyle wouldn’t let him get a ton in. Pyle tried to grab for a kimura again from the bottom. Covington tried hard to defend, but it allowed Pyle to sweep into mount. Covington tried to lock him down and Pyle tried to get separation. Covington gave up his back and Pyle tried to grab the choke. Pyle went hard for it but lost the position. Good escape from Covington. Covington ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Covington. Pyle may steal it for the close choke attempt, but Covington did a great job escaping the hold. It wasn’t the prettiest fight, but it should be a win for Covington.
WINNER: Covington via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (*+) Not much to that one. Covington was the better wrestler, but did very little with the positional advantages he had. Pyle tried hard for that third round choke, but Covington was able to escape nicely, and that was the only really exciting moment of the fight.
PRELIM FIGHT TWO: URIAH HALL VS. RAFAEL NATAL (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Hall moved straight ahead and Natal hit him hard in the groin with the first kick thrown. As they restart, Hall comes straight ahead. Hall tossed out a jab. Natal landed an outside leg kick. Hall caught a kick and landed a solid counter combination. Hall threw a jumping spinning back kick but missed. Hall dropped his hands and backed off. Natal rushed in and landed a right hand. Natal landed a left. Hall popped in with a jab. They traded kicks. Hall got in a solid kick to the body. Hall landed a good right hand and avoided a strike from Natal. Natal shot in but got stuffed. Hall went for the spinning heel kick to the face but didn’t connect. Hall landed a left as Natal tried to pop in. Hall got in a great counter head kick. He landed it again, but Natal took them both. Hall got in a spinning back kick to the body. He tried to goad Natal in. Hall got in another really good counter kick, this time to the body. Natal shot in late, but Hall kept himself upright in a scramble. Natal got in a couple of knees before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Hall. A lot more meaningful offense for Hall that round, but not an overly active frame overall.
ROUND TWO: Hall immediately moved ahead. He landed a leg kick. He popped Natal’s head back with a jab. He smiled and landed another one. Natal got in an outside leg kick. Hall connected to the body. Natal got in with another leg kick. Hall tried to press in, but Natal perfectly timed a takedown and was immediately in half guard. Hall defended an arm triangle attempt and got to guard. Hall avoided damage fairly well. He tried to get his back to the cage. He got up to his feet. Natal took his back standing. He got in some knees to the leg. Hall finally turned back into him. He stuffed a single leg attempt and got separation. Hall landed a good knee to the body. Hall landed a kick and shrugged off a takedown attempt. Things slowed down a bit, then Hall shot in for an attempt of his own. He got stuffed and they traded knees at the cage. Hall picked him up and dropped him, but Natal popped up immediately. Hall had his back standing, then picked him up and slammed him again. He dragged Natal down once more at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Hall. He’s had more success overall in this fight despite that one takedown from Natal.
ROUND THREE: Hall popped out some early jabs to the body. They traded leg kicks. Hall went for the spinning kick. Natal rushed in and landed a right hand, but only one strike out of about five thrown. Hall landed a high kick as Natal shot in and stuffed the takedown attempt. Natal moved back in and landed a right. Things slowed down a bit again. Both threw out some strikes that were blocked. Hall landed a solid jab. He avoided a rush from Natal. Natal was playing the aggressor in this round, but neither was doing much offensively. The crowd got a little restless. Hall landed a left. Natal connected with a hard one of his own. Natal landed a right hand. Natal got in another jab. Natal went for a single leg on the cage, but Hall held it off. Hall tried to shake him off but got kept on the cage, and they were quickly stood up. That was… odd. Natal rushed in but ate a knee to the body. Hall threw a spinning kick. Natal shot in but Hall got loose. Natal got in a body kick, and half heartedly tossed out a kick at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-10? Could go either way here. Neither really did much of anything that round. Disappointing final ten minutes after a decent start to the fight.
WINNER: Natal via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*+) Solid first round, then just not a lot happening from there. Hall has only himself to blame on that one, his output just slowed down in the second and third, and even though I don’t really think Natal won, that’s far from a robbery.
PRELIM FIGHT THREE: DONG HYUN KIM VS. JOSH BURKMAN (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Kim tried to close the distance early on. He ducked his head and shot in but Burkman circled away. Burkman threw a high kick that was blocked. Kim landed a solid jab after a knee. Burkman popped in with a right hand and clinched Kim to the cage. Kim tried to score a trip and turned Burkman around. He snuck behind Burkman and tried to drag him down, but Burkman kept himself standing. Burkman turned into him and then took Kim’s back off a scramble. Kim turned back into him, but Burkman had the body lock on the cage. Kim turned him back around and again snuck behind Burkman standing. He jumped on his back and put the hooks in. Burkman stayed patient and tried to defend. Kim landed some strikes as Burkman tried to hold wrist control on his other arm. Kim kept landing as Burkman kept trying to defend the choke. Kim went for the rear naked choke with Burkman’s hand in. He had to let it go. Burkman continued to defend and Kim finally dropped his legs to stand again. He kept himself on Burkman’s back and tied up the leg. Burkman held him off, but Kim stayed on him to the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Kim. Good positional control, but Burkman’s got solid defense thus far.
ROUND TWO: Kim tossed out some straight kicks. Burkman landed a solid kick. Kim slipped on a kick. Burkman missed a couple of wildly thrown strikes. He backed Kim up to the cage and connected on a couple, but not flush. Kim tried to chase him down, but Burkman landed a couple of strikes. Burkman went for a takedown of his own, but Kim defended. Kim sprawled and wound up taking advantage. Kim tried to tie Burkman’s leg up for a trip, and wound up dragging him down. He landed some strikes, and locked up his arm for a crucifix as Burkman was turtled up. No warnings for back of the head shots. Kim got in some to the ears. Kim continued throwing and Burkman was a bit stuck. Burkman was in a bad spot. Kim held control of his arm, throwing those short peppering strikes. He got in an elbow. Burkman was just stuck in this spot. The crowd wasn’t totally happy with the lack of progression from either of them. Kim got a warning for a back of the head punch. Kim got in a hard elbow and more punches. Burkman tried to roll through but was held in the same position. Kim landed some hard punches down the stretch. He finally stood up and let Burkman to his feet before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-8 Kim. Burkman cost himself big in that round. It seemed he had landed a couple of hard strikes early, then shot in for a takedown that gave Kim the grappling game he preferred. Not smart.
ROUND THREE: Burkman landed a body kick. He landed some hard strikes and backed Kim up. He hurt Kim with a big knee and started throwing bombs. He backed off and Kim seemed to recover. Kim threw out a lunging strike and missed. Kim landed a hard left and grabbed a body lock. He snuck behind Burkman and dragged him down, transitioning over to side control. Kim looked to set up an arm triangle choke, but Burkman initially stuffed it. Kim locked it up again and looked to pass to the correct side. He snuck to mount and Burkman went out from the choke. Good performance from Kim.
WINNER: Kim via technical submission (arm triangle choke) at 2:13 of the third round
STAR RATING: (**+) Good performance from Kim, baffling work from Burkman. Gave up position in the second, had Kim hurt bad in the third, and again allowed himself to get taken down.
-B.J. Penn is announced as the “Modern era” inductee in this year’s UFC Hall of Fame class.
PRELIM FIGHT FOUR: JOHN DODSON VS. ZACH MAKOVSKY (FLYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: They circled around each other early. Dodson landed a solid inside leg kick as Makovsky stepped in. Dodson landed a hard left hook that tagged Makovsky. They circled around each other a bit and Makovsky got in with a hard strike of his own. Makovsky shot in and Dodson shrugged him aside. Dodson landed a good right hand, then got in a couple of lefts to the body in the clinch. Makovsky again tried to shoot in but Dodson stuffed it. Dodson stuffed another takedown attempt as Makovsky tried to step in. They each slowed down a bit. Makovsky landed a hard jab. Dodson looking a little off his game here. Makovsky landed another left hand, then got in a knee in the clinch. Makovsky landed an inside leg kick. Dodson connected with one on the outside. Makovsky landed the left, grabbed a leg, and exited with a kick. Dodson landed a short left hook out of a clinch. Dodson shot in himself, then got in a knee. Makovsky landed the left again. They clinched late, separating at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Makovsky. Bit of a surprising round. Dodson not very sharp in his first fight back from injury so far.
ROUND TWO: Dodson landed a hard right hook early, with Makovsky connecting with a kick. Dodson got in a knee off a clinch with a punch behind it. Nice, quick combo. Makovsky got in a high kick to the arm. Dodson just missed an uppercut. Makovsky landed a strike. Dodson got poked in the eye but shrugged it off to continue. He landed a hard leg kick. Makovsky shot in, but Dodson stuffed it and they traded strikes. Dodson landed a knee to separate. Dodson landed a counter left after Makovsky got in a strike. Makovsky got in a leg kick. The crowd booed a little. Dodson landed a left hook. He barely missed a right hand. Makovsky tried to back him up. Dodson teased a strike off the cage. He landed another left hook. Dodson got in a couple more strikes as he stuffed a takedown. Makovsky got in a solid leg kick. The crowd was getting a little restless. Dodson landed another short combo. Dodson went for a winging overhand right and they smiled at each other after it missed. Makovsky grazed Dodson with a head kick. They traded leg kicks. Makovsky caught a kick and briefly took Dodson down. Dodson got loose, then picked Makovsky up and slammed him down. Makovsky attacked Dodson’s leg, but Dodson stepped over. He put his arm out and helped him up. Makovsky got in a knee to the body at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dodson. Despite Rogan’s commentary, Dodson had a lot more offense in that round.
ROUND THREE: The crowd didn’t like the hug to start the third. Dodson tried to step in with the overhand strike. Little bit of tentative action early on. Dodson landed a hard right hand. Makovsky got in a body kick. Very little urgency from either fighter. The crowd booed. Dodson missed a left hand. Makovsky tried to shoot in but didn’t get in. Dodson missed another couple of strikes. Makovsky grabbed the clinch and they battled at the cage. Dodson got in a couple of knees before they separated. Way too much inactivity from both this round. Makovsky landed a left and Dodson countered. Makovsky landed the right. Dodson missed a couple of counters. Dodson landed a hard two punch combo. He landed a knee, then a left hand off the clinch. He landed the knee again. Dodson caught a kick and drove Makovsky down but couldn’t keep him there. Dodson stuffed another takedown and landed a knee to the body. Makovsky got in a late knee. They traded strikes. Dodson stuffed a takedown to end the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Dodson. Did more offensively down the stretch, but they were close enough that he could be in for disappointment here.
WINNER: Dodson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (*+) Not what fans were hoping for. It had a few moments, but they were few and far between. Far from Dodson’s best, but that may have been due to the layoff from his injury.
=====Pay-Per-View Main Card=====
-Goldie and Rogan open up the pay-per-view broadcast and run down tonight’s two title fights before running down the rest of the card.
MAIN CARD FIGHT ONE: JOSEPH BENAVIDEZ VS. JOHN MORAGA (FLYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Moraga came out aggressively and they traded punches. Morage went high with a kick, but Benavidez dropped him with a few strikes. He moved to half guard as Moraga tried to hold him down. Benavidez tried to pass to side control. Moraga tried to turn into him, but took some damage. Benavidez spun around to the other side. Benavidez tried to set up for a guillotine, then used it to get to side control. Moraga tried to escape, but Benavidez held side control. He went for the choke again and Moraga desperately tried to escape. Benavidez tried to explode for it but Moraga got out. Benavidez immediately took him back down. He landed a few strikes. Benavidez got in some strikes but Moraga worked back to his feet. He got in some knees to the body. They traded knees. Things slowed a bit in the clinch, though Benavidez continued throwing the knees. Moraga got in an elbow with his back on the cage. Benavidez landed a hard elbow and a knee. Moraga shot in himself, and went for a lateral drop. Benavidez got out and went for a throw. Moraga nearly got his back, but Benavidez stood and escaped a standing attempt. Benavidez scored a slam into half guard. Moraga tried to lock him up. Benavidez went for a choke again late. He lost it but ended the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Benavidez. Very good round, but Benavidez is clearly the better of the two right now.
ROUND TWO: Moraga threw a kick and Benavidez countered with a combination. Benavidez got in with a body kick. Moraga tripped him up with a leg kick but he bounced up. Benavidez barely missed a big overhand right. He blocked a high kick attempt. Benavidez landed a nice combination. He got in a hard leg kick. Moraga landed a short combination. He landed another hard outside leg kick. Benavidez countered a kick. He got in a hard punch to the body. Benavidez landed a leg kick and just missed a big left hook. Moraga landed a hard body kick. He landed another. Benavidez blocked a kick but ate a punch. He landed a right hand. Moraga popped in with a right. They clinched in the center. Moraga got cut open from something, maybe a head butt. Benavidez pushed him to the cage. Benavidez tried to score a takedown, then changed position and completed it. Moraga got his back to the cage and went for a guillotine, but Benavidez fought it off and got on top in half guard. Benavidez passed easily to side control. He got in some elbows. Moraga tried to throw knees off his back. Benavidez did some damage to the body. Benavidez held position and did more damage to the body. He landed some hard elbows from the top. Benavidez rode out the round on top.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Benavidez. Moraga got in more offense than he did in the first, but Benavidez still did more there.
ROUND THREE: Neither was quick to engage early. Benavidez pressed in but barely missed a couple of strikes. He landed a hard leg kick. Benavidez landed an uppercut. Moraga tried to rush in but ate a few strikes. Benavidez got the better of a wild exchange, but Moraga landed a couple. Moraga stumbled Benavidez back, but Benavidez held him off with a push kick. Benavidez landed a nice right hand. Benavidez landed another strike. Benavidez landed a couple more strikes. Things slowed down a bit. Benavidez shot in and scored a great toe pick takedown, going right into side control halfway through the round. He landed some hard elbows. Moraga got him to guard, but Benavidez continued working from the top. Benavidez landed a hard elbow. Benavidez continued landing strikes from the top, staying busy enough. Moraga tried to attack off his back, but ate some more strikes. Benavidez continued to stay busy enough to avoid a stand up. Moraga tried to lock him down, but Benavidez remained on top through the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Benavidez. Mostly one-sided fight for Benavidez there. Didn’t think this one would go the distance, but Moraga showed off his toughness in that one.
WINNER: Benavidez via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) First round was quite good, and there were some decent exchanges in the second and third, but it didn’t really kick into gear. That’s kind of been the case for most of the night.
MAIN CARD FIGHT TWO: TRAVIS BROWNE VS. ANDREI ARLOVSKI (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Browne took the center and stalked. Arlovski landed an inside leg kick. Arlovski stepped in but Browne landed a solid right hand. Browne got in with a good right hand to the body. He landed a jab to the body. Arlovski tagged Browne with a right hand and landed a combination. He drove him to the cage, but Browne recovered. Arlovski came forward again and landed some more punches. Wow. Browne recovered and separated though. Browne landed a jab to the body. Arlovski blocked an overhand right. Browne landed a good left. He landed a hard left hook. He backed Arlovski up and landed a right. Arlovski connected on a back fist. He rocked Browne on the cage with a right hand. Browne pushed him off, but he’s hurting here. He got tagged with another right hand. Browne tried to shake it off and reset, but he’s in bad shape here. Browne seemed to recover and he landed an outside leg kick. Things slowed down considerably as Arlovski didn’t want to punch himself out. He rushed in with a combo but didn’t connect. Browne missed a strike. Arlovski dropped him and landed some back of the head strikes. Browne popped to his feet, but he was wobbled badly. He dropped Arlovski with a right hand! He was too out of it to capitalize and Arlovski got up. Browne was still wobbled badly and Arlovski landed some hard strikes. Browne is in bad shape. They both landed again. Browne was just completely wobbled. Arlovski landed a few more and the ref stepped in. Jesus that was insanity.
-Rogan said Arlovski tore his calf muscle earlier in the week. That’s insane.
WINNER: Arlovski via TKO at 4:41 of the first round
STAR RATING: (****) That’s one of the most insane, drama-filled, edge-of-your-seat one round fights you’re ever going to see. That was incredible. Absolute craziness.
Arlovski said “sorry” to his friend Browne after, but Browne shook his head and said, “don’t you ever say you’re f***ing sorry,” telling him not to worry about that. Good moment.
MAIN CARD FIGHT THREE: DONALD CERRONE VS. JOHN MAKDESSI (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cerrone opened with a switch kick. He landed a hard outside leg kick. Cerrone with a big height advantage here. Cerrone landed another hard leg kick. He connected to the body with a hard kick. Makdessi popped in and connected with a jab. Cerrone landed an outside leg kick. They traded some strikes. Cerrone rocked Makdessi with a head kick. Makdessi blocked the next one, then landed a solid left hand of his own. Cerrone missed a head kick. Cerrone again went for the head kick. He landed a hard leg kick. Makdessi countered with a left. Cerrone got in a solid step-in knee. Makdessi got in a punch to the body. Cerrone fired off a hard leg kick and blocked the counters. Makdessi caught a kick to the body and tossed out a couple of jabs. Cerrone landed a solid left hand as he rushed in. They traded leg kicks. Cerrone landed a right. Makdessi got in a short combo. Makdessi got in another short combination after an exchange. Cerrone got in with a leg kick inside. Makdessi landed a body kick and they traded jabs. Makdessi landed a combo, but Cerrone countered with one of his own. Cerrone landed the leg kick. Makdessi missed a spinning back kick. Cerrone got in another hard leg kick. Cerrone landed a jab, and a nice counter combo to end the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Cerrone. Fast paced and entertaining round. Makdessi’s here to fight, that’s for sure.
ROUND TWO: They traded strikes early. Cerrone got in a nice rush and landed a hard left. They traded leg kicks. Cerrone landed another hard leg kick. Cerrone missed a high kick, but came back with a nice short combo and went back high. Cerrone threw out a straight kick. He backed out of range. Cerrone landed a hard knee and a great combination of strikes behind it. Cerrone with a hard kick. Makdessi landed a couple of strikes but ate another hard leg kick. Makdessi connected with a couple of body punches. Cerrone barely missed a big head kick. Makdessi landed a couple of strikes and avoided a few clinch strikes from Cerrone. Makdessi caught a kick but missed the counter himself. They traded punches. Cerrone landed a hard inside leg kick. Cerrone landed a hard leg kick. Makdessi popped Cerrone’s head back with a jab. Cerrone landed a nice step-in knee. Cerrone went high with the kick but just grazed Makdessi. Cerrone landed a nice straight right, but Makdessi landed a few strikes to keep him from following up. Makdessi landed another hard jab. Cerrone landed a straight right. He landed a couple of left hands. Cerrone got in a nice short elbow, then landed a hard knee. Cerrone went high again but the kick was blocked. Cerrone landed a right. Cerrone landed another outside leg kick. Cerrone cracked Makdessi with a head kick and Makdessi called timeout! That’s out. He might have broken his jaw on that. Yep, that’s indeed what happened. Makdessi knew it right away.
WINNER: Cerrone via TKO at 4:44 of the second round
STAR RATING: (***+) Really entertaining fight with a lot of offense. Makdessi stepped up on short notice, got in some damage himself, but got hurt bad by the more precise offense from Cerrone. Makdessi knew how bad he was hurt and called it. Probably should have been a submission due to strikes, but that’s nit-picking. Regardless, while Cerrone did take maybe more damage than he’d have liked, he looked quite good throughout, and he’s likely to get a title fight his next time out.
MAIN CARD FIGHT FOUR: CHRIS WEIDMAN VS. VITOR BELFORT (UFC MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: Weidman tried to press ahead, and he opened with a high kick to the body. Belfort circled around. Belfort backed away from a head kick. Weidman grazed him with a right hand. Belfort shrugged Weidman’s takedown attempt aside. Weidman tried to rush him and over sold it. Belfort rushed Weidman back and landed a bunch of strikes on the cage. Weidman covered up, but he got busted up there. Belfort backed off and landed a combination. Weidman fired back. Weidman ducked under a strike nicely and scored an easy takedown into half guard. He needed that. He landed an elbow. He postured up and landed a few hammerfists. Belfort tried to turn and Weidman passed to mount. He postured up and landed some big strikes. Belfort gave up his back. He turned back and Weidman started landing tons of strikes from the top. He dropped down some big elbows. Belfort stopped fighting back and Herb Dean stepped in. Weidman played with fire and he still demolished Belfort. Wow.
WINNER: Weidman via TKO at 2:53 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***+) Big time win for the Champ. Things were a bit dicey early, but he took Belfort’s best shots, pulled off a fantastic takedown, and beat the ever-loving hell out of Belfort with that ground and pound. This main card has been fantastic.
-Weidman: “Stop doubting me. It’s enough. Stop doubting me. Join the team now, it’s my last invitation.”
-They air an excellent promo for UFC 189. That fight’s gonna be big.
-After Mike Goldberg skirted around Jon Jones’ absence by calling it a “hiatus,” the pre-fight video package for the main event spelled out what brought us here. Nice to see after they completely ignored Belfort’s TRT and drug testing issues into the main event on commentary.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: ANTHONY JOHNSON VS. DANIEL CORMIER (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP)
ROUND ONE: They touched gloves and Johnson moved ahead. He landed a leg kick but got poked in the eye right off the bat. He didn’t take a break, though, instead touching gloves and coming forward. He dropped Cormier with a right hand! He missed on the follow up, then missed a winging right hand and Cormier took his back standing. Johnson tried to get his arms free, but Cormier picked him up and dropped him. Johnson immediately got to a knee as Cormier tried to stay on him. Cormier almost dragged him down, but Johnson got turned around. Cormier went for the single leg, but Johnson stuffed it. He landed a couple of strikes while hopping on one leg, then Cormier tripped him up. Johnson again got to a knee and tried to work up the cage. Cormier stayed heavy on him. The crowd booed a bit. Cormier stayed heavy and tried to keep Johnson off balance. Johnson got to his feet but Cormier held a front head lock. Johnson got his head out and Cormier held him. Johnson got loose and threw a head kick. He missed a left and went for the overhand right. Cormier shot in, Johnson stuffed it, and landed a left. Johnson may wear himself out too early here. Johnson stalked a bit. He landed a kick to the body. He switched stances a couple of times. Johnson landed a right hand as Cormier came in and clinched with double underhooks. Cormier got in a few short strikes and the crowd booed. Cormier backed off with a combo and they traded strikes before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Johnson. Cormier had a lot of clinch time, but Johnson did a ton of damage and nearly had him stopped. Could still go Cormier’s way, but should be Johnson’s round.
ROUND TWO: Johnson pawed out a jab. He landed a hard right hand. Cormier threw a couple of kicks. Johnson tagged him with a couple of head kicks. He landed a right hand. Johnson threw another body kick and Cormier caught it. He drove him to the cage, picked him up, and dropped him, getting into half guard. Cormier looked to pass, but Johnson held him. Cormier got in a few strikes, but wasn’t doing a lot with the position. He got in a hard elbow, but it was one strike at a time. Cormier went for a kimura from half guard. He gave it up. Johnson landed a hard right hand from the bottom. Cormier went back to the kimura, but again lost it. Johnson’s looking tired here. Cormier finally let go of the wrist. Johnson tried to hold on to get a stand up. Cormier postured up and landed a few strikes. He got in some elbows to the body. Johnson tried to hold tight again. Johnson tried to escape, but gave up the scramble attempt. He landed a couple of strikes from the bottom, but ate some more from Cormier. Cormier landed some hard elbows and Johnson got cut open. Johnson turned and Cormier tried to lock on a choke. Cormier passed to side control as the round ended. Johnson looked exhausted. He was busted up badly at the end of the round.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-8 Cormier. This fight’s gonna get sad if Johnson has no gas tank here. That was not good, and he looks in real bad shape here.
ROUND THREE: Cormier landed a leg kick. Johnson tried to rush. Cormier avoided the big shot. Johnson slipped and dropped to a knee. He got to his feet as Cormier sprawled. Johnson then took Cormier down. He took his back standing, but Cormier turned into him and turned him around. Johnson just too tired here. Cormier went for a single leg. He put it up high, but Johnson landed a couple hard shots to make him give it up. Cormier got him to a knee and took his back. Johnson turned into him, though. Cormier sprawled and took his back again. He landed a few hard punches under the arm. Johnson was busted up and exhausted. Cormier went for the rear naked choke. Johnson tried to defend but was forced to tap.
WINNER: Cormier via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:39 of the third round
STAR RATING: (***) That first round was some great offense from Johnson, but he wore himself out way too quickly, and Cormier broke him from there.
Cormier: “I have a message for one man: Jon Jones get your shit together, I’m waiting for you!”
-That’s the fights for tonight! Join Todd Martin and I on the live post-mortem at 1AM ET here tonight!