Daniel Cormier retained the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship on Saturday night at UFC 192, taking a split decision over Alexander Gustafsson in a grueling and hard fought bout.
Cormier set the tone in the first round with a huge slam takedown, but after controlling much of that opening frame on the ground, the rest of the fight from there took place on the feet.
Gustafsson came back strong in the second round, avoiding takedowns, beating Cormier to the punch, and evening things up in what was the only round all three judges gave to him.
The third round was mostly Cormier, as he utilized excellent uppercuts in the clinch and connected on a significant number of strikes. However, the round nearly turned late when Gustafsson rocked him with a knee and briefly dropped him with a couple of strikes up against the cage.
The fourth was a back and forth frame with both fighters connecting on a large number of strikes. It was a swing round that had an argument either way, and indeed both fighters took the round on at least one scorecard.
Finally, Cormier turned up his attack in the fifth, while Gustafsson failed to keep up on his end. That wound up costing him, as one judge had actually scored it in his favor. A strong fifth round could have secured the fight for him, but Cormier locked it up for himself, and edged the fight as a result.