“Bitter rivals” and “bad blood” were the phrases used a lot in the run up to one of the most anticipated UFC fights in recent memory this past weekend and the contest certainly delivered for the most part.
Daniel Cormier (15-1) was handed his first loss in his MMA career as Jon Jones (21-1) was able to withstand some early pressure to retain his UFC light heavyweight championship. This title defence is Jones’ 8th to date but he certainly didn’t have it his own way.
Despite an early axe kick from the champion, it was Cormier who looked the more aggressive and pushed forward in order to take away some of the reach that Jones possesses. Cormier had a lot of success within the clinch with his dirty boxing and looked to land. By the end of the 1st round, it was dead even on significant strikes landed.
From here, the bout became a back and forth battle and the cardio of Cormier looked to be emptying and during the championship rounds, Cormier was handed his first, second and third takedown of his career by the champion who was really making a statement as the fight went into deeper waters.
Cormier, despite clearly losing the latter rounds, managed to scoop Jones and briefly took him down but at a high cost of energy and it really showed.
After 5 rounds, the fight was scored 49-46 for the champion by all three judges at cageside.
During the post-fight press conference, an emotional Daniel Cormier was doing his best to hold back tears saying, “this will not the be the end of me. I’ll look back over the tape and assess what I need to work on. I will stand across from that man (Jones) again”.
Elsewhere on the card, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (26-6-1) was able to come through a very tough looking opponent in Myles Jury (15-1) who suffered his first loss against the talented lightweight with an unanimous decision victory. Just as the 3rd round was nearing its conclusion, Jury found himself on his back with Cerrone standing over him winding up some vicious kicks to his opponent.
Cerrone’s victory is his 6th within the division and when questioned in the post fight conference about the leg kicks, “Cowboy”, candid as ever, called them “f**k you kicks”. The popular fighter continued; “it was born out of frustration. I was annoyed with my performance and I need to improve”.
In what was a very dominant performance, the 9 time post fight bonus winner was clearly looking for another $50,000 cheque to ring in the new year with style.
As mentioned in the fight night preview article last week, this writer recommended checking out the Brimage V Garbrandt fight and it certainly delivered. A wild back and forth fight ensued with unorthodox moves being showcased particularly from the newcomer Garbrandt who finished the fight with a huge flurry and put on a striking clinic and managed to get his 6th professional TKO victory with seconds to spare in the fight.
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Shane Saunders, Pundit Arena