Action starts at 10 pm ET
After Anthony Johnson brought the wrestling to the champion in the first round, DC settled in in the second and ultimately did once again what he did two years ago: submit Rumble to retain UFC light heavyweight title. Cormier out-struck Johnson, 85-22 and once the fight went to the ground the challenger had nowhere to go. Cormier just waiting for his chance and started teeing off on Johnson. When Rumble finally gave up his neck, Cormier took it and finished the fight. After the bout, Johnson announced his surprising retirement from mixed martial arts. Cormier gave respect to him and then turned his attention to Jon Jones and Jimi Manuwa, who were both Octagon side. He told both of them they were going to get it and went full heel as the crowd rained down boos.
Controversy surrounded the co-main event after Gegard Mousasi landed what referee Dan Miragliotta believed to be illegal knees. The fight was paused while Chris Weidman was given time to recover. The knees were determined to be legal and the fight was stopped and Mousasi was declared the winner by TKO at 3:13 of the second round. Weidman seemed to be in control after a strong first round that included three takedowns. Mousasi rocked the former champion the second round but he bounced right back and landed another takedown. Back on the feet, Mousasi landed the knees in question and the fight was stopped.
Cynthia Calvillo had Pearl Gonzalez’s back in the second round with two and a half minutes to go, but the UFC debutant was able to survive to force a third round. But in the final round, Calvillo attained the same position once again and finished the job, submitting Gonzalez by rear naked choke. Calvillo collects her second win in the UFC after competining on back-to-back pay-per-views. She won by RNC in both contests.
Thiago Alves turned back the clock and looked like the old “Pitbull.” Alves landed a takedown and out-struck a very game Patrick Cote, 106-69 to collect a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27). Alves rocked Cote in the first round with a counter left hook and then opened up a cut on the Canadian in the third with a brutal elbow on the ground. After the bout, Cote announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.
Charles Oliveira took Will Brooks down at the beginning of the first round and the American Top Team product never was able to recover. Oliveira took Brooks’ back and as he stood up, the Brazilian locked in a rear naked choke and it forced “Ill Will” to tap out at 2:30 of round 1. Oliveira made the move back up to lightweight after a few loses at 145 pounds.
THEY SAID IT:
Charles Oliveira: “I trained a lot to be able to execute that move. I’ve done this submission before in the UFC and I heard my corners yelling for me to hold the position and not to give it up and he tapped. Everybody said that I have a lot of pressure on me for this fight to win, but it’s not real and I felt very comfortable. I just changed gyms, my daughter was just born and I have a lot of excitement to help my family. I want to fight and I want to win.
“I have to talk to my team, but I want to stay at 145-pounds. It’s my division and I feel more comfortable. I’ve had problems before and I didn’t make the weight, but right now I have a lot of professional guys behind me to help me that I didn’t have before. I want to get the belt at 145-pounds.”
Action starts at 8 pm ET
Myles Jury’s first win since 2014 was one of his most impressive. Jury got Mike De La Torre to the ground and landed some viscous elbows which forced a stoppage. It’s the third first round finish during Jury’s UFC career.
THEY SAID IT:
Myles Jury: “It feels awesome to come in and get a win like that, especially coming off losses and a long layoff. I feel like any time you get a win in the UFC, or just get to compete in the UFC, it’s a blessing on a blessing and 99-percent of the world will never know what it feels like to do this and I’m so grateful. In life, sometimes you just have to put yourself first. I love my craft; I love my career and this is what I was made to do. I had some other things in my life that were demanding my attention and I took time and focused on them, I’m growing as a person so everything works out for a reason.”
Kamaru Usman looked dominant as ever en route to his fifth consecutive UFC victory. Usman inflicted damage on Sean Strickland via ground-and-pound for most of the first round and almost earned a TKO in the second. The third was much of the same and the only thing Usman didn’t accomplish was the finish. Usman moves to 5-0 in the UFC and Strickland’s winning streak ends at three.
THEY SAID IT:
Kamaru Usman: “Nothing is different. I put so much time into what I’m doing, my coach is teaching me all the right things and I all I need are the reps to be secure and to really trust in it. I’m starting to open up and trust in it more. I chose some of the best guys in the world and I’m starting to believe in my abilities. This is how we train, it’s good to have other teammates out here performing well – it’s kind of a snowball effect. We train very hard to dominate and it’s starting to shine down in our fights.
“I’m from Dallas. I was raised in Dallas, Texas. I would love the opportunity to go out there and put on a performance for my friends, fans, family, everybody. I don’t care who it’s against, whoever they can find who’s willing to step in there, throw them in there. I can’t wait to beat someone else up.”
Shane Burgos’ calm, tactical style was on display at UFC 210. While Charles Rosa attempted and landed more punches, Burgos countered with accurate strikes and finally KOd Rosa in the third. Burgos remains perfect in his pro career at 9-0 (2-0 UFC).
After getting rocked on a couple occasions in the first round, Patrick Cummins showed his toughness and endurance to hang in and come back strong in rounds two and three to pick up the majority decision win (29-28, 29-28 28-28).
Gregor Gillespie landed a crushing left hook against Andrew Holbrook to earn his second UFC win and add to his undefeated record with the first-round knockout after just 21 seconds. Gillespie is a former D-1 wrestler who is known for his relentless pressure. His hands looked slick and he tagged Holbrook a few times early in the fight. Holbrook now goes to 2-2 in the UFC.
THEY SAID IT:
Gregor Gillespie: “It’s almost like a dream. It hasn’t even soaked in yet. This was my first knockout in front of a crowd that was roaring. This is such a special feeling and it’s as good as it gets right there. We’ve been working a lot on that specific move against lefties, so I mean the proof is in the pudding and it worked. I always think of my opponent as someone who is in my way. I never watch any media on them. I don’t want to listen to his words about me or his game plan. My coaches game planned for me and it worked and got me exactly where I need to be with my striking. It doesn’t matter who I fight next, hopefully my next fight will be at the Nassau County card in Long Island where I live now.”
Desmond Green outclassed Josh Emmett in his UFC debut, taking home a split decision victory, 28-29, 29-28, 30-27. Both fighters are collegiate wrestlers, which was an area of the fight that was basically neutralized. Instead Green used a consistent jab and a patient counter striking attack to take out Emmett. Unofficially, Green out-landed Emmett 62-51 and landed the only takedown of the fight. Green hands Emmett his first loss of his career.
THEY SAID IT:
Desmond Green: “Did you hear the fans out there? I was like ‘Whoa, all of this is for me?’ Before the fight, win, lose or draw, I knew I had already won. This is so great. I’ve had to jump through so many obstacles to get here. I moved to two different countries, three different states, six different towns just to chase this one dream.
“There was no added pressure fighting in my hometown. It was extra motivation. When I stepped in there, I have a lot of friends and family here, so I was riding their momentum and then when I heard them roar and scream my name it was like I was in there with the whole arena with all their power. I was like ‘Yes, give me more.’
“It feels so good to go out there and set the tone for the evening. This whole camp, this whole week I’ve been telling Rumble (Anthony Johnson) and Kamaru Usman that I’m going to go out there and get the ball rolling for them. That we’re going to get a clean sweep and go 3-0 tonight. We’re going to take over this night. I feel like I set the bar for them and now it’s up to them. We’re going to go back to Florida and celebrate.
“I want to fight someone better next, someone higher ranked. I just want to keep climbing these rankings and make my stake for the title. I’m ready. I want to fight before July, this is my dream. If they want me to fight next week, let’s do it.”
Katlyn Chookagian picked up her second UFC win by split decision against Irene Aldana (28-29, 29-28, 29-28). Chookagian was the much more active fighter, landing 124 total strikes to just 99 for Aldana. Dropping her second consecutive decision, Aldana was able to stop Chookagian’s takedowns in the fight but wasn’t able to match the offense on the feet where she was supposed to hold the advantage.
THEY SAID IT:
Katlyn Chookagian: “I put my last fight in the back of my mind. I’ve thought about it as I go on, but I was only focusing on this fight and I don’t think I realized until right now how much I needed this win to get my momentum back. To me, I think this fight was a huge fight that was overlooked. Anyone who follows women’s MMA could agree with that. We’re both new in this division and coming off losses, so I think we got pushed away. When she was fighting in Invicta I watched her and we have similar styles. When she made her UFC debut I was watching and thought ‘This girl is going to be really good.’ When I found out I was fighting her I was really excited because I feel we’re the new age of this division. We’re both really well-rounded and tough, we may not be veterans, but we’ve been training a lot longer and we’re very technical. I want to fight as often as I can, I’m young and I’m healthy and I want to get as many fights as I can now.”
Heralded flyweight prospect Magomed Bibulatov lived up to the hype in his UFC debut, grounding Jenel Lausa for almost eight minutes to capture the dominant unanimous decision win, 29-26, 29-26, 29-26. Bibulatov landed a pair of takedowns and those were all he needed to win rounds two and three in runaway fashion. He out-struck Lausa, 94-31, and 51 of those blows were significant strikes. Bibulatov improves to 14-0 and remains undefeated.
THEY SAID IT:
Magomed Bibulatov: “I feel great. The first fight in a new promotion is always hard. It was a little bit challenging to concentrate, but it turned out well so I’m happy with the result. I wanted to feel him in the standup game because my background is in Karate and I feel comfortable with any kind of standup. When I got the point taken away I decided to go to the ground and take control and not take any risks. I would like to fight someone in the top-10 or 15 next.”