In preliminary action, Ernest Chavez scored a split decision victory over Yosdenis Cedeno in a fight where both fighters were unimpressive. Erik Koch then defeated Rafaello Oliveira via first round TKO. Koch dropped Oliveira and finished the fight with precise shots to his downed opponent.
Winner: Raphael Assuncao, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
UFC Women's Bantamweight Title Fight: Ronda Rousey vs. Sara McMann
With the Sochi Oympics wrapping up, this fight has been promoted based on two former Olympic medalists squaring off. Rousey has used her judo to finish all her fights via armbar submission, while McMann has relied on her strength and wrestling to control her opponents and win all her fights.
Round 1. Rousey moves in and eats a series of power punches from McMann. Rousey clinches and lands some punches of her own as well as knees to the body. Rousey also looks to set up a takedown. Rousey drops McMann with a knee to the body and a few shots on the ground and referee Herb Dean stops the fight. The stoppage was on the premature side, particularly for a main event, but McMann reacted very poorly to the knee.
Winner: Ronda Rousey, TKO, round 1.
Daniel Cormier vs. Patrick Cummins
A couple weeks ago, Cummins was working at a coffee shop. When Rashad Evans suffered an injury in training, Cummins got the call and now is fighting higher on the card on a UFC pay-per-view than he ever did on the smaller circuits where he went 4-0. Cummins got the fight by talking trash, saying he made Cormier cry in wrestling training years back. Cormier felt Cummins violated an unwritten rule in wrestling training that you don't talk about what goes on. That led to a war of words between the two and a lot of tension leading up to this fight. Cormier is fighting at 205 for the first time. He was one of the world's best heavyweights and is targeting a title shot against Jon Jones.
Round 1. Cormier lands a couple jabs and blocks a clinch. Cummins goes for a takedown but eats a huge uppercut on the separation. He continues to land big punches and Cummins has to retreat. Cormier drops Cummins with a punch and continues to pour it on until the fight is stopped. That was a complete mismatch.
Winner: Daniel Cormier, TKO, round 1.
Rory MacDonald vs. Demian Maia
MacDonald has been a considered a future champion by many for some time, but his stock fell in recent fights. He looked lackluster in a decision win over Jake Ellenberger and then in a decision loss to Robbie Lawler. That fight earned Lawler the next welterweight title shot rather than MacDonald, leaving MacDonald looking to get back into the title picture with a win here. Maia is one of the sport's best submission grapplers and he has improved the other aspects of his game greatly as well. He was getting close to a title shot as well before a split decision loss in his last fight to Jake Shields. The stakes are thus high for both here.
Round 1. Maia goes for a takedown at the open but can't get it. He tries again and this time he gets it. MacDonald uses a butterfly guard to prevent Maia from passing into a better position. Maia lands a few elbows and works his way into full mount position. Maia drops an elbow and a few punches. MacDonald attempts to sweep Maia but can't quite get it. MacDonald is able to work his way back into butterfly guard, a much better defensive position than being mounted. MacDonald finally gets his way back up to his feet. MacDonald is very active upon getting back up with kicks and punches but Maia counters him with some hard hooks. Nearly a 10-8 round were it not for MacDonald coming back at the end. 10-9 Maia.
Round 2. MacDonald aggressively moves in with kicks. Maia goes for a takedown but has it blocked. MacDonald appears to daze Maia with a punch. Maia looks for another takedown but again it is stopped. MacDonald continues to land shots and Maia looks a little wobbly, whether it's because he's tired, dazed from shots, or playing possum. MacDonald peppers Maia with punches. Maia answers back with attempts at power shots of his own but can't land as well as MacDonald. Maia catches a kick but can't power through with a takedown. 10-8 MacDonald.
Round 3. MacDonald throws a series of straight punches to start the round. Maia looks for a takedown but doesn't come close. MacDonald continues to persistently throw punches up the middle while Maia occasionally winds up with the attempt at a heavy shot. Maia finally gets a takedown two minutes in. MacDonald stands back up with two minutes left, which could be the difference in the fight. MacDonald stuffs a couple more takedown and stays active with his punches. Maia swings at air and gets caught with more straight punches. MacDonald stuffs a takedown attempt and fires in some hard shots in response. MacDonald turns it on the end with additional punches and blocks a final takedown. 10-9 MacDonald, 29-27 MacDonald.
Winner: MacDonald, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Mike Pyle vs. T.J. Waldburger
Pyle is a respected veteran of the sport who remarkably has been fighting professionally since 1999. He is 38 years old now. He strung together an impressive four fight win streak in 2012 and 2013 but is coming off a first round knockout loss to Matt Brown. Waldburger is a submission fighter with a 16-8 record.
Round 1. After a feeling out period, Waldburger goes for a takedown. Pyle defends it without much difficulty. Waldburger throws a head kick but slips. Pyle isn't able to exploit the situation. Pyle lands a front kick and then executes a beautiful trip takedown. Pyle moves into an advantageous side control position but Waldburger stands back up. Waldburger looks for a takedown of his own and eats a knee in the process. Pyle grabs a Thai plum and lands a few more heavy knees. Pyle gets another takedown at the end. Very good round for Pyle. 10-9 Pyle.
Round 2. Pyle lands a front kick. Pyle catches a Waldburger kick and scores a takedown. Waldburger attacks Pyle's leg but Pyle gets out of danger. Waldburger then looks for a guillotine choke but isn't close. Pyle transitions into side control. Waldburger gets back up. Waldburger looks for a takedown but is unsuccessful. Pyle goes for a takedown of his own and a fun scramble ensues with neither man getting an advantage. 10-9 Pyle.
Round 3. They exchange punches early, with Pyle landing a pair of heavy power punches. Waldburger looks for a takedown but can't get it. Pyle catches a Waldburger kick, holds the leg, and catches Waldburger with a spinning back elbow that drops him. Waldburger gets up and continues. They clinch. Pyle lands a couple hard elbows and a knee that have Waldburger in trouble. Pyle looks for a guillotine choke. He can't get it but is able to mount Waldburger in the process and pour on more punches. He continues dropping elbows and punches until the fight is stopped.
Winner: Mike Pyle, TKO, round 3.
Stephen Thompson vs. Robert Whittaker
Thompson has a very unique style, utilizing distinct karate infused kickboxing. Whittaker won the welterweight tournament on the Ultimate Fighter Smashes show and has a karate background of his own. Whittaker is coming off his first UFC loss via split decision to Court McGee.
Round 1. Thompson throws a few flashy kicks that miss and Whittaker lands a crisp jab to the chin. Thompson uses his typical wide open stance while Whittaker is in a much more traditional MMA stance. Thompson lands a few nice kicks and prevents Whittaker from closing distance. Thompson uses a hook kick and then a really good 1-2 punch combination straight to Whittaker's jaw. Whittaker answers with a couple hard punches of his own and then Thompson drops Whittaker with a punch. Whittaker tries to get back up but gets dropped again and Thompson continues with punches on the ground until the fight is stopped.
Winner: Stephen Thompson, TKO, round 1.
Jessica Eye vs. Alexis Davis
Eye is a charismatic fighter who has caused herself a lot of trouble recently. First, she failed a drug test for marijuana, voiding her most recent win over Sarah Kaufman. Then, she lied about it to the media and had egg all over her face when the truth came out. Still, she remains in the title mix. Davis has won four straight fights and is also a title contender in the women's bantamweight division.
Round 1. Both fighters are active from the beginning. Eye looks to establish her jab, while Davis opens up with combinations of her own. Davis is a little more active with kicks but neither fighter has a marked advantage. Davis gets a takedown late in the round and ends up in side control. She drops a few elbows and the round ends. 10-9 Davis.
Round 2. Eye lands a few nice punches early. Davis catches a kick and takes Eye to the ground. Davis lands punches from inside Eye's half guard. Davis isn't able to threaten with submissions but Eye isn't able to do much except defend. Eye tries to get up and eats even more punches at the end. 10-9 Davis.
Round 3. Eye nails Davis with some hard punches up the middle. Davis is forced to shoot for a takedown but Eye stuffs that and goes back to work with hard shots. Eye mixes in leg kicks and works her jab effectively. They clinch and Eye again gets the better of it with good shots from close distance. Eye is both technically more proficient and harder hitting. 10-9 Eye.
Winner: Alexis Davis, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Zach Makovsky vs. Josh Sampo
Makovsky is a former Bellator bantamweight champion who was victorious in his December UFC debut. In a thin flyweight division, Makovsky could find himself in the title mix with a win. Sampo is an 11-2 ground specialist who won his UFC debut in November.
Round 1. Makovsky and Sampo feel each other out in the standup. Neither man is able to connect with much power. Makovsky takes the fight to the ground. He works to pass from the top, but Sampo is able to control him with rubber guard. The fight eventually returns to the feet before time runs out. 10-9 Makovsky.
Round 2. Makovsky lands a high kick early. He shoots for a takedown and gets it a minute in. Sampo returns to his feet. Makovsky takes him back down a minute later. Makovsky postures up to land punches, but Sampo uses the opportunity to stand back up. Makovsky gets another takedown at the very end of the round. 10-9 Makovsky.
Round 3. Sampo catches Makovsky off balance with a punch and follows him to the ground. Sampo is careful to maintain top position and lands some punches while smothering Makovsky. Makovsky gets up halfway through the round. Makovsky then scores another takedown of his own and looks to pass guard. Sampo gets up at the end. Total tossup round. 10-9 Sampo, 29-28 Makovsky.
Winner: Zack Makovsky, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Cody Gibson vs. Aljamain Sterling
Both these fighters are making their UFC debuts. Gibson was considering giving up fighting for teaching before getting this UFC opportunity. Sterling is an undefeated fighter who comes out of the Serra-Longo team in New York.
Round 1. Sterling connects with a nice front kick right at the onset. He looks for a takedown but cannot get it and the fighters exchange knees to the body from the clinch. Gibson grabs a single leg and tries for a takedown but cannot get it. He gets the takedown moments later. Sterling stands up and then gets a takedown of his own. Gibson wraps up a body triangle from the bottom rather than working up. Gibson stands up but is punished by some shots from Sterling in the process. They clinch against the cage for the remainder of the round. 10-9 Sterling.
Round 2. The standup is hectic early, with Sterling continue to use a lot of kicks and Gibson relying more on combination punching. In particular, he lands a nice uppercut coming in. Gibson gets a takedown halfway through the round. Sterling is able to get back to his feet and land a few knees from the clinch. Gibson gets a takedown and looks to take Sterling's back late, but he isn't able to get his hooks in to put Sterling in danger. Sterling gets a takedown at the end of the round but Gibson grabs a guillotine choke in the process. Sterling gets out at the close. 10-9 Gibson.
Round 3. Sterling grabs a double leg and slams Gibson to the mat to start the final round. Sterling looks for a D'Arce choke as Gibson gets up. He can't get it. Gibson tries for a guillotine but Sterling's head pops right out. Sterling uses body punches from the top and then looks for a rear naked choke when Gibson turns his back. Time runs out. 10-9 Sterling, 29-28 Sterling.
Winner: Aljamain Sterling, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Raphael Assuncao vs. Pedro Munhoz
Assuncao is one of the top bantamweight contenders, having won five straight UFC fights. Munhoz is a highly regarded undefeated prospect out of the Black House camp making his UFC debut.
Round 1. Munhoz goes to work with hard leg kicks, damaging Assuncao's front leg. Assuncao is forced to switch stances to protect his badly damaged leg. Munhoz keeps working it throughout the round, while Assuncao tries to fire back with punches of his own. 10-9 Munhoz.
Round 2. Munhoz goes back to work with kicks. They move to the ground, where Munhoz looks for a heel hook. Assuncao avoids that and begins hammering Munhoz with hard punches from the top. Munhoz scrambles back to his feet and out of danger. Assuncao lands a solid straight punch upon the standup, but Munhoz keeps working his leg kicks. Assuncao gets a takedown. Assuncao is active with punches from the top until the round concludes. 10-9 Assuncao.
Round 3. Munhoz struggles to establish the leg kicks that did him so well early on. Assuncao lands some nice left punches and mixes in leg kicks of his own. Assuncao's better technical boxing begins to show as he connects at a much better clip. He takes down Munhoz at the close of the round. 10-9 Assuncao, 29-28 Assuncao.
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