VIDEO: UFC 200 complete fighters post-fight news conference
VIDEO: Brock Lesnar’s UFC 200 post-fight news conference after defeating Mark Hunt
UFC women’s bantamweight title: Amanda Nunes defeats Miesha Tate to win title
Miesha Tate has long been one of the most popular female fighters. She scored the biggest win of her career in an exciting fight last time out, choking out Holly Holm to win the women’s bantamweight title. She defends her title for the first time against Amanda Nunes. The Brazilian fighter has the reputation for being dangerous early but fading late. She won three straight fights to get this title shot.
Round 1. Nunes throws a couple of low kicks early. Tate appears to look for a takedown briefly, but does not pursue it. A little while later, she shoots for it. She gets Nunes down but Nunes pops back up in short order. Nunes stuffs a takedown and lands a hard knee upon separation. She lands a big straight punch and continues to land solidly on the champion. She is lighting Tate up. Tate is forced to backtrack and looks out of it. She collapses and then has to stand back up and cover up. Tate is in all kinds of trouble and is badly bloodied. Nunes hammers Tate with punches on the ground and sinks in a rear naked choke for the submission.
Winner: Amanda Nunes, submission, round 1.
That was a one sided destruction. Tate wasn’t competitive at any point in the fight and appeared strangely out of sorts and resigned from the moment she came out to fight. Nunes now set herself up for some more big fights against the big names in her division. If and when Ronda Rousey returns, it will be interesting to see what UFC does with her. She could fight Nunes for the title, she could fight Miesha Tate in a grudge match, or she could fight Holly Holm in a revenge fight. The Nunes fight may be the lowest drawing of the three, even taking into account the title.
— Todd Martin
Brock Lesnar defeats Mark Hunt by unanimous decision
Brock Lesnar, a freak athlete and NCAA champion wrestler, became the biggest drawing card in MMA when he left WWE and won the UFC heavyweight title. He now returns as a special attraction for what could be his final MMA fight as he is still under WWE contract and performs regularly as a professional wrestler. Mark Hunt is a former K1 kickboxing champion and one of the hardest strikers in the history of the sport. This is a straightforward striker vs. grappler contest. If Lesnar is able to keep the fight on the ground, it’s his. On the feet, Hunt has a huge edge.
Round 1. They circle to start, with neither man doing much at all for the first minute of the fight. Lesnar throws a leg kick as Hunt creeps closer. Lesnar ducks under a big punch from Hunt and Lesnar’s eyes are wide open. Lesnar throws another leg kick.Lesnar stumbles off a jab. Lesnar shoots in for a takedown. Hunt grabs the fence. Lesnar dumps Hunt down. Hunt stands right back up. Lesnar keeps hold of Hunt and looks for another takedown. Lesnar gets him down a second time. Lesnar has side control. Lesnar looks to set up a kimura but Hunt rolls out. Lesnar lands a few punches as Hunt looks to stand up. Lesnar lands a hard knee to the body. He then follows with hard punches to the head. Hunt pops up. Lesnar dives back in for another takedown. He gets it and moves into mount with 15 seconds left. 10-9 Lesnar.
Round 2. Hunt moves forward on Lesnar. Lesnar briefly ducks down but decides not to shoot in. Hunt throws a looping right hand that connects a little. Both fighters are extremely cautious, wary of the other’s strengths. Lesnar shoots for a takedown but Hunt sprawls and blocks it. Lesnar shoots again and doesn’t get it again. Hunt throws a two punch combination that is mostly blocked. Lesnar goes for a takedown and again doesn’t get it. Lesnar misses a punch and staggers away, looking a little tired. Hunt lands a right hand and closes in closer on Lesnar. Hunt lands another right hand that connects a little better. He still hasn’t caught Lesnar flush. Lesnar ducks down for another takedown attempt. 10-9 Hunt.
Round 3. Lesnar backs Hunt up with a jab. Hunt lands a combination including his hardest punch thus far in the fight. Lesnar goes for a takedown and gets it 40 seconds in. Lesnar lands a series of punches on the ground. Lesnar appears close to mount but ends up in Hunt’s half guard instead. Lesnar lands a series of punches and transitions into full mount. He lands punches there and Hunt is unable to do anything. Lesnar continues to work from mount. Hunt gets him back in half guard but time is running out for the Super Samoan. Time runs out in that position. 10-8 Lesnar, 29-27 Lesnar.
Winner: Brock Lesnar, unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27, 29-27).
In his post fight interview, Lesnar gave no indication as to whether he plans to fight again. He shared a kiss with his wife, the former WWE valet Sable. Lesnar did well enough that UFC will likely be interested in bringing him back, although it’s tough to figure out an opponent. There needs to be an intriguing foe to draw money, but it’s hard to sell a title fight after that. Hunt looked lethargic and unimpressive. It appears he may have underestimated his opponent.
— Todd Martin
Daniel Cormier defeats Anderson Silva by unanimous decision
Originally, Daniel Cormier was supposed to fight Jon Jones to create an undisputed UFC light heavyweight champion on this show. However, Jones was pulled from the show following a drug test failure. The legendary Anderson Silva stepped in on just two days notice to take the fight. Silva will have a tough time of it with a younger, bigger, more prepared fighter with top of the line wrestling but Silva is the most dynamic striker in the history of the sport and certainly can’t be overlooked.
Round 1. Silva circles around the cage as Cormier moves in. Cormier shoots in and gets a takedown less than a minute in. Cormier drops a heavy elbow down and postures up by the cage. Cormier didn’t get in any big shots and appeared to want to pass guard. He didn’t succeed in that effort so he landed some punches and elbows on the ground. Silva is forced to just hold on as Cormier lands shots. 10-9 Cormier.
Round 2. Silva throws a front kick to start. Cormier comes in and lands a hard right hand. Silva moves in with a flying knee to the body. Cormier smiles and grabs the leg. He takes down Silva again to loud boos from the crowd. Cormier works in half guard, smothering Silva and landing punches here and there. Cormier lands some hard elbows and continues with punches. Cormier appears to be setting up a kimura but gives it up. The fight is stood up with 90 seconds left in the round. Cormier lands a nice jab and walks down Silva. Cormier connects with a solid right hand. Silva lands a knee to the head. They trade some wild looping punches from close range and Silva mixes in a low kick and elbow. 10-9 Cormier.
Round 3. The fighters hug before the beginning of the round. Silva throws a leaping kick. Cormier lands a big right hook. Silva goes for a reverse elbow from the standing position before Cormier takes Silva down to thunderous boos from the crowd. Cormier works on the ground, landing punches and working over Silva to the dislike of the crowd. The fight is stood up with two minutes remaining. The action is slow back on the feet, with Silva throwing some kicks low and lands a body kick that causes Cormier to wince. Silva moves in wildly looking trying to finish, but Cormier ties him up and the fight comes to an end. 10-9 Cormier, 30-27 Cormier. Silva is lifted on the shoulders of his teammate and celebrates at the end of the fight, clearly more about his effort than suggesting he won the fight. Cormier is booed loudly after the fight and Silva wildly cheered.
Winner: Daniel Cormier, unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26).
That was a really tough situation for Daniel Cormier. Anderson Silva took the fight on short notice against a bigger man in what was framed as a make good for the fans. So of course fans were going to want Cormier to stand and trade, since they knew he could outwrestle the smaller, less prepared man to begin with.
With that said, it would be silly for Cormier to throw caution to the wind and stand and trade with arguably the most dangerous striker in the history of the sport. Beyond the threat to his physical safety, he doesn’t need a loss at this stage of his career and he badly wanted the win. Thus, he fought the smart fight.
The problem was that this night more than anything should have been Cormier getting his recognition and appreciation from the fans for all his hard work and skill over the years when his rival Jon Jones deprived him of the opportunity to fight. This should have been the light at the end of the tunnel after a terrible week that Cormier suffered through no fault of his own. Instead, he was lustily booed and Silva given a hero’s exit. For Cormier, it has been a long road towards the respect and adulation he deserves. Tonight should have been a step forward but instead it ended up yet another strange step backwards.
— Todd Martin
UFC interim featherweight title: Jose Aldo defeats Frankie Edgar
After Conor McGregor captured the UFC featherweight title, he set his sights on higher weight classes. The featherweight division is still in limbo with McGregor taking on Nate Diaz again at UFC 202. Thus, this fight was made to create an interim featherweight champion. Jose Aldo was the longtime featherweight champion, undefeated for a decade before a shocking knockout loss to McGregor. Frankie Edgar is the former lightweight champion who has five straight impressive wins over high quality opposition. Aldo and Edgar fought once before for featherweight gold, with Aldo taking the decision in a competitive fight.
Round 1. There is some hesitation early, with Edgar throwing the first shot, a light low kick. After Aldo got reckless with McGregor, he surely doesn’t want to make that sort of mistake again. Aldo lands a left hook as the crowd begins to chant “let’s go Frankie” loudly. Edgar moves in with a nice combination, a few punches followed by a kick. It’s the best early output of the fight. Edgar looks for a takedown but doesn’t get it. Edgar lands a two punch combination. Aldo still hasn’t thrown a leg kick, historically his best weapon. Aldo connects with a hard right hand, his best shot of the fight. Edgar seems fine and continues to press the action. Aldo drops Edgar with a knee late and comes in heavy looking to finish. Edgar answers back and appears fine. Close round. Edgar had much more output but Aldo landed the best shots. 10-9 Edgar.
Round 2. Edgar throws a couple punches that miss and a leg kick that lands well. He adds another leg kick after that. Edgar keeps throwing those leg kicks, and connects with a solid jab. Edgar catches a knee and looks for a takedown but doesn’t get it. Aldo lands a nice right hand. Edgar is bleeding from the corner of his right eye. Edgar looks for a takedown but has it blocked. He goes for another and again Aldo defends successfully. Edgar lands a couple of nice jabs but Aldo answers with harder ones. Edgar then responds with a hard hook of his own. In general, the pattern is Edgar as the aggressor and landing more but Aldo does have more power. Aldo uses a few nice jabs. Edgar catches a knee but can’t get the takedown. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 3. Edgar moves right back in to closer distance. He’s clearly hoping to wear Aldo down with pressure, something that has worked against the Brazilian in the past. Aldo catches him with a couple punches as he moves in. Edgar then lands a looping punch of his own. Edgar goes for another takedown and it is blocked emphatically again. Edgar returns to the clinch and presses Aldo against the cage. Edgar throws some knees to the leg of Aldo, lands a couple punches, and breaks. Edgar appears to stun Aldo with a punch and moves in with a few more. Aldo does recover quickly if he was in danger. Aldo lands a hard punch right up the middle but Edgar answers with one of his own. Aldo lands a hard knee to the body that might have stunned Edgar. He moves in for the takedown. He doesn’t get it and backs away. Edgar moves in with an overhand right. Interestingly, Edgar’s output has slowed while Aldo is moving at the same pace. Aldo lands a knee late. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 4. Edgar throws out a few jabs and then kicks. Aldo has been very inactive in this round. Edgar is throwing a lot of kicks but appears cautious when it comes to Aldo’s punching power up the middle. Edgar lands a nice left hook. Aldo lands a couple of hard right hands and then a left hook. He blocks another takedown attempt. Aldo catches Edgar with another jab. Aldo has turned it on in the second half of the round. Aldo drops Edgar with a left hand late but Edgar pops back up. That was the clearest round of the fight. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 5. Edgar continues to walk down Aldo but he isn’t throwing much. Aldo connects with a hard punch moving away. Aldo throws a solid head kick. Edgar lands a glancing hook moving in and a harder one moments later. Edgar keeps moving in but Aldo just circles away. Aldo is doing so little, though. Aldo uses a nice jab. Edgar connects with a hook. That was another close round. It’s hard to reward a fighter moving away that much. 10-9 Edgar, 48-47 Aldo.
Winner: Jose Aldo, unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47).
After his huge setback against Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo put himself in position for a rematch with McGregor. The result of that fight could be a defining moment in Aldo’s storied career. For Edgar, this was a disappointing performance. He had trouble dealing with Aldo’s power and couldn’t dictate the terms of the fight in spite of all his forward movement. Edgar has lost a number of close decisions over the years, but this is one where he’ll likely end up double guessing himself more than the scoring.
— Todd Martin
Cain Velasquez vs. Travis Browne live play-by-play
Cain Velasquez, the former UFC heavyweight champion, is one of the best heavyweights in the history of the sport. His combination of cardio and wrestling in particular made him a ferocious champion. However, the grind of hard training has led to him fighting less often in recent years and he lost his title to Fabricio Werdum in his last fight. He returns looking to reestablish himself in what was long his division. Travis Browne is a tall, dangerous striker with serious knockout power. He has stumbled a little bit recently, going 2-2 in his last 4 after winning 6 of 7 in the UFC before that. If Velasquez isn’t at his best, Browne will be a handful to deal with.
Round 1. Velasquez moves in and eats a hard straight punch early. Velasquez throws a few low kicks and then a couple of punches as he gets closer. Browne circles out. Velasquez grabs a single leg and then presses Browne against the cage. He isn’t able to set up a takedown so he backs away. Moments later, he shoots right back in but can’t get a good grip so he moves away again. Velasquez lands a couple punches and clinches again.He backs off, then throws a spinning wheel kick to the head. He follows with a few punches on the feet and has Browne in trouble. Velasquez lands a few more shots and Browne goes down. Velasquez then opens up with more punches on the ground. Velasquez cranks the neck and then goes back to punches. Browne tries to get up but Velasquez pulls him down and goes back to work with punches. Browne finally gets up but he gets stunned by a punch and Velaquez goes back in with big punches and a heavy knee. Browne tumbles down and Velasquez lands more punches on the ground. Browne is just covering up and the fight is stopped at the closing seconds of the first.
Winner: Cain Velasquez, TKO, round 1.
Cain Velasquez answered a lot of questions about where he stands tonight. He looked like his usual dominant self, even pulling out a few new tricks. After a major setback against Fabricio Werdum, Velasquez looks ready to take on all the best fighters in the division. In the post fight interview, he indicates just that, saying he wants all the best in the division.
— Todd Martin
Cat Zingano vs. Julianna Pena live play-by-play
Cat Zingano is one of the best women’s bantamweight fighters, 9-1 with wins over both the champion and challenger in tonight’s women’s bantamweight title fight. She is coming off a 14 second loss to Ronda Rousey for the title in February of last year and is highly motivated to erase that memory. Julianna Pena is a fighter on the ascent, with three straight UFC wins and an Ultimate Fighter crown. This is easily her biggest test and a crucial fight as fighters jockey for fights with the stars of the division - Rousey, Miesha Tate and Holly Holm.
Round 1. Zingano moves forward with punches and then clinches with Pena. Zingano scores a takedown emphatically. Pena then gets back to her feet and they work for position by the fence. Zingano gets another big takedown. Pena elevates Zingano with a half butterfly and stands back up, although she eats a knee in the process. Pena then takes down Zingano. Zingano works her way back up and then gets top position on Pena. For all the struggle back and forth for top position on the ground, neither fighter has been able to do much damage when they gain it. In fact, Pena begins landing the most shots of the fight, and it’s little punches from the bottom. Zingano gets her arms untangled and starts to land some punches from the top. With the leverage, they land much heavier than Pena’s efforts from the bottom. Pena gets up late and throws some wild punches on the feet before the round concludes. 10-9 Zingano.
Round 2. Zingano uses a beautiful throw to take Pena down in the opening seconds of the second round. Pena gets up a minute later and Zingano responds by throwing her right back down with the same judo style throw. Pena pushes her way up and takes top position. Zingano initially controls Pena’s head but Pena gets free and is in side control. Zingano works her way up again, with Pena cranking her neck a little bit in the process and then looking to take her back. Pena succeeds in getting that back. She locks in a body triangle and then looks for the rear naked choke. Pena doesn’t have it under the chin, but she does briefly look to apply pressure to the jaw. She then gives that up. The round concludes in that position. 10-9 Pena. Pretty clear first and second rounds. It will come down to the third.
Round 3. Pena uses a nice trip takedown to start the third. Both women have secured a number of takedowns over the course of the fight, and with varying techniques as well. Pena lands some punches from the top and looks to pass into side control. Zingano is able to keep her in half guard. Zingano looks to work her way back to her feet halfway through the round. Pena takes her back again in the process and looks to sink in a rear naked choke. Zingano fends her off but is left with just a minute left in the fight needing to do something big to win. Pena lands punches from the back. Zingano finally gets into top position with 10 seconds left but it is too late. 10-9 Pena, 29-28 Pena.
Winner: Julianna Pena, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Zingano applauds what was a very clear decision. Zingano won the first round but Pena came on in the next two. This establishes Pena as a legitimate challenger in this division moving forward.
— Todd Martin
Johny Hendricks vs. Kelvin Gastelum live play-by-play
Johny Hendricks is the former UFC welterweight champion, still considered one of the best fighters in the division. However, there are some questions about where Hendricks stands right now. He was dominated like never before in his last fight against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson and failed to make weight for this fight. This is an opportunity for Hendricks to prove he’s still an elite fighter. Kelvin Gastelum is considered a fighter on the rise. Just 24-years-old, Gastelum was an Ultimate Fighter winner and holds wins over the likes of Jake Ellenberger, Uriah Hall and Nate Marquardt. This could be the fight that moves him into the top 10 of the division.
Round 1. Gastelum moves in with some punches but Hendricks just backs out of the way. Hendricks lands a punch of his own. Gastelum answers with a nice 2 punch combination. He goes for the same combination a little while later. Hendricks lands a couple punches and closes distance, but he doesn’t go for a takedown and backs off. Gastelum lands a nice combination and follows with another. Gastelum stuns Hendricks with some hard punches by the cage and appears to be gaining control of the fight. Hendricks clinches and after a bit they separate. Hendricks lands a solid uppercut. Gastelum moves in with heavy punches but Hendricks fires back with quality punches of his own that back Gastelum up. 10-9 Gastelum.
Round 2. Hendricks backs Gastelum up with a couple of straight punches. Both men are employing similar attacks, with a lot of straight punches and not too many kicks. Hendricks is using more hooks and Gastelum more kicks but they are largely relying on the same weapons. Hendricks goes for a takedown two minutes into the round and gets Gastelum down by the cage. Gastelum gets up without taking any real damage. Gastelum then moves Hendricks back by the cage, looking for a big shot, but can’t connect with anything notable. Hendricks uses a nice standing elbow from close range. Gastelum opens up with a few hard looping punches by the cage but Hendricks circles out of danger. They clinch by the cage and exchange knees before separating. 10-9 Gastelum.
Round 3. Gastelum comes out strong, looking to land a power punch to the chin early. He throws out a few big combinations but nothing much connects. Hendricks looks to answer back but also isn’t landing much. While the landed punch count isn’t that different, Gastelum is likely to benefit on the scorecards because he is moving forward and throwing more. He has also stunned Hendricks while Hendricks has not done the same. Hendricks gets a takedown late in the round. Gastelum quickly returns to his feet. As Hendricks looks to get him back down, Gastelum drops down some elbows to the body and Hendricks backs off. Hendricks looks for another takedown moments later but doesn’t get it. Gastelum then looks for one of his own but doesn’t come close. They trade punches late, really opening up to the crowd’s approval. Close round. 10-9 Gastelum, 30-27 Gastelum.
Winner: Kelvin Gastelum, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27).
That was a solid victory for Gastelum, who set himself up for more major fights. Hendricks had his moments, but he looks like a fading fighter at this stage. There’s also the question as to whether he will continue to fight at welterweight, where he has struggled to make weight, or middleweight, where he would be undersized.
— Todd Martin
T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao live play-by-play
This is a crucial fight in the UFC bantamweight division, pitting two of the division’s top contenders in a bout likely to determine the next title challenger. T.J. Dillashaw is the former champion who lost his title to Dominick Cruz in a very close and competitive bout in January. He has an excellent wrestling background and has added dynamic striking as well. His most recent loss prior to Cruz came against Assuncao via split decision in 2013. That is part of a seven fight winning streak that Assuncao is riding. The caveat is that Assuncao hasn’t fought since October of 2014, so he may be rusty. The stakes are high for these two.
Round 1. Dillashaw is dancing around a lot early, showcasing his footwork. Assuncao misses badly on a few early strike attempts. Dillashaw finally moves in with a two punch combination. Assuncao is throwing more but isn’t landing much. Dillashaw throws a big hook that lands in a glancing way. Dillashaw begins to throw more as the round progresses, although he isn’t landing a lot either. Assuncao catches a kick attempt and lands a knee. Dillashaw lands a head kick and a punch afterwards that seem to be pretty solid. They trade head kicks. Assuncao lands a nice combination. The action is heavy late as the round concludes. 10-9 Dillashaw.
Round 2. Dillashaw pushes forward confidently, giving Assuncao a bloody nose with his strikes. As Dillashaw moves in, he eats a solid counter hook. Neither fighter is landing a lot, but Dillashaw is definitely landing more as the fight progresses. Assuncao is having trouble catching Dillahaw as he moves in. As Dillashaw moves in, Assuncao does score a takedown but Dillashaw stands right back up. Dillashaw knocks Assuncao down but can’t keep top position. He goes for a guillotine choke briefly but gives that up and Assuncao returns to his feet. 10-9 Dillashaw.
Round 3. Dillashaw once again goes back to dancing around on his feet. He has very much fallen in love with movement and giving different looks. He lands a couple punches early. Dillashaw looks for a takedown but has it defended. There isn’t a lot landing on either end as both fighters are sound defensively and try to avoid taking risks offensively. Dillashaw prevents a takedown attempt. Dillashaw gets a takedown in the final minute. Assuncao gets up and the fight ends. 10-9 Dillashaw, 30-27 Dillashaw.
Winner: T.J. Dillashaw, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Dillashaw solidly won that fight. It wasn’t a spectacular performance by any means, but Assuncao is a difficult opponent to look great against. The question is now what Dillashaw will do next. He could rematch Cruz for the title or he could take a grudge match with his former mentor Urijah Faber.
— Todd Martin
Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin live play-by-play
Sage Northcutt arrived on the scene in the UFC with a lot of publicity. With his looks, youth (he’s still just 20) and athleticism, UFC fast tracked him into high profile positions. However, his last fight was a big setback, an upset submission loss to Bryan Barberena. Worse, Northcutt has spent the last six months making a long string of excuses for his performances, something most fighters shy away from doing. Here, he’s given another prominent opportunity to look good against a carefully selected opponent. Marin is 8-3 with nothing resembling a notable win.
Round 1. Northcutt throws out a few jabs early and then attacks with a head kick that doesn’t connect fully. Northcutt tries the head kick again a little while later and connects better. Marin clinches. He pushes through and gets a takedown. Northcutt looks for a guillotine choke but doesn’t come close. Northcutt then looks for a leg lock. He does’t get anything but uses that to take top position. Marin looks to stand up, but Northcutt takes his back in the process. Marin works his way out of danger and returns to his feet. Northcutt lands a couple knees in the clinch and then shoots for a takedown that is stuffed. Marin takes Northcutt’s back on the feet but loses it. Northcutt lands a few quality punches and looks to control Marin on the ground. Marin works his way into top position as the round ends. 10-9 Northcutt.
Round 2. Northcutt lands a nice right hand early. Marin keeps pushing forward. Northcutt changes levels and goes for a takedown but can’t get it. Northcutt tries to pull Marin down but can’t take top position. Marin gets top position. He takes North-South position then extends an armbar. Northcutt looks in big trouble but he works his way out and ends up in top position. Northcutt lands some punches from there then Marin gets up and regains top position. He works back into North-South and then grabs a kimura from the top. He cranks it a bit but can’t finish so he transitions into an armbar. He loses that too. 10-9 Marin.
Round 3. The fighters clinch and Marin looks for a trip takedown. He doesn’t get it at first but then gets a takedown by the Octagon. Northcutt works his way back up to his feet. Marin keeps hold of Northcutt and tries to work him down but he can’t do it and eats some elbows in the process. Marin finally gets the takedown. Northcutt attempts to stand back up. Marin tries to keep him down but in the process Northcutt gains top position. He lands an elbow and then some punches from the top. 10-9 Northcutt, 29-28 Northcutt.
Winner: Sage Northcutt, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Northcutt was in some bad positions and showed heart in working his way through them and pulling out the win in the third. But make no mistake - Northcutt just isn’t a very good fighter at this stage of his career and barely survived a soft, carefully selected opponent. The UFC’s marketing of Northcutt more closely resembles WWE’s approach of emphasizing cosmetics over talent than UFC’s usual approach.
— Todd Martin
Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Lauzon live play-by-play
Diego Sanchez has been in the UFC since the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, one of the few competitors from that season still competing in the sport. However, he has struggled for years, mainly relying on terrible decisions from judges to carry him through. That changed in his most recent fight, a solid and clear victory over Jim Miller. Next up for him is Joe Lauzon, another longtime veteran with an exciting style and a habit of securing plenty of performance bonuses.
Round 1. Sanchez lands the first quality shot of the fight, a kick to the body. He lands a leg kick after. Lauzon hurt him with a series of hard punches. Sanchez goes down and Lauzon keeps throwing big punchez. Sanchez gets up but Lauzon continues connecting hard to the chin. Sanchez is in massive trouble and is basically out on his feet. Lauzon knocks out his mouthpiece and Sanchez staggers away from Lauzon in a daze. Finally the referee steps in. It was a late stoppage by the official, as Sanchez was just getting repeatedly hammered on the feet and was clearly in no condition to defend himself.
Winner: Joe Lauzon, TKO, round 1.
That was just the second stoppage loss of Sanchez’s career. He is notoriously durable although that often leads to him taking too much punishment. Here, he still took too much punishment because the referee was very slow in stopping the fight. For Lauzon, that’s a reminder of the dynamic type of offense he is capable of putting together when healthy and on his game.
— Todd Martin
Gegard Mousasi vs. Thiago Santos live play-by-play
Gegard Mousasi, the former Dream and Strikeforce champion, is one of the best middleweights in the world. He is distinctive for his often exceedingly unemotional demeanor. With three wins in his last four, he wants to work his way into the title picture. Thiago Santos is a surging force. He has won four straight fights including spectacular knockouts of Steve Bosse and Nate Marquardt. Mousasi is easily the biggest test of his career.
Round 1. Both fighters exercise caution early, knowing the danger that the other possesses. Mousasi moves in for a potential takedown and eats a hard punch. Mousasi is the fighter moving forward, occasionally throwing out a jab to establish range. Mousasi moves in with some hard punches that rock Santos. He follows with a long series of looping punches and Santos goes down. Mousasi goes to the ground with him. As Santos stands up, Mousasi looks for a choke but doesn’t come close. Mousasi then grabs a bodylock and throws Santos back down to the mat. He lands in side control and transitions into knee on belly position. Santos pulls Mousasi into his half guard and then full guard. Mousasi lands punches from the top from there. Mousasi rises up for a harder shot. Santos looks to take advantage of that to stand up, but Mousasi clocks him with a vicious punch as he gets up and Santos goes right back down hard. Mousasi adds a few additional punches on the ground and it is over.
Winner: Gegard Mousasi, TKO, round 1.
This win, an emphatic one, is Mousasi’s fourth win in five fights. He has a crowd pleasing style of fighting but not a big personality, which has limited him. Still, he merits fights with the elite of the division. For Santos, he stepped up in competition and Mousasi was just too much.
— Todd Martin
Jim Miller vs. Takanori Gomi live play-by-play
Opening up the UFC 200 card is a fight between former Pride lightweight champion Takanori Gomi and longtime lightweight contender Jim Miller. Gomi is considered one of the best lightweights in the history of the sport, a knockout striker who dominated Pride for years. Miller is a grinding wrestler who relies on his toughness to pull out fights. Both have struggled in recent years and could desperately use a win here.
Round 1. Gomi moves forward on Miller, looking to close distance. However, it is Miller that lands the first few hard shots. Gomi goes down after one and Miller takes his back. Gomi attempts to stand up with Miller hanging on to his back. Miller is successful in pulling Gomi down and he looks to lock in a rear naked choke. He controls Gomi’s body with a body triangle while attempting to slip in the choke. Gomi does a nice job defending so Miller elects to use punches instead and he opens up with a series of heavy shots until the referee elects to stop the contest.
Winner: Jim Miller, TKO, round 1.
In a comic scene, commentator Joe Rogan has difficulty finding a working microphone to interview Miller. Miller says this was a big one for him given he has had a tough two years. Miller now has wins on both UFC 100 and UFC 200. The only other fighter who has a chance to earn that distinction is Brock Lesnar, who competes later in the evening.
— Todd Martin
Joanna Jedrzejczyk retains UFC straw-weight belt over Claudia Gadelha
Joanna Jedrzejczyk endured early takedowns by challenger Claudia Gadelha, then found her patented fight game and showed why she’s champion.
The Polish Jedrzejczyk rallied by hammering Gadelha with punches in stand-up action for the final three rounds, retaining her belt and remaining unbeaten (12-0) in the UFC straw-weight title bout at MGM Grand.
Judges awarded Jedrzejczyk the unanimous decision by scores of 48-46, 48-45, 48-46.
Jedrzejczyk showcases championship mettle against Gadelha
UFC women’s strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk faced early adversity in her title defense against top contender Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha grinded on Jedrzejczyk, taking the champion down repeatedly and landing some hard shots as well in the exchanges. Through 2 1/2 rounds, it looked like Gadelha might take the title away from the Polish champion.
The problem for Gadelha was that Jedrzejczyk kept coming. Getting up over and over, the champion eventually depleted the challenger’s energy reserves. From there, Gadelha was a sitting duck for Jedrzejczyk. The champion punished her in the standup throughout the second half of the fight, turning in a dominant performance and pulling away in emphatic fashion. The champion retained her title via unanimous decision, 48-46, 48-45 and 48-46. The Times scored the fight 48-46 for Jedrzejczyk.
After the fight, Jedrzejczyk made an effort to reconcile with her fierce rival Gadelha.
“I said after our first fight she is No. 1 and I am the champion,” Jedrzejczyk said. “I have so much respect for her.” She then apologized to Gadelha for the contentious war of words between the two. She also expressed her interest in fighting at Madison Square Garden later in the year. With the win, Jedrzejczyk improved to 12-0, while Gadelha fell to 13-2.
— Todd Martin
Sanchez outwrestles Rountree for Ultimate Fighter title
The crowd didn’t much like it, but Andrew Sanchez’s wrestling was too much for Khalil Rountree in the finals of the current season of the Ultimate Fighter. Sanchez took Rountree down repeatedly and kept him down for almost the entirety of the fight. He wasn’t able to do much damage or threaten with submissions, but Rountree was unable to get back up and that was the difference in the fight. Sanchez, 8-2, got the unanimous nod (30-25, 30-25, 30-26) over the 4-1 Rountree.
— Todd Martin
Suarez rolls to Ultimate Fighter title
Tatiana Suarez was the heavy favorite going into her Ultimate Fighter championship fight against Amanda Cooper and she justified that with her performance. Suarez took Cooper down, dominated her on the ground with strikes, and finished the fight with a D’Arce choke for the first round submission. Suarez is now 4-0 professionally while Cooper falls to 1-2.
— Todd Martin
Brooks victorious in UFC debut over game Pearson
One of the top lightweights in the sport, Will Brooks left Bellator as its lightweight champion in order to prove himself in the UFC ranks. His first test was Ross Pearson, a tough British veteran who did not make it easy on Brooks in Brooks’ UFC debut. Pearson fought evenly with Brooks for much of the fight and really came on strong in the third and final round. There was some drama when the judges’ scorecards were read, but all three scored it for Brooks, 29-28. Brooks, now 19-1, said after the bout that he is coming after UFC lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, another fighter who came from Bellator to UFC.
— Todd Martin
After scrambling to make weight, Miesha Tate is eager to prove worthy of top billing
It makes perfect sense that a sport popularized by surprise outcomes has been checkered all week by unexpected, dramatic happenings setting up Saturday’s UFC 200.
Even Friday’s weigh-in took an alarming turn when, as the seconds ticked down toward a 10 a.m. deadline, main-event fighter Miesha Tate hadn’t reached the scale.
Tate, making her first women’s bantamweight title defense when she meets Brazilian Amanda Nunes, apparently had been relying on a personal scale that was incorrectly calibrated, After using the final minutes to sweat off a few crucial ounces, she met the limit by just half a pound at 134.5.
Tate spent nearly five years residing in Ronda Rousey’s shadow after losing twice to the former champion from Venice.
Doo Ho Choi is something special
Few nicknames in MMA are more fitting than Doo Ho Choi’s “Korean Superboy” nickname. The 25-year-old Choi could pass for a high school student, but when this Clark Kent dons his cape, he is a ferocious competitor. Choi improved his MMA record to 15-1 with his eighth consecutive knockout win, this time against respected veteran Thiago Tavares. The nine-year UFC veteran Tavares took Choi down early, but Choi worked his way back to his feet and went to town from there. Choi dropped Tavares with a straight right hand and then knocked him out with another right on the ground. It was a spectacular finish from Choi, whose unique persona and exciting style make him a potential star in the featherweight division.
— Todd Martin
Silva blitzes Holbrook
Joaquim Silva has a scary look, a menacing glare that suggests he means business. Against Andrew Holbrook, he showed that he has the skills to back that up. Silva hurt the formerly undefeated Holbrook with a punch and then followed up in devastating fashion, bouncing Holbrook’s head off the canvas with repeated punches until the referee called a halt to the proceedings at just 34 seconds of the first round. Silva improves to 9-0 while Holbrook falls to 11-1.
— Todd Martin
Maynard returns to winner’s circle
Former UFC lightweight title contender Gray Maynard was considered one of the best 155 pound fighters in the sport at one time. The former Michigan State wrestler then fell on hard times. A pair of fights with Frankie Edgar for the lightweight title netted only frustration. He dominated Edgar early only for Edgar to come storming back both times for a draw and Edgar win. A strange inactive five-round fight with Clay Guida followed, then four straight losses.
Making his featherweight debut Friday night, Maynard finally rebounded. Maynard showed heart in walking through some stiff shots from his opponent Fernando Bruno and working his way out of a dangerous choke in the third. He also showed skill in landing quality shots of his own and significant takedowns. This produced a unanimous decision win (30-27, 30-27, 30-27), Maynard’s first since 2012 and one that he can be proud of.
— Todd Martin
Nicolau wins flyweight snoozefest
Since the UFC implemented a 125-pound division, it has been greeted alternately with apathy and outright rejection. Friday night was another bad night for the division, as the Las Vegas crowd roundly booed a boring fight that featured plenty of movement but little in the way of successful offense. Matheus Nicolau was declared the winner over John Moraga by split decision, 29-28, 28-29, 29-28.
— Todd Martin
Stansbury decisions Hendricks in TUF showdown
Cory Hendricks and Josh Stansbury, competitors on the most recent season of the Ultimate Fighter, both had their moments on the feet Friday night, but Stansbury’s wrestling was the difference as he picked up a majority decision win (29-27, 29-27, 28-28). The win will earn Stansbury future UFC opportunities while Hendricks will likely need to return to the regional scene.
— Todd Martin
‘Mutante’ ekes one out
Cezar “Mutante” Ferreira entered the UFC with plenty of hype. The winner of the much-watched first season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,” Ferreira was viewed as a potential star in the Brazilian market. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out quite that way for Ferreira. Three first-round knockout losses to C.B. Dollaway, Sam Alvey and Jorge Masvidal left him struggling to retain a spot in the UFC. Friday night, Ferreira did just enough to pick up a win against Anthony Smith. Smith landed the better shots throughout, but Ferreira relied on takedowns to pick up a unanimous decision victory (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Ferreira, now 10-5, was unimpressive but will live to fight another day in the UFC. Smith, 25-12, will go back to the drawing board.
— Todd Martin
Kevin Lee scores biggest win of career
Kevin Lee is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC lightweight division and the 23-year-old rode a 12-2 record into Friday’s bout against the biggest challenge of his career. His opponent would be the Australian Jake Matthews, another young (21), highly regarded prospect with a 10-1 record. Lee handed Matthews the second loss of his career, taking Matthews down, taking his back, and landing punches until the referee stopped the bout. It was a fight that could set up Lee for even bigger things in the future.
— Todd Martin
Jiangling bests Zafir; wants motorcycle
Li Jiangling picked up a first round win in the opener of Friday’s Ultimate Fighter Finale, knocking out Anton Zafir with punches on the ground. Jiangling was able to generate significant power on the ground in quick order to put away Zafir. After the fight, an excited Jiangling celebrated his victory by noting a sponsor logo in the middle of the Octagon and declaring that he hoped he would win a bonus so he could buy a motorcycle.
— Todd Martin
UFC 200 weigh-in results
The fighters for UFC 200 weighed in early Friday morning, with all fighters making weight except Johny Hendricks. Hendricks, who has had difficulty making weight in the past, came in at 171.25 pounds and missed the welterweight limit by a quarter pound. He will be fined and the money will go to his opponent Kelvin Gastelum. All other fighters made weight although a few seemed to struggle, including women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate.
At the ceremonial public weigh-in later in the afternoon, Anderson Silva was enthusiastic and happy for his fight with Daniel Cormier taken on just a few weeks notice.
“I think this is a personal challenge,” Silva said with a smile on his face. “I’ve been through a lot in my career. This is a big opportunity and win or lose I wanted to come in here and challenge myself.”
Cormier has been through a rough week. His fight with Jon Jones, a legacy defining opportunity, was canceled when Jones failed a drug test. However, Cormier now has the opportunity to take on a fighter many believe to be the greatest of all time.
“UFC came through,” Cormier said. “I get to fight the greatest fighter of all time. I’m excited, happy, honored that Anderson stepped up. But he’s gotta get it.”
Former UFC champion and WWE professional wrestling star Brock Lesnar will make his UFC return in the co-main event of UFC 200. His opponent is Mark Hunt, who brought the laughs at the public weigh-ins.
When asked what he thought when told Lesnar would be his opponent, Hunt responded simply, “I thought he was retired.” When then asked what he thought when told Lesnar wasn’t retired, Hunt retorted, “I’m going to punch his face in.”
Complete weigh-in results:
Miesha Tate (134.5) vs. Amanda Nunes (135)
Brock Lesnar (265.5) vs. Mark Hunt (264.5)
Daniel Cormier (206) vs. Anderson Silva (198.5)
Jose Aldo (145) vs. Frankie Edgar (144.5)
Cain Velasquez (242.5) vs. Travis Browne (244)
Cat Zingano (135.5) vs. Julianna Pena (135.5)
Johny Hendricks (171.25) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (171)
TJ Dillashaw (136) vs. Raphael Assuncao (135.5)
Sage Northcutt (156) vs. Enrique Marin (156)
Joe Lauzon (156) vs. Diego Sanchez (155)
Gegard Mousasi (185.5) vs. Thiago Santos (186)
Takanori Gomi (156) vs. Jim Miller (155.5)
— Todd Martin
UFC lightweight title: Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Eddie Alvarez round-by-round coverage
Rafael Dos Anjos and Eddie Alvarez will fight for the UFC lightweight title in the main event of UFC’s first show on UFC 200 week.
Dos Anjos was considered something of a journeyman fighter back in 2011, with a 4-4 UFC record. He then went on a remarkable surge. Dos Anjos would win 10 of his next 11 UFC fights, forcing himself into the UFC lightweight title picture and capturing the title in a major upset and dominant performance over Anthony Pettis. Dos Anjos now seeks his second title defense.
Eddie Alvarez is a rugged Philadelphia fighter, known for epic brawls early in his career for promotions like Dream and Bellator. He finally made his way to UFC, where he has altered his style. By neutralizing Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis in dull, split-decision wins, he earned himself a title shot against Dos Anjos. It’s the opportunity he has sought for many years.
Round 1. Alvarez opens with a hard leg kick. Alvarez lands another moments later. Dos Anjos looks to establish his jab and then throws a hard leg kick of his own to the inside. Dos Anjos is pushing the pace while Alvarez circles on the outside. Dos Anjos throws a high kick that misses. Alvarez goes for a takedown but Dos Anjos threatens with a choke, gets up, and lands a knee to the head on the break. Dos Anjos then shoots for a takedown of his own halfway through the round. Alvarez blocks that. Dos Anjos lands a big head kick. Alvarez staggers Dos Anjos with a massive right hand and looks to finish. He punishes Dos Anjos with a series of huge hooks and Dos Anjos is just trying to hang on. Dos Anjos is in big trouble. Alvarez goes for a flying knee but falls down in the process and Dos Anjos takes top position. Alvarez gets back up. He goes back to work with punches up against the cage. Dos Anjos doesn’t go down but is out on his feet and the fight is stopped. Alvarez wins.
Winner and new UFC lightweight champion: Eddie Alvarez, TKO round 1.
— Todd Martin
‘Black Beast’ bests ‘Big Country’ in heavyweight slobberknocker
By the time the co-main event of Thursday’s UFC card was over, Derrick “Black Beast” Lewis and Roy “Big Country” Nelson were two massive, exhausted dudes.
After fifteen minutes, it was left to the judges, and Lewis picked up the win via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Lewis landed the bigger shots consistently early, forcing Nelson to rely on his wrestling. Nelson scored a number of takedowns in the second and third, but Lewis was narrowly able to score the win based on doing more damage in the third.
A frustrated Nelson stormed out of the cage after the decision was announced.
— Todd Martin
Muhammad’s furious comeback comes up short against Jouban
In the first two rounds, Alan Jouban was in control against Belal Muhammad. Jouban dropped Muhammad three separate times, with a straight left hand then a left high kick then a left hook. Jouban came close to finishing on the ground and survived. The tide turned in the third round, as Muhammad mounted a courageous comeback. He stunned Jouban repeatedly with punches but just couldn’t finish the fight and Jouban had built up too much of a lead. Jouban was declared the winner on the judges’ scorecards 29-28, 28-27 and 29-27.
— Todd Martin
Ireland’s Joe Duffy spectacular in victory
Joe Duffy was well respected when he entered into UFC competition, having accumulated a 12-1 record including a submission over UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor. Duffy backed up the hype with a pair of first-round victories in UFC competition. UFC, seeing something in Duffy, put him in a high-profile showdown with elite lightweight Dustin Poirier. Poirier proved to be too much for Duffy, dominating him thoroughly and earning a unanimous decision win.
There was some question how Duffy would rebound from such a decisive loss. Duffy’s answer was emphatic, as he fought like the Poirier fight never happened. In a 25-second demolition, Duffy ran through Mitch Clarke with ease. Duffy connected with a powerful looping punch that dropped Clarke. He followed with a few punches on the ground that connected perfectly, forcing Clarke to turn his back. From there, Duffy locked up a rear naked choke submission almost instantaneously against a submission specialist who had never lost via submission previously. It was a statement victory for Duffy (15-2).
— Todd Martin
End of road appears near for Pyle
Over the course of a distinguished career that goes back 17 years, Mike Pyle has fought many of the sport’s best. Against Quinton Jackson, Jon Fitch, Jake Shields, Jake Ellenberger, John Hathaway and Rory MacDonald, Pyle has consistently tested himself. Pyle, 40, may soon be moving on to a new stage in his life, as the respected veteran looked like a shell of himself against the undefeated Alberto Mina.
Mina dropped Pyle with strikes multiple times and took him down as well. In the second round, Mina landed a flying knee and closed the bout with additional punches on the ground. It took Pyle a while to return to his feet after the bout. The setback is Pyle’s third in his last four bouts. For Mina, it’s a second consecutive win over a respected veteran opponent (following a split decision over Yoshihiro Akiyama). Mina’s record stands at 13-0.
— Todd Martin
Makdessi gains much-needed win
John Makdessi (14-5) was once a promising prospect in MMA, but a series of losses derailed his hype train. Having lost three of his last four entering Thursday night, Makdessi desperately needed a win against Mehdi Baghdad (11-5). It wasn’t always pretty, but Makdessi got his win. In a fight that started slow but picked up late, Makdessi did enough in the standup to be declared the winner on two of the three judges’ scorecards (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
— Todd Martin
Birchak narrowly tops Lopes
In a strange fight, Anthony Birchak narrowly edged out a decision over Dileno Lopes (29-28, 27-30, 29-28). At times, Birchak and Lopes engaged in a wild slugfest. At other points, it was a well-fought, tactical battle for control. Then in the third round, the fighters appeared more invested in self-congratulations than fighting. Ultimately, Birchak’s superior striking was the difference in the fight. Birchak is now 13-3 while Lopes is 18-3.
— Todd Martin
Munhoz catches scrappy Doane
Russell Doane was dangerous early, attacking Pedro Munhoz with aggressive strikes and landing some big shots. Munhoz elected at that point to take the fight to the ground. The decision proved fruitful, as Munhoz quickly locked in a guillotine choke and forced Doane to submit in the first round. Munhoz is now 12-2 (1 no contest), while Doane drops to 14-6 following his third straight loss.
— Todd Martin
Arantes turns tables on Sanders
Jerrod Sanders entered into his fight against Felipe Arantes with a clear gameplan. Sanders utilized his wrestling, repeatedly putting Arantes on his back for most of the fight. Unfortunately for Sanders, MMA is a sport where one mistake can change everything in an instant. In the second round, Arantes caught Sanders in an armbar and forced Sanders to submit. The win is Arantes’ second in a row.
— Todd Martin
Burns rebounds well from first defeat
Submission specialist Gilbert Burns brought a 10-0 record with 3 wins in the UFC into his November contest with Rashid Magomedov. But the skillful Russian handed Burns his first career loss via unanimous decision. Burns put that loss behind him Thursday night, finishing Polish fighter Lukasz Sajewski impressively with a first-round armbar. Burns is now 11-1, while Sajewski falls to 13-2 with consecutive losses in the Octagon.
— Todd Martin
Joyful Beltran picks up third UFC win
The UFC is attempting to build its popularity in Mexico, but needs more native stars to increase the sport’s popularity there. To that end, it is grooming young Mexican fighters and building them along slowly. One of those fighters shined Thursday, as Marco Beltran picked up a second-round rear naked choke win over Reginaldo Vieira. The win improves Beltran to 3-0 in the UFC. After the fight, Beltran launched into a major celebration, dedicating the fight to his late grandfather and thanking fans for their support.
— Todd Martin
Luque continues success with unorthodox submissions
Vicente Luque, a 24-year-old Brazilian fighter who trains out of New Jersey, has had a unique path to the UFC. Rather than more common rear naked chokes or armbars, he had four wins via D’Arce or anaconda choke. Thursday night in the opener of UFC Dos Anjos-Alvarez, he made it five. In the second round of a competitive bout with Mexican Alvaro Herrera, he locked in a D’Arce for the submission. The win improves Luque’s record to 9-5-1, while Herrera falls to 9-4.
— Todd Martin
Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha make weight for championship bout
Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha made weight Thursday for their Friday fight for the UFC women’s strawweight title. The champion Jedrzejczyk weighed 114.5 pounds while the challenger Gadelha came in at 115 pounds. The foes spent much of their time on the weigh-in stage yelling at each other and had to be separated by UFC President Dana White.
Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha have one of the most heated rivalries in the sport and are the clear top two fighters in their division to boot. Jedrzejczyk is undefeated and Gadelha only has one loss, a very close decision to the champion Jedrzejczyk. The bout was a controversial one, as many thought Gadelha deserved to win and Gadelha took a swing at Jedrzejczyk after the end of the fight.
The UFC sought to capitalize on the rivalry to elevate the women’s strawweight division, making the two women the coaches for the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Their mutual dislike was evident through the season and spilled over into an off-camera fight at the end of taping.
All fighters for the Friday event made weight. In addition to the title bout main event, the other top fights include the finals of the most recent season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Andrew Sanchez (199.5 pounds) will face Khalil Rountree (205.5 pounds) in the men’s final while Tatiana Suarez (115.5 pounds) will battle Amanda Cooper (116 pounds) in the women’s final. The show also features the anticipated UFC debut of Bellator lightweight champion Will Brooks (156), who takes on veteran Ross Pearson (155.5).
— Todd Martin
Conor McGregor back in advance of UFC 202
A relatively subdued Conor McGregor returned to the public eye at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, following his surprising loss to Nate Diaz at UFC 196 and removal from Saturday’s UFC 200 card over a dispute about press appearances. McGregor and Diaz appeared together at a press conference to promote their August rematch at UFC 202.
McGregor was his usual confident self, but not as animated and over the top as he often was at public appearances before to the loss to Diaz. Part of the issue was the sound setup, as Diaz and McGregor had difficulty hearing each other or the questions and thus couldn’t play off each other as much as they likely would otherwise.
The Irishman McGregor is one of the biggest drawing cards in the sport and was riding high leading into a scheduled lightweight title bout with Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 196. Dos Anjos was forced to pull out on short notice and Diaz came in as a late replacement. Diaz was the heavy underdog but rocked McGregor in the second round with punches and submitted him on the ground. The stakes for the rematch are very high as McGregor looks to regain some of the luster he lost with his first UFC loss.
McGregor vowed to be better prepared for the rematch, noting he did not bring any southpaws into his camp for the lefty Diaz. McGregor also noted that he has brought in a variety of new sparring partners and is training with middleweights to simulate Diaz’s size.
“This time I’m going to be a lot more prepared for the length and weight, and also the distance,” McGregor said. “I underestimated that the first time and I will not make that mistake again.”
The big topic of discussion over the past day in Las Vegas has been Jon Jones’ drug test getting flagged by USADA and his removal from the UFC 200 card. Both McGregor and Diaz weighed in on the subject. McGregor said that he wished Jones well but added that all McGregor missed was a press conference. Additionally, he referred to UFC 202 as “the real 200” and predicted 202 would do bigger numbers on pay-per-view than the milestone 200 event. Diaz, for his part, said he wasn’t surprised because “everybody’s on steroids.” It was a refrain of a comment he made leading up to 196.
Diaz and McGregor lived up to their reputations of running on their own time, as both men were late to the press conference, keeping the thousands in attendance waiting for over 40 minutes. In the face-off at the end of the conference, Diaz was clearly the much bigger man again.
A big question surrounding McGregor has been whether the featherweight champion would return to 145 pounds to defend his title after Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar fight Saturday night for the interim featherweight title. McGregor gave a strong indication that he plans to do just that.
“I giggle when they try to take that credit from me,” McGregor said. “Make no mistake, I am the undisputed 145 pound champion. Saturday two fighters will rise up, but make no mistake I am the undisputed champ and I rule that division.”
— Todd Martin
Video: UFC 202 preview | Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz meet face to face, again
Brock Lesnar has no problems being in the main event of UFC 200
“Merry Christmas to Brock Lesnar,” Brock Lesnar said Thursday, reacting to news that Jon Jones’ positive drug test has elevated Lesnar’s comeback heavyweight fight against veteran Mark Hunt to main-event status at Saturday’s UFC 200.
“It’s a milestone for the company, and it’s a milestone for me,” Lesnar said. The fighter also headlined UFC 100 in 2009, with a victory over Frank Mir.
Lesnar, a WWE performer, has been out of the octagon for more than five years. The WWE says Saturday’s event will be a one-time appearance for Lesnar before his return to that organization for the Aug. 21 SummerSlam event in New York.
Jon Jones denies using any illegal substance
When he fought at UFC 100 in 2009, the heights Jon Jones could scale with his fighting talent seemed infinite.
Thursday, a day after being pulled off the UFC 200 main event following a positive test for a performance-enhancing substance, the 28-year-old Jones stood on the precipice of representing the sport’s steepest fall from grace.
In a news conference at MGM Grand, the former light-heavyweight champion apologized to fans, UFC leaders and his scheduled opponent, light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, but denied that he had knowingly taking a banned substance.
Find each UFC 200 result here
To see a recap of the fight, simply click on it.
Early prelims (starts at 3:30 p.m.; shown on UFC Fight Pass)
Undercard (starts at 5 p.m; shown on FS1)
- Sage Northcutt vs. Enrique Marin
- T.J. Dillashaw vs. Raphael Assuncao
- Kelvin Gastelum vs. Johny Hendricks
- Julianna Pena vs. Cat Zingano
Main card (starts at 7 p.m; shown on PPV)
- Travis Browne vs. Cain Velasquez
- Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar
- Daniel Cormier vs. Anderson Silva
- Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt
- Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes
Undercard (starts at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time; shown on UFC Fight Pass)
- Reginaldo Vieira vs. Marco Beltran
- Alvaro Herrera vs. Vicente Luque
- Gilbert Burns vs. Lukasz Sajewski
- Felipe Arantes vs. Jerrod Sanders
- Russell Doane vs. Pedro Munhoz
- Anthony Birchak vs. Dileno Lopes
- Mehdi Baghdad vs. John Makdessi
Main card (starts at 7 p.m. PT; shown on UFC Fight Pass)
- Mike Pyle vs. Alberto Mina
- Joseph Duffy vs. Mitch Clarke
- Alan Jouban vs. Belal Muhammad
- Derrick Lewis vs. Roy Nelson
- Rafael dos Anjos vs. Eddie Alvarez
Early prelims (starts at 4 p.m. PT; shown on UFC Fight Pass)
- Li Jingliang vs. Anton Zafir
- Kevin Lee vs. Jake Matthews
- Undercard (starts at 5 p.m; shown on FS1)
- Josh Stansbury vs. Cory Hendricks
- Cezar Ferreira vs. Anthony Smith
- John Moraga vs. Matheus Nicolau Pereira
- Gray Maynard vs. Fernando Bruno
Main card (starts at 7 p.m. PT; shown on FS1)
- Joaquim Silva vs. Andrew Holbrook
- Doo Ho Choi vs. Thiago Tavares
- Will Brooks vs. Ross Pearson
- Amanda Cooper vs. Tatiana Suarez
- Andrew Sanchez vs. Khalil Rountree
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Claudia Gadelha
Hard lessons are a constant in reaching UFC 200
The financial success that UFC 200 is expected to become Saturday night is rooted in some trial and error, including a recent media relations controversy.
UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta and President Dana White gave the Los Angeles Times an extended interview Tuesday in Fertitta’s office in L.A., elaborating on many topics with the exception of ongoing talks with potential investors.
Fertitta greeted an opening question about the subject by cracking, “Let me tell you exactly what’s happening with that …” and noting that such sensitive financial talks are harmed by public discussion.
Brock Lesnar embraces his MMA comeback
Just over a month since he announced his return to combat fighting, Brock Lesnar doesn’t appear to be as prepared as he’d like for his UFC 200 appearance.
Yet, after more than a five-year absence from the sport, he’s enthused as never before.
And, though the comeback of the former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE headliner might be a one-time appearance, maybe it won’t.
Perhaps all that matters is that Lesnar is back, and, after drawing the second-largest pay-per-view audience in company history when he successfully defended his belt over Frank Mir at UFC 100 in 2009, another financial windfall is expected.
Jon Jones pulled from UFC 200 after positive drug test
Jones’ bid to recapture the light-heavyweight belt that was stripped from him and won by his scheduled Saturday opponent Daniel Cormier is being replaced on the main event of the card by the heavyweight comeback of former champion Brock Lesnar against top-10 contender Mark Hunt.
Jeff Novitzky, in charge of UFC’s fighter health and welfare, said USADA will preside over a “full, fair” process before any penalties will be imposed against Jones, 28.