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UFC 226 live coverage: Round-by-round updates from each fight on the Miocic-Cormier card

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UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic (18-2) defends his crown against light heavyweight titleholder Daniel Cormier (20-1) in the main event of UFC 226 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. Cormier will seek to become the fifth competitor to win UFC titles at two different weight classes while Miocic will seek to extend his record for consecutive UFC heavyweight title defenses to four. The card will no longer feature a co-main event for the featherweight championship after champion Max Holloway had to withdraw because of concussion-like symptoms. The co-feature will now be a heavyweight bout between knockout artists Francis Ngannou (11-2) and Derrick Lewis (19-5).

Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier live round-by-round coverage

Stipe Miocic is the only UFC heavyweight champion with three consecutive title defenses. He is an excellent striker with a wrestling background, strong conditioning and toughness. He is 18-2 for his career. Daniel Cormier is the UFC light heavyweight champion and also won a loaded Strikeforce Grand Prix tournament at heavyweight. He is 20-1 (1 NC) over the course of his career and is seeking a highlight win over Miocic before he retires.

Round 1. Miocic moves in with some straight punches. Cormier lands a nice uppercut and they clinch. They grapple for position with Miocic landing some punches. Miocic connects with a hard knee to the head before separating. Cormier lands a nice inside leg kick. Miocic nails Cormier with a big combination of punches and then follows with another. Cormier answers with a two punch combination. Cormier lands a huge right hand to Miocic that Miocic did not see coming. Miocic goes down, Cormier follows with additional punches and Miocic is out.

Winner: Daniel Cormier, KO, round 1.

Daniel Cormier was struggling at a number of points in that first round but he came through with the right shot and scored a crucial victory over an elite opponent. It’s a feel good moment for one of the classiest individuals in the sport.

After the fight, Daniel Cormier challenged Brock Lesnar to a fight. Lesnar came into the cage and shoved Cormier. “Push me now, get knocked out later,” Cormier replied. Lesnar badmouthed Cormier and other UFC heavyweights, threw a microphone into a camera, and directed some profanity at Cormier.

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Francis Ngannou vs. Derrick Lewis

This fight promises to be exciting for as long as it lasts. In 30 combined wins for Ngannou and Lewis, they have only 1 decision. Both are devastating power punchers. Lewis has won 7 of his last 8 while Ngannou won 10 in a row before losing last time out in a title fight against Stipe Miocic.

Round 1. Lewis and Ngannou come out cautiously, with neither man throwing much of anything in the first minute. Lewis lands a punch shortly thereafter. Lewis throws a switch kick that Ngannou blocks. Three minutes in, basically nothing has happened. Lewis clinches but Ngannou throws him off. 10-10.

Round 2. Nothing continues to transpire. Ngannou in particular is just making no effort to attack in any way. Lewis looks for a takedown but doesn’t get it. Lewis misses with a lunging punch. Referee Herb Dean warns both men for timidity. This is an all time stinker. 10-10.

Round 3. Ngannou throws a high kick that at least comes close enough for Lewis to block. They then return to a staring contest. Lewis lands a hard punch with two minutes left. Ngannou misses a head kick. Ngannou throws a punch after the bell. 10-9 Lewis, 30-29 Lewis.

Winner: Derrick Lewis, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).

That was a catastrophe, probably the worst fight in UFC history. Neither man did basically anything but particularly perplexing was the performance of Ngannou who had looked so great previously but seemed to have no interest whatsoever in engaging and will unquestionably be the subject of intense criticism following this bout.

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Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry live round-by-round coverage

Paul Felder and Mike Perry are both rugged strikers. Their personalities are different as Felder is a UFC commentator and was an actor in college while Perry is more of a wildman.

Round 1. Both fighters are cut on the top of their heads from an accidental head butt at the start of the fight. They end up in a clinch with both men working to land offense. Perry connects with a pair of heavy elbows. They separate and Felder lands a hard punch at range. Felder adds a spinning back elbow and a knee. Felder is mixing up his strikes more but Perry has been quite effective in his own right relying on punches and elbows. Felder lands a spinning backfist late as Perry is moving in with punches. Very close round. 10-9 Felder.

Round 2. Perry charges in with punches and then impressively slams Felder down. Felder quickly stands back up. Perry lands a couple of hard elbows in the clinch and they break. The pace slows in the middle section of the second round with neither man throwing as much. Perry opens up a nasty gash on the side of the head of Felder with an uppercut Perry uses a suplex to take Felder down and lands some punches. Felder gets up but eats some big punches and elbows late. Big round for Perry. 10-9 Perry.

Round 3. Perry attacks with a couple of hooks at the start. Felder told his corner between rounds he thinks his arm is broken, so obviously that is affecting his performance. Perry lands a strong hook. Felder lands a spinning back kick to the body and then a knee to the body. Felder adds a few punches. Perry has Felder severely compromised but he isn’t capitalizing with activity. Perry goes for a takedown late. Perry looks for a takedown. Perry throws knees low in the process while Felder returns with elbows. 10-9 Felder, 29-28 Felder.

Winner: Mike Perry, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).

That was a close fight that could have gone either way. Mike Perry had struggled recently and he showed progress in defeating a quality opponent.

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Michael Chiesa vs. Anthony Pettis live round-by-round coverage

Michael Chiesa was emerging as a lightweight contender but may be on his way to another division after losing last time out to Kevin Lee and then missing weight for this contest. He’s primarily a grappler and has five submission wins in the UFC. Anthony Pettis is a former UFC lightweight champion and was even on a Wheaties box but things have gone rapidly downhill since then as he has lost five of seven.

Round 1. Chiesa gets a takedown in the first 30 seconds. Chiesa lands punches and elbows from half guard but Pettis pushes him off and returns to his feet. Chiesa threatens a kimura from the standing position but isn’t able to use it to get a top position. They break briefly but Chiesa then clinches again. Chiesa gets a takedown but isn’t able to do anything with it and Pettis lands a kick before he gets up. Chiesa shoots in for another takedown but doesn’t come close and looks tired. Pettis lands a couple of hard leg kicks. Pettis catches a kick, takes Chiesa down and throws a punch there before letting Chiesa up. Pettis chases Chiesa down at the end and knocks him down at the bell before going chest to chest with Chiesa after the bell in a hostile manner. 10-9 Chiesa.

Round 2. Pettis lands a hard kick to the body. He then hurts Chiesa with a straight punch. Pettis looks for the finish with a guillotine choke but doesn’t get it. Pettis then grabs a triangle choke, transitions to an arm bar, and gets the submission.

Winner: Anthony Pettis, submission, round 2.

That was Anthony Pettis’ best win since he dropped the UFC lightweight title. He hurt Michael Chiesa with precise strikes and then submitted an opponent whose strength is his submissions. Pettis may not be back to his former status but it is at least a big step in the right direction.

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Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree Jr. live round-by-round coverage

Gokhan Saki is an elite kickboxer, one of the best in the world. He is starting high level MMA late but won his first UFC fight via knockout and returns tonight looking to make it two for two. Khalil Rountree Jr. is 2-0 (1 no contest) in his last 3 fights and scored first round knockouts in each victory.

Round 1. Rountree comes out looking like he is content to stand. He throws a series of jabs and mixes in some power shots. Saki looks to feel out Rountree but does throw a few kicks here or there. Rountree drops Saki with a big straight left hand and follows with additional punches on the ground until the fight is stopped.

Winner: Khalil Rountree Jr., TKO, round 1.

On paper, that’s a really big win for Khalil Rountree Jr. However, it’s an open question how much Gokhan Saki has to offer at this stage of his life after such a long kickboxing career.

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Paulo Costa vs. Uriah Hall live round-by-round coverage

Undefeated as a pro, Paulo Costa has generated a lot of buzz because of his explosive knockout power. He has three straight knockouts in the UFC. Uriah Hall has dangerous power in his own right and became well known with one of the scariest knockouts in MMA history on the Ultimate Fighter. He has had his ups and downs since then, however.

Round 1. Hall’s boxing looks crisp early as he is having success firing his jab and taking advantage of his superior reach. Costa hurts Hall with an overhand right, but Hall recovers well. Hall throws a big spinning back kick to the body. Costa moves in, but he keeps eating the jab and it is preventing his offense. Costa attacks the body with punches by the cage and really pours on the offense. Costa punishes Hall with punches high and low. Costa’s punches do often drift low and he catches Hall with a low blow multiple times. That was a heck of a round. 10-9 Costa.

Round 2. Costa moves in menacingly looking for big punches up against the cage. Hall gets a takedown, but Costa quickly pops back up. They trade jabs. Costa gets hurt in an exchange and dropped to one knee by a right hand behind the ear. Costa has to back off as Hall fires back looking for a finish. Costa recovers and pushes forward again. Costa lands a series of hard punches by the cage and rocks Hall with a left hand. Hall goes down, and that is it.

Winner: Paulo Costa, TKO, round 2.

That was an excellent fight. Both men probably raised their stock in what was likely a fight of the year contender. Hall proved to be dangerous, but Costa overcame some adversity and scored the sort of win that is going to create demand for Costa to fight the best fighters in the division.

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Raphael Assuncao vs. Rob Font live round-by-round coverage

Raphael Assuncao is one of the top bantamweight contenders. He isn’t always exciting, but he is very effective. Rob Font has won three of four in the UFC, all by finish, and is looking to break into the top mix here.

Round 1. Both men are active with kicks early, throwing a lot of leg attacks in both directions. Neither man is gaining a notable advantage. Assuncao drops Font with a straight right hand, easily the biggest shot of the bout thus far. 10-9 Assuncao.

Round 2. Assuncao gets a takedown to start the second. He works into side control, landing punches and elbows. In particular he has success with a few big elbows. Font returns to his feet with a few minutes left in the round. The standup is largely uneventful late, with neither man landing any telling shots. 10-9 Assuncao.

Round 3. The competitors exchange jabs early in the third, looking to control the pace and distance. The standup has been pretty even throughout the fight. Assuncao knocks Font down with a leg kick, but Font is simply off balance and returns to his feet. A little bit over halfway through the round, Assuncao secures a takedown. He attacks from full guard near the cage. Assuncao gets side control and lands some elbows from there. 10-9 Assuncao.

Winner: Raphael Assuncao, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

That was your prototypical Assuncao performance. It wasn’t terribly exciting and didn’t get you pumped up to see him again, but he was effective in all facets of the game and picked up a clear decision win over a tough opponent. It’s very difficult to look good against Assuncao.

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Lando Vannata vs. Drakkar Klose live round-by-round coverage

Lando Vannata is an entertaining fighter to watch, having earned performance bonuses in each of his four UFC fights. Unfortunately, he is only 1-2-1 in those bouts, and he is looking to get his hand raised tonight. Drakkar Klose is 2-1 in the UFC and is looking to rebound from his first MMA defeat.

Round 1. Klose immediately moves to close distance. He connects with a spinning back elbow but nearly has his back taken in the process. Klose looks for a takedown, but Vannata stops it in mid-air. Klose lands a nice body kick and then a leg kick. Klose then clinches. Klose keeps giving Vannata different looks so Vannata is struggling to get comfortable. 10-9 Klose.

Round 2. Both men come out swinging to start the second. Neither is able to land a telling blow in the midst of a wild exchange. Vannata lands a quality right hand from close range. Klose catches Vannata with an elbow from the clinch that cuts Vannata and then scores a takedown, but Vannata gets up in a hurry. As Vannata is spinning, he gets hurt with a straight right hand and has to back off. Vannata goes for a takedown but has it blocked. Klose lands a few nice leg kicks. 10-9 Klose.

Round 3. Klose opens with a series of low kicks while mixing in some jabs. Klose lands a superman punch, and they go back to the clinch. After they are separated, Vannata gets a takedown in the final minute. Vannata quickly takes Klose’s back but is too high and has to give it up. Klose gets a takedown late, but Vannata stands up at the end. 10-9 Klose, 30-27 Klose.

Winner: Drakkar Klose, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

That is a fight that is likely to shift perceptions of both competitors. Over 15 minutes, we saw Klose really put together his skills in a way that suggests he is a force to be taken seriously moving forward. For Vannata, it was a disappointing setback as he was shut down in a way we haven’t really seen before, and it appears his once-promising career is moving in the wrong direction.

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Max Griffin vs. Curtis Millender live round-by-round coverage

Max Griffin and Curtis Millender are both looking to follow up on noteworthy wins. Griffin surprised Mike Perry to pick up his second UFC win. Meanwhile, Millender knocked out Thiago Alves in his UFC debut. Millender is the narrow betting favorite tonight.

Round 1. Millender lands a few punches early and goes for a flying knee. Griffin gets a takedown two minutes in and has Millender down against the cage. Millender just hangs on rather than making much of an effort to stand up or set up a submission. Griffin lands some punches and elbows from the top until the round comes to a close. 10-9 Griffin.

Round 2. Millender pushes forward to start the second, looking for a big shot. He goes for another flying knee. Griffin connects with a beautiful two-punch combination that knocks Millender back and gets his attention. Millender lands a big knee to the body and straight punch late, then scores a takedown in the final seconds. 10-9 Millender.

Round 3. Millender scores a nice knee to the body. He is able to attack well at different levels, which makes it harder for Griffin to defend as the smaller man moving in. Griffin goes for a takedown two minutes in. Millender defends well, and they end up in a stalemate by the cage. After the break, Millender opens up with a flurry of punches. He swarms on Griffin, but Griffin fires back and forces Millender to ease up on the attack. 10-9 Millender, 29-28 Millender.

Winner: Curtis Millender, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

That was a hard-fought win over an opponent that gave Millender some problems. Millender showed some vulnerability on the ground, but his striking is difficult to deal with.

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Dan Hooker vs. Gilbert Burns live round-by-round coverage

Dan Hooker is a competitor from New Zealand who has accumulated some momentum recently with three consecutive wins over pretty well-known names in Ross Pearson, Marc Diakiese and Jim Miller. Hooker finished all three and has finishes in 15 of his 16 fights. Gilbert Burns is 13-2 with consecutive knockout victories and has 12 finishes in his 13 wins in his own right.

Round 1. Burns comes out with a few hard kicks. Burns then lands a big right hand to the chin that Hooker reacts to. Hooker knocks Burns down with a straight right hand. When Burns gets up, he shoots for a takedown, and Hooker attempts a guillotine choke. Burns gets out of that and returns to his feet. However, Burns then eats a left hook and goes down. Burns can’t defend himself on the ground, and the fight is stopped.

Winner: Dan Hooker, TKO, round 1.

That was another excellent victory for Hooker, who put away a tough opponent in impressive fashion. Hooker is rapidly moving into contender status and building interest in his fights each time out.

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After another cancellation, UFC looks for answers to fighters’ health issues

A day after UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was pulled from the UFC 226 co-main event with concussion-like symptoms, the cause of his condition remained mystifying to his team and company officials.

“Obviously,” a blow to the head, “is a possibility, but the coaches saw nothing in training,” Holloway manager Brian Butler said of Holloway’s slurred speech, drowsiness and altered vision.

“They had some hard sparring, but at no point did anyone notice that Max got rocked … there was nothing obvious that happened.”

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Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic’s clash of champions gave the UFC the big fight it needed

It was a valuable stance Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic took with the UFC when the idea of Saturday’s super-fight of champions was proposed.

“I’ve always done and been exactly what the UFC needed me to be,” said Cormier, 39, the light heavyweight champion.

In a year of diminished pay-per-view fight cards — which continued with Saturday’s UFC 226 as featherweight champion Max Holloway withdrew from his co-main event due to concussion-like symptoms — Cormier stamped this event as his opportunity to cash in for a career of reliability.

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Jamie Moyle vs. Emily Whitmire live round-by-round coverage

UFC 226 kicks off with a women’s strawweight bout. Jamie Moyle has accrued a 4-2 professional MMA record for Invicta and the UFC. Emily Whitmire is 2-2 as a pro, rebounding from a 1-4 stint as an amateur.

Round 1. The smaller Moyle darts around the outside with a lot of movement while Whitmire stands upright in the center and looks to time Moyle. The fighters principally rely on their boxing with neither having much power behind their punches. Whitmire lands a few solid leg kicks. 10-9 Whitmire.

Round 2. Moyle starts the second by moving in for closer range fighting with Whitmire, figuring the distance in the first round didn’t benefit her. Whitmire lands some nice counters in the process, forcing Moyle to move back to her previous distance. Moyle looks for a takedown at the midpoint of the round, but Whitmire blocks it and lands a knee. Whitmire then shoots for a takedown of her own and has it blocked. Moyle lands some punches to the body and head late. 10-9 Moyle.

Round 3. Whitmire gets a takedown early in the third. She looks to pass into side control but ends up settling for half guard and tries to advance from there. Whitmire throws some punches from that position in the process. Whitmire seems content with the position and continues to land punches from the top. Whitmire just keeps working from the top until the round comes to an end. 10-9 Whitmire, 29-28 Whitmire.

Winner: Emily Whitmire, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). It wasn’t a scintillating bout. but Whitmire earned the decision by pulling away in the third after meeting some resistance in the second.

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