UFC 182 recap: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

UFC 182 recap: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier
Jon Jones celebrates after defeating Daniel Cormier in a light-heavyweight title bout at UFC 182 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. (John Locher / Associated Press)

UFC 182 took place Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, headlined by one of the biggest UFC bouts in years, a light-heavyweight championship contest between champion Jon Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier. Jones went into the bout functionally undefeated, having only lost one time via disqualification in a bout he was dominating, and is widely considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Cormier is undefeated himself, having beaten many of the world's best heavyweights and never losing a round. Adding interest to the bout was that the two have engaged in a long war of words and got into a pull apart brawl while promoting the bout in 2014. In the semi-main event, Donald Cerrone and Myles Jury squared off looking to earn a title shot at UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis.

Here's a fight-by-fight recap of UFC 182:


UFC Light Heavyweight Title: Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier

Jones at 27 is already one of the sport's all time greats. Mixing diverse striking, excellent wrestling and creative gameplanning, he hasn't struggled against any opponent in his career. 20-1 officially, he holds notable wins over Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Alexander Gustafsson, Vitor Belfort, Ryan Bader, Quinton Jackson and Glover Teixeira among others. Cormier was an Olympic wrestler who has developed excellent striking and has dominated every opponent he has faced. His 15-0 record includes wins over Josh Barnett, Frank Mir, Antonio Silva, Roy Nelson and Dan Henderson. And they hate each other.

Round 1. Jones throws some shots from different angles as Cormier moves in. Cormier clinches and throws a couple uppercuts before separating. Jones catches a kick and takes Cormier down. Cormier rises back to his feet. Jones lands a nice straight punch as Cormier comes in and goes for a takedown, but Cormier blocks the attempt. Jones catches a head kick but Cormier keeps moving forward. The crowd loudly chants for D.C. They clinch and trade shots from close range. Cormier lands a nice overhand right. Jones answers with a stiff knee to the body. Cormier isn't giving Jones range but Jones is still getting plenty of offense through. Jones consistently is attacking the body, landing more shots as the fight goes on. Cormier answers by moving in and connecting with a big uppercut.  Cormier lands some big shots at the close of the round. Competitive, close round. Both men looked good. 10-9 Jones.

Round 2. Jones opens with a heavy kick to the body. He lands another and Cormier comes in with straight punches. Cormier catches another body kick and looks for a takedown but Jones defends well. Jones looks to grab a standing guillotine choke, the move he beat Lyoto Machida with, but Cormier slips out. Cormier grabs a headlock of his own from the clinch but Jones pops his head out. Jones throws a high kick then a low kick. They clinch and Cormier lands some hard inside punches. That's been his best position of the fight. Cormier lands another hard uppercut from the inside and Jones backs out of range. Cormier moves in and goes right back to work with the uppercuts. Cormier follows with a knee to the body. They break and Cormier lands a few more big punches from the inside. Jones is struggling with that clinchwork. Cormier keeps pressing with uppercuts and inside punches. Another close, compelling round. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 3. Cormier lands a body kick early. Jones comes in with punches. Cormier backs him up and lands some big shots by the cage. There's an accidental eye poke to Cormier, a big talking point before the fight given that Jones throws them often. The crowd loudly boos when the replay is shown and referee Herb Dean warns Jones about the infraction. Jones ducks down for a takedown. He presses Cormier across the cage but Cormier defends and then looks for a takedown of his own. Cormier grabs a single leg but can't leverage Jones to the mat. The fighters clinch in the center of the cage, clearly worn down to some degree by the furious pace thus far. Cormier leans in for another of his hard uppercuts and ducks down for a takedown that he can't get. Jones catches Cormier with a high kick, low kick and punch coming in but Cormier grabs the clinch again. Jones controls Cormier's right hand by the cage, stopping him from using that big uppercut that has worked so well. Jones punishes Cormier with a vicious knee to the body but Cormier keeps coming. Jones throws a flying knee but again Cormier keeps coming. Jonespulls guard at the end of the round and Cormier drops down some big shots. This is an epic fight. 10-9 Cormier.

Round 4. Cormier looks to close the distance as Jones is much more dangerous at range. Jones throws a couple of his low, downward kicks that were so effective against Quinton Jackson in particular. He then connects with a big head kick. The sweat flies off the head of the challenger. They clinch. Jones lands a body kick and then throws down Cormier to a thunderous reaction from the crowd. Cormier, however, gets right back up. Jones slams him back down to the mat. Jones gets his arm in position to go for a choke if Cormier tries to stand back up. Cormier defends well and gets back up, although he has to eat some hard shots in the process. Jones presses Cormier against the cage as the crowd chants for D.C. Now, some fans chant for Jones. He lands some nice shots from inside on Cormier. Cormier backs out, with the clinch not proving as hospitable as it was earlier in the fight. They strike briefly from range before Cormier grabs a clinch again. Cormier moves in with a couple punches but looks slowed and more tired than he was earlier in the fight. Jones looks to slam down Cormier again at the close. That was the first decisive round of the fight. 10-9 Jones. All even going into the final round.

Round 5. Jones throws a high kick to start and then a front kick. Cormier clinches and Jones throws some shoulder strikes from the position. They trade uppercuts from inside. Jones presses in and looks for a takedown but gives up on it and they return to posturing for position by the Octagon. Jones moves around and looks to take Cormier's back but can't do it. Cormier looks for a trip takedown but can't secure it. They've just been wrestling for position with few shots landed for most of the round, leaving the fight available for the taking late. Jones lands a couple elbows to the head of Cormier but Cormier lifts Jones above his head and finally slams him to the mat with a huge takedown. The crowd explodes but Jones gets back to his feet. They return to trading on the inside and Cormier looks for another takedown. Jones raises his hands before the fight is over. Then he realizes that the fight isn't and throws a couple late shots. After the bell, Cormier throws a shot that lands after the fight is over. Another very close round. 10-9 Jones, 48-47 Jones.

Winner: Jon Jones, unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).

Donald Cerrone vs. Myles Jury

"Cowboy" Cerrone is a popular fighter with a charismatic persona and exciting fighting style. With five straight wins, he is looking to earn a lightweight title shot. Jury is undefeated in official competition at 15-0 (he lost on the Ultimate Fighter via decision) with recent wins over name fighters like Takanori Gomi and Diego Sanchez. This is unquestionably the toughest challenge of his career.


Round 1. Jury goes for a takedown early. Cerrone grabs an omoplata and uses it to control Jury's arm. He eventually successfully uses it to reverse Jury into bottom position, with Cerrone on top in side control. As Jury looks to get up, Cerrone sinks in his hooks and looks for a rear naked choke submission. Cerrone uses a body triangle to control Jury but Jury does a solid job of protecting his neck. Cerrone lands punches here and there and finally grabs the choke. Jury very nicely is able to prevent Cerrone from fully sinking it in. Cerrone slickly looks to transition into an armbar at the very end of the round but Jury holds on at the close. 10-9 Cerrone.


Round 2. Jury lands a few light leg kicks early. Jury goes for a takedown but Cerrone blocks it. The standup is tentative, with both men throwing a lot of kicks but neither man connecting hard with much. Cerrone hammers Jury with a hard leg kick. Jury responds with a hard body kick. Jury looks for a takedown but doesn't come close. 10-9 Cerrone.

Round 3. Cerrone starts out with a few low kicks. Cerrone continues to attack the leg as the round progresses. Jury looks for a takedown but can't get it. Cerrone smashes Jury with a huge kick to the head halfway through the round and begins to walk Jury down afterwards. Jury is mostly in retreat mode at this point in time. He goes fo a takedown with a minute left. Cerrone blocks it and goes back to work. Jury goes for one more desperation takedown left but Cerrone stuffs that and then throws Jury he down. He loads up some heavy kicks repeatedly to close the fight. 10-9 Cerrone, 30-27 Cerrone.

Winner: Donald Cerrone, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Nate Marquardt vs. Brad Tavares

Marquardt is a highly respected veteran of the sport, a Pancrase and Strikeforce champion and former UFC title challenger. However, at 35 years old, he appears towards the end of his career. He won his last fight via armbar over James Te Huna. Tavares is a 12-3 prospect who appeared on the verge of contender status before consecutive losses to Yoel Romero and Tim Boetsch in his last two fights.

Round 1. They clinch early, with Tavares landing a few punches and Marquardt a knee before the separation. Marquardt connects with a solid inside leg kick. Tavares uses a leg kick of his own a little bit later. The action is slow through the first half of the round. Tavares backs Marquardt up and lands a few punches from close range before Marquardt backs out. Marquardt then uses a high kick. The action continues to be slow and the crowd boos. Tavares lands a front kick at the close. Bad round. 10-9 Tavares.

Round 2. Tavares attacks with a few punches before Marquardt backs out again. Marquardt catches a kick and goes for a takedown but he eats a few punches and cannot get it. Marquardt moves in for a takedown. Tavares defends nicely. Each man throws a solo kick. This is not entertaining. Marquardt throws a couple leg kicks. He goes for a takedown but Tavares does a beautiful job of countering. Tavares lands a couple punches from the inside and they back off. 10-9 Marquardt.

Round 3. Marquardt goes for a takedown. Tavares again defends well. Tavares lands another hard leg kick. Those kicks are adding up as Marquardt's leg is really red and he's moving a little gingerly. They clinch and trade light inside punches. Tavares connects with a head kick. Tavares lands a few punches as the crowd loudly boos this dreadful fight. Tavares connects with a couple more hard shots. The third round was soundly Tavares' but the first two were close. 10-9 Tavares, 29-28 Tavares.

Winner: Brad Tavares, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Kyoji Horiguchi vs. Louis Gaudinot

Horiguchi, 14-1, is considered a top prospect in the thin flyweight diviion and has won his first three UFC fights. After years of struggles of Japanese fighters in the UFC, the hope is that Horiguchi can return Japan to its once lofty status in the sport. Gaudinot is 6-3 with 1 no contest and has not fared well in the UFC thus far.

Round 1. There's a lot of movement before the first engagement. Each man throws a leg kick. Horiguchi lands a few punches and Horiguchi goes for a knee that does not connect. Gaudinot hits Horiguchi with a coupe punches and a high kick, his best exchange of the fight thus far. Gaudinot ducks under a punch and lands one of his own. Horiguchi gets a takedown with 15 seconds left but Gaudinot basically instantaneously pops back up. Dull round. 10-9 Horiguchi.

Round 2. Horiguchi attacks early with a few punches and a knee. Gaudinot goes for a standing arm triangle choke but can't get a submission. That's a move that basically never works. Horiguchi lands a kick. Horiguchi follows with some punches by the cage. Horiguchi gets a takedown at the close of the round. 10-9 Horiguchi.

Round 3. Horiguchi lands a body kick a minute and a half in, the best strike of the round thus far. Horiguchi lands a nice combination of punches and concludes with a kick at the end. Gaudinot looks for a guillotine choke but doesn't come close. Terrible fight. Doesn't do anything to help the awful UFC flyweight division.

Winner: Kyoji Horiguchi, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Hector Lombard vs. Josh Burkman

Lombard is an exciting fighter to watch, a world class Cuban judoka with extremely heavy hands. He is as dangerous as they come early in a fight, with 26 finishes in 34 career victories (he is 34-4-1 (1 NC) overall). He has two straight wins and is looking to move into title contention in the welterweight division. Burkman was cut from the UFC in 2008 following a series of losses but worked his way back to the biggest MMA stage with six wins in his last seven fights. The highlight was a beautiful submission victory over former elite welterweight Jon Fitch. This is his return fight and he has the opportunity to get some more big fights if he can defeat Lombard.

Round 1. The fighters come out swinging. Lombard lands a few shots but a big Burkman hook connects well on his chin and he backs off. Burkman springs off the cage to throw a shot but it doesn't land. In a scramble, Burkman hits Lombard with another big hook. Lombard lands a nice uppercut in an exchange. He's walking Burkman down but Burkman is doing a good job countering and has a lot of confidence in his chin. Lombard moves in with some heavy punches but Burkman answers back and Lombard backs off. Burkman goes for a takedown but has it stuffed. Burkman uses a quality body punch. Lombard responds with a big leg kick. Tough round to score. Lombard was pressing the action and landed some shots but Burkman had a few really nice counters. 10-9 Burkman.

Round 2. Lombard catches a kick and punches Burkman in the face. He lunges in with some big hooks but Burkman answers back and they trade hard shots from close range. It looks like Burkman may be in trouble but he keeps throwing counters out of nowhere so he may have been trying to lull Lombard into a false sense of security. Wherever Burkman is coming from, he's backing up a lot and Lombard is connecting with tremendous power. Lombard backs Burkman against the cage with big shots and Burkman just stands there, kind of beckoning Lombard to come in. He catches Lombard with another nice counter as Lombard moves in again. Lombard is walking Burkman down by the end and lands a few more shots. Lombard took over that round but Burkman is still dangerous. 10-9 Lombard.


Round 3. Lombard takes Burkman down at the beginning of the round. He lands some punches and elbows there and then passes guard into the more advantageous side control position. Burkman avoids a keylock and gets back to his feet. Lombard rocks Burkman with a vicious hook and follows with an uppercut and straight punches. Burkman looks in trouble by the cage but his chin holds up. Lombard lands a couple big straight left punches up the middle and avoids Burkman's attempts to counter. Burkman is tired and he isn't countering as well as he did early, which is interesting because Lombard is the fighter with more of a reputation for getting tired. Burkman comes swinging at the end but can't connect. 10-9 Lombard, 29-28 Lombard.

Winner: Hector Lombard, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Danny Castillo vs. Paul Felder

Castillo, like Evan Dunham, gets lost in a deep UFC lightweight division. He is 7-4 in the UFC with a solid ground game and in his last fight lost via split decision in the second fight from the top on the cursed UFC 177 pay-per-view event. Felder is 9-0 and won his UFC debut via split decision over Jason Saggo in October.

Round 1. The fighters exchange leg kicks early. Castillo catches an accidental low blow. They briefly clinch but the fight doesn't go to the ground. Kicks continue to be the dominant attack throughout the middle portion of the round, with neither man gaining a palpable advantage. Felder continues to work that leg kick and mixes in some higher kicks as well. 10-9 Felder.

Round 2. Felder lands a leg kick early and then ducks under a few Castillo punches. Castillo then lands a right hook on Felder. Castillo ducks in for a takedown and eats a big knee to the head for his effort. Castillo backs away. As Castillo is attacking, he gets caught with a spinning backfist that he didn't see coming. Castillo goes out and the fight is over.

Winner: Paul Felder, KO, round 2.

Marcus Brimage vs. Cody Garbrandt

Brimage is a dynamic striker with a 4-2 UFC record. Garbrandt is undefeated as a professional and is making his UFC debut. He trains out of the Alpha Male camp and all his wins are via knockout.

Round 1. The fans grow restless during the early feeling out process. Neither fighter is throwing much. Garbrandt lands the best early blow, a hook to the chin of Brimage. Garbrandt catches Brimage off balance as Brimage is throwing a leg kick and takes Brimage down. Brimage stands up in short order. Garbrandt goes for a flying knee that doesn't come remotely close. The fighters are very quick and active in their movement but they aren't throwing much. That trend ends late as they both engage in a wild exchange. Brimage lands a big shot but Garbrandt continues to pursue and connects with a couple solid shots of his own. 10-9 Garbrandt.

Round 2. The second round begins where the first ended, a wild exchange with each man winging power punches from close range. Brimage appears to get the best of the exchange, although Garbrandt then answers with a big hook of his own moments later. Garbrandt moves in with some big shots but then poses and eats a straight punch in response from Brimage. Garbrandt hits Brimage with a nice hook and then a head kick. Brimage utilizes a nice punch to the body and then one to the head. They swing wildly with the hooks one more time before backing up. Garbrandt goes down in the middle of an exchange, although it appears more a slip than a big connection. Close round. 10-9 Garbrandt.

Round 3. Brimage is aggressive early, attacking Garbrandt high but not connecting with anything big. Brimage knocks Garbrandt down with a nice leg kick right as Garbrandt is throwing a head kick of his own. Garbrandt looks to set up a triangle from the bottom but Brimage throws him off and returns to the feet. Brimage hits Garbrandt with a solid left hand back on the feet. He lands another a little bit later. Brimage is having his best round. Brimage ducks under a heavy looping swing by Garbrandt. They exchange late and in the midst of another wild flurry, Garbrandt drops Brimage with a hook. Brimage gets up and continues to attack but he gets dropped again. Brimage gets up and this time retreats across the cage to gain his senses. Garbrandt follows and drops Brimage one more time. This time, referee Herb Dean steps in and the fight is over.

Winner: Cody Garbrandt, TKO, round 3.

Evan Dunham vs. Rodrigo Damm

Dunham is a very good fighter who has suffered from fighting in the sport's deepest division, 155 pounds. His six UFC losses are all to excellent fighters: Sean Sherk, Melvin Guillard, T.J. Grant, Rafael Dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone and Edson Barboza. He desperately needs a win here coming off three consecutive losses. Damm is a longtime veteran of the sport with a very good submission game. He also needs a win after two straight losses.

Round 1. Dunham lands a nice hook early. Damm answers with one of his own. Dunham lands a solid 2 punch combination. Dunham is the aggressor early, backing Damm up around the Octagon. However, he isn't landing all that much more than Damm (albeit he is landing more slightly). Dunham lands a few punches and mixes in a couple kicks. Damm's output is low. Dunham uses a hard right hook on Damm by the cage. He is increasingly taking over as the fight progresses. As Damm circles out, he gets caught with a hard looping power punch reminiscent of the end of the Michael Bisping-Dan Henderson fight at UFC 100. Dunham lands two more shots at the end of the round. 10-9 Dunham.

Round 2. Damm lands a crisp kick to the body early in the round, one of his best shots of the fight. Perhaps in response, Dunham clinches and looks for his first takedown of the fight. He can't get it and the fighters separate. Dunham catches a Damm kick, lands a few punches, and uses the opportunity to take down the off balance Brazilian. However, he then lets Damm stand right back up. He has a marked striking advantage so engaging in submissions with Damm might not be the right strategy. Dunham continues to work his striking, utilizing greater reach and better technique. 10-9 Dunham.


Round 3. Dunham goes back to work, landing punches from the outside and mixing in kicks. Damm is moving forward more but still throwing little, landing less and not exhibiting much power. Dunham uses a hard body kick by the cage. Damm continues to push forward. He eats punches and encourages Dunham to punch him in the head more. Dunham obliges. Dunham continues to land a lot more than Damm and Damm's face is bloody from the accumulated damage. The fighters embrace and give each other respect at the end of the fight. 10-9 Dunham, 30-27 Dunham.

Winner: Evan Dunham, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).

Jared Cannonier vs. Shawn Jordan

Cannonier makes his UFC debut sporting a 7-0 record. The army veteran and FAA worker raised money to pay for his training camp on, a unique tact for an aspiring young fighter. Jordan is a seven fight UFC veteran with 15 stoppages in his 16 career MMA victories.

Round 1. The fighters start out with a tentative feeling out process, knowing that each man packs a lot of power. They trade leg kicks and Cannonier lands a jab. They're mostly staying out of range, however. Jordan drops Cannonier with a little looping punch to the side and back of the head. That drops Cannonier and Jordan then follows aggressively on the ground and after a series of punches the fight is stopped. Jordan celebrates the victory with his customary back flip.

Winner: Shawn Jordan, TKO, round 1.

Omari Akhmedov vs. Mats Nilsson

Akhmedov is a Russian fighter with an impressive 13-2 record. He opened his UFC career with a nice knockout of Thiago Perpetuo but lost his last fight to then undefeated top prospect Gunnar Nelson. Nilsson is a Swedish grappling star who lost his UFC debut via TKO to Luke Barnatt.

Round 1. Nilsson moves in with punches but gets countered and Akhmedov switches levels and gets a takedown. Akhmedov immediately goes to work with hard punches from the top, particularly some heavy shots to the body. Nilsson decides he wants no part of that position and gets back up to his feet. Akhmedov then lands some hard leg kicks. Nilsson looks to close distance but when he does, Akhmedov goes for big looping power punches that force Nilsson to back off. Nilsson finally gets in close enough for a takedown and he secures the takedown with two minutes left in the round. However, he can't do much with the position before Akhmedov stands back up. Akhmedov then gets a takedown of his own. Nilsson's face is in bad shape although he entered the fight with some facial bruising already. Nilsson gets up quickly. As Nilsson closes distance again, he eats some hard punches to the body. He gets a takedown with just moments left in the round. Exciting first round. 10-9 Akhmedov.

Round 2. Nilsson again looks to close distance but Akhmedov punishes him whenever he does. Akhmedov then ducks down and takes Nilsson down. He lands some shots on the ground but Nilsson eventually returns to his feet. Nilsson backs Akhmedov up and lands his biggest shot of the fight, a straight punch that sends Akhmedov backwards. Akhmedov then switches levels again and takes Nilsson down with ease. It feels like Nilsson isn't even contesting the takedown attempts. Nilsson gets up but then Akhmedov gets him right back down and lands a few punches to close the second round. Both of these rounds have been very easy to score. 10-9 Akhmedov.

Round 3. Nilsson again looks to close distance but it's not clear what his path to victory is. He hasn't been able to threaten Akhmedov standing or on the ground and is down two rounds. Nilsson gets a takedown halfway through the round but Akhmedov gets up quickly. Nilsson then gets him down again. Akhmedov gets up and gets a takedown of his own. Nilsson then stands up quickly. He takes Akhmedov down and this time grabs a guillotine choke. He cranks then and then looks to transition into a D'Arce but time runs out. 10-9 Nilsson, 29-28 Akhmedov.

Winner: Omari Akhmedov, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).

Alexis Dufresne vs. Marion Reneau

Dufresne is competing in the UFC for the second time. She lost her UFC debut in a controversial decision against Sarah Moras in July. She sports a 5-1 MMA record and failed to make weight for this bout. Reneau, 4-1, is making her UFC debut. She has fought exceedingly weak opposition outside the UFC.

Round 1. Dufresne offers to touch gloves at the start of the fight but Reneau doesn't seem interested. Reneau lands a crisp right hand right up the middle early and then lands another moments later. She has much more striking power than Dufresne. Reneau continues to connect solidly with straight punches. Dufresne finally looks for a takedown two minutes in. Reneau prevents that and lands some hard leg kicks. Dufresne is bleeding from the nose after the earlier punches. Reneau goes to town with vicious punches and knees to the body, looking to finish the fight. Dufresne is able to survive the onslaught but Reneau keeps pouring on the offense. 10-8 Reneau.

Round 2. Reneau immediately connects with another hard straight right punch and Dufresne looks for a takedown. She doesn't come close. Dufresne doesn't have any answers for Reneau's power, which is quite striking for a women's bantamweight fighter. Dufresne lands a leg kick and Reneau answers with one that looks about five times harder. She follows with a head kick. Reneau continues to use very straightforward offense but is bloodying Dufresne badly with the power in her shots. Reneau lands another big right hand that snaps Dufresne's head back. She follows with another big flurry at the end of the round. Dufresne's body language is terrible as she returns to the corner. 10-8 Reneau.

Round 3. Reneau doesn't land as much early in the third as she did in the first two rounds, but she is still controlling the bout with the same straight punches. Dufresne prefers looping punches but they rarely connect and have little power. Reneau backs up Dufresne with some hard shots at the middle of the round, her best series in the final stanza. She lands a couple more big punches moments later and shrugs off a takedown attempt. Reneau backs Dufresne up with additional punches late and is just teeing off at the end of the round. Dufresne is a punching bag and really the fight probably should have been stopped. 10-8 Reneau, 30-24 Reneau.


Winner: Marion Reneau, unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-25).

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