Chris Weidman (4) vs Gegard Mousasi (5)
The Co-Main Event in Buffalo, New York was a big matchup between the former champ Chris Weidman and the veteran Gegard Mousasi. Surprisingly Weidman was the underdog for this fight having only lost to Yoel Romero, a tough competitor, since his last title fight. However it is evident that Mousasi is well suited to the middleweight division since moving down from the light-heavy weight in 2014. Many people didn’t have belief in Mousasi in regards to his ground game against such an accomplished wrestler in Weidman. However he seemed confident with his camp and shrugged these remarks saying that he has no problem with the fight going to ground.
As the first round began it was clear that Mousasi’s hands were noticeably quicker than Weidman’s, especially in the jab. Weidman was throwing a lot of feints which inevitably allowed him to lunge for a single leg and secure a takedown. A guillotine was avoided with some incredible defence by Mousasi, which he seemed to display for the entirety of the fight. After a brief exchange on the fighter’s feet, Weidman managed to get his second takedown of the round with no significant effect on Mousasi or the game as they immediately stood up. Weidman then appeared to shake Mousasi catching him with a well-timed punch. He then proceeded to throw numerous punches in a combination resulting in a takedown attempt, however the All-American didn’t manage to get a grip on the second leg. This flurry however did seem to affect Mousasi as he began swinging wildly towards the end of the round, not landing much.
Seconds into the second round Mousasi seemed to up the tempo completely as he landed a huge jab followed by hard uppercuts as Weidman scrambled against the fence. After seemingly inflicting a lot of damage to his opponent and having that continuous pressure Mousasi decides to strangely attempt a takedown on Weidman fails. He continued to grapple with Weidman, wasting precious energy until Dan Miragliotta had to separate the fighters for a lack of activity. Weidman followed up with a big takedown resulting in the pair scrambling on the floor, constantly switching positions. As soon as the pair were broken up the fight was called to a stop by the Dan Miragliotta because apparently Mousasi had thrown an illegal knee as both of Weidman’s hands were on the ground. This resulted in a doctor coming into the octagon as well as a 5 minute timer beginning for Weidman to recover. However in the video replay it was shown that Mousasi had lifted Weidman from underneath his lats to deliver the knee meaning the fight should not have been stopped nor should a timer or doctor have been called. This caused some confusion and when the news was given to the referee Dan Miragliotta he seemed to consult with numerous people outside the octagon. A second doctor arrived to help Weidman leading to even more confusion as Dan consulted the doctors. Eventually a representative from the commission, who oversees every fight, decided to call the fight taking on board the advice from the doctors, awarding the TKO victory to Mousasi. This was met by disgust from Weidman who pleaded his case, to no avail. Mousasi was clearly unhappy with the decision as both fighters expressed their disgust in the octagon interviews.
It appears as if both fighters were clear in their hope for a rematch, as was Dana White. It was even contest up until the knee and sadly it affected both the fight record of Weidman and the credibility of the win for Mousasi. It was an unfortunate call by Dan Miragliotta as most people only realised what had happened with the aid of replays and slow motion technology.
Daniel Cormier (C) vs Anthony Johnson (1)
The Main Event for the night was a title fight between the champion Daniel Cormier and the challenger and number one ranked light heavy weight Anthony Johnson. Johnson’s last loss came at the hands of Cormier in 2015 as he attempted to secure the belt and has since received three performances of the night in his last three fights were he finished the fights by either TKO or KO. Cormier on the other hand has only lost once in his career to arguably the best light-heavy weight in UFC history Jon Jones. Cormier seemed to step up his trash talking in preparation for the fight with Johnson not rising to the comments. Cormier has, for a quiet a while, been booed by UFC fans and he has recently taken it upon himself to see the funny side in it and to taunt those booing fans when he gets the chance. There is a clear reach and height advantage for Rumble at 5.5 and 3 inches respectively. It is Cormier first ever rematch in the UFC and he is hoping to emphatically show his dominance within the division.
Rumble to everyone’s surprise immediately pushed DC to the cage and aimed to manoeuvre him into a position to take him down, staying clear of what he his most well-known for. This involved long bouts of grappling that doesn’t favour Rumble as DC always aimed to tire him out as early and as soon as possible. After a reasonably long stale mate DC begins opening up and landing knees and elbows. Once in control DC excellently let Rumble hold his weight, sapping the energy out of him. DC utilised good under hooks and looked to get a headlock. Rumble managed to avoid the attempt and as soon as the pair were back to striking Rumble began landing big hits that were rattling DC. But again when he had the advantage he returned straight back to the clinch. On the bell Johnson eventually lands a big takedown but the round had ended by the time DC had the hit the ground and the two were made return to their corners. It was made clear that DC had broken his nose in the first round, which would make it difficult for the rest of the fight.
At the beginning of the second round Rumble decided to hold a southpaw stance looking for a left high kick. But DC closed the distance and managed to catch one of Rumbles kicks. Both fighters were exchanging in a scramble, executing a takedown each. With nearly 2 minute left to go DC again takes Rumble down with a well-timed trip. He then proceeded to take Rumbles back utilising good wrist control. Rumble was in a bad way, eating a bombardment of punches to the head. Eventually DC wore Rumble down enough to attempt and successfully pull off a rear naked choke finishing the match.
Rumbles strange approach to the fight was unfruitful. He tried to engage in grappling and ground game which I believe lost him the fight. Cormier seemed as dominant as ever throughout the fight. The afters with Cormier, Manuwa and Jones, while interesting, was quickly over shadowed by the shock of the night. Rumbling announcing his retirement. I will be releasing an article later this week about Rumble.