After a second encounter with one of the most feared knockout artists in mixed martial arts history, Daniel Cormier still occupies the Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight throne.
Cormier submitted Anthony Johnson with a second-round rear-naked choke to retain the 205-pound championship in the UFC 210 headliner on Saturday at the KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. Johnson (22-6, 13-6 UFC) conceded defeat 3:37 into Round 2, then promptly retired in a bizarre post-fight speech.
Johnson inexplicably engaged “DC” in close quarters, pursing takedowns and clinches against the two-time Olympian. Cormier weathered a first-round head kick that appeared to break his nose and waited for “Rumble” to crack. The American Kickboxing Academy mainstay landed a takedown midway through the middle stanza, applied his ground-and-pound and climbed to the back. Cormier (19-1, 8-1 UFC) then snatched the choke and forced an immediate tapout (online sportsbooks).
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Mousasi Knees Stop Weidman Amid Controversy
Former Dream, Strikeforce and Cage Warriors Fighting Championship titleholder Gegard Mousasi was awarded a controversial and hotly disputed second-round technical knockout over Chris Weidman in the middleweight co-main event. The fight came to an anticlimactic conclusion 3:13 into Round 2.
Two Mousasi knee strikes resulted in the finish and set off a bizarre scene inside the cage. Referee Dan Miragliotta, believing Weidman had two hands on the canvas at the time of impact, ruled the second knee illegal and afforded the Serra-Longo Fight Team mainstay a five-minute recovery period. Replays showed the blow was legal. In the interim, cageside physicians entered the Octagon, examined Weidman and deemed him unfit to continue. He was incensed.
The result erased a productive first round for Weidman (13-3, 9-3 UFC), as he delivered multiple takedowns, waded through a series of punishing Mousasi jabs and staggered him with an overhand right. He briefly advanced to full mount in Round 2, only to see Mousasi reverse into top position. They returned to their feet soon after, Mousasi (42-6-2, 9-3 UFC) clinging to a front headlock while firing the knees that ended it.
Unbeaten Calvillo Taps Gonzalez
Team Alpha Male prospect Cynthia Calvillo remained unbeaten, as she submitted Pearl Gonzalez with a rear-naked choke in the third round of their featured women’s strawweight clash. Gonzalez (6-2, 0-1 UFC) tapped out 3:45 into Round 3, her six-fight winning streak having run its course.
Calvillo (5-0, 2-0 UFC) outpaced the Ring of Combat alum on the feet but made real headway on the ground. She threatened Gonzalez with a triangle choke late in the first round and withstood early adversity to advance to the back in the second, establishing clear superiority in the grappling exchanges. In the third round, Calvillo struck for a takedown, moved to mount and then climbed to the back. After a considerable struggle, she cinched the choke and forced Gonzalez to bow out.
Alves Outduels Retiring Cote
American Top Team’s Thiago Alves snapped a two-fight losing streak with a unanimous decision over Patrick Cote in a three-round welterweight feature. Alves (22-11, 14-8 UFC) swept the scorecards with matching 30-27 marks from the judges.
Cote (23-11, 10-11 UFC) was a step slow. Alves battered the inside and outside of his lead leg with repeated kicks, sat him down with a left hook in the first round and dropped him to his knees with a thudding counter right in the second. Cote changed direction in Round 3 but saw his takedown attempt stonewalled. Alves lured him into the clinch, executed a takedown of his own and opened a cut with a slicing elbow from the top. Cote connected with a right uppercut in the waning moments but could not shake the Brazilian’s resolve.
Afterward, Cote announced his retirement.
Oliveira Choke Submits Brooks
Charles Oliveira submitted former Bellator MMA champion Will Brooks with a standing rear-naked choke in the first round of their lightweight showcase. Brooks (18-3, 1-2 UFC) conceded defeat 2:30 into round one, as he lost for the second time in as many appearances.
Oliveira (22-7, 10-7 UFC) executed two early takedowns and climbed to the back when the American Top Team standout rose to his feet. From there, he snaked his arms in place, tightened his squeeze and procured the tapout.