The biggest UFC fight card of the year took place in Anaheim, California on Saturday evening as Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones battled it out for the UFC light heavyweight title in the main event of UFC 214.
Their long-storied rivalry began back in September 2014 and after Jones won their first fight at UFC 182 in January 2015, the rematch had been long in the works and been delayed twice before the two finally went at it for the second time.
The bad blood between Jones and Cormier had never been greater in the build-up during fight week and both men looked more determined than ever as they stared at each other across the Octagon.
The atmosphere inside the arena was electric as they stepped forward for the first exchange. Both men started fast as Jones rushed forward looking to throw his left hand and use his sizeable reach advantage. Cormier tried to cramp Jones for space by moving forward himself but Jones punished him several times to the body in the opening three-minutes with knees and hooks. Jones looked to be taking control of the bout, but Cormier bit down on his gum shield and landed two big hooks before the round ended.
An accidental headbutt cut Cormier over his right eye at the start of round two and referee John McCarthy briefly paused the bout. When the action resumed, Cormier landed some nice counters and resisted Jones’ attempt to take the fight to the mat. The champion continued having success with hooks over the top and he landed another clean right hand before the round ended.
Jones went back to working the body early on the in the third and used his oblique kicks to try and deter Cormier from pressing the action. Cormier looked to be coping with them well, but then Jones caught him with a big head kick that Cormier ate flush. Jones seized the moment and swarmed Cormier, dropping him to the mat with several strikes against the fence. The champion tried to cover up, but Jones relentlessly pounded him with elbows until referee McCarthy called the fight to an end.
Watch the finish below…
Jones then celebrated on top of the cage and had the UFC light heavyweight title strapped around his waist. He then sunk to his knees and thanked all his fans around the world for sticking by his side. It was an incredible moment in the UFC Octagon as Jones settled his beef with Cormier once and for all and thanked him for their rivalry.
Just when everyone thought the night was over, Jones grabbed the microphone one last time and called out WWE star Brock Lesnar for a showdown in the UFC Octagon. It was a memorable way to end a sensational night in California.
Woodley defends his title but bores the crowd
In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley faced jiu-jitsu specialist Demian Maia as two of the world’s best at 170-pounds went toe-to-toe.
Maia made his intention clear early on he dived for multiple takedowns inside the opening three minutes that Woodley did well to prevent him completing. The champion spent most of his time on the back foot, but he landed a clean shot early that did a lot of damage to the Brazilian’s left eye.
Woodley dropped Maia at the beginning of the second, but the Brazilian fought back bravely and rose to his feet to attempt yet more takedowns that Woodley repelled easily as he coasted out the rest of the round.
The champion was totally in control of the contest and from the third round onwards he took his foot off the gas, much to the disapproval of the crowd. Maia tried desperately in the remaining rounds to get a takedown, but Woodley resisted them all and the crowd began entertaining themselves with a Mexican wave.
The fight went the distance, but before it ended the crowd turned on their mobile phone lights, waved them above their heads and chanted “boring, boring, boring” to display their anger. Both men finished the fight with their hands in the air, but after Maia had all his 23 takedowns attempts defended, Woodley retained his title on all three scorecards 50-45, 49-46, 49-46 in a fight that many will never want to revisit again.
Cyborg wins UFC gold for the first time
The first title fight of the evening saw Cris Cyborg and Tonya Evinger battle it out for the vacant UFC women’s featherweight title.
It was evident very early on that the Brazilian had the clear advantage on the feet, but after being stung with some stinging shots early on, Evinger used her grappling and briefly had Cyborg on the mat.
Unfortunately for Evinger, Cyborg was up within seconds and she continued to push forward landing big shots on the American throughout much of the opening two rounds. Evinger gritted her teeth and bravely fought through the relentless barrage, but in round three, Cyborg finished the fight with a stunning combination that ended with a brutal knee to the face.
Watch the finish below…
It’s been a long time coming, but Cris Cyborg is finally the UFC women’s featherweight champion.
Lawler edges past Cerrone in classic
Elsewhere on the night, Robbie Lawler took on Donald Cerrone in one of the most hotly anticipated fights of the year. Both veteran welterweights are known for their never back down, stand up fighting and last night they didn’t let the fans down.
Lawler started the fight quickly and put the pressure on Cerrone early as he blitzed him with strikes and cramped him for space. Cerrone ate some hard shots early, but later in the round, he scored a takedown and landed a nice head kick to make it a relatively even first five-minutes.
Cerrone then carried his momentum through to the next round and landed some nice combos early as he mixed his kicks with some vicious elbows. Lawler tried to fire back with his own kicks, but Cerrone seemed to be in the groove and countered him well, landing all manner of offence as Lawler rushed in to take the second comfortably.
Before the third round began the crowd rose to their feet and showed their appreciation for the contest unfolding in front of them. Lawler started pressuring forward again like he had in the first and had success early on with a thudding body shot. Cerrone looked to take him down to the mat, but unlike the first round Lawler resisted and he continued to plod forward looking to brawl.
Both men were obviously drained in the final 90-seconds, but they stood toe-to-toe and firing in shots until the final bell. It was breathless, incredible fights and the fans stood again to show their gratitude. After a brief pause, Bruce Buffer announced Lawler the winner by unanimous decision 29-28 on all three scorecards.
Manuwa blasted away by Oezdemir
Opening the main card, British light heavyweight Jimi Manuwa took on Volkan Oezdemir as both men looked to put themselves right in the thick of the title talk with a third successive win.
Unfortunately for Manuwa, it was the Swiss fighter who got the job done and he did it in incredible fashion with just 42-seconds on the clock as he landed a flurry of hooks coming out of a clinch against the cage.
Manuwa hit the deck hard and as Oezdemir looked to follow up with strikes on the ground, the referee dived in and saved the Briton from taking further damage. It was an impressive display of power from the Swiss fighter who now has three wins under the UFC banner in just five months.
Watch the video below…
UFC 214 Full Results
Jon Jones def. Daniel Cormier via TKO (head kick + punches). Round 3, 3:01
Tyron Woodley def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46)
Cris Cyborg def. Tonya Evinger via TKO (Strikes). Round 3, 1:56
Robbie Lawler def. Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Volkan Oezdemir def. Jimi Manuwa via TKO (strikes). Round 1, 0:22
Ricardo Lamas def. Jason Knight via TKO (punches). Round 1, 4:34
Aljamain Sterling def. Renan Barao via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-26)
Brian Ortega def. Renato Moicano via submission (guillotine). Round 3, 2:59
Calvin Kattar def. Andre Fili via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alexandra Albu def. Kailin Curran via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jarred Brooks def. Eric Shelton via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Drew Dober def. Josh Burkman via KO (Punch). Round 1, 3:04