- UFC 170
UFC 170 round-up: Cormier scores with 79-second KOFebruary 23, 2014
Daniel Cormier will not be crying after this performance.
Cormier (14-0) needed just 79 seconds to knock out late replacement Patrick Cummins at UFC 170 on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
It was a sweet result for Cormier, who was making his debut at light-heavyweight. Prior to the bout, Cummins (4-1) had claimed he had made Cormier cry once during a wrestling practice when the two trained together years ago.
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"It had to happen this way," Cormier said. "It could not have gone the distance. I'm mad he even hit me twice because of all the talking he did. When you talk, you've got to be able to back it up. That's what I do."
Cummins did not appear blatantly out of his league, despite the fact Cormier closed at a near 12/1 betting favourite. He accepted the fight on 10 days' notice, when injury forced Rashad Evans off the co-main event.
"I feel good because it's my first finish in UFC," Cormier said.
"Training camp was long and hard and I prepared for a long fight but I have no complaints. I'm going to stay in this cycle and be this healthy in every camp. I feel great with this nutrition and the way my body has reacted to it. I'm firing on all cylinders. I've been talking about this move down for a long time, and when you do it the right way you don't feel any effects. I don't want to make this harder than it needs to be. I've got great coaches and I know I haven't peaked yet. I'm going to keep getting better and I'm taking on all comers."
He attempted several takedowns in the opening minute and had no trouble letting his hands go - but he never came close to taking down Cormier.
Cormier forced a fight in close quarters. He ate a counter left at one point (one of the two punches he referenced immediately afterward), but that did little to back him off. About one minute in, Cormier staggered Cummins with a short right to the chin. He followed it with a picture-perfect uppercut that sent Cummins' eyes rolling.
The former NCAA All-American wrestler attempted to recover, but there was no way Cormier was letting him off the hook. He swarmed with more right hands, which prompted referee Mario Yamasaki to stop the fight.
Cormier, a former US Olympic wrestler, improves to 3-0 in the UFC. He recorded decision wins over heavyweights Roy Nelson and Frank Mir in 2013. Cummins, who signed a multifight deal with the UFC, suffered his first professional loss.
MacDonald punishes Maia
Rory MacDonald looks like a welterweight contender again, following a hard-fought decision over a veteran opponent in Demian Maia.
MacDonald (16-2) surrendered a takedown in the first minute, which led to him losing the first round, but he was solid otherwise. He picked Maia apart on the feet while defending a constant string of takedown attempts in the later rounds. All three judges scored it the same, 29-28 for MacDonald.
Maia (19-5) could not have gotten off to a better start. He took MacDonald down immediately with a high single leg and advanced to full mount within two minutes. MacDonald maintained his composure, though. He refused to give Maia his back, opting to block punches while he worked to buck him off instead. With 48 seconds left in the round, MacDonald got back to his feet.
Despite the confidence-building first, Maia appeared desperate for a takedown in the second round. He did land punches as MacDonald stalked forward, but was always intent on following them with double-leg shots.
The fight started to drain from Maia's face as MacDonald stuffed one takedown after another. MacDonald, meanwhile, started to land effectively with kicks to the body and straight, two-punch combinations.
MacDonald carried momentum into the final round, where he continued to pick Maia apart with the jab, right hand and kicks. Maia's best opportunity to turn it around came two minutes in, when he slammed MacDonald to the floor after jockeying for position on a single leg. MacDonald remained calm again, creating space with butterfly guard and eventually scrambling out.
The Canadian welterweight recovered nicely from a split decision loss to Robbie Lawler in November. Lawler is scheduled to fight Johny Hendricks for the vacant UFC title next month in Dallas. Maia fell to 3-2 in the UFC's welterweight division.
Pyle stops Waldburger in Round 3
Mike Pyle rebounded from a knockout loss in his last performance with authority, finishing TJ Waldburger via TKO late in the third round.
Pyle (26-9-1) used a guillotine attempt to mount Waldburger in the third, where he landed a hard elbow that basically ended the fight. Referee Herb Dean allowed Waldburger to continue, but he was clearly hurt by the blow and never recovered.
Waldburger (16-9) turtled in the center of the cage, but grew fairly unresponsive to more elbows and right hands by Pyle. The fight was called at the four minutes three seconds mark. It was a solid overall performance start to finish for Pyle, who came off a disastrous 29-second knockout loss to Matt Brown in August.
The Las Vegas-based welterweight was at his best on the inside. He thwarted off Waldburger takedown attempts all night, frequently landing knees and elbows from the clinch after doing so.
He bloodied Waldburger's nose in the second round with punches and later worked into side control off a takedown. Waldburger had his moments on the feet, especially when he walked Pyle backwards, but they were few and far between.
Pyle started to dominate in the third. He opened up with the jab and tagged Waldburger with a clean right. In one of the flashier moments of the fight, he dropped Waldburger with a spinning elbow. Pyle, 38, is now 5-1 in his last six fights, including four finishes. Waldburger dropped to 1-3 in his last four. He's been knocked out in his last two appearances.
Thompson doesn't waste time against Whittaker
Ten fights in, Stephen Thompson has performed pretty well in mixed martial arts.
Thompson (9-1), an accomplished kickboxer turned MMA fighter, earned the sixth finish of his career in a TKO victory over Robert Whittaker. The knockout came three minutes 45 seconds into the first round. A straight right hand dropped Whittaker (11-4) initially. The welterweight managed to get back to his feet, but Thompson put him down again with another right.
"I can't even describe how good I feel right now,", Thompson said. "Whittaker is a very tough opponent so I was careful to stay away from his power and use my speed. I've got great instructors and coaches and my ground game is improving quickly. I'm still a striker at heart though so naturally that's where I want the fight to take place. I'm a fighter which means I will fight anyone at any place any time the UFC wants me to. I'm ready for whatever they have lined up next for me."
Dazed, Whittaker turtled and wrapped his arms around Thompson's leg. Thompson continued to throw hammerfists until Referee Mario Yamasaki intervened. The fight saw plenty of action, as Whittaker appeared determined to walk forward and get inside on the lankier Thompson. He frequently landed with the jab and came close to buzzing Thompson with several left hooks out of clinches.
Thompson refused to go anywhere, though, firing back with the right hand while fitting in kicks to the midsection.The win improved Thompson's UFC record to 4-1. The 31-year-old made his pro mixed martial arts debut in mid-2010. Whittaker dropped to 2-2 in the Octagon.
Davis outpoints Eye for third win in the UFC
Davis (16-5) carved out her third decision win in the Octagon, mostly due to her wrestling. She landed a crucial takedown late in the first round, which might have ultimately won her the fight.
Two scorecards read for Davis, 29-28. The third went to Eye by the same score. ESPN.com scored the female bantamweight contest 29-28 for Davis.
"I thought my performance was good. I could see by the look in her eye that she wasn't going to go down easily," said Davis. "You find things you do wrong in both wins and losses and I definitely had my share of mistakes tonight. Jessica was a lot stronger than I expected her to be. Even on the ground when she was holding my wrist I was having the toughest time trying to wrestle it away from her."
The first round was the closest of the three. Eye (10-2) scored points with her jab and the occasional right hand. She spent time pressing Davis up against the fence and looking for short punches on the inside. Davis appeared to be a step behind Eye on the feet, but she did answer some with front kicks, right hands and knees from the clinch. With 30 seconds remaining in the round, she scored her first takedown and finished the frame on top.
Davis seized momentum early in the second round, catching a body kick from Eye and taking the fight to the floor. Working out of Eye's half-guard, Davis failed to do much damage but stayed busy enough to ride out the round in top position. Instead of looking to take Eye down in the third, however, Davis elected to stand - and it nearly cost her the fight. Given the opportunity, Eye re-established the range on her jab and rocked Davis multiple times with combinations away from the fence.
The effort wasn't quite enough to pull Eye ahead. The Ohio-based bantamweight remains winless in the UFC. She defeated Sarah Kaufmann via split decision at UFC 166, but the result was later changed to a no-contest due to a failed drug test.
"I think it's my time to shine," said Davis. "I've won all three of my fights in the UFC against the top competition. I believe I've earned a shot at the title and I'd love the chance to get that belt."
Davis has now won five in a row and is 8-1 dating back to mid-2010.
Assuncao makes case for title shot with UD win
Raphael Assuncao continues to strengthen his case for a UFC title shot.
Assuncao (22-4) improved his mark in the UFC's bantamweight division to 6-0, defeating newcomer Pedro Munhoz via unanimous decision. The Brazilian kept Munhoz guessing on the feet and landed two key takedowns in the second round. All three judges scored the contest a clean 30-27 sweep for Assuncao.
"I'm a little bruised up but I'm feeling fine," Assuncao said. "Another win under my belt. The late change in opponent wasn't a big deal but it did throw me off because I had a solid game plan for my previous opponent. I'm not the greatest puncher or the heaviest hitter but I hit him with some really hard shots that didn't put him down so that surprised me. I watched some tape on him and those push kicks to check the distance really helped me out there."
Munhoz (10-1) had some success with leg kicks early, but failed to build on them. He typically took the worse of the exchanges, as Assuncao utilized a crisp counter-right and a couple knees on the inside. Momentum stayed with Assuncao in the second round. He caught a kick to the body and used it to put Munhoz on his back. Standing over his guard, Assuncao cleared the legs and landed four to five hard right hands that hurt Munhoz. Referee Chris Tognoni stayed on top of the action and eventually Munhoz managed to scramble to his feet. He was taken down again moments later, however, off another missed kick.
Assuncao cruised in the third, as Munhoz continued to struggle offensively. The effect of Assuncao's right hand showed in Munhoz's face, as swelling started to develop around his left eye.
"My record speaks for itself. I think it's good to have a chip on your shoulder because it's motivating," said Assuncao. "Every guy I've beaten has been on a winning streak. Every guy was coming off damn good wins when I beat them. I'm not going to change who I am or the way I promote fights just to get a title shot but I think I've done plenty to earn that shot. I'm ready to go if that's what the UFC wants."
Assuncao remained perfect at 135 pounds in the UFC. ESPN.com ranked him No.3 in the division prior to the win.