Daniel Cormier took a split decision over Alexander Gustafsson in a blood-soaked five-round war at UFC 192 in Houston, Texas. He won 48-47, 49-46 and 47-48 in a bitterly contested bout.
Cormier landed a huge flipover take down on Gustafsson in the first minute of the bout. He immediately settled into Gus's half guard and began battering the Swede. Things slowed when Gustafsson put Cormier in full guard. When they got stood up, Gustafsson began landing kicks on the much shorter Cormier.
In the second, Gustafsson opened the round popping Cormier with some hurtful shots. After stuffing a shot from Cormier and faking a couple of his own, Gustafsson suddenly took Cormier down. Cormier quickly stood up and hurt Gustafsson with a right hand. Cormier drove Gus into the fence and battered his taller foe. Cormier caught Gustafsson standing and landed a number of uppercuts while holding his head. They traded hard shots at distance, but Cormier was pressing forward and forcing Gustafsson to constantly back away. Cormier appeared to hurt Gus with dirty boxing before a sudden Gustafsson shot got the take down.
Round three saw Gustafsson land early with right hands, knees and a big uppercut. Cormier answered with two right hands that snapped Gustafsson's head back. Gustafsson hit a 1-2 but Cormier grabbed his head and got to the dirty boxing. Gustafsson mixed lead hooks and jabs to score on Cormier, and both men were bleeding from the face. Cormier then landed a hard right at range, grabbed the head and brutalized Gustafsson with uppercuts. Then suddenly the clinch turned on Cormier and he dropped after eating a knee. Gustafsson pressed his advantage but Cormier stood back up and survived the round.
Gustafsson came out aggressive in the fourth and lit up Cormier with straight punches. Cormier showed he was still a threat by grabbing Gustafsson's head and once again firing uppercuts in the clinch. But this time Gustafsson quickly got free. Cormier punished it for him and caught him on the break, putting Gustafsson on the defensive. Then the Swede landed a pair of rights that again turned the tide. The second third of the bout saw Gustafsson circling away and Cormier following before eating another big knee. But the champ pressed forward and bloodied Gustafsson with more dirty boxing in the clinch. A big right from Cormier backed up Gustafsson at the end of the round.
Gustafsson again came out aggressive early in the fifth. He landed a series of right straights, capped off by a lovely and painful body-body-head combo. Cormier walked through it and hit Gustafsson so hard the Swede went hopping to his right. Gustafsson shot with about three minutes left but Cormier stuffed him. Gustafsson landed a knee but at the cost of getting caught in the clinch and eating more uppercuts. Cormier's corner called for the take down but the champ chose to dirty box on the feet instead. Gustafsson took to tying up Cormier's wrist to slow it down. The bout ended with the two men trading in close.
Ryan Bader dominated ex-champ Rashad Evans in the co-main event, cruising to a unanimous decision. Bader enjoyed a serious speed advantage and picked Evans apart on the feet. Bader thought he should have gotten the title shot against Daniel Cormier that Alexander Gustafsson got tonight. Now he's notched another win but he might have to wait for ex-champ Jon Jones to get the next shot.
Heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov picked apart Shawn Jordan for a leisurely three rounds, but it wasn't thrilling for the fans. Magomedov used footwork, front kicks and crisp punching combinations to handily outscore Jordan en route to a decision win.
Flyweight contender Joseph Benavidez dominated Ali Bagautinov and took a unanimous decision. Benavidez endured the boos of the crowd who wanted more action. He also suffered a cut, but his cutman managed to stop the bleeding.
Women's bantamweights Julianna Pena and Jessica Eye put on a hard-fought war for three long rounds. Pena took home the unanimous decision but had to battle for every moment of all three rounds. Pena benefited from a point deduction for an illegal knee to the head while she had her knees on the ground, but dominated the action enough to win two-thirds of the fight on all three cards.
After the decision was announced Pena called out Ronda Rousey. Her 6-0 UFC record makes an excellent case for getting that title shot.
Featherweight Yair Rodriguez put on a clinic against Dan Hooker in the early rounds of the Fox Sports 1 headliner. The youngster landed a panoply of tae kwon do and capoeira kicks rarely seen in MMA, and showed off some nasty judo tosses and slick jiu-jitsu on the ground. Despite losing every round on every card, Hooker was game and pressured Rodriguez from start to finish. He just couldn't match Rodriguez's offense.
Albert Tumenov demolished Alan Jouban in an impressive display of striking skill. Fierce combos tagged Jouban again and again. Finally, Tumenov put together a brutal multi-strike combination to finish Jouban. It started with a right high kick that stunned the American, and then Tumenov reeled off a string of right hands and ended it with a sharp left. Tumenov's first round TKO victory should ensure him a top opponent in his next outing.
Brazilian Adriano Martins from Florida's American Top Team shut down the Russian/Dagestani Brazil Islam Makhachev with a vicious counter right hook in the first round. Mkhachev came out aggressive and was tagging Martins early, but got carried away and was caught making the fundamental mistake of putting his weight in front of his lead leg. Martins made him pay and that was that.
Women's strawweight Rose Namajunas opened the Fox Sports 1 prelims with a rare standing choke submission of Angela Hill. Hill attempted to stand her way out of a Namajunas grappling threat and Rose seized the chance to go for the throat.
UFC president Dana White hyped 19-year-old lightweight Sage Northcutt before his bout with Francisco Trevino and the young fighter did not disappoint. Trevino slipped and Northcutt swarmed him with straight punches against the fence and elbows on the ground for a 57-second TKO finish.
Flyweight prospect Sergio Pettis continued to dazzle and frustrate fans in equal measure in a decision win against tough veteran Chris Cariaso. The younger brother of former LW champ Anthony Pettis, Sergio came into the fight off a KO loss in a fight he'd been winning.
In the first round, Pettis showed why he is one of the most talked about young fighters in MMA. His striking was smooth, slick and dangerous. He dismantled Cariaso with ease, stunning with a big right hand and following it up with a sustained and varied battery. Pettis was dominant in the second as well, but less so by comparison. Then in the third round, Pettis was content to stay on his back while nonchalantly attempting low percentage submissions now and again, basically giving the round away. It nearly came back to bite Pettis when Cariaso ended the round with a vicious heel hook attempt that could easily have tapped Pettis with more time.
In the UFC Fight Pass opener, hometown heavyweight Derrick Lewis was able to hurt Viktor Pesta with every punch he threw. Unfortunately for Lewis and the fans, Pesta managed to turn it into a wrestling match for most of the first two rounds. Towards the end of the second round, Lewis began to connect. A battered Pesta was slow to get off the mat at the end of the round, and Pesta had nothing for Lewis in the third. Lewis battered Pesta standing, then took him down, got mount and put a beating on the Czech fighter for the TKO stoppage.
UFC 192 Complete Results
Pay per view
Light Heavyweight: Ryan Bader def. Rashad Evans via unanimous decision (30-27x3).
Heavyweight: Ruslan Magomedov def. Shawn Jordan via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28).
Flyweight: Joseph Benavidez def. Ali Bagautinov via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 29-28).
Women's bantamweight: Julianna Pena def. Jessica Eye via unanimous decision (29-27x3).
Fox Sports 1 Prelims
Featherweight: Yair Rodriguez def. Dan Hooker via unanimous decision (30-27x2, 30-26).
Welterweight: Albert Tumenov def. Alan Jouban via TKO (punches) at 2:55 of Round 1.
Lightweight: Adriano Martins def. Islam Makhachev via KO (punch) at 1:46 of Round 1.
Rose Namajunas def. Angela Hill via submission (standing rear naked choked) at 2:47 of Round 1.
Fight Pass Prelims
Sage Northcutt def. Francisco Trevino via TKO (elbows) at 0:57 of Round 1.
Sergio Pettis def. Chris Cariaso via unanimous decision (29-27x2, 29-28).
Derrick Lewis def. Viktor Pesta via TKO (punches from mount) at 1:15 of Round 3.
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