UFC 210 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Cormier vs. Johnson 2
Rightly or otherwise, there is an air of illegitimacy hanging over the UFC light heavyweight division.
That may not sound fair to Daniel Cormier, the undisputed champion of the division (though he lost when he faced Jones in 2015). It's certainly not fair to the main event of UFC 210, in which Cormier defended said title in a rematch with power-striking terror Anthony Johnson on Saturday.
The wrestling of Cormier and the furious, short-fused knockout style of Johnson provided a compelling stylistic contrast, whether Jones loomed over it or not. (He will, one can assume, almost surely face the winner next.)
Still, most of the fight-week intrigue was drummed up by the New York State Athletic Commission. That's not ideal. More on that momentarily.
Back in the cage, the co-main event featured ex-champ Chris Weidman and the streaking Gegard Mousasi battling to gain headway at the crowded top of the middleweight division.
As always, there was intrigue up and down this card, and the final stat lines only reveal so much. These are the real winners and losers from UFC 210, which went down in Buffalo, New York.
Full card results appear at the end of the article.
Winner: Daniel Cormier
This was a weird card. A weird card. We'll cover it all in a moment.
But one thing that wasn't weird was the light heavyweight champion's performance: A new bout with Anthony Johnson, but the same result. In their first matchup, Daniel Cormier applied a rear-naked choke in the third round. This time, it happened in the second.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, Johnson chose to initiate a clinch with Cormier, an Olympic-level Greco-Roman wrestler, rather than attempt to swing in open space for a knockout.
Cormier was only too happy to oblige Johnson's game plan. He did take a high kick that appeared to break his nose, but he fought through it, got Johnson on the ground, easily flattened Rumble and got the choke.
Cormier is a great fighter. He doesn't seem to resonate with fans, but he's 19-1 and a respected champion.
So what's next? Jon Jones was in attendance, as was another light heavyweight, Jimi Manuwa. Jones and Cormier have history. But Cormier instead went after Manuwa.
As long as Jones is on the shelf, Cormier seems committed to ignoring him.
"When he gets his academics in order," Cormier said of Jones to broadcaster Joe Rogan in the cage after the win, "he can come back to the classroom."
Loser: Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson didn't offer a ton of resistance when Daniel Cormier moved to lock on the choke. It seemed his heart wasn't in it.
It turns out that may have been true. After the bout, Johnson announced his retirement from MMA.
Johnson walks away at age 33 with a 22-6 pro record. He still has plenty of ability, as evidenced by the fact that he competed for a championship Saturday. But it seems he's ready to release his embrace of the grind.
"I gave my commitment to another job," Johnson told Rogan. "It's something I've been wanting to do for a while. It's not MMA-related."
It's a little interesting that an elite contender is departing for another job outside the sport. Where else would that happen?
That aside, Johnson enjoyed a noteworthy career at MMA's highest level. But this can't have been the way he wanted to go out.
Losers: Gegard Mousasi and Chris Weidman
The co-main event of UFC 210 was marred by controversy and ineptitude on the part of the New York State Athletic Commission officials in attendance.
The result goes down as a TKO victory for Gegard Mousasi over Chris Weidman. The end came on knees to a grounded Weidman. Although the strikes were close to being illegal as Weidman's hands touched the mat, replay showed they were indeed legal strikes.
In any case, referee Dan Miragliotta, not having replay at his disposal in the great state of New York, stopped the fight to let Weidman recover, thinking the knees were illegal.
But instead of letting the bout continue after a brief pause to sort out what actually happened, a commission doctor came into the ring and called a stop to the fight after Weidman was deemed unfit to continue.
No one seemed to know what was going on. No one seemed to fully understand the rule about strikes to downed opponents, or how it was supposed to be applied. It was a messy situation that harmed everyone involved, and it was an unfortunate end to a bout that was shaping up to be a great contest.
After the bout, Mousasi told Rogan he would grant Weidman a rematch "no problem." Let's hope it happens, and maybe not in New York next time.
Winner: Patrick Cote
The 37-year-old French Canadian fell victim to three rounds of leg kicks and general striking smoothness from Thiago Alves.
In his first bout back at welterweight after a dalliance with lightweight, Alves looked strong and sharp, and he grabbed the unanimous-decision victory.
So why is Cote listed as a winner?
After the contest, Cote retired. He rides into the sunset with a 23-11 record, including once fighting Anderson Silva for the middleweight title.
"That was the plan," Cote told Rogan in the cage after the fight. "Win or lose, that was going to be my last fight."
Cote is in a fairly enviable position, however, as he has plenty of irons in the fire away from the gym. He mentors various athletes in Canada, has a real estate company and serves as a French-language commentator for UFC broadcasts north of the border. Not too shabby.
Happy trails, Patrick.
Loser: New York State Athletic Commission
We've already gone through the chaos of the co-main event. Unfortunately, the problems went beyond that.
During the weigh-ins earlier in the week, Daniel Cormier magically lost 1.2 pounds in about five minutes in order to make weight—but he may have done so with the aid of a helpful towel. The New York State Athletic Commission not only stood idly by but indirectly made it happen by allowing the subsequent weigh-in in the first place.
And that's on top of the Pearl Gonzalez mess. Commission officials initially ruled her out of her fight with Cynthia Calvillo because Gonzalez had breast implants, but then later rescinded the ruling. Hoo-kay.
And all of it is on top of the commission's difficulties last fall at UFC 205, the first pro MMA event in New York City after a years-long political struggle.
Bleacher Report's own Matthew Ryder may have summed it up best:
What [the controversy] does illuminate, though, is a degree of concern surrounding the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) and its capacity to regulate MMA to an adequate standard. The struggle to establish the sport in the state has been well-documented, and this is only the third major event to take place in New York since MMA was legalized. ... It’s apparent the NYSAC is as much a kangaroo court as it is a governing body at this point.
Give this round to the gentle art.
Former Bellator champ Will Brooks was up to a minus-357 favorite, according to OddsShark, heading into this matchup with Charles Oliveira.
One of the reasons for that was Brooks' excellent wrestling, which he complements with a long-range kicking game. Those are two things that don't naturally blend together, but Brooks has done it with great success.
Saturday was not one of those times.
Oliveira used his wild but effective jiu-jitsu game to initiate a scramble, get on Brooks' back, lock on a standing rear-naked choke and secure the tap.
It was a great showing for Oliveira at lightweight. But he spoiled his own party afterward by insisting on a return to featherweight, where he has had trouble making the 145-pound limit.
"I have to talk to my team, but I want to stay at 145 pounds," he said. "It's my division and I feel more comfortable. I've had problems before and I didn't make the weight, but right now I have a lot of professional guys behind me to help me that I didn't have before. I want to get the belt at 145 pounds."
We will see what happens, but for now, it was one of the best performances of a respectable, if intriguing, career.
UFC 210 Full Card Results
- Daniel Cormier def. Anthony Johnson by submission (rear-naked choke), 3:37, Rd. 2 (for UFC light heavyweight championship)
- Gegard Mousasi def. Chris Weidman by TKO, 3:13, Rd. 2
- Cynthia Calvillo def. Pearl Gonzalez by submission (rear-naked choke), 3:45, Rd. 3
- Thiago Alves def. Patrick Cote by unanimous decision
- Charles Oliveira def. Will Brooks by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:30, Rd. 1
- Myles Jury def. Mike De La Torre by TKO, 3:30, Rd. 1
- Kamaru Usman def. Sean Strickland by unanimous decision
- Shane Burgos def. Charles Rosa by TKO, 1:59, Rd. 3
- Patrick Cummins def. Jan Blachowicz by majority decision
- Gregor Gillespie def. Andrew Holbrook by KO, 0:21, Rd. 1
- Desmond Green def. Josh Emmett by split decision
- Katlyn Chookagian def. Irene Aldana by split decision
- Magomed Bibulatov def. Jenel Lausa by unanimous decision
Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. Scott is available on Twitter.