UFC 182 Jones vs. Cormier: Round-by-Round Recap and Analysis

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistJanuary 3, 2015

UFC 182 Jones vs. Cormier: Round-by-Round Recap and Analysis

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    Ladies and gentlemen, UFC 182 is finally here. At long last, we get to witness the amazing grudge match that is light heavyweight champion (and possible greatest fighter of all time) Jon Jones taking on an elite talent in Daniel Cormier. 

    The fight is exciting on multiple levels, and no longer must we wait!

    Some say that Jones' well-rounded skill set, which includes a dynamic, rangy striking game and near-impregnable takedown defense, will be too much for Cormier. Others say that Cormier's success against fighters far larger than Jones, achieved through timing-focused punches and world-class wrestling, sets him up for victory.

    Either way, the talk is almost over and the fighting begins soon. Circle back here tonight for Bleacher Report's round-by-round recap and analysis of UFC 182's main event.

Round 1

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    The first round opens with Jones flicking kicks at Cormier's face. Cormier attempts to shoot, but Jones defends well. The fight is briefly contested along the cage, and Cormier throws punches but Jones escapes quickly. 

    Cormier throws a kick, Jones catches it and scores a takedown. Cormier explodes out and the two swap strikes. Jones shoots for a takedown of his own, but Cormier sprawls with ease.

    Jones keeps Cormier at a comfortable distance and finds range for left hands and low kicks. Jones ties up Cormier with a plum, and lands a good knee but Cormier fires back with an overhand that lands hard. Cormier continues pressing forward but Jones keeps him from entering striking distance with kicks and feints.

    Cormier backpedals and gives Jones room to work, and is met with an overhand left and spinning kicks. Cormier tries to apply pressure standing but is simply unable to get in range. He begins flicking left hands and Jones plants and is struck with an uppercut, but seems unphased. Jones once again looks for a takedown but is met with punches from Cormier. The round ends before Cormier is allowed to capitalize in any serious way.

    10-9 Jones

Round 2

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    Jones once again opens with kicks, but this time to the body. Cormier commits to a takedown but Jones threatens with a guillotine. Cormier spins out.

    Cormier continues finding some level of success with his hands, but lacks power behind them. Jones absorbs a right hand and pushes Cormier to the cage, but cannot find his signature elbows as Cormier keeps him close and escapes.

    Jones attempts to clinch in the center of the cage and is wobbled a bit by a punch. He recovers quickly and returns to the clinch, but this time successfully lands a pair of stinging elbows. The two continue moving in and out of the clinch, with Cormier landing uppercuts and Jones coming over the top with elbows. 

    They split and the fighters exchange kicks before Jones once again presses him to the cage. The two split and Jones once again looks to clinch in the center of the cage but is met with a big punch from Cormier. They split and Jones once again eats a punch moving into a clinch.

    The horn sounds and, for this writer, the scores are even.

    10-9 Cormier
    19-19 Draw

Round 3

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    Jones, yet again, starts off with kicks and finally seems to be utilizing his length. Cormier eats leg kicks and comes in with big punches. Jones backs off but quickly gets back to his kicking game. 

    Cormier lands a left hand but is met with an eye poke that breaks the action. No warning from ref Herb Dean.

    Jones reenters the action with a body kick and takedown attempt. Cormier spins out beautifully and goes into a takedown attempt of his own, whic Jones avoids as well. Jones presses Cormier to the cage again and finally lands a clean elbow. 

    Cormier continues enjoying Jones' willingness to engage him in the clinch, and finds a punch as Jones comes in and uppercuts thereafter. Jones pushes Cormier away and finds big punches from range. Cormier initiates the clinch this time, but is spun to the cage by Jones, who fails to do much damage.

    They break and Jones enters the clinch and finds a big knee to the body. Cormier continues getting right in close and finding uppercuts, but Jones fires back at range. In the closing seconds, Jones tries to pull guard, but fails as Cormier throws him off. Too little too late to steal the round, however.

    10-9 Jones
    29-28 Jones

Round 4

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    Cormier presses forward out of the gate and is met with a headkick that he blocks comfortably. Jones continues using them, but clinches Cormier to the cage. This time, he pulls Cormier's legs out from under him, but Cormier springs right back up, only to be pulled right back down.

    Jones holds him in half-guard and threatens a choke but Cormier works his way up. Unfortunately, he is still getting worked over against the cage and eats elbows and punches in close. Jones eats up minutes with clinchwork, but does little more than maintain a dominant position.

    Cormier finally escapes with about 90 seconds left, and Cormier peppers him with leg kicks. Jones clinches and looks to press him to the cage. They break but Jones once again initiates the clinch, but is pressed back by Jones. With a second left in the round, Jones nails a big throw to seal up the 10-9.

    10-9 Jones
    39-37 Jones

Round 5

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    Cormier knows he is behind on rounds and opens with a big uppercut. He shoots for a takedown after, but Jones defends well, and spins Cormier back to the cage.

    Jones once again eats up minutes with clinch work, but seems completely content in maintaining the position. Cormier gets away from the cage, but Jones keeps him in tight, refusing to let Cormier get off any modicum of offense. 

    Cormier looks for single-leg takedowns but plain-and-simple can't get them.Jones eventually starts throwing elbows against the cage. Cormier gets a big slam takedown, but Jones stands up and no-sells it. Cormier continues attempting to press him to the cage.

    With a few seconds left in the round, Jones puts his hand up as if the fight is over. In a surprise turn, he throws a big left hook. Cormier tries to fire back, but the horn sounds and Jones does a Degeneration X-style double-chop to the nethers.

    10-9 Jones
    49-46 Jones

Official Decision

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    Jon Jones defeats Daniel Cormier by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46)

    Strong performance for Jones. No other way to look at it.

    As good as Cormier's wrestling is, and there's no way to downplay it, Jones neutralized him masterfully. Not only that, but the counter-intuitive use of the clinch game to avoid Cormier's takedowns was a stroke of brilliance.

    Masterful work by Jones and, should he take on and beat the winner of the upcoming fight between Anthony "Rumble" Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson, he will have cleared out the 205-pound division in a way never seen before in the UFC.