UFC 203 Results: Real Winners and Losers from Miocic vs. Overeem Fight Card
On Friday, the elevators had their say. On Saturday, it was time for the fighters to assume center stage.
That's when UFC 203 went down from The Land, aka LeBron's Kingdom, aka Cleveland, Ohio. In the main event, hometown boy Stipe Miocic defended his newly acquired heavyweight title against Dutch striking kingpin Alistair Overeem.
But there was intrigue up and down the card, and I'm not talking about C.B. Dollaway and his loss to the elevator, as intriguing as that may have been.
No, instead I'm talking about a guy you may have heard of by the name of Brooks. Phil Brooks, also known as CM Punk, the 37-year-old, highly shopworn pro wrestling legend making his MMA debut (amateur or pro) against the immortal Mickey Gall.
How would Punk fare? He's been subject to a few punchlines, but no one knew what he was capable of coming in. We had a better idea coming out.
That goes for all 20 fighters who survived Cleveland's elevators and made it down, pun intended, to the UFC Octagon. As always, the final stat lines only reveal so much. These are the real winners and losers from UFC 203.
Full results appear on the final slide, if you're one of those people.
Winner: Stipe Miocic
Alistair Overeem wanted to continue the title turnover. He wanted to be the fourth person to own the UFC heavyweight belt in the past 15 months.
Nothing doing. Not against Stipe Miocic, and not in Cleveland.
In a back-and-forth, one-round fight, Miocic recovered from an early knockdown to rain down laser-guided ground-and-pound to knock out Overeem in front of a highly pro-Miocic Cleveland crowd.
"O-H!" Miocic yelled into the mic with broadcaster Joe Rogan in the cage after the fight. "I-O!"
Suddenly, Cleveland is on a roll. First Miocic, then the Cavs, then Miocic again. Are the Browns next?
Loser: Edmond Tarverdyan
There isn't a whole lot to recommend Edmond Tarverdyan.
Everyone saw what he did with the striking of Ronda Rousey (refresher: he made it worse). What he did with Rousey, he has also apparently done with Travis Browne. Browne, by the way, lost by convincing unanimous decision to Fabricio Werdum in the co-main event.
Yes, Browne's last two losses both came to ex-champs (Cain Velasquez was the other). But he didn't look great in either one, appearing tentative and downright confused at times.
For example, in the first round, Browne appeared to call timeout after his finger was injured. You're not allowed to do that. Luckily for him, the ref didn't do anything about it, but still. This is your offense? This is your cage awareness?
After the fight ended and everyone awaited the official decision, Tarverdyan said something to Werdum. Werdum responded by hitting Tarverdyan in the hip with a push kick.
If that doesn't show you the kind of esteem in which the sport's non-Tarverdyan clients hold Tarverdyan, well, I don't know what else to tell you.
Winner: Mickey Gall
Sure, CM Punk could be commended for taking advantage of this opportunity, for capitalizing on the chances life presents him.
But what about Mickey Gall?
All Gall did was spread Punk's integrity all over the canvas for 134 seconds before choking him out. Not too bad for a 24-year-old kid who, while talented, was nigh well anonymous at this time last year.
But it was more than the fight itself; after all, plenty of people expected this. Speaking with Rogan in the cage after the fight, Gall was magnanimous toward Punk and, far more importantly, proactive for his next fight. And that call-out lit up the internet.
"I want Super Sage Northcutt," he told Rogan. "I think that dude's corny, and I want to punch the spikes out of his hair."
Two swaggering young men with good hair, talented but not entirely proven? I believe I'd watch that.
Loser: CM Punk
"The true failure in life is not trying."
So spake a Mr. CM Punk after UFC 203. It was one of many inspirational things Punk had to say, including several gracious gestures to Mickey Gall and a general public that hasn't been kind to him.
And yet, there's no redeeming the result in the cage. Punk was outclassed and out of his league, landing nary a shred of offense en route to being taken down, pounded on and choked out inside the first round.
Punk would like everyone to believe that just getting in there, at his age (37) and with his background, qualifies him to be considered as victorious. That determination is for every individual—not Punk, not the internet, not anyone or anything else—to make on their own.
But based on his actual, you know, performance, the call is cut-and-dried. Punk also said in the post-fight interview with Rogan that he does plan to return. That's great. He'll need more than mic skills if he wants something other than a total smearing.
Winner: Jessica Andrade
We have a new contender in the women's strawweight division: Jessica Andrade.
In her second fight at 115 pounds, Andrade showed off an enormous power advantage over Scottish muay thai striker Joanne Calderwood, slamming her to the canvas more than once and fully controlling the action once it hit the mat.
Calderwood is a likable, exciting and popular fighter, but unfortunately for her fans, she was overwhelmed from the get-go. Credit Andrade's game for that. A guillotine choke sealed the deal with about 30 seconds remaining in the opening round.
If I'm strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk, I'm asking for this fight next. Before the fight, Andrade told MMA Fighting she was gunning for the champ, despite the fact the two are friends.
"I read that Joanna mentioned that her next opponent would probably be the winner of the UFC 201 fight or my fight," Andrade said in the interview. "I'm not so sure it will be me because [fellow contender] Karolina [Kowalkiewicz] is also Polish, and the UFC wants to do an event in Poland. But I'm sure that if I go there and put on a show like last time, I can be the next in line and bring this belt to Brazil. It's time for this belt to finally come to Brazil."
Loser: Urijah Faber
Urijah Faber held the WEC featherweight title for a long time, back before that weight class had a home in the UFC. Faber held that belt when it was the belt to own at 145 pounds.
Now, at 37 years of age, that seems like a long way away. Faber lost by convincing unanimous decision to Jimmie Rivera in a scrap that may have revealed the miles on Faber's odometer.
Rivera hammered Faber with leg kicks that got The California Kid limping all over the place. Faber couldn't come up with an answer; early on he tried to get inside for takedowns and exchanges, but heavy counter shots from Rivera shut that down.
Faber didn't seem to have a plan B. A late Faber eye poke—which looked blatant, by the way—may have been his most significant offense of the fight.
All credit to Rivera, the 27-year-old New Jersey native who advanced to 20-1. He hasn't lost since his second pro contest back in 2008. He's headed for big things in the UFC bantamweight division.
Faber isn't. Retirement is his call and his alone, but who would be that upset if Faber announced tomorrow he was ready to call his great career a career?
Loser: The Bethe Effect
Bethe Correia launched herself to notoriety in 2014 by defeating Ronda Rousey teammates Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler. It was a bold and deliberate play that—as Correia was more than happy to tell you—earned her the kind of opportunity her fighting skills alone may not have justified.
That all got the attention of Rousey herself, the then-champ who agreed to face Correia in Correia's native Brazil, where Correia was knocked out in 34 seconds.
After a second straight loss, Correia was on the precipice of losing her UFC paycheck. But she salvaged what viability she still has with a close split-decision win over Jessica Eye in the UFC 203 prelim main event.
Correia claimed in the run-up that Eye was "ducking" her, and a weigh-in scuffle seemed to hint that there was bad blood here. That sentiment was further buttressed by the Cleveland crowd, which gave a huge reception to local girl Eye while showering boos on Correia.
A sloppy and low-output fight ensued. It played out mainly on the feet, with thudding shots landing for each fighter but not with any regularity or technical mastery behind them.
Ultimately, two of the three judges felt Correia had done a little more. It was a not a robbery, as neither fighter gained a clear edge. But that didn't stop the boos from flowing like water in the streets after Bruce Buffer read the verdict.
The boos didn't dampen Correia's spirits, with that trademark confidence flowing through.
"It was no problem for me fighting here," she said in a statement the UFC sent to media members after the fight. "I trained for my body to be in very good physical condition. I'm ready for five rounds, and three rounds was no problem for me. [I want] Miesha Tate."
I'd watch that Tate fight, I guess. Either way, in the meantime, Correia staved off her pink slip, and she did so in hostile territory. Good on her. But she'll need to do a little more next time to bring the Bethe Effect back to full power.
UFC 203 Full Card Results
Stipe Miocic def. Alistair Overeem by KO, 4:27, Rd. 1 (retains UFC heavyweight championship)
Fabricio Werdum def. Travis Browne by unanimous decision
Mickey Gall def. CM Punk by submission (rear-naked choke), 2:14, Rd. 1
Jimmie Rivera def. Urijah Faber by unanimous decision
Jessica Andrade def. Joanne Calderwood by submission (guillotine choke), 4:38, Rd. 1
Bethe Correia def. Jessica Eye by split decision
Brad Tavares def. Caio Magalhaes by split decision
Nik Lentz def. Michael McBride by TKO, 4:17, Rd. 2
Drew Dober def. Jason Gonzalez by TKO, 1:45, Rd. 1
Yancy Medeiros def. Sean Spencer by submission (rear-naked choke), 0:49, Rd. 2
Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. For more stuff like this, follow Scott on Twitter.