UFC 226 Results: The Real Winners and Losers

Scott Harris@ScottHarrisMMAMMA Lead WriterJuly 8, 2018

UFC 226 Results: The Real Winners and Losers

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    Stipe Miocic (left) and Daniel Cormier
    Stipe Miocic (left) and Daniel CormierJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    It was only fitting that a super night should culminate with a super fight.

    The UFC can go plenty big when the mood strikes, as it did Saturday at UFC 226 in Las Vegas. Speaking of big, the main event matched up champions from the UFC's two biggest divisions in a superfight, the term MMA fans and pundits use for a contest containing fighters from different weight classes.

    Stipe Miocic's heavyweight belt was the brass ring of the occasion. He was favored, per OddsShark, in part because of a five-inch height advantage and a substantial edge in stand-up acumen. If Miocic's familiar "and still" refrain repeated, it would've padded his case as the greatest MMA heavyweight of all time.

    Daniel Cormier didn't put up the light heavyweight crown but did go up a weight class. There's plenty of risk associated with that. With an upset, the former Olympic wrestler would become only the fifth fighter to hold UFC titles in two divisions. 

    And that's just the main event. Yeah, the last-minute loss of Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega stung, but this wasn't the time for tears. It was time to live again, and 11 (mostly) top-notch scraps helped the cause.

    And you know what else? The final stat lines don't tell you everything. These are the real winners and losers from UFC 226.

    For the literal-minded, full results appear at the end.

Winner: Daniel Cormier

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    Daniel Cormier (top) finishes Stipe Miocic.
    Daniel Cormier (top) finishes Stipe Miocic.Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Daniel Cormier was already your UFC light heavyweight champion. On Saturday, he became your UFC heavyweight champion as well, knocking out Stipe Miocic in the closing minute of the first round.

    That's the top story, but hang on—this plot has a twist.

    Both men began the contest looking to do what they do best. For Miocic, that was boxing. For Cormier, it was initiating the clinch. 

    The first four minutes were back-and-forth, with each man working in his own phase, fending off the other and generally feeling things out. 

    And then it happened.

    Cormier got the clinch he wanted and immediately went to his dirty boxing. Although Miocic is the far better striker, Cormier does have heavy hands. If given the chance, he knows how to use them. This was his chance, and a short right hand on the button shut off the champ's lights. A few unanswered shots from Cormier bounced Miocic's head on the mat and it was over. 

    Randy Couture, BJ Penn, Conor McGregor, Georges St-Pierre and now Cormier. That is the list of fighters to win titles in two UFC divisions. That is some rarefied air, and Cormier—one of the sport's great guys and one of its great fighters—deserves it.

    "I never knew what I could be, but tonight I got an answer," an elated Cormier told broadcaster Joe Rogan in the cage after the fight to huge roars. "I'm a two-division champion, baby!"

    It was all hugs and tears, until a certain man entered the cage. Viewers saw him make his way down to the Octagon before the main event began. Then, he was in it.

    That's right: Brock Lesnar.

    Lesnar stepped in to challenge Cormier, then they shoved each other and exchanged general obscenities in a manner that seemed premeditated. 

    They could reportedly fight at UFC 230 at Madison Square Garden on November 3, per B/R's Jeremy Botter—a date announced on Saturday. However, MMA Fighting's Marc Raimondi reported Lesnar's USADA suspension could prevent him from fighting until January.

    In the meantime, Cormier has the same dilemma only one fighter—McGregor—has faced before: What to do with two belts simultaneously? It's a good problem to have.

Losers: Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou

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    Derrick Lewis (left) and Francis Ngannou
    Derrick Lewis (left) and Francis NgannouJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Welp. This was not what was expected.

    With 24 knockouts between them, both Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou have a clear way to win. Ngannou was coming off a loss to Miocic while Lewis was returning from back problems, but fans were still terrified and titillated at the thought of what these two heavyweight titans could do to each other.

    They did nothing.

    Over three rounds of inaction, there was a lot of staring. A lot of stance-switching. A lot of circling. A lot of resetting. And that's about it.

    Lewis landed a bit more and took the decision. But neither of these men had a good outing—especially Ngannou, who seemed frozen and perhaps worried about his cardio after Miocic exhausted him to the point of torture.

    Both of these fighters are still talented, and they can still win bouts. But when Rogan is openly proclaiming this as the worst heavyweight fight ever, you probably need to re-examine things.

Winner: Mike Perry

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    Paul Felder (left) and Mike Perry
    Paul Felder (left) and Mike PerryJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Within 30 seconds, Mike Perry and Paul Felder were both cut and bleeding. That probably tells you all you need to know about this fight.

    This went the distance, but Perry got the better of it. Felder fractured his arm in the second round and was steadily sliced open more and more as the bout went on. 

    Like the injuries, the fight itself was on the visceral side, even for MMA. Each man threw heavy shots—Perry with his rock-like fists and Felder with his spinning strikes. Both threw lots of elbows. Felder had an edge in output, but Perry was the clear victor in damage.

    Perry says ridiculous things. But he's tough and can fight. Felder is equally tough—maybe more so. He deserves recognition for stepping in on 10 days' notice to replace Yancy Medeiros (broken rib) in this contest.

    Both comported themselves well, and Perry enjoyed a win after losing two straight. 

Loser: The Mutombo Finger Wag

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    Anthony Pettis goes for the submission.
    Anthony Pettis goes for the submission.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Legendary NBA center Dikembe Mutombo was known for blocking shots then wagging his finger at the opponent. No, the wag said. You will not score today.

    It was intimidating most of the time. And then there was that one instance he talked too much trash about it to Michael Jordan. Time went by, Jordan saw a chance and the resulting dunk—and script-flipping finger wag—put Mutombo on the wrong side of the poster.

    Enter Michael Chiesa. The only fighter at UFC 226 to miss weight, Chiesa had a size advantage on Anthony Pettis. He was expected to defeat Pettis, an ex-champ whose skills appeared to be flagging.

    But on Saturday, Chiesa was more wag than dunk.

    Repeatedly, Chiesa either pointed the finger, waved at Pettis or otherwise worried more about making a point (no pun intended) than settling in and fighting.

    He did it one too many times, and Pettis pounced on a quick opening. The result was an embarrassing triangle armbar loss for the noted submission specialist. 

    Take note: If you're gonna wag the finger, make sure the other guy is a good distance away. And maybe keep it to one wag to be on the safe side.

Winner: Throwing These Hands

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    Khalil Rountree Jr. (left) catches Gokhan Saki.
    Khalil Rountree Jr. (left) catches Gokhan Saki.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    The first bout of the pay-per-view and the last bout of the undercard provided a one-two combination of violence.

    There's not much analysis needed to break down Uriah Hall vs. Paulo Costa. This was a good, old-fashioned brawl in the middleweight division. They went back and forth, staggering the other more than once. Costa has incredible power and drew Hall into a phone-booth donnybrook.

    The 6'0" Hall's rangy striking was largely neutralized as a result, and Costa's crushing punches won the day, felling Hall for good about halfway through the second. Hall has dropped four of five, but the 27-year-old Costa is 4-of-4 in knockouts during his young UFC career. 

    The pay-per-view curtain-jerker didn't make it past the first. Khalil Rountree Jr. was the underdog, per OddsShark, but showed converted kickboxer Gokhan Saki what it's like in MMA. 

    A one-two combination did the trick. The "one" didn't even seem to land, but the "two" was a crushing blow that sent Saki downward. Rountree even paused to admire his handiwork before proceeding to put Saki away with hammerfists.

    Saki earned a knockout in his first MMA bout and took one in his second. Meanwhile Rountree got what was probably his biggest win.

Loser: Raphael Assuncao

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    Raphael Assuncao (top) punches Rob Font.
    Raphael Assuncao (top) punches Rob Font.Sam Wasson/Getty Images

    Raphael Assuncao handled the dangerous Rob Font by unanimous decision. It was his fourth straight win and 11th in his last 12. The only person to defeat him in that stretch: current bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw.

    This time, it was counterstriking, crushing leg kicks, rock-solid defense and effortless top control that got the job done for the Brazilian. Last time, against Matthew Lopez, it was his dominant punching power. Ten times over his career, it was a submission. He's one of the most well-rounded fighters in the UFC.

    So why is he listed as a loser?

    Allow me to explain: Even as he's one of the UFC's best, he's also its most overlooked. Despite what should be an airtight case for a title shot, Assuncao always finds himself wearing journeyman's clothes.

    Where's the love? Well, as exciting as Assuncao's style can be, sometimes his counterstriking and control-grappling mean stretches of inactivity, a well-known allergen to UFC brass. He also isn't the type to do a lot of barking on the microphone. He's one of those wacky "nice guys." What kind of gimmick is that?

    It had to sting to watch Marlon Moraes—a man he beat last year—go on to get a main event with then-highly-ranked Jimmie Rivera while Assuncao was left with the No. 11 guy in the division.

    Moraes won his fight and is now presumed to be in line for the winner between Dillashaw and challenger Cody Garbrandt, who fight later this summer. Moraes deserves it, but not more than Assuncao.

    Don't forget: Assuncao has also beaten Dillashaw. Since when are rubber matches undesirable? Only Assuncao and Dominick Cruz claim wins over Dillashaw in the past five years.

    "I feel I'm the most consistent guy in the division, one of the most consistent guys in the world, in the UFC," Assuncao told Rogan after the fight. "I've been quiet, I've been professional, I've been doing my job [like I said I would] when I signed on the dotted line. And boss, please, if you're here: What else do I have to do for my title chance?"

    It's hard to say. UFC leaders have a mind of their own. They have preferences and sometimes adhere to them despite evidence pointing in a different direction. Sure, this is show business, but if you keep sidelining your best guy (and ignoring a rubber match) for murky reasons, there's a pretty strong case you're damaging your product.

    It would be a shame to see a great fighter stay forever in some doghouse not of his own making, but that's what's happening, and it's impossible to know what might get him out.

Winner: Dan Hooker

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    Dan Hooker (right) catches Gilbert Burns with a knee.
    Dan Hooker (right) catches Gilbert Burns with a knee.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Arguably no one took a bigger step forward Saturday than New Zealander Dan "Hangman" Hooker.

    Against heavy-handed jiu-jitsu standout Gilbert Burns, Hooker displayed his familiar array of skills. He controlled range, found his timing early and touched Burns almost at will. When the action hit the mat, Hooker held his own—even going for a guillotine choke at one point. 

    The key sequence happened when Burns charged right into Hooker's knee. A body shot and then a pinpoint left hook upstairs finished the job. It was done in less than three minutes.

    His mic performance afterward was almost as impressive.

    "Give me someone in the Top 10," he told Rogan after the fight. "Put some respect on my name. You're getting these boys hurt. Give me someone on my level. ... There's levels to this game."

    The man has a point. Hooker now has four straight wins, all by stoppage. Not that it will last, but as it stands he is not ranked as one of the UFC's top 15 lightweights.

    He has more than earned a shot at a Top 15 fighter—and a chance to show out in a setting with a higher profile than the deep undercard on UFC Fight Pass.

Loser: Vinny Magalhaes

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    Emily Whitmire (right) hits Jamie Moyle.
    Emily Whitmire (right) hits Jamie Moyle.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    They don't call her the Spitfire for nothing.

    Yes, it may rhyme with Emily Whitmire's last name, but after upsetting Jamie Moyle in the evening's opening bout, Whitmire showed why it works on multiple levels.

    Following the victory—her first in the UFC—Whitmire marched over to a member of Moyle's corner and flipped him the bird. It wasn't on the down low, either. She was double-gunning it in his face. Then she called him "a piece of s--t." Well then.

    As the man slunk away, Rogan helpfully identified him as former UFC and current Professional Fighters League middleweight Vinny Magalhaes. Even more helpfully, Rogan asked Whitmire about the confrontation. True to her nickname, Whitmire had a sharp response.

    "Vinny is supposed to be my teammate," she said. "He said he wasn't cornering against me five times. Today I showed up and saw him getting off the bus [with Moyle]. He didn't message me or anything. So he can go f--k himself."

    Apparently they train together in Las Vegas. Honestly, good on Whitmire for calling Magalhaes out. That's not good teammating. Good on her for the win as well. She seems like a pretty cool addition to the strawweight roster. Sorry, Vinny.

UFC 226 Full Card Results

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    Curtis Millender (right) defeated Max Griffin by unanimous decision
    Curtis Millender (right) defeated Max Griffin by unanimous decisionJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

    Main Card

    Daniel Cormier def. Stipe Miocic by KO, 4:38, Rd. 1 (Cormier wins UFC heavyweight championship)

    Derrick Lewis def. Francis Ngannou by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

    Mike Perry def. Paul Felder by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

    Anthony Pettis def. Michael Chiesa by submission (triangle armbar), 0:52, Rd. 2

    Khalil Rountree Jr. def. Gokhan Saki by KO, 1:36, Rd. 1

               

    Preliminary Card

    Paulo Costa def. Uriah Hall by TKO, 2:38, Rd. 2

    Raphael Assuncao def. Rob Font by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

    Drakkar Klose def. Lando Vannata by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

    Curtis Millender def. Max Griffin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

    Dan Hooker def. Gilbert Burns by TKO, 2:28, Rd. 1

    Emily Whitmire def. Jamie Moyle by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

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