Daniel Cormier scored a historic victory over Stipe Miocic via first-round knockout to capture the UFC heavyweight championship and close out the show at UFC 226 in Las Vegas.
The historic superfight between the heavyweight champion and light heavyweight champion featured plenty of back-and-forth exchanges to start the bout but ended with DC reminding every one of the power he had in his early days as a heavyweight.
Getting up from an early takedown for Miocic, Cormier clinched up his opponent and landed a cutting overhand right that put the now-former champion on the mat. Bloody Elbow broke down the finishing sequence:
It was a shocking result, as Miocic has been on an absolute tear in the heavyweight division. He set the record for most consecutive title defenses in the weight class with three, but Cormier's pressure proved to be too much.
As only the second man in the history of the organization to hold two different belts at the same time, it was a legacy-defining moment:
After the bout, Cormier immediately shifted to what's next in a bizarre moment. He called out former heavyweight champion and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar as the two cut a professional wrestling-style promo on the heels of his huge accomplishment:
Elias Cepeda @EliasCepeda
#UFC226’s post-fight stuff between @BrockLesnar & Daniel Cormier was about as strange a combination of contrived, disingenuous wrasslin’ theatrics & sincere euphoria & celebration as I could imagine possible. Congrats to Cormier on the huge win & coming deserved payday
Given the incredible nature of his achievement, the opportunity at a big payday against Lesnar is well-deserved.
The historic main event wasn't the only highlight of UFC 226. Besides a dreadful co-main event between Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou, there was lots of entertainment value throughout the night. Here's a look at the complete results and a closer look at the main card.
- Daniel Cormier def. Stipe Miocic via KO (Rd. 1, 4:33)
- Derrick Lewis def. Francis Ngannou via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
- Mike Perry def. Paul Felder via split decision (29-28, 28-29 29-28)
- Anthony Pettis def. Michael Chiesa via triangle armbar (Rd. 2, 0:52)
- Khalil Rountree Jr. def. Gokhan Saki via KO (Rd. 1, 1:36)
- Paulo Costa def. Uriah Hall via TKO (Rd. 2, 2:38)
- Raphael Assuncao def. Rob Font via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Drakkar Klose def. Lando Vannata via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
- Curtis Millender def. Max Griffin via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
- Dan Hooker def. Gilbert Burns via TKO (Rd. 1, 2:28)
- Emily Whitmire def. Jamie Moyle via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Derrick Lewis vs. Francis Ngannou
The battle of heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Francis Ngannou was supposed to be one of the most entertaining fights of the evening for as long as it lasted. Instead, it was one of the most bizarrely boring fights in recent memory.
MMA News broke down the numbers in a fight that Lewis won because the judges are kind of forced to give someone a round:
MMA News @mmanews_com
In the 3rd, here are our TOTAL strike stats: 6 out of 25 landed & 9 out of 37 landed. That's scary. That's an avg of 3 per round & 4.5 per round per guy. That's an avg of less than one per minute per guy per round. Pardon my nerd out, nothing else is going on. I'm bored. #UFC226
Ngannou refused to engage, showing absolute hesitation to uncork anything more than one strike from way outside the pocket. Lewis was just fine with that pace, just barely throwing enough kicks in the general direction of Ngannou to score the win on the scorecards.
The baffling bout will likely take both fighters' stocks down.
The result is especially confusing for Ngannou. He's coming off a five-round loss to Miocic but before that was an unstoppable knockout artist in the division. To see him hesitant to pull the trigger is as bizarre an outcome as one could have expected on this card.
Paul Felder vs. Mike Perry
The prospect of Paul Felder and Mike Perry throwing down in the Octagon was exciting from the get-go, and the fight didn't disappoint.
After a bloody back-and-forth battle for three rounds, it was Perry who had his hand raised in a split decision, but it was the kind of fight that should see both fighters' stocks go up.
Felder, who was fighting at welterweight for the first time in his career, was bloodied early in the fight, and Perry continued to open up the wounds. He also appeared to suffer a right arm injury, yet he continued to throw it in hopes of ending the fight.
Ultimately, the story was the improvement of Perry, who did what he had to do to outstrike a dynamic fighter in Felder. Perry—who has had a penchant for getting a little to wild in the cage—showed a more measured approach than usual.
MMA Fighting's Shaheen Al-Shatti credited a switch to Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn's gym for the improved version of Platinum:
It will be interesting to see if Felder continues in the 170-pound division after the rough start, but Perry emerged from this bout as the more interesting player in the welterweight division.
Anthony Pettis vs. Michael Chiesa
If you squinted a little bit and tilted your head just right, Anthony Pettis looked like the guy who once won the UFC lightweight champion.
It hasn't been easy for Pettis since losing his title to Rafael dos Anjos in 2015. He came into his bout against Chiesa 2-4 in his previous six fights with an unsuccessful stint in the featherweight division.
But when he took to the fight against Chiesa, fans saw a fighter who went back to the aggressive kickboxing that made him one of the most dangerous strikers in the division. We also saw the slick jiu-jitsu from his guard that gave him 10 submission victories.
In the second round, he put both skills on display in a finishing sequence, as he landed a massive right hand that floored his opponent, hopped onto a guillotine and eventually transitioned to a triangle armbar that forced the tap from Chiesa.
A win over Maverick won't put Pettis back in contention by itself, but it is a tantalizing preview of a return to "Showtime." At just 31 years old, it's way too early to write the former champion off, and this could be the start of a second run at the title in the stacked lightweight division.
Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree
The fact that the Gokhan Saki vs. Khalil Rountree tilt was ended with a punch in the opening minutes of Round 1 is not surprising. The fact that it was Rountree who secured the finish is.
Facing a former K-1 kickboxer in Saki, Rountree was not supposed to be the more dangerous fighter on the feet, but a flush left hand sent the kickboxer to the ground and opened the main card with a shocker:
This was a big win for Rountree, as it came on the main card of one of the most highly anticipated cards of the year. After a loss that became a no-contest against Michal Oleksiejczuk, Rountree lost the momentum he gained from back-to-back knockout victories.
Now, he has another knockout victory to his name over an elite striker in Saki.
While Saki might have elite striking skills, his ability to transfer them to MMA appears to be coming along slowly. He's now just 1-2 in his MMA career.