By Jaime C. Feal
Jon Jones is still the best pound for pound fighter in the world.
Showcasing his well-rounded arsenal of striking and grappling, Jones even managed to take down the former Olympic wrestler Cormier several times toward the end of the fight.
The challenger had his moments, particularly as he scored with hard uppercuts in the clinch, but Jones took the shots well, and survived any moments of peril to only come back stronger. While Cormier was expected to give Jones his biggest challenge ever, it is actually Alexander Gustafsson who still holds that claim, and who is in line for the next title shot should he be able to get past power-punching Anthony “Rumble” Johnson later this month.
In the co-main event, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone solidified his status as one of the best in the Lightweight division by dominating the previously unbeaten Myles Jury. Starting off the main card, Hector Lombard stalked Josh Burkman while looking to finish him with power punches. The durable veteran Burkman survived throughout and took Lombard’s best shots, and even had his own moments in dishing out some pain, but ultimately Lombard triumphed via unanimous decision.
Next up, rising Japanese prospect Kyoji Horijuchi dominated Louis Gaudinot with a solid mixture of striking and grappling en route to a unanimous decision victory.
Middleweight Division (185 lbs.):
Nate “The Great” Marquardt (33-13-2, 11-6 UFC) vs. Brad Tavares (12-3, 7-3 UFC)
Tavares paws with his jab to try to find range. Tavares with a good inside leg kick. Nice punch to the body from Tavares. Marquardt not doing much so far. Tavares with another hard leg kick, Marquardt just backing up and backpedaling. Good straight right hand from Marquardt connects. Marquardt gets caught by Tavares again. Nice front kick to the face from Nate. One-two from Tavares misses the mark. Slow round, crowd begins to boo with a minute left. This time the jab does land for Tavares. Outside leg kick for Marquardt. Front kick by Tavares at the end of the round. 10-9 round for Tavares.
Tavares controlling the center of the cage, Marquardt grabs a kick. Nate going for a takedown, gets shrugged off nicely by a Tavares sprawl. Back in the center of the cage, Tavares is the one pushing the pace. Marquardt gets double underhooks and tried to throw Tavares, but Brad keeps his balance nicely. Another heavy leg kick from Tavares. Nasty jab lands for Tavares, who has now bloodied Marquardt’s face. Tavares lands another leg kick, Nate responds with one of his own. Good straight right from Marquardt, but then gets tossed by a nice judo throw from Tavares. Marquardt gets back to his feet, again gets double underhooks. Marquardt working for a takedown, but good defense from Tavares to keep his balance. Nice short elbow and uppercut from Tavares in the clinch. 10-9 round for Tavares.
Nice hooks and uppercuts from Tavares to open the round. Marquardt gets Tavares up against the cage, eats a big knee. Good left to the body by Nate, ref breaks the fighters for inactivity. More good takedown defense by Tavares, then a beautiful combination. Marquardt with a weak outside leg kick, not doing much to answer. Knee from Marquardt in the clinch, good counter right from Tavares. Jab from Tavares lands clean. Now Tavares going to switch kicks, more good hooks. Everything landing for Tavares, nasty jab snaps Marquardt’s head back. Outside leg kick from Marquardt. Good combination from Tavares rock Marquardt, who is looking very weary. Tavares turns it on at the bell, landing some nice strikes before the fight ends. 10-9 round for Tavares.
All 3 judges score the fight 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Brad Tavares.
Lightweight Division (155 lbs.):
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (25-6, 12-3 UFC) vs. Myles “Fury” Jury (15-0, 6-0 UFC)
Cerrone quickly takes the center of the cage. Outside leg kick from Cerrone. Jury bouncing side to side on the outside of the cage. Jury gets a takedown, Cerrone working on an omaplata. Cerrone has the omaplata deep, and Jury has to give up his top position. Cerrone on his back, both hooks in. Full body triangle locked in now for Cerrone. Halfway through the first round, Cerrone has completely outclassed Jury on the ground thus far. Cerrone trying to flatten Jury out, but Jury defending well. Jury trying to spin out onto top, can’t do it. Cerrone again trying to roll him over, Jury won’t let him. In a scramble, Cerrone grasps onto Jury’s neck and begins to lock in a rear-naked choke. Jury is in deep trouble, but somehow peels the choke off at the last second. Ten seconds left, Cowboy lands some punches. 10-9 round for Cerrone.
Cowboy misses a left hook as the crowd chants his name. Jury goes for another takedown, this time Cerrone shrugs it off nicely. Cerrone coming forward, lands an inside leg kick. Overhand right from Jury partially connects. Uppercut from Cerrone just misses, Jury also misses with a spinning backfist. Neither fighter finding their range this round. Cerrone tries a head kick but misses. Outside leg kick lands nicely for Cowboy. Two minutes left in the round, Jury misses with a right hook. Good kick to the body from Cerrone. Straight right counter from Cerrone. Nice body kick from Jury, makes a good thud. Inside leg kick from Cerrone, still pushing forward. Right hand lands for Cowboy, then he evades Jury’s counter right. Good knee to the body from Cerrone, inside leg kick from Jury. 10-9 round for Cerrone.
Cerrone again immediately takes the center of the cage. The pace quickens. Jury knows he may need a finish. Right body kick by Cerrone. Front kick to the body from Jury, but not much sting on it. Big spinning back fist misses for Jury. Nasty kicks from Cerrone as he continues to walk Jury down. Outside leg kick from Cerrone, Jury tries to go for a takedown. Both men battling for position on the cage. Jury’s leg has welts all over it from Cowboy’s vicious kicks. Cerrone breaks free from the takedown attempt. Big head kick from Cowboy, Jury goes for a takedown, but gets denied. Hardest shot of the fight with that head kick, Jury took it well. Body shot from Cerrone, Jury is still just circling the outside and eating leg kicks. Jury goes for a takedown, Cerrone breaks free, lands a one-two and another leg kick. Jury shoots for a double leg, Cerrone is sprawling. Cerrone back to his feet with one minute left. Nice elbows from Cowboy as he defends another takedown. Hard jab from Cerrone, has now bloodied Jury. Cerrone defends yet another takedown, and then throws Jury down for good measure. Cerrone absolutely winding up and ripping into Jury with leg kicks while he is on his back, angry and vicious kicks to end the fight. 10-9 round for Cerrone.
All 3 judges score the fight 30-27 for the winner by unanimous decision, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship (215 lbs.):
Jon “Bones” Jones (20-1, 14-1 UFC) vs. Daniel Cormier (15-0, 4-0 UFC)
Jones with a body kick. Jones misses with a crazy axe kick. Jones with a head kick. Cormier looking to get inside and uppercut. Body kick by Cormier, Jones catches it and takes DC down. Cormier gets up. Cormier looking to get inside again, Jones clinches with him. Jones tries to get Cormier down, DC sprawls nicely. Good uppercut inside from Cormier. Big straight left from Jones wobbles Cormier. Uppercuts again onside from Cormier, knee to the body from Jones. Another knee to the body from Jones. Jab from Cormier, Jones tries a look-away straight left, but misses. Straight left to the body lands for Jones. Inside leg kick from Cormier. Good left hook to the body from the Champion. Left hooks from Cormier. Nice jabs from Cormier. Big uppercut from the challenger in the clinch. Nice combo from DC, catches him with a left hook. Good uppercut at the horn for Cormier. 10-9 round for Jones.
Huge body kick from Jones. One-two from Cormier partially lands. Inside leg kick from Cormier. Kick from Jones is caught by Cormier, who tries to use it for a takedown, but bails on it when Jones goes for a guillotine. Cormier and Jones are in a clinch on the fence, then break with just over three minutes left in the round. Cormier continues to nail Jones with uppercuts in the clinch. Knee to the body from Jones. More uppercuts from Cormier find the target, starting to tee off on Jones. Cormier with a heavy uppercut at the end of the round. 10-9 round for Cormier.
The fighters exchange leg kicks. Good body kick from Cormier. More big uppercuts and hooks from Cormier. Nice side kick from Jones. Hard jab from the challenger. Big body kick from Jones, then shoots for a takedown and gets denied. Cormier switches it, and tries for a single leg of his own. Jones hops around, and defends. Vicious elbow inside from Jones. Hard uppercut in the clinch from Cormier. Head kick from Jones gets blocked. Hard knee to the body from Jones, Cormier looking at the clock with a minute left. Another knee to the body from Jones, and yet another uppercut from Cormier. What a war. Flying knee from Jones, Cormier rushes forward with a combination of hooks. Jones pulls guard at the end of the round, Cormier lands some punches. 10-9 round for Cormier.
Jones with a straight left to the body. Jones gets Cormier down emphatically on the cage. Cormier gets up, but gets dumped on his back again by Jones. Impressive display of wrestling by Jones, dumping the former Olympian on his back twice. Cormier gets up, eats a huge elbow. Jones looking for another takedown. Jones absolutely taking over this fight, nice combination to the head. Cormier looks gassed. Hard elbow from Jones, then Cormier breaks free. Cormier gets a second wind, and presses forward. Cormier lands a jab, then an outside leg kick. Clinch-knee from Jones again, Cormier getting exhausted. Jones gets a takedown at the end of the round. 10-9 round for Jones.
Head kick from Jones, big uppercut from Cormier. DC looking to bully Jones to the mat, can’t do it. The fighters trade punches on the cage, Jones with hooks, DC with uppercuts. Jones looking for another takedown, this time can’t get Cormier down. Jones is the one with the superior cage positon, controlling the round. Jones tries to take Cormier’s back, DC spins out. Cormier tries to get Jones down, can’t do it. Amazing takedown defense from Jones. Knee to the body from Jones. DC working for a single leg, eats elbows for his trouble. DC picks Jones up and throws him down, but Jones gets right back up. Hard elbow from Jones. Weird flurry at the end of the fight where Jones prematurely puts his hands up, then clocks DC with a hook. 10-9 round for Jones.
All three judges score the fight 49-46 for the winner by unanimous decision, and still the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Jon “Bones” Jones.