By Niall Clarke
- UFC 214 recap and analysis
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA- Jon Jones is once again the UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion after knocking out Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 214. Here are our takeaways from Saturday’s card.
Jon Jones is the best fighter of all time
The main event of UFC 214 saw Jon Jones recapture the UFC Light-Heavyweight championship after a brutal third round knockout of Daniel Cormier.
The opening two rounds were close with ‘DC’ showing some adjustments from the first fight, but at the three minute mark of the third round, Jones landed a big head kick that stunned the champion.
Cormier staggered back, and like a shark smelling blood, Jones went in for the kill. A knee sent ‘DC’ to the ground and Jones would follow it up with several punches and elbows to finish the fight and reclaim the title he never lost.
The new champion would call out Brock Lesnar in his post fight interview, and although that fight is unlikely for a number of reasons, a move to Heavyweight might be on the cards. Jones has near enough cleaned out the division and a new challenge might further his claim to be the greatest fighter of all time.
Of course, with his dominance of the Light-Heavyweight division, Jones may already be the greatest fighter to ever step foot in the octagon. ‘Bones’ has bested everyone put in front of him, and the only blotch on his record is a disqualification loss to Matt Hamill.
The only thing standing in the way of Jones making this beyond any doubt is himself. Whilst the Light-Heavyweight champion might be the most talented fighter we have seen, greatness is not just based on wins and losses.
Jones’ own personal demons have taken away a solid two years of his career. Two years that could have further cemented his legacy in the prime of his career. Many will look back on Jones as the man who failed a drugs test, a man that hit a pregnant lady with his car and drove off and a man that partied too hard for his own good.
But there is no denying his talent however, and many will also look back at what he achieved in his MMA career. It is a run that will be very hard to top and one that does not look like stopping any time soon, providing he can stay out of trouble.
For Cormier, this was a devastating loss. Since ‘DC’ stepped foot into the sport, he desired to be the best more than anything, but for now he has to settle for being number two.
Tyron Woodley is a smart fighter
It may not have been the most exciting fight in the world, but once again Tyron Woodley successfully defended his UFC Welterweight title with a decision victory against Demian Maia.
The big question for this fight was ‘Can Maia take Woodley down?’ and it did not take long for the truth to sink in for the Brazilian. Despite numerous attempts in the opening round, the Jiu Jitsu whizz could not take the wrestler down and from there he became unstuck.
Woodley successfully used his wrestling to keep the fight on the feet, and used a smart defensive game-plan to nullify one of MMA’s greatest grapplers.
The fight did not please the thousands of fans in the Honda Center as they booed the lack of action throughout the fight. As the contest wore on and the pace slowed they got even more reckless and elected to amuse themselves by doing a wave, waving the lights on their mobile phones and in the final round starting a ‘boring’ chant.
It did not detour Woodley however, and the champion stuck to his game-plan to run away with a unanimous decision victory to retain his title again.
Whatever you may think of ‘The Chosen One’, there is no doubt he is a smart fighter. He has successfully nullified a great striker and grappler over the course of his title reign with his defensive tactics. It is not pretty, but it is certainly successful.
Georges St-Pierre is rumoured to be the next opponent for Woodley which promises to be a completely different match-up than his previous fights. GSP is the greatest Welterweight of all time and is a much more well rounded fighter than Maia or Stephen Thompson.
As for Maia, this was likely his last chance at becoming a UFC champion. Despite being a great Jiu Jitsu practitioner, in modern day MMA you need more than just one discipline to be a champion.
Cris Cyborg is finally a UFC champion
Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino is finally a UFC champion after defeating Tonya Evinger to become the UFC Women’s Featherweight champion.
Not many people step up to face Cyborg, and in the early exchanges it is easy to see why. Justino landed some big strikes in the opening round that stunned her opponent, but the Brazilian remained patient in her pursuit of the finish.
Evinger showed her toughness and was able to make it out of the first round despite taking a lot of punishment. Cyborg continued her assault in the second round, but was unable to land the big blow to finish the fight.
Instead that would come in the third round. Cyborg was able to land a flurry of knees to send Evinger crashing to the mat and that was when the referee saw enough. The fight was waved off and Cyborg emerged the winner via TKO.
It has been a long journey for Justino to make it to the UFC title. She ahs dominated the Featherweight division for years, but the weight class was not active in the UFC until earlier this year.
Germaine De Randamie became the first champion of the weight class, but she was stripped of her crown after refusing to fight Cyborg. It was inevitable that the scariest Woman in MMA would claim what is rightfully hers however, and it just so happened to be at UFC 214.
Evinger put up a good fight but was clearly overmatched against a much bigger and stronger opponent. This was a good entry into the UFC for her though, and she will likely head back to Bantamweight to make a run for the title there.
As for Cyborg, Holly Holm or Megan Anderson are likely challengers for her title, and either fight promises fireworks.
Lawler vs Cerrone lived up top the hype
It was one of the most anticipated fights on the card, and Robbie Lawler vs Donald Cerrone did not disappoint as they put in a three round slugfest at UFC 214.
Lawler wasted little time giving the fans what they wanted. The former Welterweight champion sprinted out of the corner and went right to work landing shots on Cerrone and rocking ‘Cowboy’.
Cerrone weathered the early storm and landed a late takedown in the first round before controlling the second stanza making the fight even heading into the final round.
The third was close, but Lawler had more gas in the tank and was able to push the pace and stuff Cerrone’s takedown defence. The pair went out fighting and embraced after the bell. They had delivered on their promise of a great fight.
All three judges would score the fight 29-28 for Lawler, and the former champion is now back in the win column after losing the Welterweight crown. However, for now ‘Ruthless’ is not focused on getting his title back.
He dedicated his win to his friend Matt Hughes who was involved in a near fatal accident and plans to spend time with him and his family before returning to action.
There is little doubt that Cerrone will be back soon. ‘Cowboy’ loves to fight perhaps more than anyone in the sport, but he needs to take a slight step down in competition in order to get back to winning ways.
Jimi Manuwa’s title aspirations take a huge blow
Entering the octagon for his fight at UFC 214, Britain’s Jimi Manuwa was arguably one win away from a UFC title shot. 42 seconds later, ‘Poster Boy’ was sent back down the pecking order.
Volken Oezdemir made quick work of Manuwa, knocking the Briton out in less than a minute in the opening main card bout of UFC 214.
As the fight started, the two engaged in the clinch quickly. Manuwa looked to be in control as he pressed the Swiss fighter against the fence. Oezdemir would find some space to land some strikes however, and a series of left hands stunned the 37 year old.
Manuwa back-peddled to create some space, but his opponent would not let up and the British fighter was soon knocked down to the canvas. Oezdemir would follow him down to the mat and land some more punches for the finish.
It is a big set back for Manuwa as this has likely seen his chance of fighting for a UFC title completely gone. ‘Poster Boy’ is now 37 years old so does not have much time left at the top of the sport. Oezdemir on the other hand is 10 years younger and looks like a serious threat at Light-Heavyweight.
Full UFC 214 results:
Jon Jones def. Daniel Cormier via third-round TKO (3:01)
Tyron Woodley def. Demian Maia via unanimous decision
Cris Cyborg def. Tonya Evinger via third-round TKO (1:56)
Robbie Lawler def. Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision
Volkan Oezdemir def. Jimi Manuwa via first-round KO (0:22)
Ricardo Lamas def. Jason Knight via first-round TKO (4:34)
Aljamain Sterling def. Renan Barao via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-26)
Brian Ortega def. Renato Moicano via submission (guillotine) (R3, 2:59)
Calvin Kattar def. Andre Fili via unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Alexandra Albu def. Kailin Curran via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Jarred Brooks def. Eric Shelton via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Drew Dober def. Josh Burkman via first-round KO (3:04)
The UFC returns to PPV for UFC 215
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