411’s UFC 207 Report: Nunes Beats Rousey
UFC 207 main card (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Champ Amanda Nunes (135 lbs.) vs. #1 Ronda Rousey (135 lbs.) – for women’s bantamweight title
Champ Dominick Cruz (135 lbs.) vs. #5 Cody Garbrandt (135 lbs.) – for bantamweight title
#1 T.J. Dillashaw (136 lbs.) vs. #2 John Lineker (135.25 lbs.)
#9 Dong Hyun Kim (171 lbs.) vs. #12 Tarec Saffiedine (171 lbs.)
#13 Ray Borg (129.5 lbs.) vs. #12 Louis Smolka (125.5 lbs)
UFC 207 preliminary card (FS1, 8 p.m. ET)
#6 Johny Hendricks (173.5 lbs.) vs. #8 Neil Magny (171 lbs.)
Antonio Carlos Junior (186 lbs.) vs. Marvin Vettori (186 lbs.)
Alex Garcia (170.5 lbs.) vs. Mike Pyle (170 lbs.)
Niko Price (170 lbs.) vs. Brandon Thatch (170 lbs.)
UFC 207 preliminary card (UFC Fight Pass, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Tim Means (170 lbs.) vs. Alex Oliveira (170.5 lbs.)
Hello everyone and welcome to 411mania’s LIVE coverage of UFC 207. I’m Robert Winfree and I want to thank you all for being here and reading along, I’m well aware of the sheer number of alternatives you have to what I do here and am perpetually humbled and motivated by your support. This is a special Friday card for the UFC, tomorrow being New Years Eve and all, and they’ve brought a pretty stacked card on paper to close out 2016. You might notice this card has just 10 fights as opposed to the usual 12, that’s because despite still looking good on paper this event had to overcome some adversity. First there was supposed to be a fight between Jessica Andrade and Maryna Moroz but Moroz had to pull out and was going to be replaced by current Invicta strawweight champion Angela Hill but apparently Hill wasn’t in the USADA testing pool long enough, or some other bit of minutia along those lines, leading to Andrade just being removed from the card. We also lost a heavyweight fight between former champions Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum, Velasquez was ruled medically ineligible by the commission and Werdum apparently wanted a lot more money to take on a replacement opponent like Junior dos Santos, so that bout was also just called off. One of the two biggest stars in the sport is back here, Ronda Rousey is trying to reclaim the bantamweight title while champion Amanda Nunes is going for her first title defense. Also Dominick Cruz puts his bantamweight title on the line against the hard hitting Cody Garbrandt, a clash of speed and technical ability with raw power and potential. TJ Dillashaw and John Lineker will fight it out to determine the next title challenger at bantamweight, plus Dong Hyun Kim is back in action as he takes on Tarec Saffiedine. Also of note, this will be the final broadcast for the UFC’s longtime lead play by play commentator Mike Goldberg. Goldberg’s debut in that position came way back in 1997 at UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan, which is more commonly known as UFC 15.5, and he’s essentially been the voice of the UFC since then. Here’s wishing Goldberg the best going forward, and hopefully the UFC finds someone better to take over going forward. This event comes to us from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA with the final pairing of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan on commentary.
In honor of Goldberg’s final event here are some of the memories he’s given us over the years
Alex Oliveira is riding a two fight winning streak including a comeback upset win over Will Brooks, but Oliveira missed the lightweight limit for that encounter and is back at welterweight here. He’s trying to keep that winning streak going and move closer to title contention. Tim Means is an impressive 6-1 over his last seven fights and riding a two fight winning streak as well, Means is trying to prove himself a consistent fighter at a higher level. A win over Oliveira would help him take that step. The odds are with Oliveira at -145 while Means stands at +115.
Welterweight Bout: Tim Means (26-7-1, 170 lbs.) vs. Alex Oliveira (16-3-1 1 NC, 170.5 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Means has three inches of height on Oliveira but Oliveira actually has half an inch of reach on him. Touch of gloves to get things going, Means fighting southpaw. Oliveira circling early, Means lands a leg kick. Means lands a counter right hook after slipping a left from Oliveira. They clinch up and Oliveira tries a body lock takedown but Means uses a strong whizzer to reverse that and get on top in half guard. Oliveira trying to wall walk, Means lands a knee to the body, then one to the head and an elbow. Oliveira lands a right hook then a body kick. Oliveira lands a spinning back kick to the body that sends Means spinning across the Octagon, Oliveira gets into the clinch and they trade knees to the body. Oliveira drops for a single leg, Means uses a kimura grip to roll through and they wind up clinched again with Means holding that grip as Oliveira tries to get the back standing. Means bails and Oliveira gets a takedown and has the back with one hook in as Means gets to a knee while looking to wall walk. Means back up, Oliveira again with a tight waist takedown but Means pops back up quickly though he’s still clinched. Means drops and hits a double leg into half guard. Means lands an elbow then hits a couple of illegal knees to the head and Joe Rogan erroneously says those would be legal in 2017. A knee was down and that qualification isn’t changing. We’ve got time and the doctors are in to check on Oliveira. There’s some confusion now about whether those were legal knees, he had one knee full on the ground and I think even after the changes next year those will still be illegal. Marc Ratner has posited on commentary that those were legal, I think he’s mistaken though as anything other than the flats of your feet on the mat makes them grounded. Oliveira can’t continue and there’s only some question about whether this will be a No Contest or a Disqualification. I don’t understand the confusion here, I always understood it to be anything other than the soles of the feet means you’re grounded.
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – No Contest at 3:33 of Round 1
Rogan on the mic now with Means as Oliveira was taken out of the cage. Means says he thought it was the three point rule, you need three points of contact to be grounded but the rules are clear that it’s anything other than the soles of your feet. I’m seriously surprised no one on commentary knew that. Means says he’d rather be DQ’d then have a No Contest and says he came to win and was hoping for the win. Means calls out the media and says he can wrestle and is a mixed martial artist so if they can’t come up with anything new to write about him they should put their lap tops down.
Unfortunate confusion there, I’m surprised there was any controversy about that rule it’s always been very clear from my perspective. That’s also our only Fight Pass fight tonight, on to Fox Sports 1 for the rest of the prelims.
This fight was originally Brandon Thatch taking on Sabah Homasi but Homasi was replaced by Niko Price. Thatch is in a really bad spot being on a three fight losing streak, that position exacerbated by the potential people had seen in him prior to this recent skid and a loss could easily spell the end of his UFC run. Price is undefeated as a professional but took this fight on just about two weeks notice, he’s after the all important first UFC win here as well as the biggest win of his career. Thatch is a -155 favorite to the +125 underdog on Price.
Welterweight Bout: Niko Price (8-0, 170 lbs.) vs. Brandon Thatch (11-4, 170 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Thatch is two inches taller while Price has an inch and a half of reach advantage. Thatch circling early, he’s also switching his stance frequently. Thatch lands a leg kick then a low calf kick. Price lands an inside leg kick. Thatch lands a right then an uppercut in a brief clinch. Thatch lands a left. Price lands a right after eating a leg kick but Thatch gets the back standing. Price looking to grab a leg and turn into Thatch, Thatch gets him on the fence and lands a knee in the clinch but Price uses that to off balance him and land in his guard. Price passes to half guard when Thatch tried to sweep. Thatch back to full guard quickly. Price trying to pass, Thatch has a double wrist lock and is trying to sweep with it. Thatch has the grip and is cranking on it, Price adjusts to side control and Thatch has to scramble to half guard. Price has an arm triangle going on the same side as half guard, Thatch is able to get out of that position. Price lands a couple of short blows. Price now setting up an arm triangle on the other side, Thatch breaks free and tries to stand but Thatch grabs his back and drags him back down. Price again with the arm triangle, Thatch on a hip trying to defend but Price has a wicked squeeze going and he adjusts the grip just a bit to tighten it up from that spot and get the tap.
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Niko Price via Submission, arm triangle choke, at 4:30 of Round 1
The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Price for his work this evening and is happy to be on the board for the last event of the year. Price gets an interview now. Price actually gets his brown belt from his jiu-jitsu instructor in the cage after that, he’s a little emotional over that. He says that he’d been drilling that arm triangle choke as soon as he took the fight as he saw an opening in Thatch’s game and knew he could exploit it. He talks us through the specifics of the finish and says he wants a Submission of the Night bonus despite that being obsolete now. Price says he’ll fight anyone on short notice, late notice, or last day.
Here’s the finish to that fight, nice grip adjustment by Price as Thatch tries to hip up.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 31, 2016
Mike Pyle is a long time veteran of the sport but has hit a rough patch, going just 2-4 over his last six fights and coming off of highlight reel knockout loss. Pyle needs a win here to maintain relevance in the division and prove he still belongs at the UFC level. Alex Garcia is also in a less than optimal position as he’s 2-2 in his last four and also coming off of a loss. Garcia needs a win here to prove he can make good on the potential he showed earlier in his UFC run, this would be one of the bigger wins of his career as Pyle is probably the second best and most notable opponent he’s had in the UFC. Garcia’s punching power along with Pyle’s suspect chin have given Garcia favored status at -185 to the +150 comeback on Pyle.
Welterweight Bout: Alex Garcia (13-3, 170.5 lbs.) vs. Mike Pyle (27-12-1, 170 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Pyle has three inches of height and two of reach on Garcia. They touch gloves to get things started. Both men flashing the jab early, Pyle circling around the perimeter so far. Pyle misses a right, both guys still feeling out the distance. Garcia lands a right then a hard left body kick and gets a body lock takedown into the guard of Pyle. Garcia passes to side control. Garcia lands an elbow to the body. Garcia lands a knee to the body. Pyle rolls back to his feet. They trade lefts and Garcia misses a right. Pyle lands a bit of a right, Garcia lands a right of his own. Garcia lands a bit of a left then just misses an overhand right. Garcia is still struggling a bit with the range. Garcia lands a hard overhand right that lands right on the jaw, Pyle drops stiff as a board and this one is done.
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Alex Garcia via KO, punch, at 3:34 of Round 1
The First Round Finish Club thanks Mr. Garcia for his work this evening and is sad that the upstart Final Round Finish Club couldn’t make the close out show for the year. Garcia on the mic after that brutal KO. He says he wants to fight more for 2017, asks for a performance bonus as well. He talks us through the finish, noting that he’d seen Pyle throw that knee twice already and was prepared to counter it. Asked who he wants next he just says someone in the top ten or top fifteen and get ranked next year and says again he wants to fight and make money. He thanks Vegas and says he loves them and puts over his coaches to close the interview.
Yeah, that was a nasty knockout, so here it is again for your viewing pleasure.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) December 31, 2016
Antonio Carlos Junior debuted in the UFC very early in his career and brings a high level submission game into the cage, but he’s 1-1 with 1 No Contest in his last three fights. He is coming off of a win though and is looking to continue that winning form here and begin a march towards a ranked opponent. Marvin Vettori is riding a six fight winning streak including a successful UFC debut and he’s trying to continue that momentum here and prove himself a fighter to watch going forward. Junior’s UFC experience has earned him a slight -130 edge in the odds while Vettori’s win would pay out at +100.
Middleweight Bout: Antonio Carlos Junior (6-2 1 NC, 186 lbs.) vs. Marvin Vettori (11-2, 186 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Carlos has two inches of height and a whopping five of reach on Vettori. They touch gloves, Vettori fighting southpaw. Vettori lands a bit of a left but takes an eye poke while doing so. Vettori has time to recover but they bring in the doctor to check on it as the replay confirms the eye poke. Vettori should be good to continue as his vision clears and Carlos gets a warning from the ref. They touch gloves on the restart. Carlos probing with the jab, lands an inside leg kick. Vettori lands a bit of a left, he’s struggling to close the distance reliably so far. Carlos lands a right. Body kick from Vettori lands. We get time as Carlos keeps extending with open fingers and gets another warning. Carlos lands a leg kick. Vettori lands a left. Carlos lands a right to the body but gets poked in the eye along the way. Carlos recovers quickly and the ref warns them both now before the restart. Vettori lands a leg kick. Carlos lands a right. Body kick from Carlos lands then he tries a single leg that stalls out on the fence. Vettori lands a couple of elbows, Carlos still after the single leg and Vettori is defending. Carlos tries a trip, Vettori avoids it. They trade some short blows, Carlos lands a pretty good right and looks to get the back standing. Carlos has one hook in, bails on that and switches to a double leg and gets Vettori down against the fence. Vettori immediately back up and Carlos is holding the front head lock. Vettori hits a single leg, Carlos back up and lands a right then switches towards a double leg as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Carlos
ROUND TWO: Vettori lands a leg kick then a body kick. Vettori is backing Carlos up towards the fence. Carlos lands a right and gets a takedown but Vettori is back up immediately and disengages from the clinch. Carlos lands a body kick, Vettori returns it. Carlos lands an inside leg kick. Vettori lands a bit of a left and pushes into the clinch. Vettori has the rear waist lock now and lands a left. Carlos after a double wrist lock to break the grip, Vettori breaks of his own volition and separates. Lead hand punches traded. Carlos misses a head kick. Vettori backing Carlos up again, lands a quick combination and avoids a takedown attempt, he actually blocks it and pushes Carlos over and lands on top in the half guard of Carlos. Vettori lands a series of elbows then tries for a guillotine choke. Carlos gives the thumbs up as Vettori squeezes, Vettori bails on the choke and lands elbows to the head instead. Carlos tries to spin for the back, Vettori reads it and keeps top position but Carlos is now sitting on the fence. Vettori pulls him back to the mat and lands more lefts. Vettori stands, eats some up kicks and goes into the guard of Carlos. Carlos with elbows and quickly goes to a high guard. Vettori is able to pull out and stand, Carlos still on his back and eats a couple of leg kicks as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Vettori, 19-19 overall
ROUND THREE: Touch of gloves for the last round. Vettori lands a leg kick. Carlos flashing the jab and looking to back Vettori into the fence. Carlos lands a left hook. Carlos just misses a head kick and Vettori lands a heavy body kick. Vettori pushes into the clinch and Carlos gets him on the fence. Carlos after a trip, Vettori’s balance remains excellent. Carlos is able to duck under and get the back, Vettori immediately spins into him but Carlos finally gets the body lock takedown into the half guard of Vettori. Vettori to his feet, against the fence and Carlos slides around to get the rear waist lock. Carlos lands some knees to the thigh. Vettori spins into him and then turns him into the fence. They break without incident. They both slip on kick attempts, fatigue is setting in. Carlos after a single leg, Vettori defending against the fence. Carlos hits a trip but Vettori is to a knee quickly and looks to wall walk. Vettori back to his feet, Carlos working knees to the thigh and controlling him. Carlos trips him back to the mat, lands a right and tries for a guillotine as time expires.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Carlos, 29-28 Carlos overall
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Antonio Carlos Junior via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
That all comes down to round 1, both 2 and 3 were easy to score. A little surprised we didn’t get a split there. Carlos on the mic now. He puts over Vettori as a great grappler then says he’s very happy to be in Vegas for the new year. He says he knew the fight was close and he tried to control and win the third round but it was hard because Vettori kept getting up.
Johny Hendricks may be a former UFC welterweight champion but he’s in a terrible slump at the moment. Hendricks has lost his last two fights and just missed weight for the second time in a row, plus he had a fight with Tyron Woodley canceled in that same space of time due to health issues related to weight cutting complications. Former champion or not a third consecutive loss along with a second consecutive time missing weight could easily spell the end of Hendricks in the UFC, he’s quite likely fighting for his job here. Neil Magny has been a consistent and active fighter, he’s 4-2 in his last six fights but has struggled to make the jump up in competition. Magny is coming off of a loss to Lorenz Larkin though, he needs a win here not only to get a big name win under his belt but also to begin rebuilding himself as a possible top fighter going forward. Magny is a -190 favorite to the +155 Hendricks.
Welterweight Bout: #6 Johny Hendricks (17-5, 173.5 lbs.) vs. #8 Neil Magny (18-5, 171 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Magny has six inches of height and eleven of reach on Hendricks. Hendricks fighting southpaw, and they touch gloves to get us going. Magny already fighting long, leg kicks and side kicks to the body while he circles. Hendricks misses a lunging left. Magny lands a jab. Hendricks lands a left to the body and tries to flurry but Magny avoids it. Magny lands a couple of left body kicks. Magny lands an oblique kick to the hip, Hendricks lands a leg kick. Magny lands a couple of rights to the body, he’s also keeping his jab active. Hendricks lands a left but eats a knee to the head. Hendricks is able to get a takedown against the fence into the guard of Magny. Magny works to the fence, Hendricks is able to spin him away from it. Hendricks hasn’t done much of anything from the top position here. Magny tries for a triangle choke, bails on it and keeps guard. Magny again with that high guard, Hendricks postures through it. Magny tries for a Curo Curo sweep but the cage blocked it and Hendricks retains top position. Magny throws up a triangle choke, it’s pretty tight and he might switch to the armbar. Magny lands elbows and tries to switch to the armbar but time runs out before that goes any further.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Magny
ROUND TWO: Magny comes out quickly this round and is backing Hendricks up. Magny lands a jab, just misses a head kick. Magny lands a jab then a right to the body. Hendricks gets the rear waist lock and drags Magny down to his knees. Magny trying to stand, decides to roll to his back and give up side control. Magny shrimps to half guard. Hendricks lands some short rights. Magny bucks and rolls to his knees, Hendricks threatens with a guillotine so Magny drops to his hip to avoid the choke. Magny gets his head free and regains his feet but Hendricks has him on the fence again and hits a double leg. Hendricks passes to half guard, now the ride position as Magny gets to his knees. Hendricks lands knees to the thigh, Magny back up but still in the clinch. Hendricks tries for another double leg, has to work for it but does get Magny down again and lands in his guard. Hendricks lands a couple of lefts. Hendricks passes to half guard, Magny works to his knees again but Hendricks is still controlling him. Magny back up, Hendricks after the single leg now. Magny avoids it and they spend the last few seconds in the clinch.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Hendricks, 19-19 overall
ROUND THREE: Magny lands a front kick to the body to start the third round. Magny has a head kick blocked then lands a front kick to the head. Magny lands a jumping knee and just avoids a counter punch. Magny lands a body kick. Magny lands a couple of jabs while circling. Magny lands a combination but winds up clinched and Hendricks gets the back standing with a rear waist lock. Hendricks dropping for a single leg, switches to a double leg, Magny defends this time and breaks free. Magny lands a right to the body. Hendricks misses an uppercut. Magny lands an inside leg kick then a front kick to the body and a jab. Hendricks lands a leg kick. Magny has a head kick blocked then lands a front kick to the body. Hendricks lands a left and tries for a double leg against the fence. Magny trying to defend, lands some elbows to the body and avoids the takedown. Magny lands a knee, Hendricks after the takedown again. Magny still defending, Hendricks gets an elevated double leg takedown but Magny tries for a sweep, Hendricks is able to block that and land in his guard. Magny working punches and palm strikes from his back. Magny lands an elbow and goes for another triangle choke. Magny has it much tighter this time, goes to hard elbows as time runs down on the round.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Magny, 29-28 Magny overall
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Neil Magny via unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
I was prepared to yell about that one, but the judges got it right. Half of the crowd is booing, Magny is on the mic. Magny says Hendricks won the second for sure but he took the first and third by staying active while Hendricks was just holding position. He says Hendricks beat him in wrestling but he beat Hendricks in striking and jiu-jitsu. He says he wants in on the upcoming Brooklyn card then puts over his coaches to close the interview as they’re short on time. That’s it for FS1, now to PPV for the rest of the evening.
Louis Smolka had a very good four fight winning streak snapped his last time out in an upset loss to Brandon Moreno, despite that setback he’s proven himself a talented young fighter but needs a win here to avoid the first losing streak of his professional career and prove that he’s still a force to be reckoned with in the flyweight division. Ray Borg is another younger fighter who displayed a lot of potential and was talked about as one of the guys who’d be near the top of the division for years to come. Unfortunately Borg missed weight here, his second such incident, and is coming off of a loss to Justin Scoggins. Borg needs a win here to prove he’s still a force as well, plus a loss coupled with two instances of missing weight could lead to his getting cut. Borg has a slight edge with odds at -130 to the +100 comeback on Smolka.
Flyweight Bout: #13 Ray Borg (9-2, 129.5 lbs.) vs. #12 Louis Smolka (11-2, 125.5 lbs)
ROUND ONE: Smolka has five inches of height and five and a half of reach on Borg. They touch gloves to get us going. Borg circling early, both men switching their stance. Smolka showing the jab early and a side kick to the thigh. Borg is trying to back Smolka into the fence to corral his movement. They clinch up, Borg lands a couple of knees before Smolka pushes him off. Borg just misses a head kick but slips as he does so, Smolka tries to get on top but Borg gets to his knees and takes him down landing in side control. Borg grabs a d’arce choke as Smolka rolled to his knees, Borg controls there then spins to the back but can’t get his hooks in. Smolka is trying to switch to a scarf hold position, Borg gets his head free but still has no hooks. Smolka to his back, Borg in side control and lands an elbow. Smolka tries to get to his knees again, Borg tries for the back but still can’t get the hooks in. Smolka to his knees, Borg spins to his back again and gets a takedown when Smolka tired to stand. Borg in side control again and now full mount. Smolka trying to bridge him off, Borg riding him and lands a couple of short elbows. Borg grabs for an armbar, Smolka rolls and Borg switches to an omoplata but Smolka stands, Borg keeps the position and gets a position I’ve not see before, they spin again and Borg lands some hard punches as he gets to the ride position. Borg lands a punch, Smolka rolls to his back and gets full guard but Borg lands an elbow. Smolka just holds on for the final few seconds. Smolka might be cut around both eyes, the left for sure.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Borg
ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Borg lands a bit of a left then a body kick. Smolka lands a jab, Borg misses a wheel kick. Borg stalking forward, lands a leg kick. Borg’s head movement is good so far, he’s slipping most of Smolka’s offense. Borg lands an uppercut then a knee and hits a body lock takedown in the clinch but Smolka scrambles to mount, Borg immediately spins into him, knees up and gets on top in side control. Borg to full mount now. Smolka gets his legs up in play and starts looking for a sweep. Borg lands a right, Smolka after a heel hook or knee bar but Borg is staying safe so far. Borg lands a hard right and drops into side control. Smolka bridges to his knees, Borg holding the front head lock looking to spin to the back. Smolka tries to spin into him, Borg has mount, they scramble again and Smolka gets half guard though eats some punches along the way. Borg tries to set up an arm triangle, he’s got the arms in position but Smolka is keeping him in half guard on the safe side. Borg lands body shots, Smolka scrambles to his feet and Borg has the rear waist lock. Borg gets a double leg, Smolka after a guillotine choke but Borg pulls his head free and gets to side control. Smolka able to get to full guard but eats a couple of punches. Smolka trying to get his legs in play, Borg is blocking his attempts and hitting him as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Borg, 20-18 Borg overall
ROUND THREE: Borg said between rounds he might have broken his ankle, the man isn’t even limping and he gave no indication of which one it was. They touch gloves for the last round. Smolka lands a left, they clinch up again and Borg pushes him into the fence. Borg lands an elbow, drops for a single leg but Smolka is defending. Borg stays with it and pushes Smolka over from his knees into half guard. Smolka tries for an armbar, Borg blocks it but Smolka rolls to his knees and Borg gets the back with one hook in. Smolka rolls to his back and Borg is in half guard again. Borg after the arm triangle again, he’s got the arms in position and passes to finish the choke. The cage is blocking him from pivoting too much but his squeeze is impressive as Smolka defends. Borg moves to full mount and bails on the choke. Smolka rolls, they scramble, and Borg is back in side control. Borg’s scrambling is superb, he’s out scrambling Smolka who is a tremendous scrambler in his own right. Smolka back to his feet, Borg in on a takedown attempt against the fence. Smolka trying to control the head, Borg slips to his back and jumps for the hooks, Smolka defends and regains his feet but Borg is after another double leg. Smolka might be setting up a choke, he steps over Borg and disengages at distance. Borg lands a left hook, Smolka lands a lead leg hook kick to the face. Smolka lands an elbow. Borg lands a spinning elbow, Smolka has the ride position on the mat as time runs out.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Borg, 30-27 Borg overall
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Ray Borg via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26 x2)
Good stuff from Borg, not sure which rounds would be 10-8, maybe the second. Borg on the mic now, says he’s not sure about the broken ankle but something is up with it because he can’t plant on it. He says he got the win which is the most important thing and to anyone who didn’t know him before this fight they know who he is now. Rogan asks him about missing weight, he says the early weigh in threw him off and he had some persona stuff that contributed to him missing and that he plans on fighting Demetrious Johnson soon. He dedicates this win to his step father who passed recently.
Dong Hyun Kim is back after a little over a year, he defeated Dominic Waters in November of 2015, and is trying to extend his two fight winning streak to three. Kim has been remarkably consistent in the UFC and is trying to remind people that he’s a top contender who should be in the title conversation. Tarec Saffiedine was thought to be a top contender but injuries cost him all of 2015 and he’s just 2-2 overall in the UFC. Saffiedine is coming off of a loss to perennial spoiler Rick Story, though a win over the top ranked Kim would likely get him a top ten ranking and would be the biggest of his career. Saffiedine is a +120 underdog to the -150 favorite on Kim.
Welterweight Bout: #9 Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1 1 NC, 171 lbs.) vs. #12 Tarec Saffiedine (16-5, 171 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Kim has four inches of height and six of reach on Saffiedine. Kim fighting southpaw, Saffiedine will switch as the fight goes. Kim coming forward a lot quickly, pushes into the clinch and gets Saffiedine on the fence. Saffiedine eats an elbow as they jockey for position then hits a trip and gets the ride position when Kim regains his feet. Saffiedine has him on the fence but Kim hits a trip, Saffiedine doesn’t let him get position though and they’re back up still clinched. Saffiedine lands a knee to the head, Kim spins Saffiedine into the fence. Kim tries for a double leg, Saffiedine blocks it. Saffiedine lands a knee to the body then breaks free. They trade rights, Kim lands a bit of a left. Kim pushing forward throwing punches, Saffiedine content to slip and look to time him. Kim lands a bit of a left, Saffiedine lands a couple of rights. They clinch up again and Saffiedine breaks without incident. Kim still pushing forward, just slips a couple of hooks. Kim eats a right but pushes into the clinch. Saffiedine breaks free quickly. They clinch again, Kim gets Saffiedine on the fence. Kim after a takedown, Saffiedine defends. Saffiedine spins free of the clinch. Saffiedine has a head kick blocked. Saffiedine lands a couple of counter punches. They clinch up again and Kim gets Saffiedine on the fence. They break without incident. Kim misses a couple of sloppy punches, Saffiedine lands a knee to the head in close then a trip. Kim back up and they jockey for position along the fence as the round comes to a close.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Saffiedine
ROUND TWO: They touch gloves for the second round. Kim back to forward pressure and Saffiedine is still moving and countering. Kim lands a bit of a left. They tie up briefly, trade some body work then separate. Saffiedine lands a leg kick. Saffiedine ducks a punch and tries a double leg, Kim sprawls out and eats a right as they disengage. Kim pushes back into the clinch and has Saffiedine on the fence again. They break without incident. Kim lands a body kick. They clinch up again, Kim’s pressure is starting to work. They break after Kim lands some body shots. Kim still relentless coming forward, just walking down Saffiedine. Another clinch and Kim can’t hit a trip before they separate. Saffiedine misses a head kick. Saffiedine lands a right then a left. Another clinch, Kim has Saffiedine back on the fence. Kim lands an elbow and they break. Kim lands a jab. Saffiedine lands a leg kick, they trade hooks in close and Kim has Saffiedine back on the fence. Kim can’t finish the takedown but is keeping Saffiedine on the cage. Saffiedine able to spin him, knees go back and forth then Saffiedine thinks about a takedown. Kim blocks that attempt and they break. Kim avoids a couple of punches as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Kim, 19-19 overall
ROUND THREE: We come out and they start throwing this time, short hooks land for both and Kim lands an uppercut but Saffiedine lands a head kick. They clinch and trade body shots then break. They clinch up and Kim gets Saffiedine to the cage again. Kim can’t get a takedown though. Kim tries a single leg, Saffiedine breaks free though. Another clinch, Saffiedine avoids the fence this time and breaks free. Another clinch and Kim has Saffiedine back on the cage. Saffiedine lands some elbows to the body, Kim gets a brief takedown but Saffiedine is back up instantly though still in the clinch. Saffiedine lands an elbow as they break. Another clinch and Kim drops for a double leg again. Saffiedine defending, Kim switches to a single leg and hits the trip but Saffiedine is back up like he’s a spring and they disengage. Saffiedine lands a couple of body kicks. Kim gets the clinch and Saffiedine works knees to the body before they break. Another body kick from Saffiedine. Kim walks into a single leg attempt, Saffiedine can’t finish it though and nothing comes of it. Another clinch and Kim has Saffiedine on the fence. Kim drops for a double leg, finally finishes the takedown and gets the back, Saffiedine tries to counter but time runs out.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Saffiedine, 29-28 Saffiedine overall
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – Dong Hyun Kim via split decision (27-30, 29-28 x2)
I’m not yelling about all three going to Saffiedine, plenty of arguments either way. Not a good fight, and no interview for Kim.
TJ Dillashaw is the former UFC bantamweight champion and coming off of a win over Raphael Assuncao. Dillashaw is looking to make himself the undeniable number one contender here as a win would almost certainly make the most deserving contender to the title he wants to get back. John Lineker may be on a six fight winning streak and undefeated at bantamweight but he’s also missed weight a record setting five times though just one of those was at bantamweight. If Lineker can take out the former champion here he’ll similarly have staked a claim to a title shot making this a must win for both men. Dillashaw is a notable -200 favorite while the +165 payout on Lineker will likely attract some value bets.
Bantamweight Bout: #1 T.J. Dillashaw (13-3, 136 lbs.) vs. #2 John Lineker (29-7, 135.25 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Dillashaw has three and a half inches of height on Lineker but the reach is identical. Dillashaw will switch his stance constantly. Dillashaw moving forward early, Lineker circling and ducks under a head kick. Dillashaw lands a leg kick, Lineker trips him off of it but nothing comes of it. Dillashaw with another head kick that’s caught and Lineker gets a takedown, Dillashaw lands an illegal up kick and regain his feet. Dillashaw lands an uppercut but eats a counter hook, Dillashaw then lands a body kick. Dillashaw gets a takedown into half guard. Lineker trying to set up a sweep, Dillashaw still controlling him from top position. Dillashaw lands a couple of lefts. Lineker to full guard now. Dillashaw lands a couple of punches, Lineker tries to regain his feet but Dillashaw is keeping him on the mat. Lineker back up finally and they separate. Lineker misses a kick. Lineker walking forward now, lands a right then a left as Dillashaw angles away from him. Dillashaw lands a body kick. Dillashaw again with a body kick, he’s doing a good job of fighting long and not getting into Lineker’s game. Lineker lands a left along the fenc. Lineker misses a couple of hooks, they both throw in close as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Dillashaw
ROUND TWO: Lineker’s been much more cautious for this fight, he pushes forward early here though and lands a couple of body shots. Dillashaw times his forward pressure and gets a double leg though. Lineker back up quickly after a scramble and just misses a left hook. They trade in close again. Lineker misses an overhand right. Lineker lands a right to the body. Dillashaw lands a left body kick. They clash and Dillashaw gets another well timed double leg into the half guard of Lineker. Dillashaw working some short lefts to the head. Lineker able to sit up but Dillashaw lands an elbow and pushes him back down. A few more elbows from Dillashaw, Lineker just eats them an encourages Dillashaw to hit him more. Dillashaw lands some more punches, Lineker tries to roll under for a knee bar, Dillashaw punches him and passes to mount when Lineker bails on that. Lineker to half guard, Dillashaw lands some lefts. Lineker lands an illegal up kick, Dillashaw doesn’t care and keeps hitting him. Lineker just can’t do anything from half guard, Dillashaw lands a few more blows. More elbows from Dillashaw and a right. Lineker just eating them, that man has a chin that should be studied and the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Dillashaw, borderline 10-8, 20-18 Dillashaw overall
ROUND THREE: They touch gloves for the last round. Lineker lands a right after eating a front kick to the chest but he’s really struggling to get his offense going. Lineker is biting on pretty much every feint from Dillashaw. Dillashaw lands another body kick. Lineker blocks a head kick. Dillashaw ducks a punch and gets another double leg. Lineker back up quickly and eats a right. Dillashaw still moving well, Lineker really hesitant here. Lineker tries to goad Dillashaw into a brawl, Dillashaw lands a couple of punches. Lineker lands a right to the body but Dillashaw gets another double leg into half guard. Dillashaw passes for a moment, Lineker gets him back to half guard. Dillashaw with more blows, Lineker rolls to his knees and stands but he’s getting mauled by Dillashaw. Dillashaw holds a rear waist lock and lands knees to the thigh then trips Lineker down again. Dillashaw rolls for a leg lock, he’s got a calf slicer going but the angle is wrong and he has no control over Lineker’s upper body. Linker nearly gets on top, they break and Lineker misses a right. Lineker moving forward now, blocks a takedown and lands a body kick. Lineker digs several hooks to the body, Dillashaw circling away and content to run out the clock at this point. Dillashaw misses a jumping knee and eats a left. Dillashaw postures for the crowd as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Dillashaw, 30-27 Dillashaw overall
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER – TJ Dillashaw via unanimous decision (30-26 x3)
Dillashaw on the mic after that shutout. He says Lineker’s toughness is ridiculous, his elbow hurts from hitting him and he felt that calf slicer was in deep. He says no one has dominated Lineker like that, puts over his coaches and team and says he wants his belt back and says he’s fighting the top guys while Cruz is fighting fringe top ten guys. He says that Garbrandt is in a little over his head and Cruz will out smart him, then says that if he doesn’t get the next title shot it just proves this is rigged.
Cody Garbrandt has a big opportunity here, to claim the UFC bantamweight title. Garbrandt has gone 5-0 in the UFC and is coming off of a win over Takeya Mizugaki, but tonight faces the biggest challenge of his career which also has the biggest reward possible. Dominick Cruz is the UFC bantamweight champion and riding a massive thirteen fight winning streak. Cruz is coming off of a successful title defense against Urijah Faber and is going for another here. Cruz is also trying to defend his high ranking in the pound for pound discussion and trying to continue proving himself one of the best fighters in the world today. The odds are with the defending champion Cruz at -220 while Garbrandt sits at +170.
Bantamweight Title Bout: (c) Dominick Cruz (22-1, 135 lbs.) vs. #5 Cody Garbrandt (10-0, 135 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: These two are the same height but Cruz has two and a half inches of reach on Garbrandt. Cruz switches his stance constantly. Cruz slips a right then a left. Cruz lands a right and avoids a couple of counters. Cruz lands a leg kick. Garbrandt misses a high kick. Garbrandt lands a leg kick. They clown each other a bit, Garbrandt lands a leg kick but Cruz returns it. Cruz lands a body kick then misses a right. Cruz lands a counter right. They trade lefts. Garbrandt eats a leg kick then lands a bit of a left. Cruz lands a hard leg kick and avoids a right. Cruz avoids a couple of punches, both guys being very defensively responsible. Cruz lands a jab. Cruz lands a leg kick. Cruz catches a body kick, doesn’t complete the takedown though. Garbrandt lands a leg kick. Garbrandt slips a couple of jabs. Cruz hits a double leg, they scramble and regain their feet quickly. Cruz misses a left. Cruz lands an inside leg kick and they trade rights. Cruz also lands a left. They trade low calf kicks. Garbrandt hits a double leg, Cruz scrambles and is up then lands a left after eating a knee. This is a tremendous round. Cruz misses a spinning back fist as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Cruz but a very competitive round
ROUND TWO: Garbrandt is bleeding from below the right eyebrow. Garbrandt has a head kick blocked. Cruz avoids a leg kick, Garbrandt avoids a couple of lefts. Cruz lands a combination of punches. Garbrandt lands a clean left hook but he ate three counters and is backing up now. Cruz is backing up Garbrandt now, misses a left hook then a leg kick. Cruz lands a jab. Cruz lands a jab and a leg kick. Cruz lands a left, Garbrandt lands a bit of a counter right. Cruz avoids a couple of punches. Cruz catches a body kick but Garbrandt gets his leg back quickly. Cruz lands a short right in close. Cruz lands a body kick, then another one. Garbrandt lands a left hook. Cruz lands another body kick. Garbrandt is still moving well but might be slowing down just a tick. Garbrandt lands a body kick. Cruz checks a leg kick and lands a right. Garbrandt checks a leg kick. They both miss hooks. Cruz lands a leg kick and avoids a couple of hooks. Cruz lands a right after taking a body kick. Garbrandt lands a body kick. Cruz tries a knee tap, Garbrandt blocks it and they both land as the round ends.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Cruz, 20-18 Cruz overall
ROUND THREE: Cruz back to moving, they trade rights and Garbrandt also lands a left. Cruz is cut over the left eye now. Cruz lands a bit of a right. Commentary says the cut was caused by a head but. They trade again, Garbrandt is moving well and slips some punches. Garbrandt lands a right then a left. Cruz lands a bit of a head kick. Lots of head movement both ways, this is fascinating. Cruz lands a head kick then a one two combination but Garbrandt follows up and lands a right. Cruz lands an inside leg kick. Cruz misses a right. They trade again, Cruz drops for a moment after eating a left. Cruz still moving forward, the man is showing off a heck of a chin. Cruz lands a left then Garbrandt slips the follow up blows. Cruz lands a leg kick. Cruz misses three punches then misses a takedown. Cruz lands a couple of follow up punches though. Cruz lands a leg kick. Cruz lands a left. Stiff jab from Cruz lands as the final blow of the round.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Garbrandt, 29-28 Cruz overall
ROUND FOUR: That cut above Cruz’s eyebrow is nasty, bears watching as this continues. Cruz lands a bit of a left. Cruz lands a leg kick and just avoids a counter punch. Cruz lands a body kick. They both trade in close, Garbrandt drops Cruz with a right but he’s back up and they trade again. Cruz lands a looping left. Cruz misses a leg kick. Garbrandt lands a straight right. Garbrandt slips a right. Garbrandt lands a leg kick and avoids a right. Cruz lands a jab. Garbrandt slips a head kick. They both miss in close. Cruz lands a jab. Cruz eats an inside leg kick and lands a right. Cruz lands a left, Garbrandt just eats it. Garbrandt lands a left that drops Cruz briefly, Cruz back up but Garbrandt is after him throwing punches. Garbrandt off balances Cruz with a right. They trade again and then stare away the final seconds.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Garbrandt, with two knockdowns arguable 10-8, 38-38 DRAW overall
ROUND FIVE: Cruz out jabbing quickly. Cruz lands a leg kick but Garbrandt catches it, Cruz gets his leg back and lands a right. Cruz misses a spinning back fist. Cruz lands a jab. Garbrandt has a right then a left blocked. Cruz lands a three punch combination. Cruz lands a jumping knee to the chest and avoids a follow up takedown attempt. Cruz lands a leg kick. Cruz just misses a couple of punches and lands a leg kick. Cruz lands a left. Cruz misses a double leg. Cruz has a high kick blocked. Cruz misses another spinning back fist. Cruz still moving forward lands a combination. Garbrandt tries a double leg that stalls out on the fence, he’s playing for time. Garbrandt lands a knee to the body as they break. They just posture the final seconds away.
SCORECARD: 10-9 Cruz, 48-47 Cruz overall but this could go either way
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and NEW UFC Bantamweight Champion – Cody Garbrandt via unanimous decision (48-47, 48-46 x2)
Great great fight. New champion on the mic now. He says he’s been waiting for this since he was 12 when he first saw MMA. He thanks everyone for their support, puts over his friend Maddox who beat lukemia and he puts the belt around Maddox. He says he was very composed for this fight and that he’s been fighting all of his life, he puts over Cruz and his team for making him better and then tell TJ Dillashaw to come try him.
Ronda Rousey is a former UFC women’s bantamweight champion but hasn’t fought since November of 2015 when she was knocked out by Holly Holm. Rousey is trying to reclaim that title here as well as silence many of the doubters that popped up in the wake of her loss, a win would also bring her back into a tie with Joanna Jedrzejczyk for most wins in the UFC by a female fighter while there has been plenty of speculation that a loss would lead to her immediate retirement from the sport. Amanda Nunes is on a four fight winning streak and coming off of a dominant win over Miesha Tate to claim the title, despite that a win here over one of the two biggest stars in the sport would be the biggest of her career and she could become just the second woman to have a successful title defense at bantamweight as well as begin forging her legacy as champion. Despite the layoff Rousey is the -180 favorite while the champion’s comeback stands at +150.
Bantamweight Title Bout: (c) Amanda Nunes (13-4, 135 lbs.) vs. #1 Ronda Rousey (12-1, 135 lbs.)
ROUND ONE: Nunes has an inch of height and reach on Rousey. Nunes circling early, lands a jab. Rousey eats a hard combination. Nunes pushing forward, lands another right. Rousey is back pedaling early, Nunes is teeing off on her. Rousey tries to clinch but Nunes breaks it, lands more punches and the ref stops this before Rousey hits the mat.
OFFICIAL RESULT: †WINNER and STILL UFC Bantamweight Champion – Amanda Nunes via TKO, punches, at :48 of Round 1
Good grief that was one sided. The First Round Finish Club thanks Ms. Nunes for her work this evening. Nunes on the mic now. She thanks Rogan for his support on twitter, then puts over her team for getting her ready and making her an amazing fighter. She talks us through the finish, and says this was always going to be her moment as Rousey’s time has passed. She thanks Rousey for her contribution to the sport and asks the crowd and fans to stop bagging on Rousey. She puts over her girlfriend Nina Ansaroff as the next strawweight champion. She says she loves being ignored promotionally or underestimated as that lets her show who she is. She says no one is taking this belt from her and says she’s been training for Rousey since her UFC debut. She say’s she’s the best in the world and tells the fans to get over Rousey and look at the girls who are still fighting since Rousey is probably going to retire. She speaks Portuguese for the Brazilian fans to close her interview.
And on that note, I’m out. Thanks for being here and reading along, live or after the fact. I’ll say right now, publicly, my scoring for Cruz vs. Garbrandt is probably way off and I need to watch it again when I’m not covering it, then likely kick myself repeatedly for being so bad at this. This Sunday at 8 pm eastern standard time on the 411 Ground and Pound radio show we’ll be reviewing this event. The show takes live callers at (323) 657-0901 if you’ve got a question or comment you’d like on the air. There’s no event this coming Saturday but I’ll be back on Sunday the 15th for UFC Fight Night 103 where BJ Penn returns to take on Yair Rodriguez. Until next time be safe over New Years and keep checking 411mania for all of your pop culture needs.