Tonight, UFC 187 goes down in Las Vegas, featuring a real rarity in today’s MMA climate: two legit world title fights.
First, Chris Weidman makes his third defense of the UFC welterweight championship, as he takes on former light heavyweight titlist (and UFC 12 tournament champion) Vitor Belfort.
Then, the vacant light heavyweight title will be decided, as former title challenger Daniel Cormier faces off with the streaking Anthony “Rumble” Johnson.
The action starts with preliminary bouts — and we’ll start calling the action here at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT, with results from the earlier “Fight Pass” prelims and a full play-by-play of the action to follow. Please join us, and remember to hit refresh often for the latest update!
Preliminary Card: (to be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass)
Flyweights: Justin Scoggins defeated Josh Sampo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Lightweights: Islam Makhachev defeated Leo Kuntz by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:38 of round two.
Play by play now!!!
Preliminary Card: (to air on Fox Sports 1)
Welterweights: Mike Pyle vs. Colby Covington
Covington is a young gun noted for his wrestling, and comes in a -280 favorite here against old favorite Pyle, a longtime trainer at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas.
Round One: Covington shoots in as expected and forces a clinch right away. Low knee from Covington and the action is halted. Restart and Covington looking to clinch again, briefly rolls to look for a Kimura but no dice. Takedown by Covington, right into Pyle’s guard, with about two minutes left. He lands a few but Pyle’s defense holds up to the final bell. 10-9, Covington.
Round Two: Covington with another takedown. Pyle spins to his feet and looks for a guillotine. Covington shurgs it off, lands a series of punches. Covington pulls Pyle to the mat with a body lock, moves right to side control. Pyle repositions guard and looks for an armbar. Little shots here & there in the guard but nothing too damaging from Covington. They are stood up, Covington out-landing Pyle with his haymakers. 10-9, Covington.
Not a terribly entertaining bout so far:
My score thru this point: Zzzzzzzzzzz – zZZZZZZZZZZZ
— Stephie (@CrooklynMMA) May 24, 2015
Round Three: Pyle attacks with a flying knee, then a guillotine. Covington shrugs him off and gets him to the mat again. Pyle eats a hard left and elbow in the guard. A little punching and lot of top control. Pyle looking for a Kimura as crowd boo’s. Pyle uses it to sweep — right into mount! Pyle looks for a bulldog choke as Covington bucks him off… but doesn’t quite get it. Covington lands punches in guard as time expires. 10-9, Covington.
Colby Covington defeats Mike Pyle by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Middleweights: Uriah Hall vs. Rafael “Sapo” Natal
These guys don’t like each other and there’s local bragging rights besides: Hall is a New Yorker (born in Jamaica) and Brazil’s “Sapo” teaches at Renzo Gracie’s Manhattan academy. Hall is a -400 favorite.
Round One: Sapo with a flagrant kick in the groin to begin.
Hall vs. Sapo opens with the most flagrant kick to the nuts since Royce Gracie nutted Yoshida to begin their fight a decade (?) ago #ufc187
— Tommy Hackett (@tommy_hackett) May 24, 2015
They re-start, Sapo looking for overhands and scores with leg kicks here and there, but Hall mostly controlling the action with his jab & front kick. Sapo stuffed on a takedown attempt. Halfway through now. Hall looking for spinning back kicks, lands a solid one to the body. Sapo in deep on a takedown, but Hall spins away. Good knee to the legs in clinch as time expires. 10-9, Hall.
Round Two: Sapo looking for his leg kick, Hall with the jab. Great takedown from Sapo, right under a punch. Ligh ground-and-pound for Sapo. Hall works to his feet, eats some knees to the legs. Hall spins out, lands a good knee to the body. Hall shrugs off a Sapo takedown. Hall clinches, gets a double leg takedown. Sapo right back up, looks for Kimura, gets taken down again. 10-9, Hall.
Round Three: Both guys moving in and out but not accomplishing much, and who knows who is really ahead here? Sapo shrugs off a takedown, throws wild punches. Nice leg kick from Hall on an exchange but he’s backpedaling way too much here. Sapo in on a takedown, gets Hall against the cage with under a minute left. Nothing would surprise me re: this decision. 10-9, Natal.
Rafael “Sapo” Natal defeats Uriah Hall by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Yeah, I had it for Hall but I’m not mad at this. It felt like he really threw this one away.
Uriah Hall is 31 with effectively 6 years of pro fighting under his belt. He's not a rookie. He either "gets it" or doesn't. He doesn't.
— Mookie Alexander (@mookiealexander) May 24, 2015
Welterweights: Dong Hyun Kim vs. Josh Burkman
Two southpaws: “Stun Gun” Kim is a -230 favorite here over the “People’s Warrior.”
Round One: Burkman advancing with straight punches. Kim clinching up, looking for the takedown. Burkman whips him to the mat, but they’re right back up. Kim looking for back standing, and gets it — looking for the rear choke… in a long sequence. Some punches from piggy-back position from Kim, and that’s basically where we stay. 10-9, Kim.
Round Two: Kim misses a high kick, eats a left. Burkman looking for a takedown, which seems silly as it’s clear Kim is a better grappler. They clinch to the cage, Kim looking for back again. Kim isolates an arm with his legs a la crucifix, has Burkman in a turtle position, and punches away. Elbow cracks down. More punches, Burkman has no answer as time wears on… 10-9, Kim.
Round Three: Body kick from Burkman who is keeping his distance better now. Big punching combo’s from Burkman! Knees land hard. Kim is shaken and on the retreat. Kim with a takedown, right into side control. Kim clamps down with an arm triangle and it’s all over!!!
Dong Hyun Kim defeats Josh Burkman via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 2:13 of round three.
Flyweights: John Dodson vs. Zach Makovsky
Two of the top flyweights in the world here, looking for a showdown with Demetrious Johnson. Dodson a -700 favorite.
Round One: Both darting in and out, Dodson showing the better hand & foot speed and outlanding by a small margin. Nice straight left counter by Makovsky. Some leg kicks from Dodson. Dodson may be looking for one shot a little too much and taking too many shots to win the round. Neither guy sets themselves apart. 10-10.
I haven't seen Dodson this frustrated since getting denied at the Roller Coaster at Six Flags. #UFC187
— MMA Roasted (@MMARoasted) May 24, 2015
Round Two: Dodson looking for punching combo’s. Kind of that classic wrestle-box, darting in and out flyweight bout in a 30×30 cage. Not that interesting no matter the skill level, unfortunately — and the boo birds are out in Vegas. Head kick from Makovsky. Nice takedown and a few punches end the round for Dodson. 10-9, Dodson.
Round Three: The fighters hug and smile to begin the round. Unfortunately no else is enjoying this fight. MMA fans will describe this, and Edgar/Faber, as great fights. Then describe Mayweather/Pacquiao as horrible. I’ll never understand! Dodson seemed to have a slight edge in what little action we saw. 10-9, Dodson.
John Dodson defeats Zach Makovsky by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Not a very memorable prelim broadcast but hopefully better things to come…
Main Card: (to be broadcast on PPV)
Flyweights: Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga
Two more of the top ten flyweights in the world. Benavidez, of Team Alpha Male, is a -700 favorite. Hopefully this turns out better than our last one…
Round One: Moraga out swinging, also a couple of high kicks. Benavidez counters and Moraga drops to the mat. Benavidez moves to half guard. Benavidez passes, looks like he’s thinking choke but Moraga back up. Benavidez takedown. Wild exchange of throws — a Moraga overhead suplex, Benavidez with a lateral drop! Big slam from Benavidez. 10-9, Benavidez.
Round Two: Moraga looking for the high kick. Great punching combo from Benavidez. Heavy leg kicks from Moraga. Nice body kick from Moraga. Nasty cut on Moraga after they clash heads. Benavidez with the takedown. Benavidez with a pass and a few strikes before time expires. Narrowly — it’s 10-9, Benavidez.
Round Three: Moraga earns the advantage in a standup exchange, high kicks and punching combo’s. He tries a flying knee but is kept back with a Benavidez front kick. The action slows. Benavidez with a good takedown, right into side control. Moraga re-positions guard but eating punches — and cut is getting worse… as time wears down. 10-9, Benavidez.
Joseph Benavidez defeats John Moraga by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Heavyweights: Travis “Hapa” Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski
Two top ten heavyweights here, and old friends & former training partners. They say this will be all-action, though. We shall see… “Hapa” is a -450 favorite.
Round One: Arlovski hits a big overhand counter to begin! Hapa backs up, Arlovski unloads with punches to head and body. Browne circles away and eats another right. Browne with a good left hook lead, but Arlovski out-boxing him — big right stuns Browne! Arlovski backing Browne up. Backhand cracks him. And bam! Arlovski is dropped by a left haymaker! Hapa pounces but Arlovski survives — back up, and bam! Right hand shakes Browne. A few more punches from AA and it’s OVER!!! What a fight!
Andrei Arlovski defeats Travis “Hapa” Browne by TKO at 4:41 of round one.
— Thomas Gerbasi (@tgerbasi) May 24, 2015
That was legit one of the best one-round fights ever. Just fantastic.
— Jeremy Botter (@jeremybotter) May 24, 2015
Lightweights: Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone vs. John Makdessi
Canada’ Makdessi comes in as a late replacement — “Cowboy” is listed as a -700 favorite.
Round One: Cerrone with leg kicks to begin. Round kick to the body from Cerrone. Punching combo from Cerrone, who is much bigger and moving with great fluidity… Makdessi tries jabbing the body but he just seems over-matched. High kicks landing as well. Makdessi trying to establish the jab but no dice. 10-9, Cerrone.
Round Two: Kicks high and low, left hook to right hand combo from Cerrone. Big flying knee from Cerrone. Punching combo’s ending with leg kicks from Cerrone. Makdessi finding openings for his counters, particularly the left hook upstairs. Cerrone appears to bleeding from the mouth, but he’s still advancing and landing. Big head kick lands on Makdessi, who backs off to call time out — essentially submitting verbally. Fight over!
Somewhere in makdessi's head he's thinking. I shoulda let that call go to voicemail.
— KindaStefunny (@SassySoulStef) May 24, 2015
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone defeats John Makdessi by TKO (verbal submission) at 4:44 of round two.
Middleweights: Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort – for Weidman’s middleweight title
Here we go, what more can be said about these co-main events? Weidman a -380 favorite.
Round One: Weidman stalking Belfort, showing the high kick. Wild scramble after Weidman fails a takedown, and Vitor lands a flurry! Punches and elbows in the clinch from Belfort. Weidman with a takedown. Big hammer-fists from Weidman. Weidman in mount! More punches. Back mount — more punches, and it’s getting ugly! Fight is over!!!
Chris Weidman defeats Vitor Belfort by TKO (punches from mount) at 2:53 of round one.
Light Heavyweights: Anthony Johnson vs. Daniel Cormier – for vacant light heavyweight title
Cormier ended up a slight underdog, -110 to -120.
Round One: Eye poke to begin from DC. Huge right hand cracks DC and staggers him. But DC gets a grip of him from the back — and slams him down. DC on his back as they clinch against the cage. DC looking for the single leg. They disengage, Johnson looking for the head kick. Johnson shrugs off another takedown. Johnson switches to southpaw. DC clinches him to the cage again. 10-9, Johnson.
Round Two: More BIG punches from Johnson. High kicks crack Cormier! DC in on a shot, and gets the lift and takedown. Johnson in half guard. Good elbows from DC, then he entangles the arm for a Kimura. Johnson squirms his arm away, but he looks tired. Cormier retains position. Johnson with a few hip escapes to keep his half guard but he’s stuck — getting elbowed in the face! A cut opens. 10-9, Cormier.
Round Three: Cormier keeping the pressure. Johnson briefly gets a takedown as they clinch against the cage, but DC right back up. DC yanks Johnson down, gets some punches in as he rides the back. Cormier takes back with hook and looks for the choke. He’s got it! Johnson taps!
Daniel Cormier defeats Anthony “Rumble” Johnson by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:39 of round two.
Cormier wins the UFC light heavyweight title, and calls out Jon Jones: “Jon Jones, get your s–t together! I’m waiting for you!”
That’s all here. Thank you for joining us!