If you don’t know the lead up to this fight I encourage you to Google it and fill yourself in because there is almost too much that went into this main event. We have the Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Bones Jones (20-1-0) defending his title against the Olympian Daniel Cormier (15-0-0).
It isn’t often that you believe two fighters actually hate one another but tonight there is no doubt that the animosity between these two combatants is as real as it gets. They are yet to attend the same event without getting into at least a verbal confrontation and this all comes after a physical altercation in the summer of 2014 and a televised interview of the two exchanging not so niceties with one another, in what Jones was an off the record environment. There have even been instances over the last few days to make their way into social media to take this fight’s hype to a tipping point.
I really cannot build this fight any more than the fighters have already built it up, our referee tonight is the veteran Herb Dean, on to the dénouement.
Both fighters leave their respective corners in the orthodox stance with Jones starting in his traditional stalking downed stance to avoid any head kicks. There is no feeling out process and they both let strikes fly right away. Cormier is being effective taking the fight to the cage but Jones is out striking him and takes Cormier down off of a kick by Cormier that Jones caught. Cormier is back to his feet immediately and the pair clinches against the cage. Cormier breaks free and Jones is back to keeping his elusive range with elbows and kicks. Jones with another takedown attempt but this time it is stuffed. A few punches are exchanged in a clinch. Jones throws a big overhand right and connects to the top of Cormier’s head. Jones’ signature method of throwing numerous elliptical kicks to set up dirty boxing is being used effectively and DC has no answer for it. Cormier is the aggressor but Jones is on his bike utilizing much lateral movement. The fighters keep one another busy with jabs and distance establishing shots as Cormier attempts to get inside while Jones is content remaining at kicking distance, DC lands a few big shots followed but a failed grab by Jones and another big shot is thrown by Cormier which just glances off Jones. Jon throws a flying knee to no avail. A close round most likely edged towards Jones based on the takedowns and striking volume.
Jones opens up with a big body kick and Cormier answers with a lesser one of his own. Bones is now bleeding around his nose and mouth from a few minor shots but it is not enough to affect the champion. Cormier shoots in for a takedown but Jones catches him in a standing guillotine choke that Cormier is able to push out of. Cormier slips and the crowd laughs, which seems to irk the challenger and he responds by throwing a big right hand causing Jones to engage in a clinch with him against the cage. Cormier is able to get a hold of Jones’ neck momentarily as The Champion attempts the loose under-hook shoulder crank that he used to injure Teixeira’s shoulder in his previous fight. The fighters release and DC is able to land a few strikes before another clinch that allows Jones to throw some good elbows and knees, Cormier takes those shots and answers with uppercuts from the clinch. These fighters are keeping a pace familiar in bouts of lighter weight classes. Jones throws a clean head kick followed by elbows to the head of his opponent but Cormier answers with two big punches and Jones is forced to clinch once again. Cormier is able to display his superior wrestling by throwing Jones off of him before landing some big punches. As the round comes to an end both fighters are able to land big body kicks and flurries of strikes that find their mark. This round is leaning towards Daniel Cormier based on effective strikes.
Jones comes out displaying his full arsenal of kicks but lands few of them. Cormier keeps walking forward and they both land big leg kicks on one another. Cormier comes forward with big punches but Jones gets away after eating a few. Jones is landing clean to the body of Cormier with his hands. Cormier gets an unintentional finger in the eye and takes a few seconds to recover. No fighter is going to ask for an out at this level in the game with such high stakes. As they start again Jon comes out with a big kick followed by a takedown attempt, Cormier reverses to his own takedown but gives it up to clinch on the cage. Jones reverses position and lands a big elbow. Cormier breaks free and he keeps pushing forward. Jones is throwing all of his signature shots and it is obvious that every exchange is being initiated by a kick at this point. Jones is putting together some nice combinations but as he clinches Cormier lands big body shots before forcing Jones to the cage. Bones reverses position and lands a few shots. Jones throws his third flying knee, one for every round, but Cormier lands big punches on this one. As the round ends Jones attempts to pull guard but Cormier takes control of the takedown. This round could be a tie based on the ending but most likely will be given to Jones by the judges.
Another round started with Jones controlling the distance with his kicks and movement, Cormier clinches up with him and Jones scores a takedown followed by another as Cormier gets up. On the ground Jones is attempting a choke from a cage positioned side control but quickly abandons it. Jones stands up and lands a few strikes before they are clinched on the cage. Jones controls the grappling and lands a few big shots. DC is out of the clinch and comes at Jones with strikes, while landing, with the intent to stop this fight. More clinching to end the round goes in Jones’ favour during the final seconds. This round is big for Jones.
Cormier’s corner is asking him to stop the fight. The fighters touch gloves to start this round and throw strikes with fury. Cormier comes forward with a takedown attempt but he is unsuccessful as he has been on all of his attempts thus far. More clinching against the cage as Jones shows continued dominance in this position. Jones attempts to take Cormier’s back at the middle of the round and Cormier spins out, they are now clinched in the center of the cage. If Cormier does not break and let everything fly there will be no chance for him but he continues to try and score takedowns to no avail. Cormier, still gong for a takedown, is against the cage but Jones punishes him with elbows to the body and head of his bent over opponent. Cormier picks the champion up over his head and slams him to the ground but Jones back to his feet with haste, a moral victory for Cormier, and Jones lands a big spinning elbow. Jones begins to celebrate his imminent victory a couple of seconds early by throwing his hands into the air, but finishes the round with a flurry landing a shot on Herb Dean before sending a few insulting crotch based gestures at his opponent. This one is headed to the judges.
I expect this to be a 49-46 score for Jones.
Unanimous decision for Jon Jones (49-46) (49-46) (49-46)
Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz in the works for UFC 223
UFC 223 looks to add a variety of intriguing bouts. With Paul Felder vs. Al Iaquinta reportedly set for the unannounced UFC 223 card, the promotion looks to add a high stakes female flyweight match-up. According to MMANYTT.com, sources confirmed a bout between Felice Herrig and Karolina Kowalkiewicz, is in the works for the pay-per-view card.
Assuming the match-up does come to be, both women have much to gain from a victory. For Herrig, she currently sits on a four-fight win streak. A streak in which the strawweight contender defeated Kailin Curran, Alexa Grasso, Justine Kish, and Cortney Casey. The MMA veteran, Herrig, began fighting professionally in 2009. As of late, her issues with the marketing machine that is the UFC have intensified.
After demonstrating her technical prowess over Justine Kish at UFC Fight Night 122: Chiesa vs. Lee, Herrig put her emotions on display. She stated at the post-fight media scrum, “Sometimes, I feel like, I’m not young and beautiful enough for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked so hard to be here and it’s hard to see these people who’ve not been through what I’ve been through. Who just got into the UFC at the right time. They’re getting all these opportunities and I see how hard I work to get here and it’s just like, it doesn’t matter. I just feel like, ‘I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger'”.
A frustrated Felice Herrig then spoke to MMAJunkie.com in December. She claimed, “Aside from (former UFC women’s strawweight champ) Joanna (Jedrzejczyk), I’m the only strawweight who’s gone on a four-fight winning streak. That’s a fact. At this point, I want to fight someone in the top 10. It doesn’t really make sense for me to keep fighting girls that are ranked below me. That’s the whole point. If I want to keep working my way up. I fight the most dangerous girls outside the top 10”. The #9 ranked women’s flyweight has a point. In her UFC career, she recorded one loss in six appearances. Yet, she has one co-main event booking, while fighters like Michelle Waterson, booked the main event in her second UFC bout. In Waterson’s third bout, she received a co-main event scheduling. Understandably, Felice Herrig is upset with her situation.
Later in her interview, Herrig brought up Kowalkiewicz as a potential next opponent. “For whatever reason, I really want to fight Karolina. I just think that would be an exciting fight… Stylistically, I really like that fight. She’s ranked above (me), and it may be a good gauge for me,” she stated. Right now, it looks like Herrig is close to getting what she wants.
Kowalkiewicz last fought in her native country of Poland on the UFC Fight Pass card, UFC Fight Night 118: Cowboy vs. Till, in October. The Polish star defeated Jody Esquibel, after losing consecutive contests to former UFC female strawweight champion, Joanna Jedrzejcyk and Claudia Gadelha, respectively.
A win for either makes a good case for the next or an eventual title challenger. Kowalkiewicz holds a victory over current division champion, Rose Namajunas. While a win for Herrig would further establish her impressive win streak and undoubtedly give her the boost in the rankings she deserves.
Douglas Lima found out about change to co-main event at Bellator 192 from the internet
Bellator 192 fight card has gone through a shake-up over the past week. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed last week that the scheduled welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and champion Douglas Lima will now be serving as the co-main event and the heavyweight matchup between Chael Sonnen and Rampage Jackson would instead take top billing. At the time no explanation was made for the change. Monday Douglas Lima was a guest on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to discuss this change.
“I was little bummed, but it is what it is, it’s business you know. I was pretty excited you know? Being the main event, having Rampage fight as the co-main event, I was happy there. Then I was bummed out that they changed it back to the co-main event. It’s not going to change a thing for me, I’m just focusing on the fight.”
Lima has been notoriously looked over in the eyes of fight fans. A longtime member of Bellator and a two-time champion has not gotten the notice he deserves and hopes to get.
“I found out through the internet, nobody tells me anything, I didn’t know. the same thing happened in New York, I thought my fight would be before the two main events there, but it ended up being the first fight of the night on Pay-Per-View. Hopefully, it doesn’t take anything away from the fight, you know spotlight and stuff.”
Lima is looking to make all the naysayers take notice at Bellator 192 that takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Califonia on January 20th.
“This is the fight I’ve been waiting for for a long time. To get my name out there, to get people to know who I am. I’ve been delivering a lot of good fights, fights fans like to watch but no attention yet. I’m hoping though that after a win over Rory this week it will really put my name out there and show all these welterweights out there that I am for real.”
Al Iaquinta vs. Paul Felder rescheduled for UFC 223 in April
MMA fans around the world wept in deep sorrow when Al Iaquinta withdrew from a bout scheduled for UFC 218 against Paul Felder. Weep no more, for Paul Felder faces Al Iaquinta at UFC 223. Rumblings behind the match-up, first reported by FloCombat.com, came Sunday night before MMAFighting.com confirmed the bout scheduled for unannounced pay-per-view card, later in the evening.
The original bout fell through due to a severe knee injury to Iaquinta. He spoke to BJ Penn Radio about the injury nearly a week before the December 2nd, PPV event in Detriot. The Long Island real estate agent claimed, “I tore my PCL and my MCL maybe three or four months ago… for me to really put in a full training camp and do what I need to do, I would’ve had to just focus on fighting and physical therapy… it was the kind of thing where all roads led to me not kind of taking a risk and fighting on December 2nd”.
Iaquinta went on to say, “I kind of accepted the fight, but I never signed a bout agreement… I was kind of told I had to give them an answer pretty quick. It was a fight I thought I really wanted. I thought it was a good stylistic match-up for me, so I accepted the fight, and then thinking about it over the course of a day, we realized it probably wasn’t a smart decision for my health, for everything”.
An outspoken lightweight, he is not the first of his kind. Al Iaquinta is no stranger to idly waiting on the sideline for the UFC to make a move. Contract disputes and other bad strokes of luck left the Serra-Longo with three octagon appearances since 2015. The feud between Iaquinta and the promotion comes as a surprise when looking at the credentials of the aforementioned fighter. With an octagon record of 8-2, he earned notoriety as one of the best lightweights in the world. During his time in the UFC, he defeated Kevin Lee, Ross Pearson, Joe Lauzon, Jorge Masvidal, and most recently Diego Sanchez.
His opponent, “The Irish Dragon”, Paul Felder, holds an impressive UFC record of his own. At 7-3, Felder defeated tough competition as well. His record notes wins over Daron Cruickshank, Jason Saggo, Stevie Ray, and Charles Oliveira. Even more impressive than his record, his knockout ratio. At this stage of his career, Felder knockouts 55% of his opponents (10 knockouts in 18 career pro bouts).
Like his opponent Iaquinta, Paul Felder has a separate career outside of fighting. As many should notice, Felder found a role as a color commentator with the promotion he fights for. Following the footsteps in a long line of fighters before him, Felder announced multiple events alongside another new addition to the UFC broadcast team, Brendan Fitzgerald.
PPV card, UFC 223 and its location are not official yet. Despite a lack of an announcement, the event takes place in Brooklyn, New York at the Barclays Centre, according to multiple reports. Currently, the card features no official bouts. Reports state Felice Herrig vs. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (per Jim Edwards), and Evan Dunham vs. Mairbek Taisumov (per Farah Hannoun) are both in the works for UFC 223.
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