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UFC Fight Night Seoul: Main Event Round by Round Breakdown



The main event of UFC Fight Night Seoul was originally slated to be Benson Henderson vs Thiago Alves, however Alves suffered broken ribs and was replaced by Jorge Masvidal 2 weeks prior to the fight. Masvidal (29-9) was originally scheduled to fight Don Hyung Kim in the co-main event of the evening and was coming off of a 1st round knockout win over Cezar Ferreira in July. Henderson (22-5) would be fighting at 170 lbs for the 2nd time this year, his first fight at Welterweight was a 4th round submission win over Brandon Thatch in February. Both fighters were looking to build on their previous wins in their quest for a shot at the 170 lb title.

Round 1

The fight starts and both fighters immediately take to the center of the octagon. Feints by both fighters before Henderson lands a leg kick. Masvidal begins walking Henderson down, cutting off the octagon, getting hit with another leg kick in the process. Henderson throws a 1-2 combo followed by a body kick. Masvidal answers with a body kick of his own and Henderson throws a combination of punches. Both fighters exchange strikes before Henderson lands a counter right hand and follows it with another leg kick. Masvidal continues to pressure Henderson and cut the octagon off while Henderson is constantly changing levels, throwing punches to the body as well as the head. Henderson blocks a head kick by Masvidal and lands a counter right that briefly drops Masvidal to the mat. Masvidal scrambles to his feet and they clinch to the cage for a moment before separating. Masvidal lands a big shot to the liver on the break and proceeds to throw multiple kicks to the body that land and kicks to the head that Henderson manages to block. Henderson responds with more leg kicks but Masvidal doesn’t seem bothered and lands several more kicks to the body of Henderson. Henderson goes for the takedown but is stuffed and Masvidal seems to smirk at Henderson as they separate before throwing several more leg and body kicks as the round comes to an end.

Round 2

Henderson immediately connects with a leg kick to start the round. Masvidal continues his pressure from round 1, cutting off the octagon fairly effectively. Both fighters looking to land head kicks but can’t connect and Henderson throws a 1-2 combination but doesn’t make solid contact. Masvidal hits a leg kick of his own and follows it with a solid kick to the body. Henderson lands a body kick of his own but slips and Masvidal immediately jumps on top of Henderson while Henderson is on his knees. Henderson tries to turn it into a takedown but both fighters end up back on their feet where Masvidal lands a big combination before they clinch and Masvidal pushes Henderson to the cage. Henderson flips them with double underhooks and begins throwing shoulders into the face of Masvidal and big heel strikes to the legs. They separate and Masvidal lands a big right hand as they break apart. Henderson goes for a superman punch but Masvidal avoids it. Henderson hits with a leg kick and both fighters exchange strikes, Masvidal landing body kicks but eating punch combos from Henderson while he does. Henderson with a big head kick but Masvidal manages to block most of it. Henderson shoots for a single leg but Masvidal shows his excellent wrestling ability to defend against it. Henderson switches to a double leg and Masvidal goes for the high elbow guillotine. Henderson manages to roll out and has Masvidal pinned to the cage where he lands some big knees to the face and body of Masvidal as the round ends.

Round 3

Both fighters take the center of the octagon again and Henderson lands a front kick to the face on Masvidal. Masvidal shakes it off and starts throwing strikes of his own. Masvidal connects with a body kick and a leg kick. Henderson blocks the head kick from Masvidal but takes a straight right to the face. Masvidal continues with the pressure he’s been showing the whole fight but gets hit with a solid body kick from Henderson. Henderson uses a striking combination to set up a takedown attempt, Masvidal defends it and throws elbows to the side of the head of Henderson. Henderson lands several big back elbows to the face of Masvidal while still attempting the takedown. Henderson eventually gives up the takedown attempt and they clinch against the cage and Masvidal manages to drag Henderson to the ground but Henderson gets right back to his feet. Henderson goes for a takedown again but gets caught by another high elbow guillotine attempt from Masvidal. Henderson counters and has Masvidal pinned against the cage where he lands more big heel strikes to the legs. Masvidal lands multiple open palm strikes to the head of Henderson and Henderson throws a kick on the break. Masvidal grabs his groin and Herb Dean steps in for a timeout to give Masvidal time to recover. On the replay it appears the Henderson’s foot might have just grazed Masvidal. Masvidal signals he’s ok to continue after a very brief delay and they are right back at it. Masvidal lands a body kick and goes for a big head kick but Henderson blocks most of the head kick. Henderson goes for a string combination, Masvidal manages to slip past the combo but gets hit with a body kick. Both fighters exchange strikes and Masvidal lands a body kick that could be heard when it connected. Both fighters go for kicks at the same time and Masvidal’s shin hits Henderson directly in the groin. The buzzer sounds to end the round but Herb Dean had called time out with 1 second left. There is some confusion as the corners try to come in and Masvidal actually sits down before Herb Dean waves him back up and tells the corners to exit the cage. When Henderson signals he’s ok to continue, Herb Dean starts the time again and the last second expires and now the round is officially over.

Round 4

Henderson against opens the round with a leg kick before switching his stance from south paw to a right-handed approach. Henderson misses an elbow strike but lands a big overhand right. Masvidal responds with strikes of his own and both fighters land multiple shots in a big exchange. Henderson goes for another takedown and Masvidal lands multiple open palm shots to the side of the head as he stuffs it and is pinned against the cage. Henderson lands more of the heel strikes to the legs of Masvidal as Masvidal continues with the open palm shots. Masvidal flips them and now has Henderson against the cage before they separate. Masvidal lands 2 solid punches and a body kick on the break. Henderson goes for the clinch again and gets double underhooks before tripping Masvidal to the ground. Masvidal immediately counters and ends up with a headlock on a kneeling Henderson before both fighters get to their feet. Masvidal lands multiple big elbows as they separate. Henderson shoots for a double leg takedown and gets it but Masvidal is immediately back to his feet and goes for a takedown of his own. Henderson attempts to lock in a Kimura but ends up on his back with Masvidal on top in rubber guard before Henderson throws up a leg in what appears to be a triangle attempt. Masvidal escapes and Henderson goes for a single leg as they separate but Masvidal counters it and both fighters are back to their feet. Masvidal throws a lazy spinning heel kick that is easily dodged by Henderson. Henderson hits a flying double knee and multiple punches as the round comes to an end. Masvidal looks like the longer fight may be starting to wear on him.

Round 5

Both fighters touch gloves to start the 5th and final round. Henderson fails to connect with a jumping side kick, he follows it up with a punch to the body but comes dangerously close to taking a big knee to the face from Masvidal. Henderson throws another flying knee, misses but immediately shoots for a double leg. Henderson briefly manages to get Masvidal down against the cage but Masvidal gets right back up and they’re in the clinch with Masvidal landing open palm strikes to Henderson’s head. Masvidal switches to another high elbow guillotine attempt and it looks to be in deep. Henderson drops to his back to escape the guillotine, they scramble and are back in the clinch against the cage with Henderson with his back to the cage now. Henderson is the one to throw open palm strikes to the head of Masvidal before Masvidal pushes away and barely misses with a spinning back elbow. Henderson goes for a takedown but can’t get it. He has Masvidal’s back and lands multiple hard knees to the back of the legs of Masvidal. Masvidal attempts a roll to escape but ends up mounted by Henderson. Masvidal manages to scramble and get back to the feet but eats a big knee to the face in the process. Henderson goes for the takedown again and gets it briefly before Masvidal manages to get back to his feet. Henderson still has his hands clasped around the waist of Masvidal, trips him back down and almost takes his back before Masvidal escapes. Masvidal goes for a takedown of his own but Henderson performs an impressive full split to counter the takedown attempt as the round, and the fight, comes to an end.


Judges Scorecard: 48-47 Masvidal, 48-47 Henderson, 49-46 Henderson

Winner by Split Decision: Benson Henderson

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UFC 216 Breakdown: Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee



As a fight fan, you can’t ask for a much better match up than Tony Ferguson vs Kevin Lee.

This match up is easily one of the most fascinating ones of the year, and with the interim lightweight title on the line, the stake doesn’t get much higher. But the bigger meaning of the fight lies in that fact that a clear number one contender will be determined to virtually guarantee a future opportunity at the current champion, Conor McGregor.

The talks of McGregor next facing rival Nate Diaz next have been circulating for the past few weeks, but once this fight between Ferguson and Lee concludes, and someone walks out of the arena on Saturday with that interim championship around their waist, they will be very hard to deny for McGregor.

Although this fight is a very exciting match up, on paper, it may deceive some people as a mismatch, since Lee’s resume of wins doesn’t include too many top contenders. His biggest win was against Michael Chiesa in June of this year, Chiesa was ranked 6th at the time. But let’s look deeper into it and see what makes this one a must-see fight.

Where Ferguson Flourishes

Ferguson and Lee may be stylistically two completely different fighters, but their ground games and grappling are both extremely high level, possibly the top 3 in the division, a list that can’t leave out Khabib Nurmagomedov. In the grappling department, it is hard to decide a winner here.

Even about five months ago, I would have leaned towards Ferguson, but watching Lee take control against a high level grappler like Chiesa the way he did was beyond belief to be honest. Ferguson will have his hands full if the fight hits the canvas, and likewise for Lee. However, if there is one thing that Lee needs to watch out against Ferguson, it is the unorthodox style he brings, even in the grappling.

“El Cucuy” is a bizarre fighter, but in a good way. Watch him fight against Edson Barboza and do a couple of imanari rolls. Watch him roll while on the bottom against dos Anjos. It is mind-blowing how good he is with such peculiarity and Lee can’t overlook that.

With that being said, advantages for ‘El Cucuy’ are quite clear: Stand-up, cardio and experience. Ferguson showed time and time again what a well-rounded fighter he is, and his record shows it too. Out of 17 finishes on his win column, 9 of them are by knockout and 8 are by submission. He really is a fighter who can do it all.

Tony Ferguson defeated Rafael dos Anjos via Unanimous Decision in November of 2016 at UFC Mexico City.

We also know that his cardio is exceptional, this was displayed in his fight against Rafael dos Anjos, where he went five hard rounds with the former champion in Mexico City, at an altitude of 7,382 feet. Just to give an idea of how high that is, Colorado’s altitude is 6,035 feet.

Ferguson knows what it is like to be in the deep waters. But when a fairly young fighter such as Lee reaches the later rounds, nobody knows how he will respond to the situation, so Ferguson has his advantages in the experience department laid out clearly.

Don’t Count Out Kevin Lee

‘The Motown Phenom’, on the other hand, is a completely different fighter with different strengths. He possesses advantages in the physical department, career mileage, and in the fact that he has less pressure going into the fight. The physical advantage is the most obvious one for Lee. He has spoken before on the fact that he cuts from about 180-pounds, where Ferguson has talked about him being capable of making 145-pounds.

Ferguson may be taller, but it is not difficult to see that Lee is bigger when they stand next to each other. Lee’s second advantage comes from the fact that he is not as battle-tested. In a way, it could be a disadvantage, but he has taken considerably less amount of damage throughout his career compared to Ferguson. The last advantage for Lee listed was explained more specifically on my article ‘Tony Ferguson can’t afford to lose at UFC 216’. Feel free to go and check it out.

Kevin Lee defeated Michael Chiesa by first round submission (rear-naked choke) at UFC Oklahoma City in June 2017.

Now that both guys’ assets are laid out for this fight, it’s time to make a prediction.

Time and time again leading up to this fight, I’ve heard people say that this fight is going to end in a submission, and most say it’s going to come from Ferguson. I would agree with that but here’s one thing. As previously mentioned, Lee’s grappling is top-notch and he is brilliant defensively. This was evidenced when he was on the bottom against Michael Chiesa, a position in which he was easily able to escape.

I don’t believe Lee is a fighter that can be easily submitted. But here’s what I agree with most on: I also see Ferguson winning, because of his experience, cardio, and definitely unpredictability. Kevin Lee, while he is a very talented fighter, I believe it is just a tad bit too early for him at this moment.

Prediction: Tony Ferguson def. Kevin Lee via TKO (punches) in the 5th round.


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UFC 216 Breakdown: Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg



If Demetrious Johnson is able to defend his flyweight title this Saturday at UFC 216, it will be an attempt to break a major record, as he will then have defended his belt for the 11th consecutive time.

It is a remarkable record that he attempts to break, which is currently being held by Johnson and the former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, at 10.

When this fight was first announced for UFC 215, the reactions from the fans were not exactly what the UFC hoped it would be. There were two possible reasons for this, and maybe even both:

1) The talks of Johnson defending his title against T.J. Dillashaw was roaming around at the time, which got fans excited, only to disappoint them in the end when it wasn’t finalized.

2) Ray Borg is not necessarily a fighter that fans are dying to see yet, mainly because he is not the most marketable fighter and he is very young, which made us ask, “Is he ready for this opportunity?”

However, there is one thing we must keep in mind when looking at a fight between a dominant champion and a young rising contender: Expect the unexpected. We saw it last December when Dominick Cruz fought Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207. Who would have ever thought that Garbrandt would be able to outclass Cruz the way he did?

Cody Garbrandt provided yet another shock title change when he defeated Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in December of 2016.

But don’t get it mistaken. ‘Can’ doesn’t mean ‘will’. And although Borg could shock the world in this fight, it is way more reasonable to lean towards Johnson. After all, if we are being honest, ‘Mighty Mouse’ is the closest thing to a perfect fighter. The only times he lost was to Brad Pickett, which was seven years ago, and to Dominick Cruz, who unlike ‘DJ’ is a natural bantamweight.

This is a tough fight for Borg. The only way for him to win is either catch Johnson with a big shot and finish him or keep up a ridiculous pace for 5 rounds straight and outmatch the champion with skills.

Borg is at a couple of disadvantages here, one being his cardio. “The Tazmexican Devil” has previously shown that he often has a tough time making the 125-pound weight limit, and if you add that to the fact that he never fought past three rounds, his cardio is in question. Whether he will be able to keep up with Johnson, who can put on a ridiculous pace for 25-minutes straight, remains to be seen.

Also, we never know what is going through a fighter’s head, so it will be interesting to see how Borg performs under pressure. He’s never had a title shot, and Johnson has been in the same spot 12-times in his career, so experience also goes to Johnson.

Ultimately, I’m leaning towards the champion in this fight. I do like Borg and what he brings to the table, however, too many questions are unanswered about Borg at this point to pick him over Demetrious Johnson.

Prediction: Demetrious Johnson def. Ray Borg via Unanimous Decision.

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UFC 215 Main Card Breakdown



The UFC makes its return to Canada as current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson looks to break the record for most successful, consecutive, title defenses, against Ray Borg. Also on the card is a women’s bantamweight title fight between champion Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, Gilbert Melendez makes his featherweight debut against power puncher Jeremy Stephens, Ilir Latifi looks to bounce back against Tyson Pedro, and Rafael dos Anjos looks to continue his welterweight journey against Neil Magny. Let’s take a look and see how it each fight plays out.

Jeremy Stephens vs Gilbert Melendez

Gilbert Melendez is a fighter who has built his career on being a talented boxer and being incredibly strong both in the clinch and the ground. For years he has been a monster for most lightweights to deal with. However, since having joined the UFC from Strikeforce he has gone just 1-4. In his last couple of fights, he has found himself slowed down due to unchecked leg kicks and opponents who are quicker than him. In an attempt to resurrect his career ‘El Nino’ has dropped down to featherweight and will meet former lightweight, himself, Jeremy Stephens. Stephens has made a career out of hitting hard, knocking opponents out with either hands, legs, or even his knees. Stephens is a fighter who excels in the pocket and has the durability to stand toe to toe with almost any opponent. In his last five fights, he has gone 2-3 due to his opponents being quicker than him and keeping him on the end of their punches.

How the fight will go

Gilbert will come into the fight as the stronger fighter with the better grappling game and better control of the Octagon. His excellent boxing will match-up well with Stephens. However, Stephens will come in as the faster fighter, harder puncher, and will already be used to cutting down to 145. Melendez will need to gain control of the Octagon early and keep Stephens against the cage both in the clinch and on the ground, in order to tire out “Lil Heathen”. If he can use his boxing to keep Stephens at the end of his punches, control the Octogan, and stay out of the pocket, it’s his fight to lose. Stephens does his best work in the pocket and although he’s slow for a featherweight he will have the advantage speed wise in this match-up. If he can keep his back off of the cage, gain control of the Octagon, land his powerful leg kicks, and mix up his powerful strikes, then he will have a dog in this fight and can very well pull off the upset.


Gilbert Melendez fights very similarly to the way he fought in the Pettis fight. He keeps Stephens’ back against the cage and forces him to the ground every chance he gets in order to tire him out. Stephens occasionally finds success using his speed and power in the pocket but eventually finds himself too tired to stop the stronger Melendez from imposing his game plan. Assuming Gilbert’s first cut 145 goes well, he beats Stephen’s via a close but clear decision to put his career back on track and start his journey at featherweight on the right foot.

Ilir Latifi vs Tyson Pedro

Ilir Latifi is coming off of one of the most brutal knockout losses of 2016. He ate a huge knee from Ryan Bader in the second round of their fight and has not returned to the Octogan since. The Swedish ball of muscle looks to bounce back against the undefeated Australian Tyson Pedro. Tyson Pedro is a fighter who has never experienced anything beyond a first round stoppage win, his fight against Latifi represents his biggest test yet. Latifi is a fighter with a game centered around his incredible strength and power. He is a fighter who brings a calm energy in the cage and an interesting physique. He is only 5’10, the same height as former featherweight Anthony Pettis, what he lacks in height he makes up for with muscle. His muscle alone makes him one of the strongest and most powerful fighters in the UFC. Pedro is one of the tallest fighters in his division, coming in at 6’3 he’s used to being the stronger, taller fighter and likes to smother his opponents both on the ground and in the clinch.

How the fight will go

A lot of Pedro’s advantages come from being the taller, stronger fighter. He likes to keep his opponents at range, eat them up with oblique kicks, clinch up, take them down and find the stoppage. Latifi’s strength means clinching and takedowns won’t be easy. He can over power most opponents and avoid trouble in those areas. Latifi does have a tendency to get stuck on the outside and eat leg kicks, his tendency to rush in can lead to counters, like in the Bader fight. Latifi is an excellent wrestler but has trouble taking his opponents down, often expanding a lot of energy in the process. Pedro has been hurt before by his lack of head movement and that can lead to him taking big shots, Latifi can always find a big shot early on and take the Australian out.


This fight will all depend on how the first round goes. If Latifi can find his range early on he can land the knockout shot and finish the Australian. If he can’t, he will find himself on the outside where Pedro will pick him apart with body kicks and oblique kicks and hold him against the fence where the Swede will tire himself out. If Pedro stays patient he can tire out Latifi and score the finish. Pedro scores the upset and finishes an exhausted Latifi in the third round by TKO.

Neil Magny vs Rafael dos Anjos

Rafael dos Anjos looks to win his second fight at welterweight as he faces long time contender Neil Magny. Dos Anjos is coming off of a well-fought decision win against Tarec Saffiedine in a fight that helped him discover how he stacked up against a real welterweight and how his body would hold up. He brings into this fight excellent body and leg kicks that he uses to break down his opponents and slow down their movement. He has a game that is perfectly suited for his height as he uses a lot of pressure and forward movement to make sure he stays on the inside. His excellent ground game has carried over to 170 as he uses his top pressure to smother his opponents. Neil Magny last fought against Johny Hendricks in a fight where he used his long range better and showed a new technique with his kicks to create range. Magny’s game uses excellent cardio, as well as good footwork and movement. He’s starting to better understand how to use his long and tall body. He also uses his long legs to create triangle attempts from the bottom.

How the fight plays out

If Magny can use his height and reach correctly he can leave Dos Anjos stuck on the outside, as well as using his footwork to ensure he doesn’t take too many shots. His cardio will keep him fresh throughout the three rounds and he can use that to his advantage if dos Anjos tires out. Dos Anjos will look to use his leg kicks to stop Magny’s footwork as well as use his powerful body kicks to sap his cardio. Dos Anjos’ pressure based game could very well negate Magny’s reach advantage and his smothering top game would keep Magny from using his reach.


Although Magny has the tools to beat dos Anjos, the Brazilian remains an elite fighter even at welterweight. Dos Anjos uses his leg and body kicks to slow down Magny as well as using his wrestling to tire the American out. Dos Anjos has fought tall opponents in the past and knows how to use his forward pressure to remove the reach advantage, as he did against Donald Cerrone and Nate Diaz. The former lightweight champion takes a decision win and moves to 2-0 at welterweight.

Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko

Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko meet for the second time after fighting each other at UFC 196. The first fight ended in a close 29-28 decision win for the now champion Nunes. Nunes is a long and rangy kickboxer who likes to fight at range, where she uses her jab and cross keep her opponents back. She has been known to finish most of her fights early on, however, if she fails to do so she has a tendency to get tired, gas out, and get finished herself. Shevchenko, although undersized at 5’5, has been beating her opponents using her ever evolving ground game and her excellent Muay-Thai. Her patience and forcing her opponents to lead has brought her victories over top contenders like Holly Holm and Julianna Pena.

How the fight plays out

Amanda Nunes used her strength on the ground to beat Shevchenko in the first two rounds the last time they fought. Nunes didn’t have a whole lot of success on the feet as she was overpowered in the clinch and found herself having trouble with Shevchenko’s patience and lack of counter opportunities. Nunes’ ground game, while she was still fresh, was very dangerous last time out, nasty ground and pound as well as multiple submission attempts. However in the third round of their fight Nunes gassed and found herself too exhausted to overpower her opponent like she had done in the first rounds and found herself eating a lot of shots on the ground and in the clinch. If early on she can force Shevchenko to the ground and use her strength, she can find a submission or a ground and pound TKO. However, if she can’t, she’ll find herself getting tired in the later rounds and seeing her window for victory closing. This fight, being five rounds, heavily favors Shevchenko and her ever evolving game.


Much like in their first fight Shevchenko will stay patient and lose the early rounds. Her lack of activity hurt her last time out as well as Nunes’ aggressive ground game. If Nunes can use her strength early on, she can take Shevchenko down and have her way with her as she looks for the early finish. If Shevchenko can weather the early storm, she can take advantage of her tired opponent and finish her late. Shevchenko will force Nunes to lead and although she’ll have to weather the early storm, her patience will eventually pay off as her opponent tires herself out. Valentina Shevchenko finishes an exhausted Amanda Nunes in the fourth round by TKO to become the new women’s bantamweight champion.

Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

Current flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson takes on Ray Borg in an attempt to break the record for most successful consecutive title defenses. His 11th title defense comes against skilled wrestler Ray Borg and his ever evolving striking. Johnson brings to the Octagon one of the most well-rounded games in all of MMA. His excellent stand up paired with his world class grappling has not failed him at 125. His excellent footwork has always troubled his opponents and his lack of clear weaknesses means it’s difficult to exploit problems in his game. Ray Borg started his career as a world class grappler who would immediately take his opponents down and smother them until the fight was over or he was able to find a submission. His striking used to be a big weakness in his game until he started training with Brandon Gibson.

How the fight plays out

Ray Borg used to start his fights by immediately taking his opponents down and smothering them. Now that his striking improved he’s content with staying on the feet and striking with his opponents. This is where he will have problems against Johnson, Johnson is the much quicker fighter out of the two and will keep Borg on the outside. Borg’s incredibly short reach of 63” means he will need to cover a lot of distance, something he struggles with. Borg is not the quickest of flyweights and is a lot slower than Johnson. While Johnson has the bigger advantage on the feet, the wrestling is where it gets tricky. Borg’s ability to find the takedown and stay on his opponent is something he will need to use to tire out Johnson and force him to make a mistake. Johnson’s patience on the ground means he won’t panic if he goes down with Borg and has shown in the past he can easily get back up or even grapple with the best of them. Borg’s gas tank will be a problem in this fight, as Johnson never seems to tire out and is used to going five rounds. If Borg tires, Johnson will completely take over the fight.


Borg starts the first round on the feet and ends up getting frustrated as he finds Johnson too quick and gets stuck on the outside. He eventually finds the takedown and forces Johnson to go through some scary moments. Johnson survives the early storm on the ground and starts to run away with the fight in the third round as Borg starts to tire. Although the fight will be close on the ground, it’s obvious Johnson has all the advantages in the standup. Demetrious Johnson beats Ray Borg by unanimous decision to break the record for most successful title defenses in a row.

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