UFC 230: Daniel Cormier Successfully Defends Heavyweight Championship via Submission

On Saturday UFC put on their third show inside Madison Square Garden. This has become something of a tradition for the brand, with the MSG events being a supercard. Two years ago UFC made their New York City debut when Conor McGregor defeated Eddie Alvarez in the the second round at UFC 205. Last year at UFC 217 George St. Pierre defeated Michael Bisping on a three title card. This time around it’s Daniel Cormier versus Derrick Lewis for the Heavyweight Championship.

This card was something that was originally set to be a supercard, but didn’t become such a thing after many fights falling through. The biggest of fight cancelled was Nate Diaz versus Dustin Poirier in what could be considered a fan friendly fight. There was also another championship bout that was originally planned for this card, being Valentina Shevchenko versus Sijara Eubanks for the Flyweight Championship. This did not happen because Shevchenko was rebooked for a fight against Joanna Jędrzejczyk on the December Toronto card. Eubanks was given Roxanne Modafferi in a prelim bout on this card instead.

The main event of the evening was Daniel Cormier versus Derrick Lewis. Lewis is fighting in a miraculous turnaround time from his last bout at UFC 229 against Alexander Volkov. In that bought Lewis was seconds away from losing on the scorecards when he got a stoppage win on Volkov. Lewis received a spike in Instagram followers, around triple the amount he had before after giving an entertaining post fight interview. Cormier is coming off a summer victory against Stipe Miocic. He broke the Heavyweight fighter’s streak of title defenses with a first round knockout. Some say that Miocic deserved the rematch before others due to his dominance as a champion before his loss.

Below the main event was 11 other bouts. Starting off the PPV was Israel Adesanya versus Derek Brunson. Adesanya has put on dominant performances lately, with his last one coming at  The Ultimate Fighter 27 Finale against Brad Tavares. In the co-main event slot for the evening was Chris Weidman versus Jacare Souza. Weidman fought on the 205 card two years ago and made his return to his home state with this bout. Before any of this happened, the evening began on UFC’s OTT service UFC Fight Pass with the Early Prelims.

  1. The first fight on the Early Prelims was slightly delayed since the second bout between Brian Kelleher versus Montel Jackson was cancelled. Opening the show was Marcus Rogerio de Lima versus Adam Wieczorek. Both heavyweights were on the ground for the majority of the first round. De Lima had top position most of the time and started to land strikes in the final 20 seconds. The second round was mostly stand-up, with de Lima landing more shots. By the end of the second round Wieczorek was wobbling around the place. The commentary team took a liking to de Lima’s leg kicks throughout the second. The final round went in the way of de Lima but did not have any noteworthy action. All three judges had it 30-27 for de Lima.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
De Lima 10 10 10 30
Wieczorek 9 9 9 27
  1. Continuing on with the UFC Fight Pass Early Prelims, Kurt Holobaugh had his second fight in his current run in the promotion. Holobaugh was a pickup from the Contender Series, but his fight from the series is no longer valid due to a drug test. Since then he has also lost a fight. He faces Shane Burgos who is coming off his first loss since coming into the UFC. Both fighters were absolutely swinging for the first two minutes of the bout. Holobaugh seemed to have the advantage in the stand-up field. Burgos got dropped two minutes in from a punch but seemed to recover quickly from it. When Holobaugh went to the ground to land more punches he found himself in an armbar that ended the bout. It was an amazing turn of events for Burgos.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
  1. Finishing off the early prelims was Matt Frevola versus Lando Vannata. Frevola is a new UFC fighter who lost his debut fight after winning a Contender Series bout. Vannata hasn’t won in a long time, losing two fights and tying one since 2017. Both of these fighters were absolutely explosive in the first round. Frevola got dropped from a kick but recovered very quickly. He was also given some breathing room as the fight was paused for his mouthguard to be put back in. With under two minutes left in the first Vannata looked like he was in trouble when he got tagged with a right. In the final seconds of the round there was absolute chaos. Frevola landed an amazing flurry of strikes then tried for a Guillotine in the final moments. Vannata escaped the Guillotine before time ran out. Early in the second round Frevola got tagged hard with kicks, then dropped with a right moments later. Frevola showed an amazing chin, being able to recover and stay up despite being continually pelted. Frevola tried for a takedown in the final moments of round two but fell into a Guillotine. Lucky for him the time in the round ran out. In the third Vannata caught Frevola’s leg for a takedown but took 3 or so punches clean to the head on the way down. Frevola got a takedown of his own with just over a minute left, but Vannata got up very shortly after. The fight went the distance leaving the judges to decide. This could have went both ways, so it did. The judges scored it a draw (29-28, 28-28 & 28-28).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Frevola 10 9 10 29
Vannata 9 10 9 28
  1. Starting off the UFC Prelims on FS1 was Lyman Good versus Ben Saunders. This fight was close until Good landed uppercuts in a clinch that took Saunders out. This was a very quick finish that caught me off guard.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
  1. After the quickest finish of the night, the next bout was Julio Arce versus Sheymon Moraes. In the first minute of the fight Arce got dropped hard by a right hook. He was able to recover on the ground and make his way back to his feet. Later in the round Arce mounted Moraes and kept trying for a Rear Naked Choke. In the second round Arce started bleeding heavily, which had the commentators worried. With just over a minute left in the second, Arce floored Moraes with a strike. Both of these guys were so bloodied that it was disgusting. The fight went the distance after a close strictly kickboxing final round. The judges gave Moraes the win via Split Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-26).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Arce 9 10 9 28
Moraes 10 9 10 29
  1. The next bout was a rematch from The Ultimate Fighter. Sijara Eubanks fought Roxanne Modafferi for the second time in their careers. Eubanks did not make weight the day before, but this fight was still on. The first minute and a half of the first was striking where, while nobody was doing visible damage, Eubanks was more dominant. Eubanks landed a takedown, making most of the first round stay on the ground. Modafferi continued to look not that confident in stand up in the second round. Eubanks seemed to have more power in her strikes. Modafferi had decent ground game at the end of round 2 as both fighters were very tired. Modafferi looked the best striking-wise in the third because she landed much more shots. Eubanks ended up out-powering in the third similarly to how she did in the first, except with less power. The fight went to the judges who tallied it in favour of Eubanks Unanimously (30-27, 30-27 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
#4 Eubanks 10 9 10 29
#7 Modafferi 9 10 9 28
  1. Finishing off the preliminary card was Jason Knight versus Jordan Rinaldi. The first round was mostly on the ground with Rinaldi on top. While Knight had more significant strikes in the round, Rinaldi had control for the majority of the time. In the second round Rinaldi was dominating and trying for moves on the ground but Knight was able to defend. Rinaldi put in a Rear Naked Choke in the third round that Knight somehow found a way out of. The fight went the distance with both guys being very tired by the end. The judges gave the fight to Rinaldi by quite the margin (30-27, 30-25 & 30-26)

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Knight 9 9 8 26
Rinaldi 10 10 10 30
  1. The PPV portion of the show kicked off with Israel Adesanya versus Derek Brunson. Leading up to this fight the idea was that it would be the experienced kickboxer Adesanya versus Brunson who is the much better boxer. Very early on in the first round Brunson clinched up and went to the fence. Brunson got taken off the cage after grabbing Adesanya’s shorts twice. Adesanya flipped off Brunson while referee Herb Dean was talking to Brunson. There was the option to take away points because of this, but it didn’t happen. Adesanya guarded a takedown attempt well, but Brunson went to the cage on another attempt right after. Adesanya landed a flurry of kicks, knees and punches in the final minute that had Brunson in a defensive mode. Brunson got dropped over and over until the fight got stopped with ten seconds left. What gave Adesanya the win wasn’t his stellar kickboxing but rather his ability to keep the fight in his own wheelhouse. After this fight the newly signed fighter from ONE Championship Ben Askren was shown in the crowd.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
#6 Brunson
#9 Adesanya
  1. In what feels like a main card bout that was swept under the promotional rug, Karl Roberson fought Jack Marshman. In the first round Roberson was moving and swinging faster than Marshman. Marshman got clipped mid-way through the round but stayed standing. Near the end of the round the commentary team pointed out that the volume of punches from Roberson had significantly dropped off. Through round two and three Marshman continued to get hit but at a much slower pace than round one. It was consistently the left hand that Roberson was landing. With two and a half minutes left Roberson landed a takedown. The final round ended with most people already considering Roberson the winner. Judges gave Roberson the win Unanimously (30-26, 30-26 & 30-27).

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
Roberson 10 10 10 30
Marshman 9 9 9 27
  1. The tenth fight of the evening was Dave Branch versus Jared Cannonier. Cannonier had quite the confident walkout. Branch got a pop from the crowd after being billed out of Brooklyn. Branch landed a takedown but didn’t stay on the ground for long. Cannonier was landing more strikes throughout the round and had decent ground defence. At the start of the second round Branch got absolutely floored by a right, and took a few more shots on the ground before the ref stopped it.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
#7 Branch 9
Cannonier 10
  1. The co-main event of the evening was Chris Weidman facing Jacare Souza in a Middleweight bout. The crowd was wildly in favour of Weidman, but that’s no surprise because he is one to wear his home state on his sleeve. The fight was very neutral in the first round until Weidman landed a combo with his hands clean. After this moment it seemed like both guys started to open up much more. Souza started to throw and connect more in the second round. Souza was bleeding from the nose badly in the second. Souza slipped and fell after throwing a kick in the final minute of the second. Souza and Weidman were clinched against the cage until the final moments of the round when they went back to stand up. With over two minutes left Souza dropped Weidman with a strikes. You could tell from the moment Weidman was down that he was out. Souza stared at Weidman who was down, not throwing any extra punches because he assumed it was over. The referee didn’t end it and Weidman clutched Souza’s foot, so Souza did four more shots before the ref ended it. Souza looked disappointed that the referee did not end it. This was quite the comeback as Souza was down 2-0 heading into the third. The whole third round Souza was being more aggressive than the two before.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Total
#3 Weidman 10 10
#5 Souza 9 9
  1. Up next was the main event of the evening in Madison Square Garden. Double champion Daniel Cormier defended his Heavyweight championship against Derrick Lewis, who achieved stardom after his viral victory against Alexander Volkov. In the first minute of the fight Cormier landed a takedown. Lewis got up with over two minutes left in the first, still pinned against the cage by Cormier. Cormier landed a trip which brought Lewis back to the ground. They stayed on the ground until the first round ran out. Similar to the first, Cormier spent a minute closing a distance in the second and then landed a takedown. On the ground Cormier put in a Rear Naked Choke that made Lewis tap quickly. The commentary team knew almost immediately that it was over once it was put in. After the fight Cormier called out Brock Lesnar, telling him to bring his WWE Universal Championship if he faces him.

My Scorecard:

Fighter Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Total
© Cormier 10
#2 Lewis 9

UFC wraps up 2018 with two December PPV cards. The first of the two takes place in Toronto with Max Holloway and Brian Ortega in the main event. Also in another title fight is Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Valentina Shevchenko fighting for the vacant UFC Flyweight Championship. UFC 232 is the company’s final event of the year, with Jon Jones returning to face Alexander Gustafsson in a Light Heavyweight Championship bout. Below them is also Cris Cyborg and Amanda Nunes fighting for the Featherweight Championship.

Next week UFC heads to Denver, Colorado for Fight Night #139. It’s the finale of UFC’s 25th Anniversary celebrations, with the event taking place in the same city that the first UFC event was held in. The main event is “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung versus Yair Rodriguez. The co-main event is equally entertaining as it has Donald Cerrone versus Mike Perry.

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