UFC 192: Cormier gets split decision vs Gustafsson to retain title

Nissi Icasiano
UFC 192: Cormier gets split decision vs Gustafsson to retain title
Daniel Cormier kept the world light heavyweight championship belt around his waist with a split decision triumph over Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 192

MANILA, Philippines – Daniel Cormier kept the world light heavyweight championship belt around his waist with a split decision triumph over Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 192 on Sunday, October 4 (October 3 in US) at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Two judges had 49-46 and 48-47 marks in favor of Cormier, while the other cageside official scored the championship clash to Gustafsson with a 48-47 score.

Gustafsson put up a gutsy performance as he compelled the Olympic wrestler to stand up and trade with him for 5 full rounds, but Cormier set the early pace as he delivered a slam takedown that landed his opponent’s head pointed on the mat in the opening salvo.

The 6-foot-4 Swedish fighter utilized his length leverage by answering back with a short left in the second stanza, where he created a gruesome gash near Cormier’s right eye and engaged in a hit-and-run attack while waging a surprise threat of a takedown.

In the third round, Cormier was able to catch up by clinching Gustafsson and then punishing him with hard uppercuts that opened the floodgates of blood from the Swede’s nose.

However, Gustafsson was able to floor Cormier with a knee strike to the head and maul with follow-up punches.

Throughout the fourth frame, Gustafsson sustained to counter his left jabs effectively, but Cormier replied by clobbering potent overhand rights in pursuit.

As Gustafsson was suffering from severe swelling to both eyes and a nasty cut across the bridge of his nose in the final round, Cormier’s relentless work inside wore down the challenger and left him exposed to right uppercuts to the face.

“I’m going away from a promo tonight and just being myself. Thank you Alexander Gustafsson. You made me a better man and a better fighter tonight. I will forever be indebted to you for your performance tonight,” Cormier stated in the post-fight interview.

With the impressive victory over Gustafsson, Cormier successfully defended the 205-pound division’s top prize for the first time and improves his professional record to 17-1.

On the other hand, Gustafsson heads back to the loser’s bracket downgrades to a win-loss slate of 16-4.

“DC’s a beast,” Gustafsson said of Cormier. “He can strike, man. He’s a good boxer. He’s the real champ. He’s the legit champ.”

Ryan Bader spoils Rashad Evans’ return to action

Rashad Evans (19-4-1) received a warm welcome from Ryan Bader (2-4), who handed a lopsided decision loss to the former light heavyweight champion in the co-main event of UFC 192 to spoil his return from a nearly two-year hiatus due to a knee injury.

It was a complete shutout for Bader, who outpointed Evans in a stand-up battle to walk away with a unanimous decision victory of three 30-27 grades from the cageside officials.

Bader showcased an improved striking game, mixing kicks to the body with a precise jab and a deceiving right hand that kept Evans guessing from start to finish.

“People keep doubting me and calling me the ‘easiest fight in the division,’ but I keep running through them,” Bader said after the fight. “My mentality is different. I decided I wanted to be the champion of this sport, and that’s what’s driving me.”

Whether due to the layoff or to his cage counterpart’s superior sense of timing, Evans could not find his stride as he continued to stalk forward and tried to uncork his powerful right hand, but Bader responded by peppering his foe with crisp jabs and incorporating occasional takedown attempts.

“I was usually just focusing on boxing, but I’ve been working on being more agile on the feet and getting better. I’m hitting my stride and getting better and better. Rashad was calling me an easy fight, and no disrespect to him, but I got through him,” Bader explained.

In other matches, Russian heavyweight Ruslan Magomedov (14-1) outclassed UFC veteran Shawn Jordan (18-7) with his dangerous striking artillery to claim scores of 30-27, 29-28, 30-27 for an undivided nod from the three judges.

Two-time flyweight title challenger Joseph Benavidez (23-4) easily cruised to a three-round verdict against Ali Bagautinov (13-4) with the scores of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.

Julianna Pena (7-2) survived one near submission and an illegal knee to the head in her women’s bantamweight bout against Jessica Eye (11-4) to pick up a unanimous decision with the 29-27 marks across the panel. – Rappler.com

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