Cormier wins UFC light heavyweight title; Weidman retains

Nissi Icasiano
Cormier wins UFC light heavyweight title; Weidman retains
Daniel Cormier is now a world champion as he captured the vacant light heavyweight belt by submitting Anthony Johnson in the UFC 187 headliner

MANILA, Philippines – Nearly six months after he failed in his first title bid, Daniel Cormier is now a world champion as he captured the vacant light heavyweight belt by submitting Anthony Johnson in the UFC 187 headliner on Sunday, May 24 (PH Time) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cormier, who replaced the suspended and deposed champion Jon Jones on short notice, compelled Johnson to wave the white flag with a rear-naked choke at 2:39 of the third round.

The 36-year-old NCAA Division I wrestler had to work through a big piece of adversity as he was drilled with multiple head kicks and was dropped by Johnson in the opening salvo with a searing right hand.

However, Cormier popped up quickly and weathered the storm, resorting to his grappling pedigree to keep himself out of trouble.

After having to survive a few heavy hands and kicks from Johnson in the second stanza, Cormier grounded his 6-foot-2 opponent and tore into him with punches and elbows from top control.

Cormier clipped more elbows that created a gory gash on Johnson’s head and threatened with a pair of Kimura locks as well.

“DC” offered Johnson no respite in the third frame, where he scored another takedown, moved into his foe’s back, and latched on the choke for the tapout.

Moments after he became the 12th light heavyweight titleholder in UFC history, Cormier (16-1) sent a message to the man whom he replaced as the 205-pound division’s kingpin.

“Jon Jones, get your s–t together. I’m waiting for you,” he said in his post-fight interview.

Both men crossed path at January’s UFC 182, where Jones dominated Cormier in five rounds to retain the gold-plated strap.

The UFC stripped Jones last April after he was allegedly involved in a hit-and-run incident in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He remains under indefinite suspension.

On the other hand, Johnson snaps his impressive-nine fight winning streak with the disappointing setback and downgrades to 19-5.

Weidman stops Belfort

World middleweight champion Chris Weidman added another Brazilian to his list of victims as he stopped Vitor Belfort in the co-headliner of UFC 187.

Weidman successfully defended the UFC middleweight belt for the third time by finishing Belfort with vicious ground-and-pound to force referee Herb Dean to halt the contest at 2:53 of the first round.

The 30-year-old American was hurt by Belfort, who cut the 185-pound titleholder open with a barrage of punches.

However, Weidman weathered the storm and then scored a perfectly-timed takedown that allowed him to posture up in his opponent’s half guard and land hard hammerfists with three minutes left in the period.

Weidman wrote the final sentence in the story when he transitioned to mount and unleashed heavy blows that bounced Belfort’s head off the canvas and claimed the stoppage victory.

“He hit me with some good shots, but I was just covering, covering, covering and I was ready to come back,” Weidman said in his post-fight interview.

With the impressive win, Weidman remains undefeated in 13 fights.

Weidman defeated former middleweight champion Anderson Silva twice in 2013, while he dominated Japanese-Brazilian Lyoto Machida to etch a unanimous decision in July 2014.

On the other hand, Belfort snaps his three-bout winning streak and downgrades his record to 24-11.

Meanwhile, Filipino-American flyweight John Dodson successfully returned to the Octagon by outpointing Zach Makovsky via unanimous decision. –

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