Ronda Rousey’s return to the octagon did not go quite as planned, as she was unsuccessful in her attempt to take the women’s bantamweight belt from Amanda Nunes at UFC 207: Nunes vs. Rousey on Friday.
Nunes came out and landed heavy right overhands and Rousey was immediately backing up. She was immediately turtling up and unable to get her offense going. She’s used to overwhelming her opponents and bullying them, and Nunes never gave her the chance. Instead, she earned a huge TKO win when the referee stopped the action 48 seconds into the first round.
Rousey simply had nothing to offer Nunes, never got a chance to establish her gameplan, never was able to get settled. She simply ate hard right hands and there was no coming back from them.
In the co-main event of the evening, bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz defended his title against the undefeated Cody Garbrandt. Cruz looked good in the first round or two, but it became clear that Garbrandt wasn’t going to be flustered by his standup. Garbrandt started countering well, and dropped Cruz three times in the fourth round.
Ultimately, Garbrandt landed a unanimous decision and handed Cruz his second career loss. It’s been a long career for Cruz, but he’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
The main card got started with a dominant performance from Ray Borg, who won a unanimous decision over Louis Smolka. Borg will forfeit 30 percent of his fight purse because he came in over the weight limit, however. Dong Hyun Kim and Tarec Saffiedine also fought to a decision, though nobody was dominant and the fight was arguably a draw. It ended in favor of Kim by split decision.
The real action got underway when T.J. Dillashaw took on John Lineker in the bantamweight division. Dillashaw was dominant throughout the fight, though Lineker was a game opponent. But Dillashaw had an entirely different gear and took three 10-8 rounds from Lineker, who admittedly did not absorb a ton of damage until the third round.
The preliminary card saw some good fights, though the card started with a disappointment as the match between Alex Oliveira and Tim Means was declared a no contest due to illegal knees.
The preliminary card headliner between Johny Hendricks and Neil Magny, fought at a 173.5-pound catchweight when the former weighed in over the limit, ended in favor of Magny. Hendricks looked slow and unable to commit to a strategy, while Magny fought a smart fight and took the 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 victory.
Below is a full look at the main card, round-by-round, and then a full list of results for the card.
Amanda Nunes def. Ronda Rousey via TKO at 0:48 in Round 1
Round 1: Rousey takes the center of the octagon first. Nunes is throwing heavy overhands and hooks, and she tags Rousey in the opening seconds. Rousey is backing up, she takes two more strong hits. Nunes clocks her with a huge right, Rousey backs up some more and Nunes swarms. Rousey stops defending herself and the referee stops it. Nunes retains her belt and Rousey suffers her second career loss.
Cody Garbrandt def. Dominick Cruz via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-47, 48-47 Garbrandt)
Round 1: The fighters don’t touch gloves and Garbrandt takes the center of the octagon. Garbrandt is hesistant to strike and Cruz is jumping around, being his usual unpredictable self. Garbrandt is openly mocking Cruz, who misses with a takedown attempt. Cruz lands a strong leg kick, but the two mainly stay disengaged. Garbrandt lands a nice right hand, but Cruz lands a strong combination that prompts Garbrandt to yell and stick his tongue out to prove he’s fine. Garbrandt counters well and land some nice shots but it’s a very even round, with nothing real significant landing.
Round 2: Garbrandt lands a very hard right hand but Cruz eats it and he stuns Garbrandt with a combo of his own. Garbrandt looks hurt for the first time of the fight but Cruz doesn’t rush in to finish, he knows it’s a five-round fight. Nothing significant is landed for a couple minutes, no takedown attempts or anything like that through three minutes of fighting. Garbrand lands another strong right and then a left hook that staggers Cruz back into the cage, but he recovers and is fine. Garbrandt landed the harder shots in the round, overall, but no serious damage is done and the round comes to an end.
Round 3: Garbrandt hurts Cruz in the opening seconds of the round. Cruz gets a huge cut opened over his left eye from the shot, but he stays in and keeps active. It may have been a headbutt from Garbrandt that caused the cut. Garbrandt continues talking all kinds of trash, trying to get in Cruz’s head. Cruz keeps his jump-in, jump-out routine going, but he’s taking shots every time and not landing anything significant. Cruz stayed out of danger enough in the first two rounds to make them competitive rounds, but Garbrandt’s countering is really doing some damage. Garbrandt lands a nice knee. He keeps landing hard, but Cruz continues moving forward like he hasn’t been hurt. Cruz lands a nice combo and while trying some fancy dodging, Garbrandt takes some shots. With 10 seconds to go, Cruz lands a huge left hook and then a left jab, but Garbrandt is fine and the round ends.
Round 4: We’re into the championship rounds as both fighters are talking trash across the cage. Cruz is bloodier, but the nasty cut was potentially opened on a headbutt. Cruz lands a big body kick but Garbrandt also lands a hook as he backs off. Cruz lands a few hard shots and Garbrandt looks in trouble but one of those ridiculous hooks drops Cruz down. For a second, Cruz looks out of it, but Garbrandt, a fan of showmanship, pointed at Cruz like he was knocked out rather than swarming to finish him, and Cruz got back to his feet. Cruz throws some wild shots and Garbrandt casually steps away from them. Garbrandt scores another knockdown with under 40 seconds and doesn’t follow up fast enough once again. Garbrandt continues talking, and knocks Cruz down a third time. But the round comes to an end with both fighters standing.
Round 5: Will Garbrandt get the finish? Cruz comes out and he doesn’t look slowed down. He’s still moving and bouncing around, but Garbrandt isn’t worried. Cruz lands some nice shots, some nice kicks and everything. Garbrandt is in cruise control now, and looks like he thinks the fight is already won — which it might be. Cruz barely misses with a spinning back fist with a little over a minute to go. Cruz keeps pushing and Garbrandt is celebrating to end the fifth despite the fact that he did nothing in it. It was bizarre.
T.J. Dillashaw def. John Lineker via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Round 1: The two meet in the center of the octagon. Dillashaw attempts a head kick, but it doesn’t land. The two exchange strikes with nothing landing, but Dillashaw ends up on top of Lineker with three minutes left in the fight. He’s in full guard and he’s trying hard to land with ground-and-pound. Dillashaw is as active as he’s ever been, and aggressive, but Lineker is defending well. The two get standing again and Dillashaw lands a big one. The two are both smiling and the round comes to an end.
Round 2: Dillashaw continues to control the pace and lands a takedown on Lineker a couple minutes into the round. It was the third attempt and third takedown of the fight for Dillashaw. Dillawshaw lands several hard punches and elbows from the top, and then some more after posturing up. Lineker goes for a leg lock but leaves his face exposed, which Dillashaw punshes some more. Dillashaw is in half guard and postured up, and the punches keep coming. He opens a cut on Lineker’s face and he doesn’t get up until the round ends. A very dominant round for Dillashaw.
Round 3: Lineker lands a hard shot near the start, but Dillashaw handles it. Lineker pushes forward, but Dillashaw looks like he’s in an entirely different gear. He’s faster and stronger and he’s countering well. Dillashaw again takes the fight to the ground and starts peppering Lineker’s face with shots. Lineker gets back up with two minutes to go, but it goes back to the ground. Dillashawtries to put Lineker in a calf slicer, a very painful submission but not one that typically results in broken bones, so Lineker fights through it. The fight gets back to the feet, but nothing is landed and it’s pretty clearly Dillashaw’s fight.
Dong Hyun Kim def. Tarec Saffiedine via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)
Round 1: The two immediately meet in the middle of the octagon and exchange. Saffiedine is immediately grappling, trying to pin Kim to the cage and trying to get him to the ground. He isn’t successful in doing so until the final 20 seconds when he lands a nice trip, but Kim is right back to his feet. Nobody lands anything significant in the round and it comes to an end.
Round 2: The second round was, again, more of the same. Kim lands some good straight punches, while Saffiedine lands a nice elbow halfway through the round. Really, nothing significant is landed again. Kim is the aggressor, but he’s not getting anything done.
Round 3: You should never boo an MMA fighter for not rushing into a brawl, but this fight is really slow. Kim scores a takedown two minutes into the third round, but Saffiedine pops right back up. Kim is, again, the aggressor, but nothing is landing and Saffiedine is defending well. It’s starting to look like a fight that will eventually be scored for Kim solely because he kept moving forward. The fight came to an end with Kim on top, but no damage is done.
Ray Borg def. Louis Smolka via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Round 1: The round didn’t contain much action, there was a lot of grappling but ultimately, it looked like Borg controlled the action. Borg ended the round on top of Smolka and he landed several hard shots that bloodiest Smolka. The round definitely ended in favor of Borg and if the fight continues at that rate, he’ll surely earn a finish.
Round 2: Borg is moving around a lot in the striking while Smolka is mainly standing still. The two scramble as Borg attempts a takedown, and ends up on top in side control. Smolka defended well and tried to land a leg lock. Borg delivered a huge strike from standing position to the grounded Smolka though, and Smolka let go of the leg. Borg gets back on top in half guard and tries to trap Smolka in an arm triangle. He escapes and they go back to their feet, but the round ends with Borg on top once again and throwing down strikes
Round 3: Borg said between rounds that he thinks he broke his ankle but he came out of the round clearly able to handle the pain. Despite the ankle, Borg gets Smolka down to the ground and into half guard within the first minute of the fight. Borg is in cruise control and locked in an arm triangle with three minutes to go. The arm triangle forced blood to come out of the cuts in Smolka’s face and it looked bad, but Borg let go of it and ended up in side control again. They stood again and nothing significant was landed. Smolka had the best moment of his fight on the feet in the final seconds, but it definitely wasn’t enough. This should be a unanimous decision for Borg.
Pay-per-view Main Card results
Women’s Bantamweight: Amanda Nunes def. Ronda Rousey via TKO at 0:48 in Round 1
Bantamweight: Cody Garbrandt def. Dominick Cruz via unanimous decision (48-46, 48-47, 48-47)
Bantamweight: T.J. Dillashaw def. John Lineker via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
Welterweight: Dong Hyun Kim def. Tarec Saffiedine via split decision (29-28, 29-28, 27-30)
Catchweight (129.5 lbs): Ray Borg def. Louis Smolka via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
Fox Sports 1 Prelims results
Catchweight (173.5 lbs): Neil Magny def. Johny Hendricks via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 2-28)
Middleweight: Antonio Carlos Junior def. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Welterweight: Alex Garcia def. Mike Pyle via KO (punch_ at 3:34 in Round 1
Welterweight: NIko Price def. Brandon Thatch via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:30 in Round 1
Fight Pass Prelims results
Welterweight: Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means – No Contest (illegal knees)
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