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UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 Fantasy Rewind


One of the greatest rivalries in UFC history came to a close on Saturday night in Anaheim, as Jon "Bones" Jones returned to the Octagon and reclaimed the light heavyweight title by way of a third-round knockout over Daniel Cormier.

Jones was returning to action for the first time in over a year while Cormier had been the reigning champion in his absence, picking up several wins, including two title defenses.

The fight definitely lived up to expectations, with Cormier coming after Jones with ruthless aggression through the first two rounds, landing several hard thudding shots as he pursued his much taller opponent across the Octagon. Jones fired back with a series of long, straight punches while doing his best to keep Cormier at a distance with his signature oblique kicks throughout the opening 10 minutes in the championship bout.

The end came in the third round as Cormier continued his pursuit and Jones fired back with a surprise head kick that landed flush and sent the former two-time Olympian stumbling backwards towards the cage wall. Jones followed up with several more strikes, including a barrage of punches and elbows on the ground until the fight was stopped.

Jones was crowned the new light heavyweight champion while picking up a second victory against Cormier.

Fantasy players had instilled Jones as a sizable favorite going into the night, with 70 percent picking him to win although a great majority – 59 percent - had predicted him to win by decision. Considering Cormier had never been finished prior to Saturday night, it seemed like a smart selection, but Jones got the job done while picking up his first knockout since his 2013 win over Chael Sonnen.

In the co-main event, Tyron Woodley earned another successful title defense as he outworked Demian Maia over five rounds to retain the welterweight championship. Woodley was also a favorite, with 61 percent of fantasy players picking him to win, as he remained undefeated in his past six fights.

The biggest favorite on the entire card was Cris Cyborg, who had an overwhelming 96 percent of fantasy players picking her to defeat former Invicta FC champion Tonya Evinger in the fight that would crown a new women's featherweight champion. Cyborg got the job done with a third-round finish, with another 94 percent of fantasy players correctly predicting that she would win by knockout.

Former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler also returned with a win over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in a featured bout on the UFC 214 main card. 64 percent of fantasy players picked Lawler going into the night, as he got back in the win column following the loss of his title in July 2016.

While four favorites were victorious on the main card, Volkan Oezdemir pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the entire card when he knocked out Jimi Manuwa in the first round to earn his third straight victory in the UFC. Oezdemir was selected by just 15 percent of fantasy players, but he came through with a rousing victory as he put himself into title contention following the win.

On the preliminary card, Ricardo Lamas picked up a huge win over rising star Jason Knight thanks to a vicious knockout, with 62-percent of fantasy players picking him in this pivotal featherweight matchup. Because the fight was also very close going into the event, Lamas earned the players who selected him an additional 120 points.

Aljamain Sterling pulled of a nice upset with a unanimous decision win over former bantamweight champion Renan Barao after just 42 percent of fantasy players picked him going into the night. Meanwhile, Brian Ortega got another third round finish as he put away Renato Moicano with a guillotine choke after 76 percent of fantasy players selected him to win at UFC 214.

The biggest upset of the entire card took place in the kickoff fight on the prelims as newcomer Calvin Kattar dealt Andre Fili a loss in their featherweight matchup. Kattar was selected by just 12 percent of fantasy players after he accepted the fight on short notice, but he still managed to pull off a lopsided win over the veteran Fili.

Alexandra Albu also managed to pull off an upset on the early preliminary card as she defeated Kailin Curran with just 39 percent of fantasy players picking her. As it turns out, that was the final underdog win of the card with Jarred Brooks and Drew Dober both getting wins after being the favorites in their fights.

All told, eight favorites walked away victorious on Saturday night, with four upsets occurring based on the picks made by fantasy players.