Cyborg vs Holm | Nurmagomedov vs Barboza | Hooker vs Diakiese | Calvillo vs Esparza | Condit vs Magny | Rountree vs Oleksiejczuk | Jury vs Glenn | Vettori vs Akhmedov | Smolka vs Nicolau | Elliott vs De La Rosa
UFC 219: Cyborg vs Holm main card
Main event: Cris Cyborg defeated Holly Holm
Cris Cyborg retained the women’s featherweight title in an instant classic and the most competitive fight of her win streak with a unanimous decision win, 49-46, 48-47, 48-47. Holm came out strong in the first round and kept Cyborg off balance with a game plan consisting of exploding combinations dependent on circling defensive tactics. Holm bloodied the nose of Cyborg with a beautiful straight left and looked to clinch off every close exchange. The success continued into the second but Cyborg slowly started to land shots and by midway through the third Holm’s face began to show signs of the shots landed by the Brazilian. Cyborg was countering beautifully and picking her own moments to land bu shots on the counter. Final numbers showed Cyborg unofficially landing 131-48 total strikes and 118-44 in significant strikes. Cyborg said after the fight she wants to fight Megan Anderson next.
THEY SAID IT:
Cris Cyborg : “Thank you to Holly Holm. She is an amazing fighter and I had a great time fighting her tonight. I would like to fight Megan Anderson next and I would like to do it in Australia.”
Co-main: Khabib Nurmagomedov defeated Edson Barboza
It had been 13 months since Khabib Nurmagomedov rag dolled Michael Johnson in New York City and he picked up where he left off against Edson Barboza, landing three takedowns for over 10 minutes of control en route to a clobbering unanimous decision win over the Brazilian, 30-25, 30-25, 30-24. Barboza defended the first takedown and things looked to be going OK for him for a moment, but the resilient Khabib pushed forward and took down Barboza and started his signature ground and pound torture routine. Nurmagomedov held Barboza down and landed punch after punch and when the first round came to a close he looked defeated, rising to his knees, face battered, and a look a frustration and exhaustion took over. The rest of the fight was more of the same and Nurmagomedov now sits at 25-0 and said he’ll fight Tony Ferguson or Conor McGregor next.
THEY SAID IT:
Khabib Nurmagomedov : “That was my most dominant performance to date. I have to thank my father and my team. I’ve worked very hard for this. I feel that I am the most dominant fighter in the UFC today. I am 25-0 and that is the real belt. Conor and Tony are nothing. It does not matter to me which one I get next. If the UFC will allow me, I will fight them both in the same night. I want the title fight in April.”
Dan Hooker defeated Marc Diakiese
The hype surrounding Marc Diakiese has taken a big hit in 2017 and things got worse against Dan Hooker, who submitted the UK prospect with a guillotine choke in the third round of their bout. The fight was a bit lackluster through 10 minutes, but the action picked up in the third when Diakiese started to sling some big shots. But he timed a shot poorly and Hooker was able to grab ahold of his neck and finished the fight. Hooker wants to fight in Perth at UFC 221 in six weeks.
THEY SAID IT:
Dan Hooker : “After the fight, I went over to Joe Rogan and said ‘now you know who I am’ but that really wasn’t directed at Joe, that was about everyone. I feel like I’ve had a lot of gatekeeper fights and I’m proving that I am not the gatekeeper, I’m the real deal. I won the first two rounds and he had to play catchup. When you’re in that position, you have to take risks so he got more aggressive. He went for a shoddy takedown and I snatched his neck. Don’t leave your neck open around me or I will snatch it. I want to fight in Perth and I don’t care who the opponent is. A six-week notice is short turnaround for anyone so I suggest someone messages Sean Shelby and asks for it if they want to go. I’ll fight anyone. I want a Max Holloway rise. I want to fight everyone, no shortcuts to easy fights. I’ll fight anyone, anywhere.”
Carla Esparza defeated Cynthia Calvillo
Carla Esparza came close with an arm bar twice in the first round and then used a dominant third round to earn a huge unanimous decision win over rising prospect Cynthia Calvillo, 29-28, 29-28, 29-28. Esparza out-struck Calvillo over the course of 15 minutes, 110-65 and landed almost double in significant strikes with a 70-44 mark. The loss is the first in the career of Calvillo. Esparza has now won two in a row for the first time in her UFC career. The former champion now likely gets a matchup in the top five of the division as she continues to push back toward a title shot.
THEY SAID IT:
Carla Esparza : “Everyone thinks of me more as a wrestler but it was the gameplan to beat her on the feet tonight. I’ve been working with my team on striking for a while now and I think the low kick was really effective in this fight. There was a lot of hype around Cynthia coming into the fight but that just served more as a motivator for me. I may not be a trash talker but I prove myself each time I fight. Since I defeated Rose [Namajunas] for the inaugural strawweight title, that could be a fight that makes sense next but I’m here to fight anyone so I’ll talk to the UFC and see what they want to do.”
Neil Magny defeated Carlos Condit
Neil Magny game planned perfectly for Carlos Condit and took out the former interim welterweight champ by unanimous decision, 30-27, 30-27, 29-28. Magny used two takedowns to frustrated Condit, who is known for his penchant for firefights. Magny never let him get into any comfort zone. Condit landed more total strikes, 90-75, but Magny landed more significant at 53-50. That makes 13 wins for Magny since 2013 which ties Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone for most in the UFC in that time.
THEY SAID IT:
Neil Magny : “This was a big fight and I knew I had to be ready for it. Carlos Condit is one of the best ever and a former champion so I knew how tough he would be. I worked hard in camp and made the most of my opportunities in the cage tonight. I’ve had a tumultuous year so, to end it this way, I feel great. I don’t know who is next for me just yet. I had a ton of people calling me out earlier this year while I was injured so I’m going to enjoy this win and start strategizing for whatever is next.”
UFC 219 FS1 prelims
Michal Oleksiejczuk defeated Khalil Rountree
Khalil Rountree has become known for his power early in fights after two straight first-round KOs, and he looked to be following that game plan early against Michael Oleksiejczuk. But Oleksiejczuk took the early shots and kept pressing forward. Over the course of 15 minutes Oleksiejczuk used volume and a third-round takedown to earn the unanimous decision win over Rountree, 30-27, 30-27, 30-27. Final striking stats: Oleksiejczuk out-struck Rountree, 112-73 and 74-42 in significant strikes..
THEY SAID IT:
Michal Oleksiejczuk : “From what I saw in my opponent’s previous fights, all of his opponents entered the Octagon scared. They had already given up. I was never scared and I think that showed. I controlled the fight and imposed my will. Since this is my first fight in UFC, I wanted to show the world what I can do. This was only the first step for me. I am young and I will be a champion. Next, I would like to fight Gokhan Saki since he was supposed to be in this fight or Ion Cutelaba. I am here to be the best so I want a high level opponent.”
Myles Jury defeated Rick Glenn
Rick Glenn didn't seem keen to stand and trade with Jury, and tried to take the fight to the fence or the mat whenever he was able. The strategy backfired in the second round, however, when Jury controlled Glenn on the ground, showing off some superior grappling and getting in a few unexpected punches. Glenn seemed revived in the third round, however, trying to run down Jury and make up for lost time in the first two rounds. Jury's technical prowess won the day in the end, counter-punching Glenn before dropping him to the mat late in the fight to seal the decision win.
THEY SAID IT:
Myles Jury : “I had a great time out there tonight. I felt great and everything came together well. I knew that Rick was tough but I was surprised that he didn’t tire out more later in the fight. My goal is just to keep getting better. Of course, I want the same things everyone else says: big fights, big money and the belt; but I think that comes through hard work so I’m focusing on improving my skills and fighting more. I don’t know what 2018 holds for me yet other than more fights. That’s all I care about.”
Marvin Vettori vs Omari Akhmedov
It’s fitting that Marvin Vettori and Omari Akhmedov fought to a majority draw (28-28, 29-28 Vettori, 28-28) because the two equaled each other by standing in the pocket for the majority of the fight and trading big bombs. Vettori landed more strikes, 85-55 and 66-51 in significant strikes. Both fighters smiled throughout the contest, welcoming the other to come forward and throw big shots. Vettori may have had the better of tihngs in the end but it was close.
THEY SAID IT:
Marvin Vettori : “I completely disagree with the judges. I know I did enough to get the win and here’s why: I broke him. Anyone watching can see where he broke. The first two rounds were close but I dominated the third round. I definitely feel that I won this fight but, at the end of the day, that’s why you don’t leave it to the judges. I will be back and better than ever next time. I just hope everyone enjoyed the fight.”
Matheus Nicolau defeated Louis Smolka
Matheus Nicolau dominated Louis Smolka to improve to 3-0 in the UFC by way of unanimous decision, 30-26, 30-26, 30-25. The first round was one-sided as Nicolau knocked Smolka down twice and marked up the veteran’s face in the first five minutes. Nicolau’s boxing was superb. He threw combinations fluidly and landed both hands at different spots to hurt Smolka, who demonstrated his toughness by lasting the entire fight. As the fight went on Smolka tried to use his savvy to get the fight to the ground but Nicolau was wise to his attempts and kept thwarting and returning punishment.
THEY SAID IT:
Matheus Nicolau : “Shout out to [Louis] Smolka for being such a tough competitor tonight. I was happy with my performance and I knew I had the ability to outwork him but I really wanted the finish and he was incredibly tough. Even when he was out of the fight, he never stopped throwing or trying for submissions. I think this win puts me up with the best guys in the division. I am going to go home and celebrate with my friends and family but I will be thinking about the next move for me. I want someone in the top 10 next. I will continue to climb to the top.”
UFC 219 FIGHT PASS prelims
Tim Elliott defeated Mark De La Rosa
It was an emotional night for Tim Elliott, who was fighting for the first time since his coach Robert Follis passed away. Elliott was all business though when the fight began, landing a takedown before spending the first round riding top position on the floor against UFC debutant Mark De La Rosa. Elliott came close with a submission attempt in the first five minutes but De La Rosa survived. In the second, Elliott grabbed ahold of De La Rosa’s neck and dragged him to the ground and worked for about two minutes before getting the submission by anaconda choke at 1:41 of the second round. Elliott simply said thank you to Follis for everything he did for him after the fight.
THEY SAID IT:
Tim Elliott : “I came out and I was nervous right away but I was lucky to have my coach, James Krause, with me. He got me prepped, got my music going and got me fired up by doing a pre-walkout. By the time the real one came around, I was prepared for it. I’m a very passionate guy and have a hard time controlling my emotions. The only time I can control everything is when I’m going into a fight so I was scared when I walked out but I have these great guys around me. They’ve saved me a million times before and tonight was no different. We train for the unorthodox. Everyone has good basic skills like striking or jiu-jitsu but my coach, Robert Follis, once told me ‘it’s the space between the notes that makes the music’ so my coaches have trained me to fight through those awkward moments. After the fight, I told James Krause that I want to get back in practice and back to the drawing board. We’re going to go back and figure out what’s next.”