Daniel Cormier managed to withstand Anthony Johnson’s early striking blitz tonight at UFC 187 and then began to turn the screw, using his world class wrestling and hard ground and pound to wear him down before finishing in the third round via submission.
The main event of the evening for the vacant light-heavyweight title is underway.
Johnson feels out with a jab and then lands a leg kick. Eye poke to Johnson but he’s ok to continue immediately.
Massive punch from Johnson and Cormier topples to the mat. Right back up though and as Johnson comes back forward Cormier manages to shift around and has his back standing.
Cormier takes his time and then hoists him up and gets him to the mat, but only partially. Cormier gets his back more solidly, but they scramble a bit and Johnson gets back to his feet. Cormier remains on him though and after resetting manages to get him down again.
Johnson’s on one knee thought against the cage and looking for an opportunity to stand. Cormier staying heavy on him, but Johnson gets upright. Cormier has a hold of his neck.
Johnson pops out though and attempts a head kick. Cormier backs away. They exchange in close with Cormier looking for the overhand which misses and Johnson looks to counter.
Cormier hoping to get another takedown, but nothing doing and they circle around each other looking to trade. Johnson with a head kick that just glances Cormier.
Cormier bundles into the clinch and has Johnson shoved against the cage. Couple of punches for Cormier, but this is mostly about control at this stage in the fight, trying to grind down his hard-hitting foe.
With just seconds remaining There’s some space and Johnson looks to punch and Cormier backs up, but then fires back as the buzzer sounds.
Johnson with a left hand. He lands a right hand and Cormier didn’t like that. A head kick now and Cormier may be rocked.
Credit to Cormier though, he’s hanging in there despite being outgunned on the feet so far and he gets it back to his world by closing the distance and now hoisting his opponent on to his shoulder and taking him down to the mat.
Cormier in a good position now in the center of the cage in half guard. Cormier starts working on a kimura attempt from here, but then lets it go. Now he’s back on it again as we approach the half way mark in the round, but again he lets it go.
Short choppy elbows from Cormier. Again he’s trying for the kimura, but only momentarily. Cormier postures up and throws down a few punches to the head. Cormier with his hand over Johnson’s mouth now.
Johnson trying to improve his position with the hip escape, but Cormier is still heavy on top and gets him flat on his back again. Another hip escape from Rumble and then back flat again.
Elbow strikes and punches from Cormier and Johnson’s starting to bleed now from a cut to his head as he thinks about giving up his back.
Mercifully for him the round ends but he looks worn down and gets up slowly looking a bit dazed and wiping blood from his eyes.
Leg kick from Cormier and Johnson tries to counter with punches. Johnson looking to get aggressive on the feet again as he slings heavy leather, but now he’s in on a takedown attempt.
Johnson working hard for this and does get Cormier down against the cage just for a moment before he pops up again.
Now it’s Cormier who’s trying to get a single leg. He hoists it high up, but Johnson maintains his balance and even lands a couple of hard shots.
Johnson goes down to his knees and Cormier seems to easily have his back, but then tries to get a takedown going again. Johnson’s definitely very tired though as he gives up his back again and Cormier gladly takes it.
The fight is rapidly running out of Johnson, at least partially due to exhaustion, and Cormier is able to sink in a rear-naked choke and that’s it, Johnson taps at 2.39mins of the third round and Cormier is your new light-heavyweight champion!
Well done to Cormier who withstood some bombs from one of the hardest hitters around in the early stages of the fight, yet managed to keep his composure and impose his gameplan on the mat to secure the victory and become the new king of the hill at 205lbs.
Cormier didn’t rest on his laurels and savour the moment though, foregoing the usual post-fight Octagon interview formalities to send former champ Jon Jones a simple, direct message – telling him to get his sh*t together!