UFC’s Big Night in Vegas (UFC 187 Review)


Photo Credit: UFC.com

It was a busy night for the UFC as five divisions were all on display as top fighters had chances for title fights and two titles were on the line.

Rarely has there been a card with so much on the line in the main card and beyond with even the undercard featuring a big fight.

That fight was the John Dodson fight against Zach Makovsky as Dodson returned to the octagon for the first time in a year.

Dodson took the fight and remained the top contender for the flyweight division but it wasn’t the only big flyweight fight.

To kick-off the main card Joseph Benavidez took on John Moraga as Benavidez tried to keep his standing as the #3 fighter while Moraga looked to make a big move up the rankings.

It was a close fight and Moraga showed that he can compete with the best in the division but Benavidez took the win as a potential shake-up in the flyweight division was avoided and champion Demetrious Johnson saw his two biggest competitors.

The Flyweight division stayed much the same through the end of the fight card but the next fight was one that would change the heavyweight division.

Travis Browne and Andrei Arlovski were set to face-off in a heavyweight fight that could determine the next contender.

Browne ranked #3 heading into the fight while Alrovski took the #8 after his strong return to the UFC.

A win by either was going to be a big reason to give them a title shot and both fighters knew it heading into the fight.

The fight only lasted one round but it was one of the most exciting rounds in UFC history as both fighters came out swinging and looking to end it quickly.

Arlovski took the advantage in the round rocking Browne multiple times and seeming to put him out more than once.

Then Browne came back with a massive right hand that dropped Arlovski and seemed to end the fight.

Arlovski recovered quickly though and unleashed more combinations against Browne that eventually forced the referee to end the fight as the crowd went crazy.

Arlovski took the win and may need one more fight to earn a title shot but he is within striking distance of earning another UFC title.

With the change in the heavyweight division Donald Cerrone came into the next fight looking to get the opposite as he tried to remain one of the best lightweights in the UFC.

Cerrone came into UFC 187 with a 7-fight win streak, one of the longest in the UFC, and was supposed to take on top contender Khabib Nurmagomedov in a highly anticipated fight that was sure to determine the next contender.

Nurmagomedov was injured during training and so Cerrone was left to fight last-minute replacement John Makdessi who had the chance of a lifetime after a convincing win over Shane Campbell only a month before.

The fight was a challenge for Makdessi and from the start it was clear that he was not at the level of the dominant Cerrone.

On the feet Cerrone unleashed plenty of strikes with punches, kicks, and devastating elbows hurting Makdessi and keeping him on his heels.

Eventually the punishment was too much for Makdessi as a head kick landed on the chin and Makdessi gave up as his jaw had taken one too many shots and was clearly broken.

Makdessi had little to lose taking the fight on short notice but for Cerrone this win, his eighth in a row, is a clear indication that he deserves a title fight as there is nobody else for him to beat except the champion.

As those divisions figured out their contenders two divisions where ready to figure out their champions in two important fights.

First up was the middleweight title as Chris Weidman finally returned to the octagon after injuries kept him out for most of 2014 and cancelled two title fights.

His opponent had waited the entire time as Vitor Belfort had waited for his chance after a tumultuous 2014 where he never entered the octagon.

The first obstacle came in May 2014 when Belfort was to fight Weidman for the title but had failed a drug test for elevated testosterone levels with Belfort being known for using TRT and the Nevada State Athletic Commission banning the therapy recently.

Then a fight against Chael Sonnen was cancelled due to Sonnen failing a drug test and two more Weidman fights were cancelled after injuries to Weidman.

Belfort finally got his chance to fight for the title at UFC 187 with his last fight coming in 2013.

All of that pent-up frustration came out at the start for Belfort who pressed the champion immediately and in his usual pace unloaded combinations that sent Weidman against the cage.

Weidman was in trouble early as he seemed rocked and almost out until he recovered to shoot on Belfort and get the fight to the ground.mma-sidebar.fw

Then Weidman went to work getting an easy mount and unloading big shots in the ground and pound that eventually had Belfort curling up and forced the referee to call it early.

Belfort had prepared for a long time for a chance at a second UFC title, his first since he was a 19-year old UFC champion, but in the end he didn’t have enough to beat Weidman.

The wrestling was the difference as Weidman had an easy time getting Belfort on the ground and passing his guard to earn mount showing why Weidman is the champion.

With the title finally determined Belfort will go back to the top ten while Weidman looks to try to clear out what has become a log jam in the division.

Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo Souza, Lyoto Machida, and Anderson Silva, depending on his issues with his last drug test, all have a chance to fight for the title and it will be tough for Weidman as he looks to make his own mark on a division used to dominant champions.

After the middleweight title was determined the always entertaining light heavyweight division found out who their next champion would be in the main event.

After Jon Jones was stripped of his title for the incident a few months ago the light heavyweight title was up for grabs.

On one side was Anthony Johnson who was cut from the UFC for missing weight too often only to move up in weight class and dominate on his way back to the UFC and to the top challenger in the UFC.

On the other side was Daniel Cormier who had just lost to Jones for the title and took another shot at the title on short notice.

Both fighters knew what they wanted to do as Johnson wanted to use his stand-up while Cormier wanted to get the fight on the ground.

DC was the one who imposed his will though as Johnson tried to strike but Cormier kept the fight against the fence before taking Johnson to the ground.

By the second round the grind on the ground was too much for Johnson as he was clearly gassed out.

Going into the third round Johnson had nothing left and Cormier took advantage putting the fight on the ground again and sinking in a rear naked choke to earn the light heavyweight title.

Johnson will learn from this and be back in the title hunt but for now Cormier reigns as the light heavyweight champion.

There are plenty of contenders in the division but none have made a big claim to get to the title.

Instead Cormier went about calling out Jones telling him to “get your shit together” and demanding a rematch for the title.

Whether Jones returns to the UFC remains to be seen but it could be a big fight as more fights will be needed to determine Cormier’s next fight if Jones is not there.

It was a big night for the UFC as fights were exciting and meant a lot with the UFC finally putting on a card that met the hype of a pay-per-view spectacle.



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