UFC 197 Aftermath Report

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Jon Jones Reclaims Light Heavyweight Gold

We spent months getting hyped for a main event grudge match between division rivals Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones so it’s hard not to be disappointed.  We wanted the sweet aftertaste of revenge, not salty sportsmanship!  To his credit, Ovince Saint Preux stepped up on short notice to accept a fight in which he would have been a huge underdog even with a full training camp, but the UFC has been trying to force him to be a thing for years despite coming up short every time he’s been tested by anyone in the top five.  Saint Preux is a solid competitor but he’s still middle of the pack at best.

The fight itself went to a lopsided 50-45 decision for Jones.  Jones was certainly the better competitor in every area of the fight, but he seemed hesitant rather than confident throughout much of it and later criticized himself for the lack of electricity in his performance.  He utilized elements from his usual bag of tricks throughout much of the bout.  Quad kicks, spinning shit, and a good ranged attack kept Saint Preux from effectively starting much offense of his own.  His best shot perhaps came in the second round when a hard shot forced Jones to momentarily retreat, but that was the most remarkable moment on his side of the fight.

Next up for Jones is Daniel Cormier who was ringside for the fight, one that must have been frustrating for him to watch given that this may have been the weakest performance from Jones to date.  The question is now whether or not the same Jones will show up for the title fight against Cormier.

Mighty Mouse Extends Title Defense Streak to Eight

What’s left for Demetrious Johnson in the flyweight division?  Nothing really.  The UFC has thrown everything but the kitchen sink against its smallest star and he’s walked away victorious each time.  He currently holds wins over Benavidez (x2), Dodson (x2), Moraga, McCall, and a long list of challengers of the month.  Ian McCall is the only person to fight him to a draw and he’s currently coming off of a catchweight loss against John Lineker.

Henry Cejudo is a gold medalist Olympic wrestler.  Wrestling is one of the core fundamentals of mma and to excel at it has helped many transition to mma success, but Cejudo lacks the development in other core aspects of the sport and Mouse exposed the difference in levels of striking and clinch work as he kneed his way to a quick TKO victory around the halfway mark of the first.  Cejudo definitely has the potential to make a great flyweight competitor, and in a few years he may develop the striking to complement his ground attack, but he’s nowhere near title contention status.

When pressed about a rematch with current bantamweight champ Dominic Cruz, the last man to defeat him, Johnson said he would be open to the fight at a later date but wanted to maintain focus on breaking Anderson Silva’s record for consecutive title defenses before being distracted by another goal, something that seems entirely doable given the lack of depth in the division.

Edson Barboza Claims Biggest Victory to Date

Edson Barboza put on the best performance of his career with a decisive win over former lightweight champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis in their co-main event clash.  The gameplan to defeating Pettis in the past has largely centered around a grappling-heavy strategy.  Guida and Alvarez were both successful in their ventures against him by being able to smother him and prevent him from exploding, but Barboza was able to defeat Pettis in a stand-up battle.  Barboza was able to establish a blistering left hook and land it throughout the fight.  This, mixed with body combinations in twos and threes kept Pettis from getting too comfortable in his own striking, and later in the fight Barboza opened up with leg kicks to seal the deal.

Barboza has often had difficulty getting over the hump in the division.  Though he often puts on a clinic with his powerful kicks, he’s come up short in bouts against top guys like Donald Cerrone and Tony Ferguson, and, well, Jamie Varner if you want to go back to 2012.  This time he won in a decisive fashion against a former champ.  For Pettis this is his third straight loss, and though not necessarily the kiss of death for a big star in the UFC, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pettis at the very least change drop to 145.

Yair Rodriguez Hits Potential KO of the Year

Yair Rodriguez, the featherweight winner of TUF: Latin America earned a KO that will be on the highlight reel for a long time to come with his leaping head kick KO over Andre Fili.  With the dominant performance, Rodriguez moves to 7-1 and may stand poised as the first fighter from the season to be considered a prospect.

Full Results

  • Main Card
  • Jon Jones defeats Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45
  • Demetrious Johnson defeats Henry Cejudo via TKO (knees and punches) at 2:49 of round 1
  • Edson Barboza defeats Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Robert Whittaker defeats Rafael Natal via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Yair Rodriguez defeats Andre Fili via KO (flying head kick) at 2:15 of round 2
  • Preliminary Card (FS 1)
  • Sergio Pettis defeats Chris Kalades via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Danny Roberts defeats Dominique Steele via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Carla Esparza defeats Juliana Lima via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • James Vick defeats Glaico Franca via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
  • Preliminary Card (UFC Fight Pass)
  • Walt Harris defeats Cody East via TKO (punches) at 4:18 of round 1
  • Marcos Rogerio de Lima defeats Clint Hester via submission (arm triangle choke) at 4:35 of round 1
  • Kevin Lee defeats Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)

Awards

  • Fight of the Night: Danny Roberts vs. Dominique Steele
  • Performance of the Night: Demetrious Johnson and Yair Rodriguez

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