UFC 187 bouts towered over boxing giants’ pillow fight
By David Estrada
News MMA Columnist
The buzz of May 2015 in the world of combat sports was unquestionably the Floyd Mayweather versus Manny Pacquiao boxing bout. The combat sports event of the month that delivered the most excitement, however, was UFC 187 held last weekend.
Mayweather vs. Pacquiao drained viewers’ wallets (the pay-per-view was on average $100) and filled their frustrations with lack of action. UFC 187 featuring five main event fights was half the price and each bout made Mayweather vs. Pacquiao look like a pillow fight.
What ended up being the fight of the night was the battle between former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski and rising contender Travis Browne. Arlovski poured it on early landing a barrage of punches to Browne to nearly end the bout. Out of nowhere Browne countered with a right and knocked down Arlovski who quickly got back up. The momentum then again swung back to Arlovski who landed a knee to Browne, got him against the cage and ended the bout via TKO with a combination of straight punches and uppercuts.
Keep in mind this occurred in just one round. This four minute forty-one second slugfest packed in more action than the entire twelve round Mayweather-Manny Pac fight..
In the next bout Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, the mixed martial artist who went back to his former hobby of bull riding a few years ago to “toughen himself up” after a string of MMA losses, faced the unheralded late replacement John Makdessi. Cowboy came through with a variety of leg kicks to the head, body and legs of Makdessi. Late in the second round Cerrone landed a left high kick to Makdessi face. In one of the strangest looking tap-outs Makdessi looked like he was calling timeout, something that does not exist in MMA and disqualifies the fighter. Makdessi actually broke his jaw from the Cowboy kick and was tapping out on his own hands to submit.
Two title bouts headlined UFC 187. The first one was the middleweight title tilt between reigning champion Chris Weidman and challenger Vitor Belfort. Casual fans will remember Weidman as the man who ended Anderson “The Spider” Silva’s eleven-fight title streak and person who Silva broke his leg on in grotesque fashion during their rematch.
Like Arlovski vs. Browne, Weidman vs. Belfort became a back and forth affair. Belfort landed some solid punches cutting Weidman above the eye. The champion fought back using his forte, wrestling, and scored a takedown on Belfort. Weidman got the mount and rained down a flurry of undefended strikes. The referee stopped the fight and Weidman retained his belt via TKO.
In the main event of the evening, Lafayette, Louisiana native Daniel Cormier went up against fast-risiing powerhouse Anthony “Rumble” Johnson for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. This bout went down exactly how people expected. To win, the longer and faster Rumble Johnson had to maintain distance and land strikes. He stuck with this game plan which contrasted with Cormier’s method of victory – grinding, grinding, grinding.
It was Cormier’s style that won out. Throughout the fight he methodically took the fight out of Rumble by getting him up against the cage, using dirty boxing, and going for several kimura submission attempts. The gassed Rumble finally crumbled in the third round when Cormier got his back and cinched up a rear naked choke forcing him to tap.
One could not ask for a better champion to replace Jon “Bones” Jones whose out of competition woes stripped him of the title. The former NCAA Division I and Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier is disciplined and well-spoken. He mentors, coaches and even hosts the national Fox Sports “UFC Tonight” show.
Additionally, Southeast Texas MMA fans can appreciate there is now a UFC champion who knows what boudin is.
David Estrada Jr. is a MMA columnist for The News. He can be reached at DavidEstrada@DavidEstrada.com.