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UFC 214 - Post-event coverage and takeaways

The UFC 214 event invested alot of hype into the hears of the fans with the over-announced grudge match between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Next to this main-event, alot of great matchups were glued up into the event.
This event managed to remind us of the old school UFC events which everyone wanted to watch. We can see the evolution of MMA compared to the last time we saw these two fighting.
We're seeing from the beginning that the comercial aspect is prominently there and that the fighter's presentation has been improved lately in a more fluid and more catchy manner.
As the card was highly stacked, the risks of overhyping were there.
Jimi "Poster Boy" Manuwa faces Volkan Oezdemir, as Oezdemir became relevant to the title contention in the early 2017, with a flash-knockout against Misha Cirkunov.

Round one.
Oezdemir started slowly and Manuwa initiated the clinch on first occasion.
Oezdemir found the occasion to land some punches in the clinch distance and back Manuwa away and hurt Manuwa extremely early. Great eye for defensive gaps from Oezdemir.
And Jimi Manuwa was out.
He flurried some fists: a left uppercut, left hook, got the distance and thrown another right hand with a pause, followed by two left hooks paused inbetween, then Manuwa went down.
Round one, 42 seconds in the first round. Oezdemir wins via TKO.

Our take on this match: Trying to smother a calm striker in a improper manner is a very bad idea. Middle-ranging or untidied clinches are sins against this class of fighter. Manuwa's best approach against Oezdemir would have been opening with the rear hand and then throwing his well known left hand to destabilize Oezdemir from his calm, paced stance and step counterintuitively to Oezdemir's right. Oezdemir's speed was not a risk on his rear hand. And a slow rear hand was exactly the type of thing which Manuwa's dominant left-hand would have capitalized on. Bait Oezdemir to throw his rear hand and spring over his shoulder with the signature-left hook of Jimi Manuwa and seal the deal. It didn't happen. Amazing matchup nonetheless.

Next fight.
Donald Cerrone vs Robbie Lawler. As two veterans with amazing striking potential face in a great welterweight battle.
Two interesting right-handed strikers which would fight opposite stances (Cerrone - orthodox and Lawler - Southpaw). Both are coming after a resting period, therefore no injuries or burn-out symptoms should be there. Lawler looks unenergetic and a bit phased-out, in comparison to the gruff-stanced Cerrone. Lawler's coordination in movements and responses with his smile on his face raise some question marks. Doesn't seem highly focused and this lands him at the opposing pole to Cerrone.
Let's see if Henry Hooft's masterful striking has touched Lawler's striking style the right way.

Round one.
Lawler closes distance and flurries Cerrone up, grabbing the clinch after a few strikes.
Smart-dirty boxing from Lawler, pounding with his dominant right hand from the clinch. Cerrone presses forward while clinching and getting hit. The flurry continues and Lawler seems decided to take Cerrone out. Cerrone looks hurt as he lays into the clinch, opposing to the relentless Lawler.
The clinch broke after 30 seconds of flurrying and dirty boxing.

Cerrone tries to keep his distance by front-kicking with his rear-leg and circling out as Lawler chases to adjust and hunt him down. Cerrone attempts a takedown, almost faked. Good clinching and good dirty-boxing from Lawler. The gameplan is amazingly tailored against a slowstarter like Cerrone. Cerrone elbows Lawler in the clinch.

Attempted highkick from Cerrone, Lawler brushes it off. Right knee from Lawler, which Cerrone simply ate up. Takedown by Cerrone in attempts to score something for the first round.
Lawler is on the bottom with Cerrone in his guard. Both are working on the ground and Cerrone attempts mounting. Got side-control. North-south. Attempts returning to side-control. The both get back up. Lawler and Cerrone exchange power-high kicks.

Cerrone looks more battered and the first round ends, with Lawler dominating the round.

Round two.
Round two starts with Lawler and Cerrone in neutral positions.
Cerrone starts kicking as Cerrone attempts to readjust, but gives Cerrone space to throw a fist-flurry. Another good elbow from Cerrone. His thaiboxing is good against Lawler.

Lawler pulls the fight back to the center and Cerrone follows up patiently.
Attempted flying knee from Cerrone. Corner screams "intercept him!" refering to the charging habits of Lawler.

Cerrone started finding his rhythm and knees Lawler again. Lawler seems to be on the short-end of those exchanges. Cerrone imposes his rhythm. Another attempt of highkicking Lawler.
Canceling moves to get reactions from Lawler. Lawler keeps on moving and circling as Cerrone jumps in and throws some strikes. Lowkick exchanges. Cerrone charged Lawler on one feet and the round two ends.

Cerrone got the best out of this round. Attempting takedowns in order to mask up some shots.

Round three.
Cerrone has the space to strike and exchange. Lawler lost patience and attempts to aggresively pick Cerrone apart. Lawler presses on.
Lawler gets the best on exclusive boxing exchanges here. Cerrone paces and answers.
Attempted reverse lead elbow from Cerrone. Mid-paced fighting taking place.

Another headkick from Cerrone. Lawler presses forward and stays to trade. Cerrone looks hurt again. Lawler has an opening on finishing the fight with just one minute left in the third round. A gap on the right side of Cerrone's head, great potential for a left russian hook from Lawler. Donald got poked. Action keeps going. And the fight ends. End of the third round. Waiting for the official decision.
Third round was very close, with a minimal advantage to Cerrone. Most probably Split Decision - Cerrone.
A very good fight with an unexpected end. All three judges score this a 29-28 for Lawler.
Lawler wins via decision.
Next fight
The next fight is a female fight. (145 pounds)
Christiane "Cyborg" Santos vs Tonya Evinger.
This fight looks obviously like an opportunity for Cyborg to play with food. Evinger seems to be the underdog here. Santos "Cyborg" seems to have all of the weapons against this kind of underdog.
First, Tonya Evinger enters. Emotional and looking ready. Hopefully she can manipulate the fight and avoid being bombed down in the first round. Her best chance is winning via split decision in a grind-based match where she simply ensnares Santos.

The only disadvantage factor for Santos 'Cyborg' would be a bad weightcut taking its toll on her performance. We're seeing a drained-out Santos, licking her dried lips. This raises question marks as Cyborg doesn't look in her best shape.

Round one.
Cyborg clips Evinger with a left hook. Almost drops her. Straight right from Cyborg. Doubled. Cyborg made Evinger turn around. There is a distinct striking damage difference.
Evinger looks heavily under-performing. Cyborg's hands are too much clearly. Admirably Evinger stays and takes the strikes. Cyborg attempting to damage Evinger. Evinger gets a clinch and attempts a takedown. Evinger all over Cyborg in an attempt to gas her out. They both again on their feet. Cyborg seems to have some minimal endurance losses. Cyborg got eye-poked. Cyborg blinks repeatedly. The poke is clear and this is giving Evinger time to recover, but also Cyborg time to gather her strengths again. The fight starts again.
Evinger fights to survive. This looks like a schoolyard fight. Cyborg clips her again. Very tough Evinger stays in there. Cyborg is clearly over on the scorecards. End of the first rounds. Cyborg clearly won round 1.

Round two.
They start the second round and Cyborg keeps on kicking Evinger's lead leg.
Headmovement from Cyborg and again superior boxing from Cyborg. Headkick from Cyborg.
Tanya Evinger is doing a great job in surviving. And getting tagged again by Cyborg. Obvious opening for Cyborg with a leadlowick + rearhand overhand would finish the fight.
Evinger is circling the wrong way towards Cyborg's right.
Evinger tries to tangle down on Cyborg. Cyborg won the second round as well.
Evinger is doing a heroic job in standing and going into the third round. Admirably.

Round three.
Third round starts. Cyborg probes Evinger while clipping her. Evinger stays in the fight. Takes a right hand from Cyborg and a headkick. Cyborg knocks her down and legkicks a taken down Evinger. Referee resets them.
Cyborg keeps pressing and hitting Evinger up.
Superman punch from Cyborg. Strikes keep on pouring with two left knees connecting Evinger. Evinger drops. Referee stoppage.
Evinger had an amazing performance showing resilience.
Cyborg wins via TKO referee stoppage in the 3rd round.

Next fight
The next fight is Striking/Wrestling vs Specialist Grappling.
Tyron Woodley against Demian Maia.
Demian Maia seems to in his typical good shape overall. Woodley is more tense as he walks to the cage.

Round one.
Fast paced start with Maia in the middle of the Octagon. Maia tries to take down Woodely imediately. Two attempts and both failed against Woodley. Third attempt with a fail. Persistant Maia wants to get that takedown at all costs. Woodley prepares his arsenal slowly.
Another shot from Maia. Failed again. Fence grab from Woodley. Maia grabbing leg as Woodley walks away. Woodley stings Maia with a right hand.

Woodley starts to point in his right hand into Maia's head-level area.
Another attempt by Maia. Woodley unaffected.
Woodley's testing a rear hand bolo punch to see reactions and the round ends with Maia having a swollen eye already.

Round two.
Woodley is in advantage at the moment. Maia's gameplan does not seem to affect him and he managed to damage Maia already.
They both start in the same active pace and Woodley almost clips Maia with a right hand.
Maia got tagged and faked a knockdown to pull guard. Referee stands him up.

Woodley is flailing a bolo punch. He seems to have developed a deceiving right-hand. Another failed attempt from Maia. Another punch from Woodley connecting. Maia hangs the second time out of Woodley's ankle.

Good right hand from Woodley as Maia jumped in.
Maia keeps on trying as the fight keeps on having the same pace.
Round two ends with Woodley winning the second round as well. Maia is battered.
Round three.
Demian Maia has both of his eyes swollen. Woodley keeps on testing Maia's striking defense.
Superior Boxing from Woodley. Another right hand on the guard of Maia. Woodley will most probably win this via decision.
Woodley keeps on tagging and setting up his right hand.
Opening for a rear-lowkick, left hook and overhand right combo for Woodley. Another attempt from Maia, no takedown.
Legkick from Maia. Woodley stays paced.
Third round ends. Woodley seems to be on top of the scorecards.

Round four.
Maia is all bloodied up and we're in the championship rounds.
Woodley starts to press the pedal down as Maia has lower quality vision and reactions.
Another Maia takedown attempt. Stopped. Maia tried to exchange in striking department. They revert to the same thing. Another attempt of single leg takedown. Woodley got out of this as well.
Maia keeps trying as Woodley keeps stopping attempts.

Woodley starts dropping his hands and trying to trick Maia into eating the shots.
And the fourth rounds ends with lesser activity.

Round five.
The final round begins as a persistant Maia keeps on fighting. But already Maia is zombie-fighting Woodley. He clearly doesn't see what he aims at. Woodley waits without engaging.
Another sprawl. Maia keeps on getting the middle of the octagon and sleeping the fight away while attempting to box Woodley in the fifth round.

Highkick from Maia in the fifth round. Missed. Another takedown attempt.
The booing from the audeons begins to take over the crowd.
Maia is literally shadowboxing with both of his eyes heavily swollen and Woodley isn't going in for the kill.
Another attempt from Maia. Woodley stays sharp and runs from side to side.
Under a minute left. Woodley could dash in and strike. Maia starts to jump in with punches.
And the fight ends. Going the distance. Woodley probably won the fight, but entertainment wise, it was a large disapointment. Just like Demian Maia's fight with Anderson Silva in the past. Non-engaging, just takedown attempts who never land, both fighters on their toes and jumpy.
Waiting on the decision from the judges. Woodley presumably won. Striking, damage criteria. Defended all of the takedown attempts.
49-46. Woodley wins via decision.
This was a myriad of striking openings for Woodley and a boring show for the crowds.
Next fight
The main event: Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier
Over the top anticipation for the main event. Jones walks to the cage screaming and slapping himself. The public screams and the music is woofing all over the arena.
Same monkey-walking with a cartwheel as he enters the cage.
Daniel Cormier enters as an underdog. And he doesn't look in top shape physically. Probably dropping the LHW division isn't a great choice for him.
Cormier has all disadvantages on paper against Jon Jones, age, reach, striking. Yet his perseverence makes him a potential upset-maker.

Round one.
Jon Jones starts fast. Striking Cormier. Cormier responses. A mouthpiece jumped out. Jones' mouthpiece. They start the fight, go down and get back up. Jones exploits the same strikes from their first bout.
Good bodyshot from Jones. DC pressures as he attempts again striking on the straight line against a larger opponent. Knee to the body from Jones.
Good overhand right from DC. Jones circles and kicks. Trying to employ the same left hand/left elbow used in their last fight. Cormier way better than in the last fight. Elbow from Jones. DC's kicking is deficient, but he has a more matured boxing game. DC attempts to flurry Jones. Superbe 1-2 coming from DC. Amazing gameplan in place to the point. Round one ends and Jones outlanded Cormier, but this looks highly promising.

Round two.
They've both used some gas into their exchanges. Second round starts more paced. Jones attempts again that body shot. Jones connects over the top easily.
Good answers from Cormier. Headbutt from Jones. Cormier stopped by the referee.
Fight resumes. Cormier holds the center of the Octagon. Jones hits more effectively. DC needs to outbox Jones. Jones kicks to gain distance and attempts another left hand hook.
Jones attempts technically picking apart Cormier. Cormier jumps in and hits again. Jones misses. Good headmovement from Cormier. Cormier is doing a good job in pressing forward.
Jones tripped by DC. Jones gets up. An amazing fight to this point. DC is implementing his gameplan greatly. Jones stepping out as DC is the aggresor. Good combos and stepping forward as the second rounds would go to Cormier.

Round three.
The round begins as Cormier double-jabs. Jones technically tries to outland DC. DC walks through the shots and Jones backpedals and circles away striking methodically.
Cormier is following Jones instead of cutting the angles. Jones is snipering his shots. Cormier still the aggresor. Cormier took a left headkick. Jones went full-gas attempting to finish the fight. Unexpectedly fight stopped. Jon Jones wins via TKO - referee stoppage in the 3rd round.

Overall, this event reminded us that the UFC has amazing qualitative fights to offer. It gives us a new champion at the lightheavyweight weightclass and a new contender shortly.
The questions of this event, as takeaways are:
How much will Jon Jones be as a title holder? Will Gustaffson or Oezdemir pose a real challenge? Are they new material? Is Cormier still viable for the lightheavyweight or should he switch back to heavyweight?

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