UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier won a very close split decision victory over challenger Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC 192, Saturday night. Afterwards, Cormier was nothing but humble.
"Thank you, Alexander Gustafsson, you made me a better man and fighter tonight," he said in his post-fight interview. "I will forever be indebted to you."
A disappointed and bloodied Gustafsson was just as gracious. "DC is a beast," he said.
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"He just proved that he can strike ... he's the real champ."
Read on for the blow-by-blow calls from the entire event.
Daniel Cormier (16-1) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (16-3)
The two men trade leg kicks before DC shoots in for a single-leg takedown. He switches to a high crotch, lifts Gustafsson high up in the air and flips him head over heels onto the mat, just as he did to Josh Barnett and Dan Henderson!
Cormier inside the open full guard of Gustafsson. DC stands, Gus tries to stand but Cormier pins him back down.
Gustafsson tying Cormier up well, though. DC lands good shots to the body. Gus shoots up a triangle choke attempt but Cormier escapes.
Cormier passes to half guard and lands short elbows to the face before passing to side mount. Gustafsson scrambles up to his feet, however, with a little over a minute left, and immediately begins firing off punches.
Gus turns away from his opponent and looks at his corner to listen to them for a moment. Interesting.
Gus lands a leg and then body kick. Cormier lands an inside leg kick then an overhand right to the head.
Gustafsson shoots for a takedown, DC slips but gets right back up to his feet.
Gustafsson almost seems distracted by his corner as he looks at them as they speak to him. He lands some good long punches before faking a takedown with a level change.
Gustafsson lands a good combo inside then defends a takedown attempt. DC is cut near his left eye.
Gustafsson defends another takedown, and then lands his own! Cormier is right back up, however.
Cormier lands a right hand that hurts Gustafsson, then Gus tags him back! Cormier lands a good uppercut in the clinch and then drives forward, looking for a takedown.
Gustafsson lands a left elbow to the right side of DC's face. Gustafsson gets free and runs away from DC.
Gustafsson looks like he's going to go high with his left kick to the bleeding eye of Cormier. Cormier lands an overhand right.
A big series of uppercuts from both men in the clinch right in the center of the cage! Great body-head-body punch combo from Cormier.
Gustafsson lands a big right punch to the head. Gustafsson's mouth is open as he bounces left and right.
Cormier lands a big overhand and Gustafsson responds with a big uppercut to the head.
Left hook lands to the head for both men. Cormier lands a huge uppercut and follows it with two looping left hooks that hurt Gus.
Gustafsson ducks under a punch and scores his second takedown of the round.
Cormier gives his back and stands up. The round ends with Cormier pressed against the cage, with the challenger in control of him from behind.
More than likely, this fight is one round a piece, at this point.
These "official" stat keepers have no idea how to count things. They have takedowns at one a piece, right now, even though Gustafsson landed two clean takedowns in the previous rounds. Weird, but this happens often.
Both men trade big right hands. Both are bleeding from their faces.
Cormier lands several more big uppercuts from the clinch. Gustafsson fakes a shot, DC sprawls hard.
DC lands a good left jab to the face. Gustafsson is bleeding nicely from his nose.
Cormier landing his lunging left jab nicely. Gustafsson lands a lead left to the head.
Gustafsson continues to switch his stances. Cormier gets the over-under clinch and lands several more big uppercuts.
Gustafsson is hurt badly but he is staying in it. There's only so many of those that he can take, however.
Cormier slowing Gustafsson down a lot more in this round. Just as that happens Gustafsson drops Cormier with a right knee and left uppercut from short distance!
Cormier is flat but gets to his knees and elbows, then to his feet. Gustafsson working a Russian tie but DC gets free.
They trade nods at the horn.
Gustafsson starts the round with a good body kick and then leg kick. Good right punch to the head from Gustafsson.
Gustafsson lands another right hand and attempts another takedown. Cormier defends and lands another uppercut from the clinch.
Gustafsson lands a right kick to the body. Gustafsson smacks a nasty right hand to the head.
Cormier doubles up on a jab to the head. Gustafsson's eyes are turning black and blue and Cormier's right eye is still bleeding.
Good jab from DC, hard right hand from Gus. DC has to leap into every jab.
I wonder if he'll ever get caught as he's in the air. That could be bad.
Good jab from Gus, and another, followed by a straight right. Cormier stalking Gustafsson and then eats a front kick to the gut.
Gustafsson shoots for a takedown then lands a knee. Cormier lands a right hand on separation.
Lead left hand for DC lands to the head. Gus lands a hard left hook of his own.
DC with more uppercuts from in the clinch. Cormier lands a leg kick but then gets tripped up. DC pops up to his feet.
Cormier lands another big punch.
Both fighters' corners on the same page in between rounds. DC's coach Bob Cook calls for a takedown.
Gus's coach warns him that Cormier will go for a takedown. This fight is too close to call, right now. It could come down to who wins this final round.
The lead left hand over the guard of DC is there for Gus. Cormier returns fire with a two-punch combo to the head, however.
Gustafsson lands a straight right to the head and Cormier lands a body kick and then a right hand and left hook, both to the head.
A stat appears showing how much distance each fighter has tracked in this fight. Joe Rogan asks "how do they track that?"
Probably the same way they do takedowns -- poorly.
DC gets Gus inside again and lands another uppercut. Gustafsson times his own as Cormier lunges in.
Cormier ties Gus up in the clinch but Gustafsson wraps up DC's hand so that he can no longer use it to pull down on the challenger's head, into uppercuts. Gustafsson and DC trade uppercut punches inside.
Gustafsson working that Russian tie-up again, but eats two more right hands. Gustafsson is bleeding badly but lands a knee and right hand.
Both men are exhausted, yet fight on, hard. Cormier lands a short left hook and Gustafsson misses with a knee to the head.
The fight finishes in the clinch with Gustafsson landing a knee to the head and Cormier landing uppercuts.
Both men raise their hands at the sound of the final horn. Both men certainly deserve to have their heads held high.
Official Decision: Daniel Cormier wins a split decision over Alexander Gustafsson with scores of 48-47, 49-46, and 47-48
Ryan Bader (20-4) vs. Rashad Evans (24-3-1)
Rashad begins the fight circling to Bader's power side. Bader swings and misses with a big overhand right punch.
Good straight right down the middle from Bader connects to the head of Evans. Bader shoots low with not much set up and doesn't get it.
Left hook to the head lands for Bader. He looks more fluid on the feet with his strikes than he ever has before, so far.
Another cool vertical fist straight right punch lands for Bader to the head of Evans. Sneaking it under the lead arm of Evans.
Kind of an upwards-thrown straight cross. Bader lands his lead jab to the face.
Evans stalking Bader, now. Evans connects with his own right hand.
Both men with their chins up, and they trade jabs before clinching up against the cage. Bader lands a right elbow strike to the head on separation.
Evans loops an overhand right that misses.
Bader asks for a glove touch, and Evans obliges. Bader throws that same cool right hand and follows with a left hook that lands to the head.
Side kick to the body lands for Bader. Left kick to the body lands for Evans.
Bader shoots in and scores a double-leg takedown on Evans. Evans turns to his knees and stands up.
Bader has his back while standing and takes Evans down again. Evans once more stands up but he's still pressed against the cage.
Rashad lands a knee to the body and gets off the cage. He appears to be bleeding a bit from the right side of his face.
Good jab from Bader but Evans lands a right punch to the head. Evans' right eye is getting worse.
Evans stalking Bader and pressing him against the cage and then lands a leg kick. Bader lands a body kick. Bader lands a hook to the body of Evans.
Evans lands a left jab and then an overhand right. Bader returns fire with his own right punches.
Bader lets a right hand loop a bit slow and Evans counters with his own right. Evans scores a takedown but Bader stands up.
Another glove touch initiated by Bader. Evans' right eye is swollen decently.
Bader's corner told him to lead with a jab and then a hook, which would both go to that side of Evans' face. Let's see if he targets the side of Evans's face which has diminished vision, now.
Good jab from Bader. Lead right uppercut lands to the chin for Bader.
Evans responds by charging forward. He swings and misses as Bader circles out to his own right.
Evans misses with an overhand right but closes the distance and presses Bader against the cage. Bader circles out and gets free.
Bader lands a hard left body kick after setting it up with a right and left punch to the head. Good jab and then right punch to the head from Evans.
Evans uses that set up a double-leg takedown attempt against the cage. Bader gets free and lands an elbow on separation.
Both men miss with big overhand rights to the head. Evans lands a switch left high kick with his foot.
Good jab from Bader to the head. And, another, this one a counter strike to an attempted Evans jab.
Bader shoots and scores with another takedown but Evans gets one butterfly hook in and uses it to immediately elevate Bader from off of his own back, and create space to hustle up to his feet.
Official Decision: All three judges scored the fight for Bader with scores of 30-27
Shawn Jordan (18-6) vs. Ruslan Magomedov (13-1)
Jordan stalking, early. Magomedov uses good lateral movement to get out of the way. Jordan presses Magomedov against the cage and scores a takedown.
The Dagestani is pinned against the cage, now. Ruslan stands up and locks up a Kimura shoulder lock, for a moment.
Magomedov lets go and they return to the center of the cage. Magomedov connects with a high kick, and then several punches to the face.
Announcer Joe Rogan says that Jordan told his corner that his ribs are broken. That's not good.
Jordan comes out firing in the second. He connects with a big right and then a left punch to the head.
Magomedov recovers and gets free from a clinch. Jordan shoots in against the cage looking for another takedown.
Magomedov swings a kick that misses, but the toey may have caught Jordan in the eye. It bothers him a lot.
He cannot see very well. Magomedov appears to ask Jordan if he's ok before attacking.
Jordan nods and waves him forward. Push kick to the leg from Magomedov.
The fans boo because they are tough guys and girls.
Magomedov lands a lead left hook to the head and Jordan presses him against the cage.
Magomedov lands a question mark kick with his lead leg, to the head. Crazy.
Jordan presses him against the cage and looks for a takedown but gets stuffed. Jordan bleeding badly from both eyes and eats a head kick, though he blocked it a bit with his forearm.
Magomedov with a front kick to the body. Jordan is stalking, still, but not getting off first. He does, however, land a nice low kick to the shin that wobbles Magomedov.
Magomedov presses Jordan against the cage and eats a big uppercut for his effort. Jordan lands an elbow to the head in close and then eats a body kick.
Another front kick to the body, followed by a high kick land for Magomedov.
Official Decision: Magomedov wins via unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 (twice), and 29-28
Joseph Benavidez (22-4) vs. Ali Bagautinov (13-3)
These two start the fight whipping punches at one another, hard. Joe lands a hard right hand that swells up Ali's eye.
Both men switching stances as they bounce around. Joe finding a home for his left high kick.
Ali lands a big right hand and then defends a takedown attempt. Benavidez bleeding from the outside of his left eye.
Benavidez holding his hands very low. He gets caught with another right punch to the head.
Benavidez changes levels but comes back up with a right punch to the head. Joe's cut is bleeding badly, and going into his eye.
I don't love Benavidez throwing so many kicks without setting them up. Ali is swinging the punch counter but missing so far.
Joe continues to wipe away blood from his face.
Demetrious Johnson is a globe-trotter. He was in Tokyo last week, ringside watching the fights, and he's there in Houston, now, watching these two contenders for his title.
More big swings from both men, off the bat, with their punches. Both are coiled, waiting to strike, and then explode with big attempts.
Benavidez lands a left body kick and then a head kick with the same leg. Joe lands a nice left straight to the face of the Dagestani but Ali returns fire with a left hook.
Benavidez lands another body kick, this one a right. Benavidez storms forward with a right hand, trip attempt and then a right hook.
Ali grabs a single-leg takedown attempt, can't get it, but fires off right punches. Ali scores a takedown but Joe gets back up.
Ali lands a right hand down the middle. Ali lands a hard left hook to the head, and then an overhand to the forehead of Joe.
Ali catches a kick and scores another takedown. Benavidez pops right back up, however.
Ali lands a straight left after switching his stance. Joe lands a big knee to the forehead of Bagautinov.
Benavidez changes levels and fakes another takedown attempt before coming back up and scoring a punch to the head. Ali ducks under and scores another takedown.
Benavidez does a great job of popping up, once more, however. On separation, Joe lands another knee to the head.
The fight ends with Ali firing off kicks and punches.
These idiotic fans are booing for some reason. Benavidez tells them like it is and puts it into perspective.
"You guys try fighting in here," he said.
No, they won't. Because those who boo anything short of cheating are cowards, period.
Official Decision: Benavidez wins a unanimous decision30-27 (twice), and 29-28
Jessica Eye (11-3-1) vs. Julianna Pena (7-2)
Pena tries for an inside leg trip off the bat, can't get it and pulls a half guard. That's some confidence in her ground game.
Pena gets up, but gets caught in a guillotine choke, standing. Eye gives up on the choke but reverses positions, and presses Pena against the cage.
Pena gets off the cage, lands knees to the body and then scores a takedown. Eye reverses positions and almost takes her back.
Pena uses a left inside hook to pin Eye to the mat and then goes to work from on top against the cage. Eye does a great job of getting up, though.
Eye presses Pena against the cage, again, using great head position. Pena scores an inside trip, however, and ends up on top with side mount!
Pena lands some nasty elbows to the back of the head, from there. More good punches and elbows for Pena, to the head.
Eye turns to her stomach, on her knees, and Pena takes her back as the round ends.
Pena storms Eye with hooks to the head, again, and Eye grabs hold of her, and presses the TUF winner against the cage.
Pena gets free but then Eye scores a takedown and lands on top in half guard. Eye maintaining good pressure on top and defending Pena's attempts to work an offensive deep-half guard.
Eye passes to the side mount. Pena turns to her stomach, Eye takes her back and Pena turns back to face her.
Eye locks up an arm-triangle choke from inside the half guard. Eye needs to pass the guard in order to have a chance of finishing the choke.
Eye gives up the choke. Pena gets top position and Eye looks for a reverse triangle.
Pena defends and takes side mount. Eye lands a knee to the head and the referee correctly pauses the action because that's illegal.
The referee makes a fatal mistake, however, and stands them up, which favors the fighter who committed the penalty, Eye.
The referee took a point from Eye. Good move.
Eye was rewarded for committing the foul by being letting up from being underneath the side mount. Once back on the feet, Eye batters Pena badly with punches until the round horn.
Horrible job by the referee. Eye with a blatant foul, and then was rewarded by getting the stand-up, despite getting a point taken away.
Pena scores the takedown and Eye locks on a reverse triangle. Pena lands knees to the body and then escapes.
Eye turns and gives up her back in an attempt to stand up but Pena catches her back. Eye gets caught with a rear naked choke!
The choke is deep but Eye won't tap! And, she turns and escapes!
Eye with the half guard, on her back. Pena locks up the far side arm and peppers her with punches.
Eye composes her full guard and locks up a triangle choke but Pena defends it and locks up a guillotine choke from on top, while inside the half guard.
Maybe the referee thinks this would be a good time to deduct a point from Eye and stand her up out of danger.
Pena is cutting her angle and really cranking the choke, making Eye go purple, but the Cleveland fighter maintains her half guard and holds out.
Official Decision: Pena wins a unanimous decision with scores of 29-27, all-around
Yair Rodriguez (6-1) vs. Daniel Hooker (13-5)
Rodriguez lands an inside leg kick on Hooker as he stands in his left-handed stance. Rodriguez shoots out some spinning kicks but misses.
Hooker shoots in with a high clinch and looks for a takedown. Rodriguez reverses and hits his own takedown.
Yair gets on top but Hooker escapes and takes his back on the feet. Hooker pressing Rodriguez against the cage, using a left underhook and good head position.
Rodriguez tries a throw, doesn't get it, but he does land some knees to the body. Hooker continues to press against the cage, lands a low knee that the referee doesn't see.
Rodriguez grimaces but fights on. He goes for another takedown, Hooker sprawls but Rodriguez is able to land some punches on separation.
Rodriguez lands a rolling heel kick to the thigh at the horn.
Side kick to the body and then a trip takedown land for Rodriguez. Hooker gets right back up but promptly eats a reverse elbow to the chin.
Hooker presses Rodriguez against the cage. Rodriguez pulls half guard against the cage, shoots for a leg lock, and then hits a reversal to land on top.
Hooker gets up and they take the center of the cage. Rodriguez sommersaults and twists laterally in the air and lands a shin to the back of Hooker's head!
Hooker looks stunned but he keeps pressing forward. Rodriguez lands a side kick to the face.
Hooker lands a nice straight left to the face. Rodriguez lands a left body kick.
Rodriguez lands a right cross then catches a kick and scores a takedown. Hooker gets up, Yair lands a toss but Hooker is up again, after using a whizzer.
Hooker presses Rodriguez against the cage, once more, and lands a knee to the head. Rodriguez lands a spinning back kick but then eats a straight left.
Rodriguez lands a blast double leg takedown with 10 seconds left in the round, and takes Hooker's back at the horn.
Rodriguez gets caught low with a knee. He's in some good pain, and the referee gives him time to recover.
Rodriguez shoots in, gets sprawled on. Hooker takes Rodriguez's back and drags him to the ground. Yair works for a leg lock but Hooker turns back into him and peppers him with punches.
Rodriguez cuts Hooker with an elbow and cuts him open! He's opened up badly.
Rodriguez is on his back with his right leg weaved under Hooker's right leg and around the right hip of Hooker. Rodriguez gets a little space and tries for a leg lock again, but Hooker presses forward and peppers away to the head.
More elbows from the bottom ofr Rodriguez. Hooker is a mess.
Both men trading strike after strike! The cut is above Hooker's right eye.
The referee intercedes, stands them up, even though both men are active and neither could figure the other out. The referee sees the cut and calls for the doctor.
They continue with 35 seconds left. Hooker stalking Rodriguez.
Hooker shoots a right knee, Rodriguez tries his sommersault heel kick to the leg, again, and misses.
Great fight from both men.
Official Decision: Rodriguez wins a unanimous decision with scores of 30-27 (twice) and 30-26, despite apparently breaking his right foot. It's swelling badly
Alan Jouban (12-3) vs. Albert Tumenov (15-2)
Jouban storms Tumenov with strikes, forces the Thai Plaum clinch, lands a knee but the Russian catches it and dumps the Blackhouse fighter on the mat. Tumenov lets Jouban right up but connects with an uppercut and kick, afterwards.
Tumenov countering well, and hurts Jouban with a straight left to the head. Tumenov lands another straight, a head kick and a counter right uppercut.
Jouban gets a stop in the action after a kick to the nuts. Jouban fires off a crisp head punch combo but Tumenov deftly slips all of them.
Tumenov lands a body kick, and then another head kick. He follows up with nasty punches to the head and knocks Jouban out cold.
Jouban gets up to his feet, is wobbly and has no idea what has happened. Great stoppage from the referee.
He absorbed a great deal of punishment over the course of the whole round. He's just too tough to ever want to stop.
Official Decision: Tumenov wins by TKO at 2:55 of the first round
Adriano Martins (27-7) vs. Islam Makhachev (12-0)
Islam stuns Adriano with a straight left hand to the head. Adriano fires back and connects to the head himself.
Martins connects with a right hook on the button that knocks Islam out, cold on contact.
Official Decision: Martins wins via KO (right hook to the head) at 1:46 of the first round.
Rose Namajunas (2-2) v. Angela Hill (2-1)
Rose lands some great straight punch combinations before connecting with nasty overhands in the clinch. Hill takes Rose's back on the feet but Namajunas gets free.
Rose changes levels and hits a beautiful trip takedown after an overhand right. So smooth.
Namajunas in Angel's full guard, now. Hill using a Z Guard to try and create space and get to her feet, from her back.
Hill turns and gives up her back, Rose takes her back. Hill stands up, but Rose stays stuck to her back, and gets both hooks in.
Fantastic transition work from Namajunas. She gets her forearm underneath Hill's neck.
Hill refuses to tap, and she falls and goes out. What guts.
Official Decision: Rose Namajunas wins by rear-naked choke at 2:47 of the first round