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Three title fights headlined the biggest pay-per-view of the year, as UFC 214 took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim California, main evented by Daniel Cormier defending his light heavyweight title against former champion Jon Jones

First up on the five fight main card was an all-European affair between two top-five-ranked fighters as Britain’s Jimi Manuwa(17-2, #3LHW) took on Switzerland’s Volkan Oezdemir(14-1, #5LHW)

It was an explosive start to main card, as after just 22 seconds Oezdemir managed to land a series of left hooks in the clinch against the fence which rocked and dropped Manuwa and after two ground and pound hammerfists landed on the unconscious Manuwa the referee stepped in and stopped the fight as the Swiss fighter scored a brutal knockout in win which will see him take a big step towards a light heavyweight title fight

In a much-anticipated bout, former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler(27-11-1NC, #3WW) took on Donald Cerrone(32-8-1NC, #6WW), with Lawler entering the contest as betting favourite

Lawler came out incredibly aggressive from the start and managed to land numerous punches that rocked his opponent, however Cerrone was able to recover as the round went on and even managed to get a takedown though the majority of the round was spent in the clinch with both landing knees and punches

The pace slowed somewhat in the second round and the fight was much more even as both fighters decided to stand and trade strikes, with Cerrone getting slightly the better of the exchanges as he was able to put together his combinations a lot better than the first round, in particular landing some good elbows in the clinch as the bout moved to the third and final round

Like the first round, Lawler was back to being the aggressor and managed to land multiple kicks to the body which appeared to slow Cerrone though the action was fairly even throughout the round with Cerrone being the more inventive in terms of strikes while Lawler landed more punches, though Cerrone landing more strikes overall in the round

After going all three rounds the judges gave the unanimous decision to Lawler, who with the win gets himself back in the welterweight title picture

The first of three title fights was up next, as Brazilian Christiane Justino(17-1-1NC) took on American Tonya Evinger(19-5-1NC) to crown a new women’s featherweight champion, with Justino the heavy betting favourite to take the championship

As expected Justino was able to dominate in the striking exchanges in the first round, however Evinger managed to get two takedowns from the clinch though the Brazilian was able to avoid any damage and get back to her feet almost immediately, as Evinger managed to defy the odds and make it to the second round

Round two was essentially more of the same, with Justino walking down Evinger and landing her strikes though the American did a good job of absorbing the strikes and recovering quickly and was even able to land some solid leg kicks of her own as the bout moved into the third of five rounds

The fourth round initially followed the same pattern as the first three, however Evinger simply began to wilt and buckle under the sustained striking attacks of Justino, and after landing two brutal clinch knees against the fence which dropped Evinger the referee stepped in and waved off the fight at 1:56 of the round as Justino became the new women’s featherweight champion

American UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley(17-3-1) was looking to make his second title defence as he took on number one contender Brazilian Demian Maia(25-6, #1WW) with the champion the betting favourite to retain his title

The fight began as was expected, with jujitsu ace Maia shooting numerous times in attempt to get the takedown however Woodley was able to defend every shot , though Woodley wasn’t able to land any of his trade big punches either with each fighter essentially cancelling each other out in the first five minutes

After sustaining eye damage at some point in the first round, the left eye of Maia began to swell badly in the second round which effected Maia’s ability to fight in general but also specifically in regard to his striking, however the action slowed in the round as Woodley was looking for the one-punch knockout while Maia was tentative to try anything significant due to the swollen eye

Rounds three and four featured the same action, with Woodley attempting to land the one huge shot while Maia continued to try for the takedown which Woodley was able to defend completely which lead to a somewhat boring fight from the spectator’s point of view, though Woodley showed great skill in defending the takedowns en route to the fifth and final round

By the mid-way point of the final round Maia had tried twenty takedowns and had gotten none, with Woodley showing great takedown defence, though that was the extent of the action in the round with the crowd becoming restless as the fight came to a close

In the end Woodley retained his UFC welterweight championship via unanimous decision

Post-fight Woodley claimed he’d be fighting Georges St-Pierre in November at Madison Square Garden

Reigning light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier(19-1) finally squared off for the second time against hated rival Jon Jones(22-1, #1LHW) in a rematch from their 2015 bout, which Jones won via unanimous decision, with Jones entering the championship match as betting favourite

Both fighters showed no hesitancy whatsoever early, with Cormier landing a good right uppercut in the clinch that knocked out the mouthpiece of Jones, however Jones soon began to assert himself and started to utilise his superior reach advantage in tandem with his more varied strikes, specifically his kicks to the legs and body of Cormier, as the fight moved into the second round

Cormier was the aggressor for much of two round, constantly pressing the action though he wasn’t able to land any strikes however his confidence started to grow to the point of he started to taunt Jones somewhat whenever Jones would miss a punch or kick, and towards the end of the round Cormier had some success with strikes in the clinch

Cormier continued to have success with strikes in the clinch, specifically uppercuts which landed numerous times, however whatever limited success Cormier was having was shattered when after landing a left head-kick that rocked and dropped Cormier, Jones landed multiple ground and pound punches and elbows on the downed Cormier before the referee stepped in and stopped the fight at 3:01 of the third round as Jones became the new UFC light heavyweight champion

Post-fight Cormier was crying badly, while Jones called out Brock Lesnar, which, if signed, would probably take place in November at the UFC’s return to Madison Square Garden

By Matthew Singh-Dosanjh