Can't afford to watch the last UFC PPV of the year, or your local sports bar too cheap to order it (or your computer too slow to stream it?) No worries - our LIVE stream-of-consciousness feed will keep you filled in all night long.
By: Jimbo X
It's the final UFC show of the year, and for once, Saturday night isn't alright for fighting. You know, because UFC 207 is airing on a Friday night instead, for some reason.
Well, never mind those trifling little details, what's important is by golly, we've got some stellar-looking MMA bouts to close out 2016 on a high note. For one thing, we've got T.J. Dillashaw looking to secure his spot as the numbero uno contender-o for the Bantamweight strap against a dude who's won half a dozen fights in secession. And after that, we've got Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt - fresh off one of the greatest "yo momma" exchanges in the world of MMA since that time Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans got into it - going toe-to-toe for the 135 pound championship in what should be one hell of a tussle. And of course, we conclude the night - and the MMA calendar year - with the biggest star in MMA history making her triumphant return to the Octagon, as Ronda "WME really needs me to win this one" Rousey locks horns with Bantamweight strap holder Amanda Nunes.
So yeah, it probably won't be the best show of the year, but there's still enough interesting stuff on the main card to make it worth going out of our ways to witness. Anyhoo, our LIVE round-by-round coverage begins at 10 p.m. Eastern time on Friday, Dec. 30. Do yourself a favor and bookmark this sucker, and be sure to hit the refresh button early and often - we plan on dropping updates after every round. And why don't you do us and yourselves a favor and let your buddies on the social media know about our free service?
Well, looks like this is the last time we'll ever see Mike Goldberg calling a UFC show, so enjoy the Jewiness while it lasts.
Louis Smolka (11-2-0-0) vs. Ray Borg (9-2-0-0)
Smolka is a 125-pounder who has fought under the Zuffa banner since 2014, going 5-2 over the last three years. Borg joined the UFC around the same time Smolka did - since '14, he's gone 3-2, with his last bout being a decision loss to Justin Scoggins. Frankly, both of these guys are way out of the title fray at this point, and my expectations for the bout are carpet low (the metaphorical opposite of sky high, in case you weren't aware of it.) Yeah - I think it's safe to say we all would've much preferred seeing Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum tango here...
Borg out to "Shout at the Devil" by Crue. Smolka comes out draped in the Hawaiian flag.
Borg with a knee to solar plexus. Smolka whiffs on a high kick but manages to take down Borg anyway. Borg has Smolka's back. He's looking for an armbar. Now he's elbowing the shit out of him. He still has Smolka's back. BORG WITH A SHOOT ROCK BOTTOM! Borg in the full mount and now he's trying to dry hump Smolka to death. Borg looking for an omoplata, of all things. Borg spins out and punches the shit out of Smolka on the ground. Borg with his hooks in Smolka again. Borg with another big slam as the round concludes. Easy 10-9 for Borg, and it ain't even close.
Round two. Borg with a takedown and he has Smolka's back again. He's in the full mount. Borg standing and looking for a leglock. Borg with two HEAVY shots on the ground. Borg in side control. Borg seeking a guillotine. More Borg pound and ground. Ton of punches to Smolka's side. Now Smolka is looking for a guillotine. Borg is out, and he's in side control once more. Another hard elbow shot from Borg. Smolka trying for a triangle, but it ain't happening. 20-18 for Borg, without question.
Round three. Borg shoots for a takedown and Smolka peppers him with elbow shots. Borg in the full mount again. Borg's got Smolka's back. He has a hook in, but he changes his mind. Back to the full mount. Borg has a DEEP arm triangle locked in. Smolka escapes. Borg immediately gets back in the full mount. Borg bullying Smolka up against the cage. Borg LITERALLY jumps on Smolka's back and takes him down. Now the two are standing and Smolka is trying to throw some miracle high kicks. Borg misses on a spinning elbow and Smolka gets a few hammer fists in as the bell sounds. Gotta' be 30-27 for Borg.
One 30-26 and two 30-27s to give Borg the unanimous decision win. Crazier, Borg says he broke his ankle sometime in between the first and second round. Joe Rogan says he's had trouble making weight in the past, but Borg says all he needs to do is work on it a little. This dude reminds me of a young B.J. Penn so much, it's scary.
Max Holloway and Travis Barker are both in the house.
Here's some B-roll of Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey entering the arena, if you need it.
Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1-1) vs. Tarec Saffiedine (16-5-0-0)
Believe it or not, there are two fighters on the UFC roster named "Dong Hyun Kim." Well, this is the older of the two, the guy who used to fight in DEEP and has been a welterweight stalwart in the company since 2008. His opponent tonight is the Belgian import Tarec Saffiedine, who hasn't done a whole lot in the UFC but had a pretty good run back in the day with StrikeForce. So yeah, the title implications in this one are slim to non-existent, but hey, it's always fun to watch two veteran sluggers pound on each other for money they desperately, direly need, ain't it?
T.S. out to some hippity-hoppity nonsense. Stun Gun comes out waving the South Korean flag. I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think his entrance theme is Gangnam Style.
Pretty big pop for Stun Gun. Good grappling to begin, with both men trying to land the first takedown. T.S. has Stun Gun's back. T.S. with a big knee to the face. Stun Gun trying to land a Judo throw. He's grinding T.S. against the cage. Both fighters standing, and looking to bang it out in the center of the cage. Stun Gun pins T.S. up against the fence again. T.S. whiffs on a huge haymaker. Stun Gun swinging wildly. T.S. ragdolls Stun Gun to the canvas. Both men up and trading light blows as the bell sounds. A tough one to call, but I've got it 10-9 for Stun Gun.
Round two. Stun Gun misses a high kick and T.S. misses another haymaker. T.S. looking for a takedown but he can't get it. Stun Gun ties him up against the fence. Out of the clinch and both men swinging wildly again. Neither managing to land anything. Good front kick from T.S. Both fighters looked gassed as fuck right now. Stun Gun smothers T.S. up against the cage again. Stun Gun with some small knees as the round concludes. 20-18 Stun Gun.
Round three. Crazy exchange to begin. T.S. "is swinging for the bleachers," Rogan says. Stun Gun clinches T.S. up against the cage, because if it keeps working, why abandon the game plan? Stun Gun FINALLY gets the takedown, but T.S. is right back up. Stun Gun gets a takedown, but he ends up implant DDTing himself in the process. Both men standing. T.S. with a good kick to the midsection. Both these men are so dead on their feet it isn't even funny. Stun Gun with a facile takedown. He sits on T.S. as the round concludes. Should be 30-27 across the board for the Korean.
Stun Gun wins it by split decision. How the fuck that one judge scored it a 29-28 for T.S. is simply beyond me, folks.
Urijah Faber is in the house, and so is ... uh, that one African-American comedian. No, not that one. Or that one. Nope, not that one, either ... yeah, that one.
T.J. Dillashaw (14-3-0-0) vs. John Lineker (29-7-0-0)
Ex-Bantamweight Champ T.J. Dillashaw, to put it mildly, is one bad motherfucker. Having been finished just once in his professional MMA career (a TKO loss to, of all people, John Dodson), he's gone on to beat up the likes of Joe Soto, Mike Easton and Renan Barao (twice.) After dropping the belt to Dominick Cruz in January, he quickly rebounded by making Raphael Assuncao look like a silly bitch in the Octagon at UFC 200. If Dillashaw can get past Lineker tonight, he's pretty much a lock for the next crack at the belt. But I wouldn't sleep on this Linker motherfucker, though - after all, the guy is riding a six-fight win streak, complete with commanding victories over guys like John Dodson and Ian McCall. This one, as they sometimes say, "ought to be a good 'un."
John Lineker is the last person alive rocking the "emo" Peter Parker haircut from Spider-Man 3 unironically. Dillashaw out to that one Red Hot Chili Peppers song, as always.
Herb Dean is the ref, so that means somebody will have to be brain dead for at least half an hour before he waves it off. T.J. whiffs on a high kick and John gets a brief takedown. Dillashaw with another high kick, but John catches it and tosses his for to the mat again. Both men back up. T.J. with a takedown. T.J. in side control. Now he's in the full mount. John trying to push him off but T.J. keeps whacking him with hammer fists. We're standing in the middle of the cage with 90 seconds to go in the round. T.J. with a low kick and John whiffs on roundhouse. Both men swinging like retarded apes in a knife fight as the bell sounds. 10-9 for T.J. in my books.
Round two. T.J. with a takedown and a ton of punches on the ground. Both men back up. John throwing everything he has at T.J. but nothing sticks. T.J. with a good body kick followed up by a facile takedown. T.J. almost in the full mount. T.J. hammering him with elbows on the ground. Now he has John's back. Back in the full mount. T.J. just pounding the shit out of him right now. More hammer fists and elbows. Absolute dominance from T.J. 10-9 for sure, maybe even a 10-8.
Round three. T.J. throwing high kicks, but nothing's landing. T.J. with a takedown and he's beating the fuck out of John again. Both men back up. John swinging his arms like nunchucks. T.J. with another takedown. Time for more elbows and hammerfists. John trying to get back up and T.J. is just kneeing the shit out of him. T.J. looking for a leglock. John escapes and we're standing again. John throwing punches recklessly. Nothing lands, and T.J. should coast to a 30-27 - maybe even 30-26 - unanimous decision across the board.
It's 30-26 on all three judges' scorecards for Dillashaw. He thanks Duane Ludwig in the post-fight interview and calls Dominick Cruz "a bitch" for dodging him. "If I don't get the next title shot, we all know this shit is rigged," he says.
UFC Men's Bantamweight Championship Bout
Dominick Cruz (22-1-0-0) vs. Cody Garbrandt (10-0-0-0)
Dominick Cruz might just be the pound for pound best fighter on the planet (sorry, Demetrious Johnson - and Jon Jones, if you lay off the crack pipe, we might put you back in the running.) The dude has had just one loss on his record, and that was against Urijah Faber all the way back in 2007. Since then, he's won 13 consecutive fights, including two bouts against Joseph Benavidez, two "revenge" fights against Faber and two tilts against fellow UFC champs Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw. Garbrandt has only been a pro fighter since 2012, but he's definitely chalked up some impressive wins over the last four years, including dominant victories over Takeya Mizugaki and Thomas Almeida (in fact, his last three bouts have been first round stoppages.) So what we've got here, it appears, is that old MMA philosophical question: what happens when a versatile veteran starts throwing haymakers with a young up-and-comer with a fuck-ton of napalm hiding behind his punches? If you said "the product is a UFC co-main event I actually want to watch," you sir or madam, would be correctamundo.
Garbrandt out to ... I have no clue. But he does get a pretty big ovation. Cruz out to some techno-y gobbledygook and light boos.
Cody with a high kick to begin. Now he's dancing like Anderson Silva used to. Another high kick attempt from Cody. Cruz whiffs on an overhand. Then Cody whiffs on an overhand. Cody chases Cruz against the fence, but none of his swings connect. Cruz with some low kicks. Cruz with a takedown, but Cody is right back up. Cruz swinging wildly and he whiffs on a spinning back fist. Cody with a takedown. Cruz is up. Brief punch exchange to close the round. Super close, but I'd give it to Garbrandt, 10-9. But just barely.
Round two. Cruz trying to chase Cody down. Both men stagger each other with punches, but they recover. Cruz swinging like a wild man. Cruz trying to close the gap and Cody clips him a few times. Cody taps him on the chin. Cruz just cannot hit this nigga. Both men in the center of the cage. Cody tries for a takedown, but it don't work. Cruz hits him with a flurry of punches as the round expires. 20-18 Cody.
Round three. Cody slips but he is right back up. Both men trading blows. Cody with leg kicks. Cody shucking and jiving. Cody tags him. High kick from Cruz. CODY DROPS HIM. Cruz is back up. Cruz misses a million billion punches. Cody dodging everything Cruz throws at him. 30-27 for Garbrandt.
Round four. At this point, Cruz is going to have to finish Cody to hold onto his belt. Missed high kick from Cruz. CODY DROPS CRUZ AGAIN. The champ is back up. Cody taunting Cruz by placing his hands on his hips. Cruz is throwing everything he has at Cody and he's dodging it like he's in The Matrix or something. CODY DROPS HIM THREE TIMES OVER THE COURSE OF ONE MINUTE AND I AM NOT EVEN JOKING. Cruz survives the round, but just barely. 40-36 for Garbrandt, maybe even 40-35.
Round five. Do-or-die time for Cruz. Cody playing it very conservatively. Cody mocks Cruz by dropping on the mat and popping right back up. Cody chucks Cruz to the ground. Cruz misses a spinning back fist. Cody presses him up against the cage. Garbrandt does a capoeira roll and this one is all over with. 50-45, maybe even 50-45 for Cody in my book.
Two 48-46 and one 48-47 for Cody Garbrandt to make him the new Bantamweight Champ.
In the post-fight, he puts the belt on this kid who looks like Bobby Hill. "T.J. Dillashaw, come try me motherfucker," he declares. Urijah Faber joins him for a group photo afterwards.
Michael Bisping pimps the next xXx movie. And now? It is time to pimp the hell out of th main event.
UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship Bout
Amanda Nunes (13-4-0-0) vs. Ronda Rousey (12-1-0-0)
Well, this one hardly needs any hype, does it? Ronda Rousey, up until that fight against Holly Holm, was the UFC's golden idol - not just the company's numbero uno PPV draw, but a bona fide A-list celebrity with the kind of crossover media appeal the sport of MMA has been dreaming about since the heyday of Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie (no, not Feb. 2016, you wiseacres you). Alas, with Rousey getting Mortal Kombat combo'ed into submission that fateful evening in Australia, the UFC has struggled to repair Rousey's once unblemished public image, which isn't helped none too much by Rousey acting like a legitimate nutcase in her year-long layover (methinks that has something to do with shacking up with Travis Browne ... let's just call it a hunch.) So tonight, she - and the UFC, by default - have a grand opportunity to go in there and restore Rousey to her former prestige and glory (and if the bout is competitive enough, even fan the flames for a rematch that, potentially, would make even more moolah.) But if Rousey loses - and let's not forget the hellacious mauling this Nunes girl put on Miesha Tate earlier this summer - well, let's just say that ought to really shake WME's faith in this whole MMA business and is likely to drastically change their organizational plans for 2017. Make no mistakes, folks - from a pure business standpoint, this is the most important fight of 2016, and don't nothing else even come close.
Rousey out to "Bad Reputation" and she gets a MONSTER ovation. She looks pissed as fuck. If Nunes doesn't come out wearing that lion mask, I'm going to be sorely disappointed. And she comes out just wearing a baseball cap instead. Bummer.
A considerable height advantage for Nunes. Nunes swinging for the fences. Nunes clipping the shit out of Ronda AND IT IS ALL OVER. "She lit Ronda up like a Christmas tree," Rogan comments. Nunes absolutely carved Rousey alive standing - we're talking a Mortal Kombat "flawless victory" win right here.
The official time is just 48 seconds into the very first round. Rousey leaves the Octagon. Amanda says her girlfriend is going to be a UFC champion, too. She said she loved how the media totally overlooked her in the lead up to the fight. Nunes says Rousey is probably going to retire because she's already got all that Hollywood money.
Well, there goes WME's stock estimates for Monday morning. Rogan and Goldberg shoot the shit about why Rousey got her ass kick and talk about potential challengers for Nunes' title. There's a great moment where Joe has to correct himself after he calls half the roster "guys." Per Rogan, "Amanda was just better tonight."
Ronda Rousey got paid $3 million for tonight's fight. And needless to say, Nunes beat every last penny out of her this evening.