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Former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski went toe-to-toe with Travis Browne at UFC 187 and produced a fight for the ages, one of the best slugfests the Octagon has ever seen.
But it almost didn’t unfold the way it did.
Arlovski, who held the UFC heavyweight title almost a decade ago, had to dig deeper than he ever had before in order to score a sensational knockout. The “Pit Bull” badly rocked Browne early in the first round, couldn’t finish him, and then rocked him again -- and again, and again.
John Dodson will be the first to admit that he did not deliver a vintage “Magician” performance at UFC 187.
In his first fight in nearly a year after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL and meniscus, Dodson took a unanimous verdict over former training partner Zack Makovsky in a preliminary flyweight tilt. The bout was contested primarily on the feet, and while the Jackson-Wink MMA representative was unable to land with his trademark power, his ability to mix in kicks and knees with his punches was enough to get the nod from the cageside judges.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort has had a rollercoaster career in mixed martial arts. He’s had great wins and losses, and plenty of drama outside the cage, but after his most recent defeat on Saturday, Belfort vowed to solider on in the sport he loves.
LAS VEGAS -- Daniel Cormier is the UFC light heavyweight champion.
Some might dispute this, but facts are facts. Cormier went to the UFC 187 post-fight press conference, having finished Anthony Johnson, holding court while possessing the gleaming gold belt.
Nor is this belt an interim championship. Interim titles are for injuries, to give guys like Dominick Cruz some slack when they're working in good faith to get back into ring shape but suffer setbacks along the way.
As if Andrei Arlovski's roller-coaster first-round upset over Travis Browne at UFC 187 wasn't impressive enough, an ill-timed fight week injury threw Arlovski's status on the card into question right up until Saturday night, according to UFC President Dana White.
"Two hours before he came out, we didn't think he was going to fight," White revealed on the FOX Sports 1 post-fight show. "He popped something in his calf the night before, could barely walk, was limping. The doctors checked him out and I guarantee you, he gritted it out to show the doctors that he could fight. So the doctors said it's up to you, do you want to fight? He said yes.
Weidman retained his middleweight title by finishing Vitor Belfort by TKO in the first round Saturday night here at MGM Grand and then addressed all his detractors afterward.
"Hey, stop doubting me," Weidman shouted to the fans in an interview with Joe Rogan. "It's enough. Stop doubting me. You better join the team now. This is my last invitation. Join the team. I love you."
After his victory over Anthony Johnson to become the new UFC light heavyweight champion on Saturday night, Daniel Cormier made it clear that he felt like the real champion.
Cormier said in the UFC 187 post-fight press conference that just because he didn't defeat erstwhile champion Jon Jones -- who was stripped of his belt in April after a hit-and-run felony charge in Albuquerque -- doesn't mean the gold around his waist isn't legitimate.
Dodson defeated Zach Makovsky via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28) Saturday night at UFC 187 here at MGM Grand. But it was a relatively uneventful fight with little action -- far different than what we're used to seeing from the electric Dodson.
However, "The Magician" still thinks he should be granted the next title shot against Demetrious Johnson.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight No. 1 contender, Vitor Belfort, was forced to abandon his testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) in early 2014, after the controversial treatment was outlawed by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
A bout between strawweights Nina Ansaroff (6-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Rose Namajunas (2-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has been pulled from tonight’s UFC 187 lineup.
Just two hours before the event’s start time, UFC officials announced the change.
“After contracting a case of the flu, UFC strawweight Nina Ansaroff has been deemed medically unfit by doctors to compete in her UFC 187 bout against Rose Namajunas on Saturday night,” a statement read.
“The Handsome One” (perhaps better known as “El Guapo”) will be enshrined at the 2015 UFC Hall of Fame inductions.
UFC President Dana White surprised Bas Rutten, a former UFC heavyweight champion, during Friday’s edition of “Inside MMA” on AXS TV. Rutten is a cohost of the weekly news program.
UFC officials recently revamped its company hall of fame and now enshrines members in one of four categories: modern era, pioneer era, contributors and fights.
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view, 10 p.m. ET)
Daniel Cormier (205) vs. Anthony Johnson (204.5)
Chris Weidman (185) vs. Vitor Belfort (184)
Donald Cerrone (156) vs. John Makdessi (155.5)
Andrei Arlovski (241) vs. Travis Browne (236.5)
Joseph Benavidez (125.5) vs. John Moraga (126)
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET)
John Dodson (125.5) vs. Zach Makovsky (126)
Josh Burkman (170.5) vs. Dong Hyun Kim (170.5)
Uriah Hall (186) vs. Rafael Natal (185.5)
Nina Ansaroff (120)* vs. Rose Namajunas (116)
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Colby Covington (170.5) vs. Mike Pyle (171)
Leo Kuntz (155.5) vs. Islam Makhachev (155.5)
Josh Sampo (126) vs. Justin Scoggins (126)
* Ansaroff was fined 20 percent of her fight purse for missing weight.
The UFC’s most recent pay-per-view event, UFC 186: Johnson vs. Horiguchi was unavailable on DISH Network due to a contractual dispute, the two companies have come to an agreement just 24 hours prior to what could be one of the MMA juggernaut’s biggest events of the year.