The Latest: Miocic keeps UFC heavyweight title with decision
BOSTON (AP) — The Latest on UFC 220 in Boston, with the heavyweight and light heavyweight titles up for grabs (all times local):
Stipe Miocic set the UFC heavyweight record with his third straight successful title defense, turning the anticipated slugfest against Francis Ngannou into a methodical ground-and-pound bout in the main event of UFC 220.
Miocic won 50-44 on all three scorecards early Sunday and was never seriously tested by the raw but unrefined Ngannou.
Miocic (18-2) and Ngannou (11-2) had UFC fans buzzing with perhaps the most-hyped heavyweight title bout since Brock Lesnar was the class of the division. Both fighters have a history of finishing off their foes within two rounds and Ngannou was coming off a nasty knockout win just seven weeks ago.
Both fighters were winded by the third round and Ngannou looked sleepy as he whiffed on a few blows in the fifth.
Miocic and Ngannou tagged each other several times in the first round and both fighters were staggered and in trouble.
But the fight got worse from there. Miocic spent the second and third rounds just banging away as Ngannou covered up, hoping for one last desperate knockout punch.
He never found it.
Miocic beat Fabrício Werdum to win the heavyweight title in May 2016, and followed with wins against Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and now Ngannou to slug his way into the record book.
Daniel Cormier has defended his 205-pound title with a dominating performance over Volkan Oezdemir in the co-main event of UFC 220.
Cormier (20-1) had the Boston crowd behind him and Oezdemir (16-1) taking shots in front of him Saturday night, putting him away just 2 minutes into the second round. Cormier raised his hands in triumph as UFC President Dana White wrapped the title belt around his waist. He dropped to his knees on the canvas and said he proved he was worthy of being called champion.
Cormier was awarded the title after Jon Jones was stripped of his light heavyweight championship when he failed his latest doping test.
Cormier had lived in Jones’ shadow for the last few years of his career.
But against Oezdemir, he was worthy of the title.
Cormier nearly put away Oezdemir in the first round with a choke until there was a late save by the bell. But Cormier pinned Oezdemir against the canvas early in the second and finished him off with a series of punches to the face.
UFC 220 is set for its championship main events.
Rob Font gave the hometown fans a reason to go wild with a dominant victory over Thomas Almeida in the opening bout on the UFC 220 pay-per-view card on Saturday night. Font crushed Almeida with an overhand right to the temple, a knee to the head and Font pounded away until the bout was quickly stopped at 2:24 of the second round. House of Pain blared during Font’s victory celebration inside the cage.
Gian Villante defeated Francimar Barroso by split decision for his sixth straight victory in a slow-paced 205-pound fight that drew heavy boos from the antsy crowd.
Calvin Kattar, another New England fighter, broke open a close fight against Shane Burgos and via TKO in the third round. Kattar staggered Burgos with a series of blows and nailed an uppercut that put Burgos on his back. Burgos absorbed more blows and briefly escaped until referee Dan Miragliotta stopped the fight.
Kattar, who won his 10th straight MMA fight, wowed the crowd then gave a shoutout to the Patriots to the delight of the crowd.
Abdul Razak Alhassan caught Sabah Homasi flush with a right uppercut in the first round for one of the more spectacular knockouts in recent UFC history to win a welterweight bout at UFC 220 on Saturday night.
Razak Alhassan knocked Homasi cold with a vicious right that brought a gasp from the sellout crowd at TD Garden. Homasi was motionless on his back for a couple of minutes and eventually needed assistance to sit on a stool in his corner. Trainers placed bags of ice on his back and neck.
Razak Alhassan already beat Homasi in a controversial stoppage at UFC 218. UFC granted an immediate rematch and Razak Alhassan left no doubt about this outcome.
Even with ferocious heavyweight puncher Francis Ngannou on the card in the main event, it’s going to be hard for any fighter to top Razak Alhassan’s KO.
Kyle Bochniak, of Gloucester, Massachusetts, had the home crowd behind him in a unanimous decision win over Brandon Davis. The crowd roared for Bochniak’s walk to the cage and cheered when the decision was announced.
The UFC had five fights ahead on the UFC 220 pay-per-view card.
UFC 220 has some star power on the sidelines for the opening fights.
Islam Makhachev needed just one left hand and 57 seconds to knock out Gleison Tibau in the first preliminary bout. Khabib Nurmagomedov was in Makhachev’s corner and pounded a wall in celebration of his fellow Russian fighter’s victory on Saturday night. Nurmagomedov is set to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title at UFC 223 in New York.
UFC President Dana White has refused to strip inactive champion Conor McGregor of the lightweight title. Nurmagomedov’s second fight in UFC was a victory over Tibau. Tibau made his return following a two-year doping suspension.
Enrique Barzola defeated Matt Bessette by unanimous decision in another of the prelim fights. Julio Arce beat Dan Ige by unanimous decision in a bout between two fighters making their UFC debuts. Dustin Ortiz also snapped Alexandre Pantoja’s 11-fight MMA winning streak dating to 2010 with a unanimous decision victory.
UFC is back in Boston.
The top MMA promotion returned to TD Garden Saturday night with the heavyweight and light heavyweight belts on the line on the same card for the first time since 2003.
Stipe Miocic (17-2) looks to set a UFC heavyweight division record with a third straight successful title defense when he fights Francis Ngannou (11-1). The 31-year-old Ngannou hasn’t needed to go beyond the first round in any of his last four bouts and has never gone past the second in his 12 pro fights. Ngannou fights just seven weeks after his stunning victory of Alistair Overeem at UFC 218.
Daniel Cormier (19-1) defends the light heavyweight title against Switzerland’s Volkan Oezdemir (15-1).
UFC held its fifth card at TD Garden, the first since 2016, and the company said the arena was sold out.