UFC 187 was supposed to feature Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the main event, as well as a No. 1 Lightweight contender eliminator match on the pay-per-view (PPV) main card that included Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Jones was pulled from the Memorial Day weekend show and stripped of his title last month, while Nurmagomedov shredded his knee in training. It appeared as if another stacked UFC PPV card was cursed, but the promotion plugged in Daniel Cormier and John Makdessi, and the event went on as planned inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And it was great.
Cormier stopped Johnson in round three via submission (watch video highlights here), Chris Weidman settled his score, violently, with Vitor Belfort in the co-main event (watch video highlights here), Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne put on a Heavyweight display for the ages (watch video highlights here) and Cerrone cemented his status at the next 155-pound title contender by breaking Makdessi's jaw with a head kick.
It was the kind of night that made watching meaningful mixed martial arts (MMA) fun again after enduring some serious issues in recent months.
UFC President Dana White was a proud daddy post-fight.
"It was a great card tonight, obviously, tons of great fights," he told Megan Olivi in a backstage interview. "These guys put on incredible performances. This is what people pay for, whether it’s the tickets or on pay-per-view (PPV). This is what people want to see. They did it, came out and performed. This was the good fight card for May — I wouldn’t say it was the big one — but it was the good one."
White, of course, is referring to the insanely successful "super" fight between Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao earlier this month, which shattered just about every record imaginable.
And it's only about seven weeks until White has his UFC version to gloat about.
For complete results from UFC 187: "Johnson vs. Cormier," including play-by-play updates, click here.