Volkan Oezdemir catapulted to the front of the Light Heavyweight division on the heels of back-to-back first round knockout wins, which were impressive enough to earn him a coveted 205-pound title shot against division champion, Daniel Cormier, in UFC 220’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event tonight (Sat., Jan. 20, 2018) inside TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
It was a little too much, too soon this evening, though, for the 26-year-old Swiss standout, who started strong but then wilted — like most do — under the pressure of “DC,” who survived an early blitz to score a second round technical knockout.
Oezdemir immediately came out swinging, landing looping left hands that had Cormier ducking for cover and looking to close the distance. Oezdemir pinned him up against the fence and tried to blend in a little dirty boxing, but Cormier tied him up to thwart the onslaught. Cormier was eating several shots just to close the gap, landing a few as he barreled in, but he couldn’t secure the takedown early. Oezdemir took his foot off the gas as the first round began to wind down, with Cormier stinging him with a nice overhand right ... then a left hand. Oezdemir was wobbled and Cormier picked up his pace, but he recovered quickly. Cormier ended the round with his first takedown, which he transitioned to a very tight rear-naked choke, but unfortunately for him Oezdemir was saved by the bell.
He wasn’t so lucky in round two, though.
Cormier scored a takedown almost immediately in the center of the Octagon and gained full mount. Cormier slide to the side and got him into a crucifix position, drilling him with short, hard shots as Oezdemir’s arms were pinned to the canvas. The referee warned him to improve his position, but he couldn’t — Oezdemir was trapped between Cormier and canvas, eating a healthy dose of head bouncers before the referee finally waived off the bout.
Oezdemir started strong, but Cormier has proven time and again that he has the grit, ability and skill to weather early storms and eventually overwhelm his opponents. And that’s exactly what he did to Oezdemir, who was in way over his head once the adrenaline wore off and Cormier began to break him down bit-by-bit.
Cormier rebounded from a very emotional and scary loss (later ruled a “No Contest”) to Jon Jones tonight and picked up right where he left off. Not sure what’s left for the 38-year-old to prove inside the Octagon at this point with Jones facing a possible four-year suspension from the sport.
For complete UFC 220: “Miocic vs. Ngannou” results, including play-by-play updates, click here.