Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier looked to defend his strap opposite Volkan Oezdemir last night (Jan. 20, 2018) at UFC 220 inside the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.
After all the controversy with Jon Jones that saw Cormier lose and consequently regain his title, the Olympian found himself in an odd position. Luckily, the best way to reassert himself as champion was to turn away another title contender, and Cormier was happy to get back on the horse.
Oezdemir is the fastest rising contender in recent years, as it took less than a year inside the Octagon for “No Time” to earn a title shot. His lack of time inside the Octagon made him something of a mystery, which was kind of an advantage leading up to this title bout.
Volkan came out firing immediately. He landed some good shots, but Cormier kept his head moving and avoided eating too many clean blows. Oezdemir settled down after a minute, but he continued to walk the wrestler down.
About two minutes into the round, that changed. Working behind the jab, Cormier advanced forward and tried to drive into the clinch, but Oezdemir denied that range. Oezdemir did well to circle and target the body at first, looking sharp. However, a big right hand from Cormier stunned the Swiss athlete, and he swarmed his dangerous opponent.
“DC” finished with a takedown and seemed to have a rear naked choke locked up, but the bell rang before he could finish it.
Cormier stung Oezdemir with a pair of jabs before quickly dropping into a single leg. He landed in mount and nearly took the back, but Oezdemir scrambled into a crucifix instead. Cormier immediately dropped his weight heavy, and “No Time” was trapped completely. From there, Cormier pounded away while his foe squirmed, eventually forcing the referee to call the bout.
Cormier pretty much predicted exactly what happened. Oezdemir came out aggressive, but Cormier weathered that storm without taking any devastating shot. Once his opponent calmed down, Cormier showed off his improved boxing by sticking Oezdemir with the jab repeatedly. That set up his heavier shots, which quickly found a home on Oezdemir’s chin.
All of that improved striking probably wasn’t even necessary. Each time Cormier truly committed to the single leg, he was able to transition until he completed the shot. Once on top, Cormier’s transitions were dominant, as he immediately moved to a position to finish both times.
Cormier is deserving of the 205 lbs. crown, and it seems like Alexander Gustafsson is next for him.
Oezdemir came out and fought a bit desperately. He immediately set a pace that he had no chance of maintaining, meaning he essentially gave himself two minutes to knock Cormier out. If that didn’t happen — and Cormier is tough as hell to finish — then Oezdemir was in for a tough loss.
The sad thing is that Oezdemir had tools that could have found him consistent success. His range striking looked violent before he slowed, and he was targeting the body well. Plus, when Cormier tried to push into the clinch, Oezdemir did a great job of breaking away and trying to punish the attempts.
If Oezdemir tried to maintain consistent pressure rather than a full-on sprint, things may have worked out differently for him.
Last night, Daniel Cormier defended his title in spectacular fashion. How long will Cormier command the Light Heavyweight title?
For complete UFC 220 “Miocic vs. Ngannou” results and play-by-play, click HERE!