LAS VEGAS — It’s time for UFC 200, and it should be a doozy.
Miesha Tate’s women’s bantamweight championship bout against Amanda Nunes headlines UFC’s biggest night ever, but there’s plenty of star power to go around, even without stalwarts Ronda Rousey, Conor McGregor and Jon Jones on the card for various reasons. Brock Lesnar returns to the octagon for a heavyweight clash with Mark Hunt, and Anderson Silva replaced Jones on short notice to face Daniel Cormier in a light heavyweight fight.
NESN.com will be octagon-side at T-Mobile Arena for all the action, providing live round-by-round analysis for the three biggest fights, plus results for the entire card. Follow along right here, starting at 6:30 p.m. ET with the early prelims, and enjoy.
Miesha Tate Vs. Amanda Nunes Round-By-Round Commentary
Tate and Nunes touch gloves — a little surprising, given the tone of their pre-fight banter — and we’re off on the main event. The fighters trade haymakers about 45 seconds in, then the champ drives the challenger to the ground, although Nunes gets up quickly. Another Tate takedown attempt goes wrong and ends with the champ taking a kick to the face.
Nunes goes on the attack and opens Tate’s face with strike after strike. It doesn’t look good for the champ, and it isn’t — she taps out after Nunes puts her in a rear naked choke at 3:16 of the round.
Wow. Amanda Nunes is your new women’s bantamweight champ, and bettors have to be happy.
Probably not as happy as Nunes, though.
Stay tuned to NESN.com for complete post-card coverage, including the fighters’ press conference and analysis from our friends at OddsShark.com.
Tate is the third UFC women’s bantamweight champion in the past year, and she doesn’t want to see a fourth.
To keep her belt in this five-round bout, Tate likely will have to withstand an early flurry from Nunes, who likes to make quick work of opponents. Tate can go the distance, though, as she did with Holly Holm, taking the championship from her with a fifth-round TKO.
OddsShark.com’s Joe Osborne has the latest odds and props on Tate-Nunes.
Brock Lesnar Vs. Mark Hunt Round-By-Round Commentary
Lesnar is back, winning the fight by unanimous decision. All three judges scored it 29-27. Lesnar certainly made a statement in Rounds 1 and 3.
Bettors who took Lesnar winning a decision made out well, as OddsShark.com’s Justin Hartling pointed out.
This is the final round, and you’d have to think Lesnar will just go for it.
He stands up with Hunt and trades punches, but Hunt lands the biggest one. Lesnar grabs Hunt’s legs and drills him into the ground, then starts swinging left hands to the face. Hunt can’t escape Lesnar’s huge paws, and he won’t win this fight unless he can.
Lesnar starts choking Hunt with his left arm and striking him with his right, and it looks devastating. Hunt gets both hands on Lesnar’s mouth, but the former champ works his chin back into Hunt’s left shoulder, then moves his head up and drops a left elbow. Round 3 ends with Lesnar making one last-ditch submission attempt, but it doesn’t work, and we go to the judges’ scorecards.
Like Round 1, it’s a slow start, as both fighters feel each other out before Hunt lands a punch 40 seconds in. Lesnar lets out a little bit of nervous energy by bouncing up and done, but he doesn’t go on the attack. Maybe that flurry at the end of the first round took something out of him.
Hunt twice escapes Lesnar’s attempts at takedowns, and the fight slows considerably. No attacking, just two fighters dancing, until Lesnar lands a straight left. Lesnar drives Hunt into the cage, and that’s where they end the round. A letdown after the first-round fireworks.
Lesnar and Hunt tap gloves, then dance a bit. Lesnar tries a short jab that doesn’t land, and Hunt looks relaxed and without fear of the former heavyweight champion. Lesnar throws a right kick and tries to follow with a left-hand punch, but it fails.
Lesnar charges Hunt and takes him halfway to the ground because Hunt grabs the cage. The ref reminds him that’s a no-no, so he lets go, and Lesnar finishes the move. Hunt stands up for a little bit, but Lesnar returns him to the ground and is going for the submission. That’d be something this early.
Lesnar works Hunt with enormous head strikes from behind, not to mention a vicious knee to the midsection, and the round ends with the mayor of Suplex City looking pretty darn good in this fight.
Lesnar’s return to the octagon will be official in mere minutes, and even though it’s a three-round heavyweight bout with no title implications, it promises to blow the lid off T-Mobile Arena.
Lesnar, now a WWE star, is a polarizing figure, and he was guaranteed a $2.5 million payday to spice up the UFC 200 card. Let’s see if he does that or if Hunt makes quick work of him.
Daniel Cormier Vs. Anderson Silva Round-By-Round Commentary
Cormier wins by unanimous decision — 30-26 on all three judges’ cards. No big surprise there. Cormier’s post-fight interview is drowned out by boos, but Silva is greeted like the former champion he is.
It’s the final round, and Silva, who has nothing to lose in this fight, just goes for it, aggressively striking Cormier with fists and legs. Cormier doesn’t want any more toe-to-toe action, so he drops Silva to the mat, and the boos are back.
Cormier seems content to ride out the remaining 3 minutes on the ground, on top of Silva. The crowd starts chanting: “Stand them up, stand them up, stand them up!” It finally happens at the 2:02 mark, to much cheering.
There’s little action after that, as both fighters hover in the center of the octagon, throwing an occasional punch. Silva then starts chasing Cormier, punctuating an attack with a flying knee that has the crowd sensing something. But the fighters end the round clenching each other, and we’ll have to go to the judges’ decision.
Silva opens the round with a thundering kick to Cormier’s legs, exciting the crowd, but the champ responds by dragging the challenger back to the mat, and the boos rain down. Hard.
Cormier occasionally works in punches and elbows but not enough for the crowd’s liking, as he makes the fight more resemble a college wrestling match. The loudest cheer comes when the ref has seen enough and stands up the fighters.
Silva responds by keeping his distance, aware that Cormier wants to go back on the ground, and the fighters stand toe to toe, delivering punches and backhands. The fans roar their approval, then throw down heavy boos when the fighters hug against the cage as the round winds to its end.
Cormier and Silva dance around the octagon, both looking for an opening. Cormier lands a right kick, then takes down Silva — a smart move, given the weight advantage. One fan yells, “Lose weight, DC!” but those pounds could be the X factor in this fight.
Cormier spends a long time simply on top of Silva, and the fans boo and whistle, wanting more action from these fighters. But Cormier’s game plan seems simple: Wear down Silva with his size, fists and elbows. Ground work also is a speciality for Cormier, a former U.S. Olympic wrestler.
The round ends, finally allowing Silva to get off the mat.
Cormier will fight tonight — a fact that was in doubt just days ago, when Jon Jones failed a drug test and was pulled from the UFC 200 card. Enter Silva, a middleweight who’s considered one of the UFC’s all-time best but will give up pounds to Cormier, a light heavyweight. It’ll be interesting to see how long Silva can hang with a heavier opponent on such short notice.
Cormier’s light heavyweight belt won’t be on the line, but it still should be an intriguing three-round fight.
Other Pay-Per-View Main Card Results
Jose Aldo def. Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 48-47) for the interim featherweight championship.
Cain Velasquez def. Travis Browne by TKO at 4:57 of the first round.
Julianna Pena def. Cat Zingano by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Kelvin Gastelum def. Johny Hendricks by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
T.J. Dillashaw def. Raphael Assuncao by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Sage Northcutt def. Enrique Marin by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Early Prelims Results
Joe Lauzon def. Diego Sanchez by TKO at 1:26 of the first round
Gegard Mousasi def. Thiago Santos by KO at 4:32 of the first round
Jim Miller def. Takanori Gomi by TKO at 2:18 of the first round
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images