On Saturday, May 23, the UFC touched down in Las Vegas to bring fight fans the highly anticipated UFC 187 fight live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

The card was originally scheduled to be headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between reigning champion Jon Jones and Anthony Johnson. However, Jones was forced off the card after  his infamous hit-and-run incident last month in Albuquerque. As a result, the UFC stripped Jones of his title and handed him an indefinite suspension in order to get his life back together. In his place stepped in Daniel Cormier, the man Jones defeated at UFC 182 earlier this year.

Before to losing to Jones, Cormier (15-1) walked away with back-to-back stoppage wins over Patrick Cummins and Dan Henderson as a member of the UFC’s 205-pound division. Prior to this, ‘DC’ competed as a heavyweight where he earned 13 consecutive wins. His opponent Johnson (19-4), earned his shot at the belt with a violent first round TKO over former title contender Alexander Gustafsson in the main event of UFC on FOX 14 in Sweden last month. This victory gave ‘Rumble’ wins in 11 of hist last 12, including nine straight.

Weidman (12-0) was last seen in defending his title against Lyoto Machida in a thrilling five-round war at UFC 175 last July. Prior to this win, the Long Island native defended his title at UFC 168 against former middleweight champion and pound-for-pound best Anderson Silva, the very man he won the belt from when he shocked the world at UFC 162 in July 2013. Belfort (24-10), a former UFC light heavyweight champion, had not been seen since walking away with a violent first-round head kick knockout over Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 in November 2013. This gave ‘The Phenom’ five straight stoppage victories as a middleweight, including three straight by way of knockout.

All this plus a lightweight matchup between Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone and John Makdessi, a heavyweight contest between Travis Browne and Andrei Arlovski as well as a key flyweight battle between former title contenders Joseph Benavidez and John Moraga.

Main Card Summary

Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson – for vacant UFC light heavyweight title

With the crowd far less hostile than the previous bout, both men touch gloves in the center. Johnson dropped Cormier early but Cormier recovers and immediately started working for the takedown against the cage before slamming his opponent into the canvas. As he worked for back control, Johnson slows made his way back to his feet but couldn’t shake his opponent free. With little action happening in front of them, a parade of boo birds echoed down from the rafters followed by an even louder “Rumble” chant. Johnson would finally break free and even landed a series of violent punches to this opponent forehead. The round would end with both men working for position against the cage.

The second round kicked off with far more action as Johnson landed a barrage of kicks before Cormier scooped him up, walked across the canvas and slammed him to the ground. Working out of half guard Cormier immediately started working for the kimura but to no avail. Cormier would end the round by landing a flurry of elbows and strikes to his bloodied opponents face.  The doctors almost immediately start checking at Johnson’s face as both his eyes are closed up and blood seeping from his forehead.

Knowing he’s in trouble, Johnson flung a series of kicks and haymakers at the beginning of the third round before securing a takedown of his own. Cormier would bounce right back up and immediately starting working for the trip against the fence. With is opponent still hurt, Cormier would land short bunches before locking on the rear naked choke, forcing Johnson to tap. Daniel Cormier def. Anthony Johnson by submission (rear naked choke). Round 3, 2:39

(c) Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort – for UFC middleweight title

With a thunderous crowd going berserk around them both men touch gloves in the center of the octagon. Weidman almost immediately shot for the takedown but Belfort defends and connects with a kick to the body. Vitor follows up with a flurry of punches and elbows from within the clinch. Surviving the onslaught, the champ dumps Belfort on his butt and immediately starts working for the submission before transitioning to full mount. With his opponent at his mercy, Weidman landed blow after blow after blow, forcing the ref to stop the fight. The champion rises to his feet in triumph, his bloodied opponent left laying on the ground as a U-S-A chant erupts from the arena. Chris Weidman def. Vitor Belfort by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 2:53

Donald Cerrone vs. John Makdessi

Right out of the gate Cerrone, with almost no expression,  sends a series of thunderous kicks at the thigh and mid-section of Makdessi. After a short feeling out process, Cerrone connects with a hard knee to Makdessi’s stomach but can’t connect with anything on the follow up. A rather lucklust opening framed closes out with a flurry of punches from Cerrone.

The second stanza picked up right where the last one ended as Cerrone continued to pepper his opponent with kicks, followed by a hard knee right between the eyes. Makdessi, to his credit, doesn’t waver and even sneaks in a straight right to the chin of Cerrone. As soon as the round hit the one-minute mark, Cerrone connected with thunderous head kick. As he staggered back, Makdessi made the “time-out” motion, much to the confusion of the Cerrone and crowd, before waiving his hands to stop the fight. Slumping to the canvas, he points to his mouth, revealing he had broken his jaw. Donald Cerrone def. John Makdessi by TKO. Round 2, 4:44

Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski

A touch of the gloves and this heavyweight bout is underway. A quick flurry from Arlovski but he can’t connect with anything He folows it up with a vicious right hand that wobbles Browne. Sensing blood, the former champion swarmed and landed a barrage of strikes to the head and body of his reeling opponent. Surviving the onslaught, Browne shoves his opponent away but he can’t escape s Arlvoski continue to connect with strikes to the head. A visibly hurt Browne closes his eyes and swings blindly, connect with the in of Arlovski. The Pitbull recovers immediately and unloads another flurry of strikes to the skull of Browne, forcing the referee to stop the fight as the crowd erupts around them. Andrei Arlovski def. Travis Browne by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:41

Joseph Benavidez vs. John Moraga

Both fighters meet in the middle and engage  quickly. Neither land anything significant and both step back and reset.  Moraga throws a head kick and Benavidez drops him with a right hand.  Moraga is hurt and Benavidez immediately jumps on top looking to finish the fight.  Moraga tries to compose himself and get Benavidez in his guard.  Benavidez isn’t having any of it and moves into side control and attempts to work a submission.  Moraga is able to scramble to his feet but Benavidez immediately gets another takedown and looks to work some more ground and pound.  Moraga scoots to the cage and pops back to his feet.   Both fighters work for position in the clinch. Moraga works for a takedown and in the scramble gets Benavidez’s back, but he immediately gets back to his feet, reverses position and gets a takedown of his own. The round ends with Benavidez in top position looking to land punches.

Round 2 starts with both fighters meeting in the center of octagon exchanging punches. Both fighters work to establish their range and trade combinations. Both fighters are landing punches with neither fighter gaining a clear advantage. Moraga begins to find his range landing some hard body kicks that forces Benavidez to clinch up.  During the clinch, Benavidez cuts Moraga with an accidental head but and pushes Moraga up against the fence.  Benavidez scores a takedown and immediately transitions to half guard. Benavidez begins to work from an arm triangle to improve his position. Moraga defends allowing Benavidez to lands some elbows. Benavidez spends the final minute controlling position and landing punches and elbows.

Round 3 streets with Moraga looking to find his range.  Moraga lands some early shots that appear to have stunned Benavidez,  Moraga looks to walk Benavidez down and land strikes when he can. Benavidez is starting to slow and certainly looks tired.  Moraga is bleeding heavily from his head into his eye buy he continues to press forward. Benavidez is on his bicycle circling around Moraga lulling him to sleep before shooting in and getting another takedown. Benavidez immediately transitions to side control, but Moraga is able to get Benavidez back in his guard. Benavidez continues to look to improve his position while Moraga attempts to hold Benavidez and get the ref to stand them up. Benavidez continues to land punches and elbows and finishes out the round in top control Joseph Benavidez def. John Moraga by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

FULL RESULTS

MAIN CARD

Daniel Cormier def. Anthony Johnson by submission (rear naked choke). Round 3, 2:39 – for vacant UFC light heavyweight title
Chris Weidman def. Vitor Belfort by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 2:53 – for UFC middleweight title
Donald Cerrone def. John Makdessi by TKO. Round 2, 4:44
Andrei Arlovski def. Travis Browne by TKO (strikes). Round 1, 4:41
Joseph Benavidez def. John Moraga by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

PRELIMINARY CARD

John Dodson def. Zach Makovsky by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Dong Hyun Kim def. Josh Burkman by submission (arm triangle). Round 3, 2:13
Rafael Natal def. Uriah Hall by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Nina Ansaroff vs. Rose Namajunas -Fight cancelled, Ansaroff pulled out due to illness,

EARLY PRELIMINARY CARD

Colby Covington def. Mike Pyle by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Islam Makhachev def. Leo Kuntz by submission (rear naked choke). Round 2, 2:38
Justin Scoggins def. Josh Sampo by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)

(c) – Champion