UFC 220 is a big card with two big titles: heavyweights Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou competing for the heavyweight belt, and Daniel Cormier vs. Volkan Oezdemir for the light heavyweight belt. For Cormier, it was a chance to erase the stink of a bad knockout loss to Jon Jones at UFC 214. Cormier would be given back his title after Jones tested positive for steroids, but many wondered whether he’d be able to bounce back against knockout artist Volkan Oezdemir.
Cormier and Oezdemir kicked off the fight by slinging leather, both looking dangerous in the first rounds. Oezdemir used his lanky frame well to hit Cormier from all sorts of angles while Cormier was forced to leap in to land his own hard shots. The few takedowns from Cormier were shucked off by Volkan almost before they started, forcing the light heavyweight champ to keep exchanging. But one of his big looping shots connected, stunning Oezdemir. Cormier smelled blood and went on the attack, unleashing a barrage of strikes before securing a takedown and a rear naked choke … only for the bell to sound.
Cormier came out in the second round ready to fight for the takedown, and it wasn’t long before Oezdemir was on his back once again with Cormier in side control and then the crucifix position raining down punches. It was a checkmate moment. Oezdemir couldn’t escape the position and Cormier kept dropping hard shots on his skull. The ref was forced to stop the fight three and a half minutes into the second, and Cormier retained his light heavyweight title.
“I lost twice to Jon Jones and I said as I came into this fight that I was fighting for a vacant belt,” a happy Cormier said after the win. “I fought for a vacant title and I got the job done, so I’m a UFC champion again!”