Two titles left Las Vegas Saturday night at UFC 197.
Jon Jones wasn’t able to score a finish, but he more than showed that he is still one of the best right now in MMA.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion – with current titleholder Daniel Cormier calling the action – earned a decision over Ovince Saint Preux in the main event.
Fighting for the first time in over a year, “Bones” looked rusty, but he was able to pick OSP apart for the better part of 25 minutes.
It didn’t matter that Henry Cejudo was unbeaten. Or an Olympic gold medalist. There is only one Demetrious Johnson.
“Mighty Mouse” finished Cejudo in the first round, rocking him with a series of knees and elbows to remain UFC flyweight champion in the co-main event.
Edson Barboza scored a career-defining victory, handing former UFC champion Anthony Pettis his third straight decision loss. Barboza has won four of his last six overall and will remain in the Top-10, likely moving ahead of “Showtime.”
In a meeting of fighters on four-fight win streaks, it was Robert Whittaker earning the decision over Rafael Natal. Whittaker, an Aussie and former Ultimate Fighter winner, fought through a slew of injuries in the fight to prevail and remain unbeaten at middleweight.
Yair Rodriguez placed himself along the likes of Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida with an incredible jumping roundhouse kick knockout of Andre Fili to begin the pay-per-view main card. The win was the fourth straight inside the Octagon and fifth overall in a row for Rodriguez, a 23-year-old former winner of The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America.
Top prospect Sergio Pettis withstood a grinding effort by Chris Kelades to earn a decision victory. Pettis, who has been training at Jackson-Wink MMA with his brother, showed off new-found wrestling skills to claim his 14th career win.
Welterweights Danny Roberts and Dominique Steele went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes, as Roberts earned the decision. Steele was more effective with takedowns, but Roberts landed the more effective strikes during the contest to push his record to 13-1 overall.
Fighting for the first time in over a year, former UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza returned with a win, besting Brazilian Juliana Lima. Esparza, who lost the title to Joanna Jedrzeczyk in a one-sided affair, dominated Lima with her wrestling in picking up the win.
James Vick kept his perfect record intact, scoring a hard-fought decision over The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil winner Glaico Franca. Vick used effective boxing to win the stand-up game, while also controlling the Brazilian on the ground to improve to 9-0.
Heavyweights concluded the UFC Fight Pass prelims, and as expected, Walt Harris vs. Cody East did not make it out of the first round. However, it was Harris rocking East and earning the win and his first inside the Octagon.
Brazilian Marcos Rogerio de Lima put together a flawless showing vs. Clint Hester, connecting on almost 80-percent of his strikes before securing a submission victory. The former Ultimate Fighter: Brazil competitor did not get hit in the bout, which ended four minutes into the first round.
Kevin Lee got back in the win column, scoring a decision win over former Ultimate Fighter winner Efrain Escudero. Lee used a strong third round to claim the win, which was his fifth in his last six fights.
Steele and Roberts were given the “Fight of the Night,” while Johnson and Rodriguez claimed “Performance of the Night” bonuses. All four earned an additional $50,000.
Complete results can be found below:
Jon Jones def. Ovince Saint Preux via unanimous decision (50-44, 50-45, 50-45) to become interim UFC light heavyweight champion
Demetrious Johnson def. Henry Cejudo via TKO (strikes) at 2:49 of Round 1 to remain UFC flyweight champion
Edson Barboza def. Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Robert Whittaker def. Rafael Natal via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Yair Rodriguez def. Andre Fili via KO (jumping roundhouse kick) at 2:15 of Round 2
Sergio Pettis def. Chris Kelades via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Danny Roberts def. Dominique Steele via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Carla Esparza def. Juliana Lima via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
James Vick def. Glaico Franca via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Walt Harris def. Cody East via TKO (strikes) at 4:18 of Round 1
Marcos Rogerio de Lima def. Clint Hester via submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:35 of Round 1
Kevin Lee def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)