SAN JOSE, Calif. – Ten fights in, the San Jose fans perhaps had gotten a bit spoiled with eight knockouts.
So if Daniel Cormier’s effective game plan of working Frank Mir over with body shots in the clinch had them booing – even booing one of their San Jose brethren – perhaps it was understandable. Cormier worked Mir over for 15 minutes in a fight largely contested in the clinch for a unanimous decision victory in his UFC debut, which took place in his training home base.
The heavyweight bout was the co-main event of today’s UFC on FOX 7 event at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. It aired on FOX following prelims on FX and Facebook.
Mir threw four front kicks early, then a left high kick. But Cormier kept backing him up toward the cage. Mir landed a good knee to the body as Cormier moved in, but Cormier seemed to walk through it and tied Mir up along the fence and landed an uppercut. And that would become the theme of the fight. Cormier tried to crank on Mir’s neck, then looked for a knee before they separated again. But again Cormier got inside and tied him up and worked shots to the body, then the head.
Cormier’s game plan was clear: work Mir’s body to wear him down, and he did so with a combination of punches and knees with Mir backed to the fence. When Mir did get some separation, it wasn’t long before Cormier was able to tie him back up again.
In the second, a leaping kick from Cormier was off the mark, but it had Mir looking at him with raised eyebrows, perhaps surprised at the move. But soon after, Cormier tied him up again and tried to go back to work on the body. After a minute, and with his home fans getting a little restless, Cormier chose to back out on his own. But he quickly was back inside to tie Mir up. Midway through the round, he again backed out and blocked a pair of Mir kicks up high – then clinched the former champ up again. Around the one-minute mark, Cormier landed a few good shots on the fence, backed out, then landed more on the return to the body and the head.
Mir needed to swing for the fences in the third, and he did early with kicks. But Cormier tied him up initially before Mir was able to land a pair of good body shots that seemed to be effective – but just effective enough for Cormier to want to tie him up again. Herb Dean separated them halfway through the round, and Mir tried to again kick to the body. But soon after, the two clinched again. Dean separated them with 30 seconds left, but Mir wasn’t able to do anything to put Cormier in trouble.
“I’m not happy with my performance,” Cormier said. “I was nervous and I can’t explain why. It must’ve been this big-fight feel. I didn’t fight how I wanted. I controlled the fight and I thought I landed some good punches. At the end of the day, I stay undefeated and move forward. Before I walked into the cage, I felt a little nervous. Maybe it was all the back and forth between Frank and I leading up to the fight. I’m sure the jitters will get better with time.”
Cormier (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) stayed unbeaten with the win in his long-awaited UFC debut. Mir (16-7 MMA, 14-7 UFC) has lost two straight for the first time in his career. At UFC 146, he lost a heavyweight title fight to then-champ Junior Dos Santos.
Up-to-the-minute UFC on FOX 7 results include:
- Daniel Cormier def. Frank Mir via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Josh Thomson def. Nate Diaz via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 3:44
- Matt Brown def. Jordan Mein via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 1:00
- Chad Mendes def. Darren Elkins via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 1:08
- Francis Carmont vs. Lorenz Larkin via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- Myles Jury def. Ramsey Nijem via KO (punch) – Round 1, 1:02
- Joseph Benavidez def. Darren Uyenoyama via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 4:50
- Jorge Masvidal def. Tim Means via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
- T.J. Dillashaw def. Hugo Viana via TKO (strikes) – Round 1, 4:22
- Anthony Njokuani def. Roger Bowling via TKO (strikes) – Round 2, 2:52
- Yoel Romero def. Clifford Starks via KO (flying knee, punches) – Round 1, 1:32
For complete coverage of UFC on FOX 7, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan and Ben Fowlkes contributed to this report on-site in San Jose.