HOUSTON – A noticeably slimmer Daniel Cormier brought extra speed and versatility into the cage against heavier foe Roy Nelson.
Those advantages translated into a one-sided beating for “Big Country” and a unanimous decision for Cormier, who pitched a shutout with 30-27 scores.
The heavyweight bout was the co-main event of today’s UFC 166 event at Toyota Center in Houston. It aired on pay-per-view following prelims on FOX Sports 1 and Facebook.
Afterward, Cormier said his game plan was to stifle Nelson early and wage a standup fight in later rounds. He did just that over 15 minutes.
Nelson winged several of his trademark hooks at Cormier but soon found himself on his back, taking punches as the former Olympian controlled dominant positions on the mat.
Cormier gave Nelson more of a chance to stand and trade in the second frame, but got out of the way of danger using tricky feints and repeatedly scored with heavy right hands and kicks.
By the third round, Nelson largely was grasping at straws as Cormier continued to score. For a brief moment, the winner of “The Ultimate Fighter 10? resorted to taunting Cormier.
In the waning seconds of the bout, Cormier unloaded several big right hands to punctuate his dominance.
“The game plan was to stand with him in the first round and take him down in the last two,” Cormier said. “I had a great training camp, I worked hard to improve my striking. This is going to be my last fight (as a heavyweight). I’ve got someone on my mind, but I know I have a lot of work to do.”
“He didn’t engage me, really,” Nelson said. “That’s not to take anything away from Cormier, but it’s tough to fight like that. He’s a great fighter, but it’s frustrating.”
Cormier (13-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC), who earned his second straight UFC win and remains unbeaten as a pro, formally announced that he would move down to light heavyweight to campaign for the belt. Nelson (19-9 MMA, 6-5 UFC) now faces back-to-back losses since signing a new UFC contract on the strength of a three-fight streak.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 166 results include:
- Daniel Cormier def. Roy Nelson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Gilbert Melendez def. Diego Sanchez via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
- Gabriel Gonzaga def. Shawn Jordan via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 1:33
- John Dodson def Darrell Montague via KO (punch) – Round 1, 4:13
- Tim Boetsch def. C.B. Dollaway via split decision (30-26, 27-29, 30-26)
- Hector Lombard def. Nate Marquardt via KO (punches) – Round 1, 1:48
- Jessica Eye def. Sarah Kaufman via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
- K.J. Noons def. George Sotiropoulos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
- Adlan Amagov def. T.J. Waldburger via KO (punches) – Round 1, 3:45
- Tony Ferguson def. Mike Rio via submission (D’Arce choke) – Round 1, 1:52
- Andre Fili def. Jeremy Larsen via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 0:53
- Kyoji Horiguchi def. Dustin Pague via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:51
For complete coverage of UFC 166, check out the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Houston.