The Latest on UFC 230, with Daniel Cormier defending the heavyweight belt against Derrick Lewis in the main event (all times local):
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza connected on a flush right hand to the temple to knock out Chris Weidman in the third round of a middleweight bout at UFC 230.
Souza and Weidman were engaged in a brutal slugfest that kept both fighters on their feet for most of the first 2½ rounds. Weidman finally got caught and clung to Souza’s leg as he tried to find his bearings. Souza got a couple of punches in for good measure until referee Dan Miragliotta mercifully stopped the fight.
Souza rebounded from a loss to Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 224 and did it with a busted nose. Weidman stunned Souza with a right that smashed the Brazilian’s nose, making it spew blood for the remainder of the first round.
Weidman is from New York and had dozens of fans walking around Madison Square Garden in his T-shirts and chanting “USA!” early in the fight.
Souza shook it all off and got the win in a battle of two fighters who both badly needed one.
Sijara Eubanks went from UFC 230 main event fighter to undercard winner at Madison Square Garden.
Eubanks was scheduled to fight Valentina Shevchenko for the vacant 125-pound title on Saturday but lost the placeholder slot when UFC decided instead to have Daniel Cormier defend the heavyweight belt against Derrick Lewis.
Eubanks was bumped to the free-TV preliminary card against Roxanne Modaferri and then failed to make weight, coming in at 127.2 pounds.
The easiest part of 230 was the actual fight. She beat Modaferri by unanimous decision and cupped her ears toward a crowd that showered her with boos.
The shuffling leaves Shevchenko fighting former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the 125-pound title in Toronto on Dec. 8.
Eubanks’ bout was downright pleasant compared to the bloodbath earlier on the undercard.
Sheymon Moraes defeated Julio Arce via split decision in one of the bloodiest bouts in recent UFC history. Moraes used an elbow to slice open the right side of Arce’s head, bathing both fighters in blood. Arce wore a crimson mask and anyone sitting cageside dodged blood that splattered outside the octagon. Arce could not stop the gushing blood or Moraes, who landed a few head kicks to seal the deal. Moraes won 29-28, 28-29,30-26.
Daniel Cormier is set to make his first defense of the heavyweight championship Saturday night when he fights Derrick Lewis at UFC 230.
Cormier (21-1, 1 no-contest) fights for the first time since he flattened Stipe Miocic in July. Cormier, who also holds the light heavyweight championship, had been posturing for a fight against Brock Lesnar. But with Lesnar still signed to WWE and no firm word on a return to UFC, Cormier accepted the chance to fight Lewis at Madison Square Garden.
Lewis (21-5) has punishing knockout power but not much else as he fights for the title for the first time. He’ll fight just one month after a knockout win at UFC 229 where he absorbed 78 significant strikes to the head but still won.
Chris Weidman takes on Jacare Souza in a middleweight bout in one of five bouts on UFC’s first card this year at MSG.
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