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Cormier outpoints Gustafsson in split decision at UFC 192

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UFC fighter Daniel Cormier, left, and Alexander Gustafsson, right, square off during the weigh in for UFC 192, Friday, Oct. 2, 2015 in Houston.

HOUSTON >> Daniel Cormier outpointed Alexander Gustafsson in a split decision Saturday night at UFC 192 to retain the light heavyweight championship.

Two judges gave the fight to Cormier (17-1) with 49-46 and 48-47 scores, and the third had it 48-47 for Gustafsson (16-4).

Cormier’s wrestling skill paid off immediately with a first-round takedown when he lifted and flipped the challenger to the ground.

However, Cormier (17-1) was cut above the right eye in the second round and Gustafsson responded with two rare takedowns on the champion. The takedowns had little impact and Cormier stayed on the offensive.

The swing was in the third round. After Cormier’s uppercut bloodied Gustafsson’s nose, Gustafsson hit Cormier in the chin with a knee and the champion wobbled to the ground, although he quickly popped back up.

Cormier stayed aggressive in the fourth and fifth rounds, not relying on his wrestling skill but landing power strikes and keeping Gustafsson on defense.

On the undercard, Ryan Bader unanimously outpointed Rashad Evans in a light heaveyweight bout. Evans (24-4-1) hadn’t fought since Nov. 16, 2013, because of injuries.

All three judges scored it 30-27. Bader was in control for most of the fight. He did well limiting Evans’ advances, while dealing out more than enough punishment on his own. Bader (21-4) is on a five-fight winning streak.

Ruslan Magomedov (14-1) unanimously outpointed Shawn Jordan (18-7) in a heavyweight bout.

The co-main event was supposed to be a welterweight bout between Johny Hendricks and Tyson Woodley. But the fight was called off after Hendricks failed to make weight Friday.

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