Combat Sports

'The Punk' steps in to headline Bellator 172, loses by KO

'The Punk' steps in to headline Bellator 172, loses by KO

Bellator 172 suffered a huge blow just hours before showtime, when Matt Mitrione was forced to withdraw from the highly-anticipated main event with Fedor Emelianenko due to illness (kidney stones). 

Bellator MMA president Scott Coker explored several last-minute options to replace Mitrione - including Chael Sonnen - but ultimately, the fight was canceled, with hopes of rescheduling at a later date. 

As a result, San Jose native Josh “The Punk” Thomson was promoted to headliner status, in a battle against fellow lightweight contender Patricky "Pitbull" Freire. Much to the dismay of his home crowd at SAP Center, Thomson was knocked out in round 2 by a vicious uppercut. 

Fresno's Josh Koscheck also lost via uppercut in his promotional debut against Mauricio Alonso. Both fighters came out swinging early, but Alonso's right haymaker late in round 1 proved to be the deciding shot, dropping Koscheck to the canvas. The former UFC welterweight contender has now lost six straight bouts. 

Daniel Cormier can finally feel like a champion again


Daniel Cormier can finally feel like a champion again

Daniel Cormier was awarded the UFC light heavyweight championship Saturday night at UFC 220 after his loss to Jon Jones was overturned when Jones failed a prefight drug test. Cormier said leading up to the fight that he didn’t feel like a champion. He probably feels like one now.

The San Jose-based 205-pounder defeated No. 2-ranked Volkan Oezdemir by secon-round TKO to retain the title.

“I felt as if I was fighting for a vacant title because (Jones) beat me last time,” Cormier (20-1) said in a postfight interview referring to his loss last July.

“I fought for a vacant title and I got the job done so I’m the UFC champion again.”

Cormier, who turns 40 in March, nearly won the fight a round earlier. In the final minute of the first frame, Cormier landed a right hand flush on the challenger’s face. After securing a takedown and taking Oezdemir’s back, Cormier locked in a rear naked choke but was forced to relinquish the hold when the bell rang.

Oezdemir, 28, was given a second chance, but he couldn’t capitalize. Cormier dominated the second round from the beginning. The AKA-product once again took down Oezdemir, transitioned to a crucifix, and landed a barrage of shots until the referee called the fight at the 2:00 mark.

“He was so game. I knew he was a dangerous guy. He hit hard,” Cormier said of Oezdemir (15-2). “But once I was able to get him to the ground, I knew it was my world.”

And for now, the rest of the light heavyweight division is just living in it.

What they’re saying: Congratulations to Andre Ward

What they’re saying: Congratulations to Andre Ward

Oakland's own Andre "Son of God" Ward is calling it a career at 32-0. And plenty of noteable teams and icons showed the champ respect on Thursday...