As is tradition with most rematches, it becomes an obsession to pick apart the first fight. Jones vs. Cormier 1 is particularly interesting in that sense. Due to the time elapsed, media build up, and rivalry story line its easy to get lost i the narrative and have trouble recalling the facts.
I remembered the first fight being competitive but could not recall whether it was close, so I decided to see for myself and score the bout minute by minute to determine roughly what portion of the fight each participant dominated. Of course my OCD brain could only do this in excel with a table.
- This fight was not as competitive as I had remembered watching live. I was generous on a few of those minutes with Cormier and Jones still won 68% of that fight.
- Cormier's best round was clearly Round 2. He landed more clean, effective strikes in the clinch using dirty boxing.
- Jone's threw a ton of body knees in this fight. I didn't give these enough credit upon the live watch. Even the clinch exchanges Cormier was winning in Round 2 were met with Jones body Knees. These paid dividends in the Championship Rounds.
- Cormier had virtually no offense in the 4th round. This was the most dominant round for Jones and he spent more time on top of DC when it hit the ground than I recalled upon initial viewing.
- Jones nullified Cormier's wrestling with smart use of over and underhooks and excellent scrambling ability.
- The closest Cormier got to a takedown was in Round 5. In minute 24 he nearly landed a trip with double underhooks but Jones hipped out and recovered from his knees. In Minute 25 Cormier spent what must have been his last bit of energy and picked Jones up with a high crotch single, only to have Jones quickly scramble back to his feet.
Cormier is in for a stiff test come Saturday, regardless of which Jon Jones shows up. To use a cliche Roganism - if you had to engineer a fighter to beat Daniel Cormier, it would be Jon Jones. Can Cormier and his team orchestrate a gameplan to beat Jones this time around? Will Cormier spend as much time in the clinch?
Check out our predictions thread and be on the look out for the podcast breaking down UFC 214: Cormier vs. Jones 2 on Friday Morning.