UFC 206 – Live Coverage & Play By Play

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After a three-year absence, the UFC returns to Toronto. The big story of the match is Anthony Pettis missing his weight and being unable to compete for the interim featherweight title. A big blow for a card that already lost its original main event (Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson) due to injury. I am in press row and will give you the latest.

Let’s get started

EMIL MEEK VS JORDAN MEIN
WELTERWEIGHT – THREE ROUNDS

Round 1
In an aggressive first round, both fighters being with immediate kicks. Meek, making his fight debut is the early aggressor as both fighters exchange kicks. A devastating front kick by Canadian Mein scores. The pair exchange jabs, and Mein sideswipes a flying knee by Meek that would have surely ended the bout. No real rest holds. Mein seems hurt by grabbing his rib cage but gets back to his feet and scores with big left. Meek’s kicks seem to be giving the Canadian trouble.

While Mein has the hometown advantage, Meek winning crowd over with the way that he manages to throw caution to the wind. Round one is even.

Round 2
There is no feeling out process as both fighters are swinging for the fences. Meek scores a big takedown to pin his opponent to the mat. Meek continuing to force the action. Mein’s strategy of countering doesn’t seem to be working. While Meek doesn’t seem to be landing much, in a decision, he clearly will get the points for pushing. Meek lands a triangle but Mein manages to break away. Not a good round for the Alberta native. Meek wins round 2, 10-9.

Round 3
Barring an unbelievable comeback. Norway’s Meek should win easily. And that doesn’t just mean the match, but the crowd as well. When the Norwegians asks for love from the crowd, he gets it. A low kick starts the round and Meek pushes his opponent but Mein manages to stop a take down. The rookie plays the safe strategy by pushing Mein to the mat and then trying the ground and pound. Mein making little effort to escape the ground. A forgettable round until Main tries an armbar. Meek manages to counter and picks Mein up to slam him to the mat again. Meek wins round 3, 10-9

FIGHT GOES TO DECISION. JUDGES GIVE UNANIMOUS VICTORY TO MEEK: 29-28.

KELVIN GASTELUM VS. TIM KENNEDY
MIDDLEWEIGHT – THREE ROUNDS

Round 1
I still remember how Kelvin Gastelum came out of nowhere to win The Ultimate Fighter when everybody and their cousin picked Uriah Hall to win the tournament easily. Kennedy with a couple of kicks to start. None land cleanly. Gastelum looks a little slow until he catches one of the kicks and throws a jab of his own. Kennedy goes for a takedown but Gastelum just manages to stay on his feet. Kennedy’s legs look dangerous as he lands another takedown and easily takes his opponent’s back twice. Gastelum looks gassed already. Kennedy goes for takedown after takedown until Gastelum finally elbows his way out and lands a huge strike. Gastelum starts to regain life with a minute left in the round as the fight moves to stand-up. Brilliant exchange at the end of the round as both fighters land strikes. Round initially seemed like it was Kennedy’s easily but Gastelum makes strong comeback and even manages to break Kennedy’s eye open. That said, I still believe Kennedy takes it. Kennedy wins round 1, 10-9

Round 2
Crowd starts TFC chant to support the Toronto FC soccer team that is playing in the MLS final at same time as the UFC event. Gastelum lands early kick to the body and begins to take control of the fight with strikes. Kennedy tries to clinch but can’t do it. Kennedy tries to move inside, but this backfires as Gastelum begins to land punches easily. Gastelum takes Kennedy down. Gastelum hits jabs to end the round. Very strong round for the former Ultimate Fighter winner. Gastelum wins round 2, 10-9

Round 3
Fight looks like it will come down to this round. Gastelum seems revitalized. Pushes his opponent to the floor but Gastelum quickly looks to stand again. Gastelum landing strikes and jab effectively, almost at will. Kennedy looks like a broken man as it seems like it is just a question of when Gastelum will end it (and not if). Gastelum lands a pair of huge haymakers to finish. Kennedy down and Gastelum mounts to ground and pound him for the TKO. Gotta say, I thought Gastelum was finished after the first.

KELVIN GASTELUM WINS VIA TKO IN ROUND 3, 2:45

DOOHO CHOI VS. CUB SWANSON
FEATHERWEIGHT – THREE ROUNDS

Round 1
Knees by Choi to start. Both fighters look to establish an early presence. Choi with a combination but Swanson scores with devastating uppercut. Fast-pace to the match. Swanson hits nice kick to the stomach but Choi hits nice counter punch. Swanson missing spinning kick. Swanson hits strong leg kick with one minute left. Great back and forth. Choi with a couple of nice punches near end of round. Tough one to call. Will go Choi. Choi wins round 1, 10-9

Round 2
Swanson looks to establish early dominance as he goes on immediate offensive with opening rush of punches. Choi manages to land a a knee and then a left, but Swanson’s striking seems invincible. Choi takes a lot of damage but manages to stay alive despite the Swanson surge. Just when you think it is over, Choi hits a huge counter. Both fighters are throwing strike for strike and this is quickly becoming a Match of the Year candidate. With only two minutes left, Swanson lands a cartwheel kick. Swanson hits a jab that rocks Choi and gives Swanson huge advantage. Swanson hitting Choi repeatedly and it looks like fight will be over momentarily. Swanson hits a GORGEOUS spinning backfist. Choi manages to swing back. Unreal. Swanson still takes the round. Swanson wins round 2, 10-9

Round 3
Crowd is electric. Swanson again starts strong but Choi displaying no signs of relent. Choi seems to be favouring the jabs as Swanson starts to rely more on his legs. Shockingly Choi tries to put the fight on the mat (huh?) and this backfires as it takes Swanson almost no time to mount. Choi grabs Swanson’s leg and manages to get back into a standing position. Despite Swanson looking strong, Choi seems to have an answer. The warriors begin to trade and Swanson now is clearly landing more than his opponent. Swanson scores with a huge punch and Choi hits the mat. Is it over? Might have been had the bell not rung. Swanson wins round 3, 10-9.

CUB SWANSON WINS VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

MATT BROWN VS. DONALD CERRONE
WELTERWEIGHT – THREE ROUNDS

Round 1
Cerrone predictably starts by throwing his feet. Cerrone’s kicks appear to be very effective early which is a bad sign for Brown. Brown holding on but just barely. Brown sizes up Cowboy but Cerrone quickly stops that with with a jab and strong striking. Brown is cut open. Brown throws a kick but slips but when Cerrone goes to mount, Brown manages to secure a triangle. Nothing damaging for Cerrone as he escapes. Easy round to call. Cerrone wins round 1, 10-8.

Round 2
Brown tries to go on the offensive and drops Cerrone with a punch, but can’t finish. Cerrone gets back up but eats another hard punch seconds later. Cerrone lands a head kick and then a straight right. Brown gets up but Cerrone’s offense appears to be too much. Cerrone punching at will. A jab staggers Brown and the blood is just everywhere. A better effort from Brown, but seems outclassed tonight. Cerrone wins round 2, 10-9

Round 3
Fighters touch gloves. Brown scores an early takedown but Cerrone gets and knocks Brown out with a head kick. Cerrone wins round 2, 10-9

Round 3. The fighters touch gloves and do a mini-embrace at the start of the round, after a war of words before the fight. Brown gets a takedown but Cerrone immediately returns to his feet. Cerrone then knocks Brown out with a head kick.

DONALD CERRONE WINS VIA KNOCKOUT (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

ANTHONY PETTIS VS. MAX HOLLOWAY
INTERIM FEATHERWEIGHT TITLE BOUT (ONLY HOLLOWAY ELIGIBLE) – FIVE ROUNDS

Round 1
Slow start to the fight but it was amusing to see Pettis refusing to touch glvoes before the fight. The pace of the match seems very slow. At the halfway point, Pettis misses a high kick, but does manage to secure a strong body kick. Pettis seems to be throwing more but isn’t landing. Neither is Holloway. Only notable moment of the round is Holloway landing a left hook. While Pettis scores a late takedown near the end of the round, it appears Holloway takes the first round. Holloway wins round 1, 10-9

Round 2
Pettis falls early, but quickly gets back to his feet. Pettis is bleeding from the right eye. Holloway throwing punch after punch and seems to definitely be the favourite currently. Pettis goes to the clinch but can’t secure the takedown that he clearly wants. Another round to Holloway who appears well-positioned to secure the interim featherweight title. Holloway wins round 2, 10-9.

Round 3
Holloway lands a combination to start. Pettis tries a couple of front kicks. The fighters clinch. Holloway hits Pettis with a kick and immediately follows with punches to the head. Pettis covers up and the fight is stopped.

MAX HOLLOWAY WINS VIA TKO

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