Welcome to MMAConvert’s UFC 173 results and play-by-play post, where together we’ll watch a bantamweight champ defend his belt against a Team Alpha Male challenger, two Dans (Cormier and Henderson) battle, and Robbie Lawler punch his way through Jake Ellenberger. So kick back, relax, and keep hitting “refresh”.

Prelim Card – UFC Fight Pass

-Jingliang Li def. David Michaud via Split Decision

-Sam Sicilia def. Aaron Phillips via Unanimous Decision

-Vinc Pichel def. Anthony Njokuani via Unanimous Decision


Prelim Card – FOX Sports 1

-Mitch Clarke vs. Al Iaquinta

Round 1: Clarke comes out probing with kicks, but after about 40 seconds Iaquinta grabs his foot and puts him on his butt with a right hand to the chops. The Long Islander shifts into grappling mode and methodically works to pass half-guard, all the while the two exchanging knuckle sandwiches. Clarke manages to get back to his feet only briefly, and the round ends with Iaquinta battering him from above.

Round 1 goes to Iaquinta for the ground and pound.

Round 2: The Canadian rushes forward and gets thrown to the canvas, and once more Iaquinta is working to pass guard from top position. But out of nowhere, Clarke slips on a D’Arce choke from the bottom, and before Iaquinta can wriggle free, he’s unconscious.

Result: Mitch Clarke def. Al Iaquinta via Technical Submission (D’Arce choke) at :57, R2

-Chris Holdsworth vs. Chico Camus

Round 1: Though visibly shorter, Camus wastes no time putting the TUF 18 winner on notice in regards to his right hand. Holdsworth dings him with his left not long after, and at that point it’s clear these guys are out to bang. Midway through the round Holdsworth switches tactics and takes Camus down against the cage, and in no time he’s in mount, flexing his jiu-jitsu muscle. Time expires with Holdsworth on top, raining down punches and scoring points.

Round 1 goes to Holdsworth for his ground control.

Round 2: They trade for a bit to start off the round, and after a minute and 20 seconds elapses, Holdsworth again throws Camus down and takes over. An attempted head/arm triangle choke has Camus defending and getting back to his feet, but the takedown comes soon after, and Holdsworth resumes working his foe over from mount and eventually back mount. Camus does well defending, but he’s getting dominated.

Round 2 goes to Holdsworth.

Round 3: Knowing full that he’s doomed in a grappling contest, Camus spends the first minute of the round swinging hard, and manages to tag his opponent a few times. But Holdsworth takes him down picks up where he left off, utterly controlling Camus and demonstrating to the world his jiu-jitsu superiority. The round ends just as the others do, and there’s no question who deserves the decision.

Result: Chris Holdsworth def. Chico Camus via Unanimous Decision

-Tony Ferguson vs. Katsunori Kikuno

Round 1: In the most clear-cut contest between karate and boxing we’ve seen in a while, Kikuno comes out with a weird stance and starts tagging the TUF winner repeatedly. But it only takes about 30 seconds for Ferguson to adjust, and when he does, he fires back with rights and lefts and soon has the Japanese fighter wobbled. The onslaught gets so furious that Kikuno actually turns and runs, and after a brief interlude on the ground (where Kikuno barely manages to escape a D’Arce Choke), Ferguson hits him square with the right hand that sends him to the canvas senseless.

Result: Tony Ferguson def. Katsunori Kikuno via TKO (Punch) at 4:06, R1.

-Michael Chiesa vs. Francisco Trinaldo

Round 1:  Other than their initial touching of the gloves, it’s about a full minute before these men make contact with each other, and even that is just cautious strikes from way outside. Chiesa mixes things up by adding in some takedowns attempt that Trinaldo easily stuffs, but at the midway point of the round the TUF winner is successful in pulling him down. From there Chiesa controls him while in the mount, and peppers him with punches and elbows while the Brazilian struggles to survive. Time runs out with Chiesa mounted and Trinaldo imitating a pounded piece of veal.

Round 1 goes to Chiesa for his ground and pound.

Round 2: Once again a minute is wasted for dancing, but this time Trinaldo is the one to explode into action, firing off punches and jumping into a flying arm-in guillotine attempt. It takes some doing, but Chiesa escapes, and then they’re entangled in a sweep/heelhook/reversal battle. The American ends up on top, and spends the rest of the round grinding his foe.

Round 2 goes to Chiesa – more ground dominance.

Round 3: Chiesa absorbs an accidental knee to the junk, so instead of getting the takedown immediately it takes him two minutes. But when he does, he eases into Trinaldo’s guard and drops some tired punches. Trinaldo very nearly nails an armbar from the bottom – yet fatigue weighs heavily on him as well, and Chiesa escapes and continues to control from on top. The bell rings and the judges tally their scorecards.

Result: Michael Chiesa def. Francisco Trinaldo via Unanimous Decision

Main Card – PPV

-Jamie Varner vs. James Krause

Round 1:  Krause begins by exploiting his length and throwing kicks, and Varner steps wrong and is instantly – and very visibly – injured and unable to put any weight on one of his ankles. Remarkably, he keeps fighting, throwing bolos and, when the fight goes to the ground, even securing dominant position. But when time runs out in the round, Varner’s window of opportunity closes, and his corner comes in and tells him they’re throwing in the towel. Varner agrees that he’s done, and says he thinks his ankle is broken.

Result: James Krause def. Jamie Varner via TKO (Injury) at 5:00, R1 

-Takeya Mizugaki vs. Francisco Rivera

Round 1: The veteran Japanese fighter still has some vigor left in him, which he demonstrates by dropping Rivera with a right hand not long into the opening round. Mizugaki follows him down, but inexplicably doesn’t pound him out – a tactic that allows Rivera to recover and score three takedowns before time expires in the frame.

Round 1 goes to Mizugaki for the right hand.

Round 2: They come out swinging and Rivera scores with a kick. The slugfest continues, and Rivera jumps into a guillotine attempt that Mizugaki eventually works out of. The rest of the round is spent with Rivera fending off Mizugaki’s submissions.

Round 2 goes to Mizugaki for sure.

Round 3: Mizugaki once again feeds his opponent a punch that sends him tumbling to the canvas, and since this happens a minute and a half into the round, that makes for a pretty rough time for Rivera. As things slow to a snail’s pace, referee Yves Lavigne stands them up with a minute left, and the two fighters end up swinging for the fences to the horn sounds.

Result: Takeya Mizugaki def. Francisco Rivera via Unanimous Decision

-Robbie Lawler vs. Jake Ellenberger

Round 1: It doesn’t take long for Lawler to make Ellenberger respect him. First come the high-kicks, which Ellenberger blocks but is clearly affected by. Then comes the boxing, which Lawler employs with such effectiveness that Ellenberger is rendered almost gunshy. The round ends on the feet with Lawler looking strong and Ellenberger looking like he doesn’t want to be there.

Round 1 to Lawler.

Round 2: Lawler continues his pursuit, and when Ellenberger shoots in to tie up, he’s met with underhooks and a knees to the body. After absorbing tons of punishment, Ellenberger succeeds in getting Lawler down, but Lawler scrambles on top and plants a hard knee to his body that forces him to turtle. Although he survives the round, things aren’t looking good for Ellenberger.

Round 2 to Lawler.

Round 3: Ellenberger has his best moments in the opening seconds of the round, swinging hard, landing hard and actually making Lawler wobble. But it doesn’t last long, and the countdown begins for Lawler’s TKO win – which comes after a torrent of punches and knees against the cage that wilt Ellenberger.

Result: Robbie Lawler def. Jake Ellenberger via TKO (Strikes) at 3:06, R3

-Daniel Cormier vs. Dan Henderson

Round 1: Cormier and “Hendo” circle for a bit, and then with an incredible amount of ease, Cormier ties up and throws Henderson to the canvas. From there, it’s all about “DC” dominate position from side-control and mount while Henderson struggles to avoid punishment and escape. He succeeds in that regard, threatening with a leglock attempt, and the round ends with them clinched along the fence.

Round 1 goes to Cormier for his ground control.

Round 2: Cormier gets his opponent down pretty easily once more, and goes back to being a gigantic pain in the ass to Henderson with his smothering top game. Pretty much all of the round has Cormier mauling Henderson, and when time expires it’s hard to imagine any scenario that doesn’t involve Cormier winning the decision.

Round 2 to Cormier.

Round 3: What’s different in this round than those that preceded it? Cormier doesn’t just take Hendo down, he picks him up and slams him down. Other than that, it’s the same ugly destruction of the legendary fighter, and it culminates in Cormier taking Henderson’s back and choking him unconscious.

Result: Daniel Cormier def. Dan Henderson via Technical Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 3:53, R3

-Renan Barao vs. TJ Dillashaw

Round 1: Dillashaw and Barao seem quite happy to have a kickboxing bout, and they do, with a ridiculous amount of circling and rapid movement. More than a few times Dillashaw slips in and tags the Brazilian with punches to the face, and then… BAM! Dillashaw clocks him with an overhand right that sends the champ tumbling to the ground. Barao recovers, but only just barely, and the round ends with the two on the feet again.

Round 1 to Dillashaw for almost getting the KO.

Round 2: The champ may not be completely recovered, but he’s still with it enough to be dangerous, and he opens a cut near Dillashaw’s eye. And yet the American’s boxing is razor sharp, and when the two exchange, it’s ultimately Dillashaw who scores more often.

Round 2 to Dillashaw.

Round 3: The battle continues with Dillashaw edging further and further ahead, courtesy of his boxing, nonstop movement and rapid changes of direction, and relentless attacking. Wow.

Round 3 to Dillashaw.

Round 4: The Team Alpha Male rep doesn’t let up, steamrolling over the champ with the addition of body-kicks and, when Barao falls to his guard, with some ground and pound from top position.

Round 4 to Dillashaw.

Round 5: A head-kick, followed by a flurry, and when Barao falls backwards, Dillashaw is on him with a storm of leather. In that moment, the Brazilian is done, the referee steps in, and Dillashaw – a TUF runner-up – is the new UFC bantamweight king.

Result: TJ Dillashaw def. Renan Barao via TKO (Punches) at 2:26, R5