UFC 197 was headlined by an Interim Light-Heavyweight Championship battle between former champion, Jon Jones and challenger, Ovince Saint Preux.
The Light-Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier was on the shelf which meant the much anticipated Cormier/Jones rematch would have to wait. That bout would eventually take place at UFC 214, over a year later.
On paper, Jones versus Saint Preux seemed like a mismatch and so it proved in practice. Jones, kept his opponent quiet and worked him over with his jab, but post-bout cited ring rust for a low key performance. The typical Jones fireworks never materialised. However, his victory was comfortable, securing the win 50-44, 50-45 and 50-45 on the judges' scorecards.
The semi-main saw the Flyweight Championship on the line as champion, Demetrius Johnson retained the gold versus Henry Cejudo. The imperious Johnson devastated Cejudo with a procession of elbows and knees which ended the challenger's night inside round one. A truly dominating performance.
In a Lightweight battle, Edson Barboza secured the biggest win of his career against Anthony Pettis, which put him in contention for title consideration. However, it was a title fight that never came.
However, on this night, Barboza never allowed Pettis to settle and dominated him with low kicks and punches. For Pettis, this was his third loss in a row as his career continued to fade. This was a decent fight which Barboza won via Unanimous Decision.
Robert Whittaker also won via Unanimous Decision in his Middleweight battle with Rafael Natal. However, this was much less entertaining than the Lightweight fight, due to a hand injury to Whittaker which severely limited his offence. Despite that fact, however, he still managed to dominate Natal who offered very little in offence.
The main card opener saw Yair Rodriguez best Andre Fili by KO, when he landed a terrific flying head kick which put Fili to sleep. One for the highlight reel. There was no getting up from that.
UFC 197 did not come close to the pay per view buy rate of it's predecessor, however it still drew an acceptable number, with 322,000 orders. Moreover, with Jones headlining, that buy rate was still considered a disappointment.Published 17 Jan 2020, 18:36 IST