Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welcomes Jon Jones back to the Octagon with this Saturday night’s (April 23, 2016) UFC 197: “Jones vs. Saint Preux” pay-per-view (PPV) fight card, which takes place inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Waiting for him will be light heavyweight replacement Ovince Saint Preux — filling in for the injured Daniel Cormier — in the five-round headliner. The winner emerges as interim 205-pound titleholder and the next man to face “DC” later this year.
In the UFC 197 co-main event, longtime UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson defends his 125-pound title against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo, while Anthony Pettis and Edson Barboza collide in a lightweight dream bout.
And that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 197 fight card below, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, and then the remaining undercard balance on FOX Sports 1 at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET.
Many of our readers check-in before, during and after the televised fisticuffs to share their thoughts on all the exciting action. Therefore, feel free to leave a comment (or 197) before you split and chat with all the other Maniacs during the show — it always turns out to be a great discussion.
Keep in mind that we will also be the spot for the latest news, recaps and post-fight analysis after “Jones vs. Saint Preux.”
Without further delay, see below for the latest UFC 197 results. (Note: This will go from the bottom up; therefore, scroll toward the bottom for the latest detailed round-by-round action.)
UFC 197 QUICK RESULTS:
Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux
Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo
Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Pettis
Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker — Whittaker def. Natal by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28)
Andre Fili vs. Yair Rodriguez — Rodriguez def. Fili by KO (kick) at 2:15 of Round Two
Chris Kelades vs. Sergio Pettis — Pettis def. Kelades by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Danny Roberts vs. Dominique Steele — Roberts def. Steele by unanimous decision (29-28 x3)
Juliana Lima vs. Carla Esparza — Esparza def. Lima by unanimous decision (30-27 x3)
Glaico Franca vs. James Vick — Vick def. Franca by unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 30-27)
Cody East vs. Walt Harris — Harris def. East by TKO (punches) at 4:18 of Round One
Clint Hester vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima — Rogerio de Lima def. Hester by submission (arm-triangle choke) at 4:35 of Round One
Efrain Escudero vs. Kevin Lee — Lee def. Escudero by unanimous decision 29-28 x3)
UFC 197 LIVE PLAY-BY-PLAY:
205 lbs.: Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux
125 lbs.: Demetrious Johnson vs. Henry Cejudo
155 lbs.: Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Pettis
185 lbs.: Rafael Natal vs. Robert Whittaker
Round 1: Both men with awful music choices, as “Sapo” walked out to some carnival music and Whittaker came out to Roy Jones, Jr. Same thing, really. Bob in white, Rafa in black. Leg kick from Whittaker as Natal lands a jab. Body kick from Robert. One from Natal. And a leg kick. Whittaker with a lunging overhand that misses and Natal gets in a sneaky counter.Another leg kick from the Brazilian, a nice right hand, too. Halfway through the round and Whittaker finally lands something solid. Whittaker misses a wheel kick and Natal tries to take the present of Rob’s offered back – Whittaker spins out of the clinch and he’s out of immediate danger. Another lead leg kick from Natal. One from the Aussie. Natal gets clipped by a couple of rights and he’s on rubber legs. They’re both swinging, but Whittaker is landing the better shots. Another nice left from Whittaker.
10-9 Whittaker in a close round.
Round 2: Whittaker manages to avoid the big right hands from Natal and gets in a couple of punches. Solid leg kicks continue from Raffy. Right hook as well. Rogan is pointing out how hard these kicks are hurting Bob’s leg. Natal knocks Whittaker off-balance with a check hook, but Whittaker is up before anything can happen. Whittaker with a weak leg kick. Robert wades in with a combo, lands some of a 5-piece. Another chopping leg kick thuds on Whittaker’s thigh. Left from Whittaker. Whittaker stuffs a single-leg. Teep from the Australian. Once more to Whittaker’s left leg. Front kick this time. Whittaker misses a big left swing and then a high kick.
10-9 Natal in another really close round
Natal gets a kick to the twig and berries mere seconds into the round. McCarthy pauses it and makes sure Rafael is able to have kids in the future. Kick from Whittaker upstairs glances in. That right hand was a lot closer to flush. Double jab from Whittaker snaps Natal’s head back. Whittaker swings for the fences with a left and brushes Natal’s hair with it. A left a little while later connects. Another one. Halfway through this round and it’s mostly all Whittaker so far. He blocks a body kick. Haymakers thrown from both men. Right hand from Sapo. Painful leg kicks from Natal. Whittaker is gonna be limping for a week. Left from Rob, a high kick knocks Natal down.
Final result: Whittaker def. Natal by unanimous decision
145 lbs.: Andre Fili vs. Yair Rodriguez
Round 1: Rodriguez in the black shorts, “Touchy” Fili in white. Yair with a leg kick to open right away. Spinning back-kick to Fili’s torso. Fili tags him with a left hand. Yair with oblique kicks and shoves Fili to the mat. Fili with full guard. Rodriguez postures up and hits some nice rights. Fili with a solid up kick. Yair comes back down again into an open half guard. Normal half guard now. Fili holding onto Rodriguez to keep himself out of danger. Now Rodriguez explodes out of that loose half guard into side control. Fili manages to kick out of that and then kick off Rodriguez. Calf kick stumbles Fili to the mat, but he’s up before Yair can get on him. Solid left from Fili knocks Rodriguez off balance. Head kick from Rodriguez and he takes down Fili at the buzzer.
Round 2: Spinning backfist from Rodriguez that misses and Fili is on the back momentarily, but Rodriguez is off. Andre bullies Rodriguez to the ground off of a caught kick, but then strangely enough backs off and lets him up. Rodriguez powers into a double-leg and nails the takedown. Fili with closed full guard and holds onto him long enough for the ref to threaten them with a standup. Leg kick from Yair spins Fili around. WOW! JUMPING SWITCH KICK FLATLINES FILI! Yair Rodriguez just absolutely shrekt Andre Fili out of the blue! No follow up as Yair celebrates over a prone Fili
Final result: Yair Rodriguez defeats Andre Fili at 2:15 of Round 2 via KO (JUMPING KICK OF DEATH)
125 lbs.: Chris Kelades vs. Sergio Pettis
Round 1: Quick jab from Pettis. Counter right lands. One minute in. Low kick from Pettis. Counter right. Kelades ties up, nothing there. Not much sustained action, just Pettis potshotting at range. Right hand and low kick from Pettis. Two minutes in. Kelades chasing him, tries a takedown and eats a 3-2. Low kick again by Pettis. Kelades shoots in for a single-leg and takes him to the fence. Two minutes to go.
Pettis gets away from the fence and threatens an outside trip before they separate. Hard counter right by Pettis and Kelades shoots once again. They separate. Pettis catches a body kick and trips him to the mat, landing in guard. One minute to go. KElades kicks him off and stands. Check hook lands for Pettis. 10-9 Pettis.
Round 2: Right hand by Kelades as they exchange. Kelades shoots of a Pettis right hand and takes top position. Full guard for Pettis, who threatens a triangle. One minute in. Half guard for Kelades. Pettis elevates him for a butterfly sweep and takes guard. Short punches and a solid elbow from Pettis. Kelades tries to sit up, cannot do so but shoots in. Pettis cracks him with some punches while his leg is caught. Kelades pressing him against the cage after losing that takedown. Knees to the thigh from Kelades, who is working towards the back. Pettis turns to face him and presses him against the fence. two minutes to go.
They separate. Pettis lands some punches on the counter. They trade hard punches near the center. Kelades tries to shoot. Pettis catches a kick and ties up. One minute to go. Pettis separates with a head kick, then looks for a single-leg. Nothing there. Counter right lands for Pettis, then another counter combo. Kelades shoots at the bell. 10-9 Pettis.
Round 3: They get right back to trading punches, Pettis on the counter. Jabs from Pettis, counter right lands and he clinches. He separates. One minute in. Pettis hits a reactive double-leg into guard. Now half guard. Solid shots from Pettis. Kelades regains guard, can’t keep it. Kelades using heel kicks to the thighs as Pettis goes to work with short punches. Two minutes in. Kelades manages to stand and shoot. Pettis grabs the front headlock and separates. combination by Pettis. Kelades still pressing forward, shrugs off a takedown attempt. Two minutes to go.
Both land right hands and Pettis looks for a takedown. Elbows from Kelades. Kelades landing strikes in the clinch to the head and body. One minute to go. Pettis separates. Kelades shoots and finds himself in a guillotine. Looks like a ten-finger guillotine, but he lets it go. Pettis lands a right hand and gets sprawled on. Kelades tries a Peruvian necktie at the bell. 10-9 Pettis.
Final result: Pettis def. Kelades by unanimous decision
170 lbs.: Danny Roberts vs. Dominique Steele
Round 1: Steele drops Roberts early with a right hand and sets him in guard. Roberts tosses up a triangle, only to get slammed hard. Steele passes to side control, Roberts regains half guard. One minute in. Roberts manages to get back to guard. Short punches from Steele. Roberts slips his hips out and stands, only to get clinched by Steele. Two minutes in. Knee to the body from Roberts as they separate. Body kick by the Englishman. Big overhand left rattles Steele, who shoots in for a takedown. Two minutes to go.
They jockey for position on the fence. Knees from both. Steele gets the outside position and changes levels for a takedown into guard. One minute to go. Steele with some solid left hands. Roberts manages a technical standup, eats some hard knees as Steele looks for a takedown. Round ends in the clinch. 10-9 Steele.
Round 2: Knee to the body from Roberts. Steele shoots in off a Roberts front kick and takes him to the fence. Good knee by Steele as they separate. Counter left by Steele, Roberts goes to the body. clinch, separation. One minute in. 1-2 from Roberts, takedown attempt from Steele. Roberts circles off. Steele shoves Roberts over. They clinch, knees from Steele. Two minutes in. Front kick lands for Roberts. Low kick lands. Right hook and a left behind it rattle Steele, who manages to tie up. They trade knees as they separate. Roberts ties back up and lands a hard left hand inside. Two minutes to go.
Nice elbow by the Brit. Hard punches on the break. They each look for the Thai plum and trade knees. roberts cracks him with an elbow as he’s taken to the fence. Roberts reverses position, lands some punches on the break. One minute to go. Front kick from Roberts, then a hard left hand. Steele shoots off a Roberts front kick and takes top turtle position. Roberts stands and turns to face him. Steele with an elbow at the end. Close round. 10-9 Steele.
Round 3: Straight left from Roberts gets Steele’s attention and the latter shoots, completing a takedown. Roberts tries to flip him over, cannot do so but gets to his knees against the fence. elbows by the Brit. Roberts makes it to his feet, Steele attached. One minute in. They separate. Steele shoots, lands a knee. Again, they separate. Roberts stalking forward and Steele shoots again. Two minutes in. Roberts makes it to his knees on the fence and drops elbows. Steele still driving into him. Two minutes to go.
The referee stands them up. Roberts walking forward, tossing out kicks. Steele shoots, stuffed but lands a hard punch as they trade bombs. Steele shoots again and gets him to his knees. One minute to go. Knees from Steele as Roberts stands. Roberts turns to face him. 10-9 Steele.
Final result: Roberts def. Steele by unanimous decision
115 lbs.: Juliana Lima vs. Carla Esparza
Round 1: Both women staying far apart in the early going. Lima shoots in as Esparza punches and Esparza shows some excellent defense. One minute in. Lima pressing her against the cage, lands a hard knee and series of punches that prompt a takedown from Esparza. Esparza slams her from guard as Lima looks to control. Esparza stands out of a triangle and moves to half guard. Two minutes in. Esparza working to extract her leg, looking for side control. Lima regains guard. Esparza with another slam. Two minutes to go.
Lima staying very active off her back, throwing up submissions and controlling Esparza’s posture. Good upkicks from Lima and Esparza comes back down into guard. Half guard now. One minute to go. Lima again regains guard. Esparza trying to stand over her and work her way around Lima’s legs, cannot do so before the bell. 10-9 Esparza.
Round 2: They start well out of striking range. They trade punches in the center. Esparza catches a front kick and takes Lima down into guard. One minute in. Esparza moves to half guard and drops short punches. Lima staying busy off her back as Esparza works. Upkicks from the Brazilian. Two minutes to go.
Esparza again slams her from guard. Lima’s controlling her wrists and keeping her legs high, while Esparza works to extract her arms and dissuade her with slams. One minute to go. Lima transitions from an armbar to a leglock, which she uses to sweep. Esparza stands and denies a throw. 10-9 Esparza.
Round 3: Esparza bleeding a bit. 1-2 from Esparza prompts a shimmy from Lima. Esparza counters said shimmy with another takedown into guard. One minute in. Lima again staying busy off her back but not getting anywhere close to a submission. Solid left from the former champion. Good upkick by the Brazilian. Two minutes to go. Lima hits a technical standup and falls victim to a blast double, losing a guillotine on the way down. Lima kicks her off and stands. Counter right by Esparza lands clean and she hits a single-leg into side control. Two minutes to go.
Lima tries an inverted triangle, no luck. Short punches and elbows from Esparza. Lima tries the triangle again and this time uses it to sweep into side control. One minute to go. Esparza grabs half guard. Lima lands some short punches until the bell. 10-9 Esparza.
Final result: Esparza def. Lima by unanimous decision
155 lbs.: Glaico Franca vs. James Vick
Round 1: Franca comes out slinging low kicks, lands a right hand and hits a takedown into side control. Full guard now. Vick scoots his way back to the fence and stands. One minute in. Franca takes him right back down. He’s staying heavy, landing short punches. Two minutes in. Vick working to stand, cannot do so. Vick sits up to threaten a guillotine, Franca flattens him back down. Vick using butterfly hooks as well. Two minutes to go.
Vick uses the fence to stand. The referee elects to separate them. Counter right from Franca, who eats an eye-poke that the ref does not acknowledge. Body kick and right hand from Vick. Vick opens up with a combination and Franca ties up. They separate and Vick lands a spinning back kick. Vick lighting Franca up with punches, but gets taken back down. 10-9 Franca.
Round 2: Before the start of the round, they bring in the doctor to look at Franca’s eye. Replays show that Vick got two whole fingers in there. Franca says he can see and they resume. Franca lands a knee to the body, eats a 1-2. Vick blasts Franca with a hard combination. good right hands from Vick. One minute in. Vick basically teeing off at this point, potshotting at range as Franca lumbers forward. Spinning back kick from the Brazilian, who shoots in and lands on top in guard.Franca just landing short blows. Two minutes in. Vick scoots his way to the fence. Get Lloyd Irvin off the screen. Knee from Franca. Vick returns to his feet. More punches from the Lloyd Irvin product. Two minutes to go.
Nice uppercut by Vick amid the combinations he’s landing. Franca comes back with a big right hand. Vick circling, retreating, keeping Franca at range and landing a steady stream of punches. One minute to go. Vick shrugs off a takedown. Vick just boxing him up. Spinning back kick by Vick before the bell. 10-9 Vick.
Round 3: Franca still advancing, still eating punches. One minute in. Franca struggling to cut off the cage. Franca reaches him with a right hand. Franca shoots, Vick gets his hips out and defends. Vick pressing him against the fence. Two minutes in. They separate. Franca whiffs on a spinning back fist. Vick keeping his jab in Franca’s face. Low kick by the Brazilian. Another. Vick blasts him with a flying knee and Franca waves him on. Two minutes to go.
Vick continues to put together combinations, eats a big right hand. Franca runs in with low kicks. One minute to go. Franca cracks him with yet another leg kick. Vick lands a front kick to the face and Franca ties up. They stay in the clinch until the bell. 10-9 Vick.
Final result: Vick def. Franca by unanimous decision
265 lbs.: Cody East vs. Walt Harris
Round 1: Both men looking full of energy to start. Low kicks from East. Body kicks from both. 3-2 by East. Harris whiffs on a head kick. East sneaks in an uppercut. One minute in. Harris looking to jab. Body kick from East lands clean. East winning these exchanges thus far. Uppercut lands during a flurry, then an overhand right. Two minutes in. East fires a snap kick that hits groin. They trade punches in the center. Body kick from Harris and they trade bombs on the fence. Two minutes to go.
Hard counter right from East, but Harris comes back with a brutal straight left that drops East hard. East trying to survive, eating huge punches and elbows off his back. One minute to go. East not defending himself, eating punch after punch, and a diving right hand seals the deal. East is not protecting his head and the referee steps in. East protests, but can’t stand up.
Final result: Harris def. East by TKO (punches)
205 lbs.: Clint Hester vs. Marcos Rogerio de Lima
Round 1: de Lima opens with a low kick. Counter punches, low kick. Very heavy low kicks from Pezao. Hester flings a wild right hand and gets dropped with counters. Half guard for de Lima. Some short punches as Hester ties up. One minute in. Solid right hands by the Brazilian.Two minutes in. de Lima working his way to mount, landing shots. Full mount now. Hester just holding on thus far. More punches by de Lima. Two minutes to go.
Hester regains half guard, eating punches. Full guard now. One minute to go. de Lima postures up and slams home some brutal punches. Hester not doing much to defend himself. de Lima locks up an arm-triangle and Hester immediately taps.
Final result: de Lima def. Hester by submission (arm-triangle choke)
155 lbs.: Efrain Escudero vs. Kevin Lee
Round 1: Lee looking to jab early while Escudero flicks out kicks. 1-2 lands for Lee, head kick blocked. Lee switching stance, jabbing from both sides. One minute in. Straight left lands for him. Both fire kicks. Solid low kick by Escudero. Knee to the body by Lee. Both jab, Lee tries again to go high. Escudero catches a kick and lands some knees in the clinch. Hard right hands by Lee on the exit. Two minutes in. Counter left lands for Lee as Escudero advances. Escudero scores a takedown from the rear waistlock. Lee pops up, reverses position, and grabs a rear waistlock in turn. Escudero fighting off the suplex. Two minutes to go.
Lee separates and lands a 1-2. Escudero catches a kick, lands a low kick. Solid combination from Escudero and now Lee’s on the retreat. Escudero cracks him with a right hand and dumps him to the mat. One minute to go. Lee returns to his feet and separates. Left hand by Escudero, who walks into a jab. Escudero shoots, eats elbows. 10-9 Escudero.
Round 2: Escudero opens with a low kick. Counter right by Lee, low kick exchange. Counter hook connects for Lee. Escudero hits a reactive takedown, Lee pops up. One minute in. Escudero pressing forward, lands punches. Knee from Lee. 1-2 lands. Lee shoots for a single-leg. Escudero defending against the fence. Two minutes in. Elbows from Escudero. Lee digs in a body shot and separates. Well-timed shot by Escudero off a caught kick. Short knees by Escudero. Lee answers in kind. Two minutes to go.
Escudero doing well for himself in exchanges. He puts Lee on the fence once again. They jockey for position and Escudero lands a knee. One minute to go. Lee might be slowing. 1-2 from Escudero. Flurry from the TUF champ. Lee with some stiff jabs. Left hook lands. One last uppercut in the clinch. 10-9 Escudero.
Round 3: Escudero staying busy. They both throw low kicks and Lee takes one to the nards. Good 1-2 by LEe after the pause, who seems a bit revitalized. One minute in. Escudero lands a good left hand. Escudero takes Lee to the fence. Short knees by Escudero. Lee grabs an underhook, lifts Escudero, and slams him down into guard. Two minutes in. Half guard now.Short punches by Lee, who’s working to pass. Escudero maintaining position, but not doing much to stand. Two minutes to go.
Escudero tries to use the fence, nothing doing. Lee tries to mount, then slaps on a mean-looking guillotine when Escudero turns into him. Escudero slips out and looks for a leg, after which Lee dives back down with hard strikes. Elbows showing up now. Lee ends the round on top. 10-9 Lee.
Final result: Lee def. Escudero by unanimous decision