LAS VEGAS -- An "H-bomb" did not go off inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night. Daniel Cormier made sure of it.
Cormier (15-0) kept his unbeaten record intact at UFC 173, submitting Dan Henderson via rear-naked choke at 3:53 of the third round. The outcome was never in doubt, as Cormier dominated Henderson on the ground throughout.
"If I decide to take Jon Jones down 100 times, I will take him down 100 times," Cormier said. "This is my Octagon."
Cormier didn't need 100 takedowns to beat Henderson. Three proved to be more than enough. He took Henderson down in the opening moments of each round in highlight-reel fashion.
He sent Henderson (30-12) flying in the first round with an outside trip. Early in the third round, he outdid himself, lifting Henderson up over his head and slamming him to the mat.
As effective as the takedowns were, the real story of the fight was what occurred after them. Utilizing technique and a visible size advantage, Cormier easily held Henderson on his back, landing punches and passing his guard along the way.
He moved into full mount at one point in the first, although Henderson quickly escaped back into half-guard. Even when Cormier wasn't landing punches, it was clear the effort of defending them was wearing out Henderson.
He had little left by the third round -- and the vaunted right hand never came into play. He finally gave up his back with 90 seconds left in the fight. Cormier slipped the right arm under his chin shortly after and that was that.
Henderson, 43, is now two fights into a six-fight UFC extension he signed earlier this year. He is 1-4 in his last five bouts, including a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort in November. He promised this would not be his last fight.
Cormier is now 2-0 as a light heavyweight. He was scheduled to fight Rashad Evans earlier this year at UFC 170, but Evans withdrew due to injury. Cormier went on to knock out UFC newcomer Patrick Cummins on short notice.
Lawler on track for another crack at title
Robbie Lawler is officially back on the horse -- and galloping toward the UFC welterweight title.
Referee Herb Dean called the bout 3:06 into the final round, when Lawler dropped Ellenberger with a knee after trapping him near the fence. The strike didn't knock out Ellenberger (29-8) out, but it was the final straw of a pretty one-sided beatdown.
"I wanted to get in there and really push him to get the stoppage," Lawler said. "I hit him with that one-two (combination) and followed it up when he went down.
"I have great coaches who guided me through this quick, two-month turnaround after my last fight. I felt strong out there because they never let my body get weak during training. I had plenty of time to rest and fight off the fatigue of back-to-back camps."
Lawler was on point from the opening bell on. He went to work on Ellenberger with head kicks early, and then changed levels and landed clean kicks to the body.
Ellenberger tried to work inside to avoid the kicks, only to eat knees to the body. He had some success with the right hand throughout the fight, but typically absorbed far more damage than he was able to dish out.
In the second round, Ellenberger started to pursue the takedown. Lawler reacted perfectly, landing uppercuts while in close range and quickly escaping back to his feet when he did fall to his back late in the round.
Midway through the round, Lawler landed a hard knee to Ellenberger's chest as he was kneeled down in the center of the cage. The blow nearly finished the fight, as Ellenberger held on desperately on a single leg to slow down Lawler.
Down 2-0 on the scorecards, Ellenberger managed one brief rally in the third round. He connected the counter right hand during an exchange, which caused Lawler's left eye to swell immediately.
That was it for Ellenberger, however, as Lawler recovered from the shot and went back to pursuing him around the cage. Ellenberger might have been too tired and hurt from the first two rounds to follow up on the right hand.
ESPN.com ranked Lawler the No. 2 welterweight in the world heading into the bout, behind only Hendricks. Hendricks is expected to return from a biceps injury this fall.
Mizugaki earns fifth straight win
He's done it rather quietly, but Takeya Mizugaki has a heck of a win streak going.
Mizugaki (20-7-2) notched his fifth consecutive win in a unanimous decision over Francisco Rivera. Judges scored the bantamweight bout 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28.
The three-round bout featured nonstop exchanges on the feet, as both fighters were willing to trade in the pocket. Mizugaki scored first, knocking Rivera down with a combination just 90 seconds into the opening round.
Rivera (10-3) did well to recover and would respond in the next frame. He connected on a head kick early in the round, as Mizugaki shot for a takedown. The kick opened a cut over the Japanese fighter's left eye.
Later in the round, Mizugaki scored a takedown and eventually moved to Rivera's back, where he briefly threatened with a rear-naked choke.
Heavy action continued in the third, as Rivera cut Mizugaki again in an exchange, this time over the right eye. Mizugaki scored his second knockdown of the fight, though, countering a Rivera kick with a straight right.
Mizugaki improves to 7-2 in the UFC. He hasn't lost since a unanimous decision to Chris Cariaso at UFC 144 in February 2012. Both losses have come via decision. ESPN.com ranks Mizugaki the No. 10 bantamweight in the world.
Krause chops down vulnerable Varner
Referee Jason Herzog called the bout at the end of the first, as Varner couldn't even walk to his corner at the bell. The result was a first-round TKO win at the 5:00 mark for Krause.
"One of the things we worked on was kicking the calves," Krause said. "I threw one, and Jamie lifted his knee to check it. I felt the contact with his ankle and when he stepped back I saw that he had injured it.
"After that I started to target the ankle and unfortunately he wasn't able to answer the second round. You never want to see an opponent get hurt out there, but I especially didn't want to see Varner get injured. I'm a big fan and I looked up to him. "
Varner (21-10-1) showed heart by just making it to the first intermission, as it was obvious he couldn't place any weight on the left leg. The injury occurred as he was bouncing on his toes during a reset on the feet.
Krause (21-5) was dominating until the ending. He caught Varner twice early with front push kicks to the face and scored a knockdown with punches near the fence.