MMA: Daniel Cormier, Brock Lesnar and Amanda Nunes come up tops at UFC 200

Brock Lesnar before his fight against Mark Hunt during UFC 200.
Brock Lesnar before his fight against Mark Hunt during UFC 200.PHOTO: AFP

LAS VEGAS (REUTERS) - Daniel Cormier beat Brazilian Anderson Silva in a light-heavyweight fight at UFC 200 on Sunday night.

Cormier won the non-title bout via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, and 30-26).

In the heavyweight category, Brock Lesnar beat Mark Hunt also by unanimous decision.

In the women's bantamweight class, Amanda Nunes destroyed Miesha Tate in the first round to land the title.

However, a high-profile doping case has cast a shadow over UFC 200, which boasts one of the most stacked cards in the promotion's history and was billed as a celebration of the fast-growing sport of mixed martial arts with days of events collectively dubbed International Fight Week. The Ultimate Fighting Championship schedule included amateur championships, a fan expo and some of the sport's biggest names in action.

The top-billed light heavyweight fight between Cormier and Jon Jones had been cancelled abruptly last week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency (Usada) informed the UFC that the latter had failed an out-of-competition dope test on June 16.

With the enormously popular Irish featherweight champion Conor McGregor previously kicked off the bill for not fulfilling promotional commitments, Jones was set to meet Cormier in a much-anticipated main event.

But with Jones - who was stripped of the light heavyweight belt in April 2015 after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident - booted out, the UFC found a replacement at just two days' notice in Brazilian former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who has previously served a suspension for a doping violation.

Last-minute changes to high-profile fight cards are nothing new in the UFC and even if they can have a negative affect on pay-per-view sales, they have done little to slow its growth around the globe.

"Over the past couple of years, within the EMEA market specifically, there has been a greater public awareness and support for the sport and a rise in demand for UFC product and content," James Elliott, UFC vice-president and General of Europe, Middle East and Africa, told Reuters.

Bought for US$2 million (S$2.69 million) by the Fertitta brothers Lorenzo and Frank in 2001, the company that controls the UFC, Zuffa LLC, is rumoured to be exploring a sale that could value that promotion company at US$3.5 billion to US$4 billion.

With the enormously popular McGregor set for a rematch against Nate Diaz, who shocked the fighting world in March when he defeated the Irishman, and Rousey also set to return, the UFC looks set to continue to grow in popularity.

But a little over a year into its anti-doping cooperation with Usada, the organisation is still coming to grips with performance-enhancing substances, as evidenced by Diaz's comments about the Jones test at a news conference on Thursday.

"Everybody's on steroids," he joked.