TJ Dillashaw’s bid to become a two-weight world champion came crashing down early in Brooklyn, with flyweight champion Henry Cejudo stopping the bantamweight in just over thirty seconds.
Cejudo dropped Dillashaw to the canvas with a right hand and continued to deliver on the ground, forcing referee Kevin McDonald to stop the contest to the dismay of some fans and particularly Dillashaw.
In his post-fight press conference, Dillashaw said: “It sucks when something was taken from you. Good job [Cejudo], but you didn’t beat me.” Dana White appeared to echo his concerns, describing the stoppage as “early and horrible”.
After sealing his first title defence, Henry Cejudo wants to rematch Dillashaw for the UFC Bantamweight title. Cejudo would bid to follow in the footsteps of Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes in holding two championship belts simultaneously.
Cejudo earned a $50,000 performance of the night bonus for his endeavours on the night that the UFC began a new era with broadcasters ESPN. The new dawn didn’t start fluidly, with the prelims delayed due to the late conclusion of Dukes vs. Virginia in college basketball.
Elsewhere, controversial figure Greg Hardy saw his UFC debut end in disqualification, after landing an illegal knee on Allen Crowder in the second round.
Greeted by a chorus of boos due to his history of domestic abuse, Hardy looked to end the fight early. The heavyweight’s three wins had all came with knockouts in the opening minute. Crowder secured a takedown, much to the joy of the fans inside the Brooklyn Center.
As the fight approached the midway point, Hardy landed an illegal knee to a grounded Crowder forcing the referee to stop the contest and hand Crowder his first UFC win. Hardy was booed out of the cage in what wasn’t a pretty sight for the UFC’s maiden voyage on ESPN.
Fan favourite Paige VanZant returned to winning ways with an armbar submission victory over Rachael Ostovich. Ostovich was dominating the fight early on, securing three takedowns in the opening round. VanZant nullified the threat in the second round and managed to secure her first win since 2016.
Focus of much pre-fight back and forth, Donald Cerrone handed Alexander Hernandez a devastating loss in an excellent lightweight affair.
Cerrone and Hernandez exchanged strikes in a fiery opening round, but the veteran proved too much in the second round. Cerrone landed a huge head kick, before stopping the ranked youngster with just over a minute to go.
Conor McGregor appeared to accept a fight with Cerrone afterwards, whilst Cerrone was also awarded both a fight of the night and performance of the night bonus. This earned ‘Cowboy’ an extra $100,000 in his paycheck.
Scottish flyweight Joanne Calderwood upset the odds in defeating former KSW champion Ariane Lipski on her octagon debut.
Lipski was considered to be a force to be reckoned with at 125lbs, but Calderwood delivered an outstanding performance to secure consecutive wins in a shallow flyweight division.
The octagon rolls on to Fortaleza, Brazil in two weeks time, with Raphael Assuncao taking on Marlon Moraes in an all-Brazilian bantamweight main event. Jose Aldo battles compatriot Renato Moicano in a featherweight bout.
Henry Cejudo def. TJ Dillashaw via TKO (strikes) after 0:32 of Round 1.
Allen Crowder def. Greg Hardy via DQ (illegal knee) after 2:28 of Round 2.
Gregor Gillespie def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (strikes) after 4:59 of Round 2.
Joseph Benavidez def. Dustin Ortiz via unanimous decision.
Paige VanZant def. Rachael Ostovich via submission (armbar) after 1:50 of Round 2.
Glover Teixeira def. Karl Roberson via submission (arm triangle) after 3:21 of Round 1.
Donald Cerrone def. Alexander Hernandez via TKO (strikes) after 3:43 of Round 2.
Joanne Calderwood def. Ariane Lipski via unanimous decision.
Alonzo Menifield def. Vinicius Moreira via TKO (strikes) after 3:56 of Round 1.
Cory Sandhagen def. Mario Bautista via submission (armbar) after 3:31 of Round 1.
Dennis Bermudez def. Te Edwards via unanimous decision.
Geoff Neal def. Belal Muhammad via unanimous decision
Chance Rencountre def. Kyle Stewart via submission (rear-naked choke) after 2:25 of Round 1.