..and just like that Reyes KO’s Chris Weidman. pic.twitter.com/w4jDVFuXmP— Jonesy (@RoyJonesy) October 19, 2019
Dominick Reyes made his intentions known, and they were loud and clear.
“The Devastator” on Friday further cemented himself as a person of interest in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s light heavyweight division, as he brought down Chris Weidman with punches in the first round of their UFC on ESPN 6 headliner at TD Garden in Boston. Weidman (14-5, 10-5 UFC) succumbed to blows 1:43 into Round 1 — the quickest defeat of the former middleweight champion’s 19-fight career.
Reyes (12-0, 6-0 UFC) bounced back to his feet after being taken down, created some space and countered the Serra-Longo Fight Team export with a surgical straight left. Weidman hit the deck and did what he could to defend himself. However, two standing-to-ground hammerfists followed, had him teetering on the brink of unconsciousness and resulted in an immediate stoppage.
Weidman, 35, has lost five of his last six bouts.
Kick-Minded Rodriguez Bests Stephens
A hyperactive kicking game carried “The Ultimate Fighter Latin America” Season 1 winner Yair Rodriguez to a unanimous decision over Jeremy Stephens in the crackling three-round featherweight co-main event. Scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 29-28, all for Rodriguez (13-2, 8-1 UFC).
Stephens (28-17, 15-16 UFC) struggled to keep pace through two rounds. Rodriguez zeroed in on his body and legs with a variety of kicks and obliged the Alliance MMA mainstay with more than one wild punching exchange. He did his best work in Round 2, where he folded Stephens with a wicked body kick, followed up with punches and hammerfists and even flirted with a brabo choke. “Lil’ Heathen” weathered the onslaught and made his move across the final five minutes, as he landed a pair of takedowns, passed guard and battered a fatigued Rodriguez with punches and elbows. However, the finish Stephens needed never materialized, allowing “El Pantera” to exit the cage with a hard-earned victory.
The 33-year-old Stephens has gone 0-3 with one no-contest in his last four outings and has not registered a win since he knocked out Josh Emmett in February 2018.
Lightning Rod Hardy Fights to a No Contest
American Top Team’s Greg Hardy continued his methodical climb on the MMA ladder, as he pocketed a unanimous decision over former Diamondback Fighting Championship titleholder Ben Sosoli in a three-round heavyweight showcase. Hardy (6-1, 3-1 UFC) was initially awarded 29-28 marks from all three cageside judges.
The difference in size, length and athleticism was the story. Hardy kept the Australian at a safe distance with power punches and devastating kicks to the inside and outside of his lead leg. More than once he knocked Sosoli (7-3, 0-1 UFC) off-balance with kicks, showing further development of his skills. As has often been the case with Hardy, the fight was not without controversy. Exhibiting visible signs of fatigue, he was reportedly allowed to use an inhaler in between the second and third rounds.
After the event had concluded, the commission stated that the inspector that cleared Hardy to use his inhaler did not have the authority to do so, and the fight was overturned to a no-contest.
Lauzon Obliterates Newcomer Pearce
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semifinalist Joe Lauzon put the brakes on a three-fight losing streak — and retirement talk — with a sensational performance, as he put away Jonathan Pearce with punches in the first round of their featured lightweight pairing. Pearce (9-4, 0-1 UFC) met his end 1:33 into Round 1.
Lauzon (28-15, 15-12 UFC) was focused and fearless, as he assaulted the Dana White’s Contender Series alum with straight punches. He drove Pearce backward to the fence, secured a body lock and executed a takedown into full mount. Lauzon then moved to an even more advantageous position, pinned down the promotional newcomer with a brutal half nelson and let go with right hands to the face until referee Herb Dean had seen enough.
The win was Lauzon’s first since Jan. 15, 2017.
Unbeaten Barber Mauls Robertson
Roufusport prospect Maycee Barber disposed of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 26 alum Gillian Robertson with punches in the first round of their women’s flyweight showcase. Robertson (7-4, 4-2 UFC) wilted 3:04 into Round 1, the latest victim of one of the sport’s most promising young talents.
Barber (8-0, 3-0 UFC) pestered the American Top Team rep with a consistent jab, withstood her attempts to draw her into a ground battle and denied her advances in the clinch. The 21-year-old then created some space and cut loose with elbows and crushing punches. Robertson did what she could defend herself from a relentless barrage of offense but absorbed too many damaging blows for referee Gary Forman’s liking.
The setback snapped Robertson’s modest two-fight winning streak.
Stewart Edges Overweight Winn
Cage Warriors Fighting Championship veteran Darren Stewart won for the fourth time in five appearances, as he eked out a split decision over Deron Winn in a three-round middleweight feature. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28: Eric Colon and Nick Mahmood for Stewart, Dave Tirelli for Winn.
Winn (7-0, 2-0 UFC) — who missed weight for the match — was maniacal in his pursuit of takedowns, arguably to his detriment. Stewart (11-4, 4-4 UFC) was active off his back and opened a significant cut on the top of the American Kickboxing Academy export’s head with an elbow strike from the bottom in the first round. The Brit made his move in the middle stanza, where he channeled his inner Apollo Creed and leaned on lateral movement, quick jabs, occasional knees and chopping right hands. He had the visibly fatigued Winn reeling with punches when the horn sounded. Round 3 was difficult to call. Winn stepped up his attack with takedowns and cracked “The Dentist” with power punches, only to be met with a series of effective jabs and multi-punch volleys in return.