The UFC returned to Austin, Texas on Sunday night and put on one of their best pure-action cards of recent memory.
The 12 bouts scheduled only required the judges’ assistance for four bouts with eight stoppages, including six in the opening round.
The night was capped off by 34-year old Donald Cerrone earning a much-needed victory to put a halt to a three-fight losing streak that he brought into his welterweight main event showdown with Hawaiian Yancy Medeiros.
Cerrone, a typically slow starter, showcased a lot of patience in the opening round and found a home for his right hand while figuring out the patterns and timing of Medeiros early on. As Cerrone had his back against the cage, a right hand would connect and send Medeiros cratering backward and down to the canvas. Cerrone’s secondary opponent was the clock as a flurry of follow up strikes would earn “Cowboy” the victory with only two seconds remaining in the opening round.
Cerrone has been fighting exclusively at welterweight since June 2016 but had not had his arm raised in over a year with losses to Jorge Masvidal, Robbie Lawler, and Darren Till, throughout his 2017 campaign.
The win was Cerrone’s 20th of his UFC tenure that dates back to February 2011 and ties him with Georges St-Pierre and Michael Bisping for the most wins in the promotion’s history.
Medeiros, gracious in defeat, saw his three-fight win streak halted, which included a fight-of-the-year contender against Alex Oliveira last December at UFC 218.
It was a good night for Texans, including heavyweight Derrick Lewis, who bounced back from a TKO loss to Mark Hunt by scoring a knockout victory over Marcin Tybura in the third round of their heavyweight affair. The fight was even going into the third, where Lewis broke free from against the cage and waffled Tybura with a powerful right hand and followed up with strikes for the finish.
Lewis has won seven of his last eight fights and previously mentioned a desire to fight Francis Ngannou, who is coming off a defeat at the hands of UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic last month in Boston at UFC 220.
James Vick continued his march towards the top ten of the lightweight division, improving to 9-1 in the UFC with a unanimous decision victory over stalwart Francisco Trinaldo, who has won eight of his prior nine fights coming into the bout with Vick.
The 30-year old Vick convincingly won the first two rounds of the fight with effective striking using his right hand and sidekicks that landed in high frequency. In the third round, Vick slowed down and did a minimal amount to ensure the round, although no judges saw the third round going to Vick with straight scores of 29-28 awarded to the rising lightweight.
Vick stated in the post-fight interview he has his eyes on Conor McGregor, Tony Ferguson, and Khabib Nurmagomedov and is tired of guys avoiding him.
Welterweight newcomer Curtis Millender made a big statement with a ferocious knee to the head of veteran Thiago Alves, stopping the former welterweight title contender in the second round of their bout. Millender nearly won the fight in the opening round with a knockdown but opted to celebrate what he felt was the fight-ending blow but did not lead to the end of the fight. Millender just fought six-weeks ago for the LFA organization and then received the call from the UFC. He stated that he has a hit list within the UFC “and all the welterweights are on it.”
Featherweights Brandon Davis and Steven Peterson may not have been recognizable names prior to Saturday night but they ended up having a three-round war. Davis was the better striker throughout the fight, but Peterson showed an incredible ability to eat strikes, including Davis wobbling Peterson with a brutal knee strike in the third round but Peterson kept moving forward and finished the fight. Davis was awarded the unanimous decision and improved to 9-3.
The main card from Austin opened with the most debated decision of the night as Katy, Texas native Sage Northcutt narrowly edged out Thibault Gouti with scores of 29-28 across the board. The consensus appeared to be Gouti winning the second round and Northcutt the third round. The first round featured big moments for each man, including Gouti rocking Northcutt with two clean right hands to bookend the round. In between, Northcutt scored a key takedown and was aggressive on top with elbow strikes and made his case for taking the first round. The win improves the Team Alpha Male fighter’s professional record to 10-2 and is Northcutt’s second consecutive victory.
Below are the complete results from the card at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas:
*Donald Cerrone def. Yancy Medeiros by TKO at 4:58 of Round 1
*Derrick Lewis def. Marcin Tybura by TKO at 2:48 of Round 3
*James Vick def. Francisco Trinaldo by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Curtis Millender def. Thiago Alves by KO at 4:17 of Round 2
*Brandon Davis def. Steven Peterson by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
*Sage Northcutt def. Thibault Gouti by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
*Carlos Diego Ferreira def. Jared Gordon by TKO at 1:58 of Round 1
*Geoff Neal def. Brian Camozzi by bulldog choke at 2:48 of Round 1
*Roberto Sanchez def. Joby Sanchez by rear-naked choke at 1:50 of Round 1
*Lucie Pudilova def. Sarah Moras by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-27)
*Alex Morono def. Josh Burkman by guillotine choke at 2:12 of Round 1
*Oskar Piechota def. Tim Williams by KO at 1:54 of Round 1