UFC on ESPN 6 Report: Dominick Reyes stops Chris Weidman in Round 1

Eric Marcotte's review of Friday's UFC card in Boston that saw Dominick Reyes stop Chris Weidman in the first round, and a rematch with Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens.

UFC on ESPN 6 Report: Reyes knocks out Weidman in under 2 minutes

By: Eric Marcotte

The UFC held a rare Friday night event, at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. Notably, the first hour of the main card went head-to-head with the final hour of WWE’s Smackdown show on FOX, the UFC’s former home. This event was headlined by light heavyweight contender Dominick Reyes, welcoming former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman to 205lbs. The winner of this fight could very well be looking at a light heavyweight title fight against Jon Jones, given Reyes record and Weidman’s star power. In the co-main event, featherweight contenders Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens faced off in a highly anticipated rematch of their controversial no-contest, just four weeks ago in Mexico City.

Jon Anik was on commentary for this event alongside former UFC champions Dominick Cruz and Daniel Cormier. Performance bonuses were awarded to Dominick Reyes and Charles Rosa. Fight of the Night honors went to Yair Rodriguez and Jeremy Stephens. The reported attendance for the event was 12,066, with a gate of $1,124,765.

QUICK RESULTS:

*Tanner Boser def. Daniel Spitz by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

*Brendan Allen def. Kevin Holland by rear-naked choke at 3:38 of Round 2

*Sean Brady def. Court McGee by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

*Randy Costa def. Boston Salmon by TKO at 2:15 of Round 1

*Sean Woodson def. Kyle Bochniak by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

*Molly McCann def. Diana Belbita by unanimous decision (30-26 all)

*Charles Rosa def. Manny Bermudez by armbar at 2:46 of Round 1

*Darren Stewart def. Deron Winn by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

*Maycee Barber def. Gillian Robertson by TKO at 3:04 of Round 1

*Joe Lauzon def. Jonathan Pearce by TKO at 1:33 of Round 1

*Greg Hardy def. Ben Sosoli by unanimous decision (29-28 all)
Later in the evening, this decision was changed to a no-contest 

*Yair Rodriguez def. Jeremy Stephens by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

*Dominick Reyes def. Chris Weidman by TKO at 1:43 of Round 1

DANIEL SPITZ (6-2, 240) VS TANNER BOSER (16-5-1, 247.5) – HEAVYWEIGHT

Boser connected with a right hook early. They exchanged powerful kicks to the body, as the commentators broke down Boser’s mullet. Boser landed a pair of wild hooks in the final minute of the first and sealed a somewhat tentative round in his favor.

Spitz left leg was showing the effects of Boser’s low kicks from the first round. Boser was doing a good job of mixing his strikes up, and his movement was giving Spitz trouble. I thought it was a pretty clear 20-18 for Boser going into the final round.

The third round was more of the same story. This was a rather slow-paced fight, and Spitz never really found his range. Boser’s jab and low kicks controlled the pace of the fight, and he sealed each round by letting loose with the occasional heavy hook.

WINNER: Tanner Boser by unanimous decision (30-27 all)

Boser displayed a level of strategy and patience that is not always the norm at heavyweight. He really beat on the leg of Spitz and neutralized his offense. This was Boser’s UFC debut.

KEVIN HOLLAND (16-4, 185.5) VS BRENDAN ALLEN (12-3, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Allen pressured Holland hard from the get-go and momentarily took him down with a body lock. Holland worked his way up quickly, but Allen grabbed onto his back and brought him right back down to the ground. Holland reversed the position and started throwing down hard strikes at Allen, one of which, cut Allen open badly above the right eye. Holland took Allen’s back and it looked like he had a rear-naked choke fully sunk in, but Allen fought out of it and ended up on Hollands back, locking in a rear-naked choke of his own, that Holland somehow worked out of as time expired. This sequence of grappling was insane.

Holland shot for a takedown early in the second. Allen attempted a triangle choke from his back, but Holland defended it well. Allen scrambled out of it and took Hollands back not long after, and once again searched for the rear-naked choke. This time Allen was able to lock it in fully, and Holland was forced to tap.

WINNER: Brendan Allen by rear-naked choke at 3:38 of Round 2

I thought the first round of this fight was very exciting. Allen seemed confident on the feet as well as the ground, and his pressure forced Holland to play his game.  Allen called out Eryk Anders in his post-fight interview, who holds a decision win over Allen from LFA 14 in 2017.

COURT MCGEE (20-8, 170) VS SEAN BRADY (10-0, 167.5) – WELTERWEIGHT

Aggressive start to the fight and McGee landed a kick to the groin of Brady that put a pause to the action. The calf kicks that Brady landed quickly had an effect on McGee. Brady connected with a huge left hook that floored McGee, who recovered almost immediately. Brady went right back to working the right leg of McGee, and his left hook was continuously finding a home. This was a great first round for Brady.

Brady took McGee to the ground with a slick back-trip, but McGee worked his way back to the feet quickly. This was a much closer round then the first, with McGee pressuring forward and connecting with some low kicks of his own. Still, Brady landed the biggest shots of the round, secured two brief takedowns, and I had him up 20-18 going into the third.

The third round was much like the second. McGee out-landed Brady, but the strikes Brady connected with appeared more impactful. McGee did land a beautiful spinning back kick at the end of the fight. I scored this 29-28 Brady, but this was undoubtedly a close one.

WINNER: Sean Brady by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)

This crowd loved Sean Brady. He gave a good account of himself in his UFC debut against a game Court McGee, especially in the first round. Brady remains undefeated, and it will be interesting to see how far he goes in the UFC welterweight division.

RANDY COSTA (4-1, 134) VS BOSTON SALMON (6-2, 135.5) – BANTAMWEIGHT

Costa let loose with a series of strikes early, namely straight right hands that seemed to hurt Salmon against the cage early. Costa stuffed a takedown from Salmon and landed another straight right that dropped Salmon. Salmon recovered, but Costa kept on the attack and eventually landed a pair of straight rights that sent Salmon back to the ground. Costa hit Salmon with a pair of uppercuts as he attempted to return to his feet, and referee Herb Dean stepped in and stopped the contest.

WINNER: Randy Costa by TKO at 2:15 of Round 1

Salmon heavily protested the stoppage, but he was stumbling while doing so, making it difficult to criticize Herb Dean’s decision. Things could not have gone much better for Costa here, and his straight right hands couldn’t miss. This was Costa’s first win in the UFC.

KYLE BOCHNIAK (8-4, 145) VS SEAN WOODSON (6-0, 144.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

Bochniak was eating some significant strikes trying to close the distance against Woodson. Bochniak eventually rushed in and took Woodson down, but it did not take long before Woodson worked his way back to the feet. Woodson landed a nice uppercut and a pair of standing knees, the last of which hurt Bochniak. This was a fairly dominant opening round for Woodson

Woodson threw one of those standing knees a bit too slowly, and Bochniak clung on for a single leg attempt that Woodson ultimately shook off. They spent a lot of time trading hooks this round, as Bochniak pressured forward and Woodson attempted to keep the distance. Woodson threw a short hook that stumbled Bochniak briefly. Woodson’s takedown defense was on point here, and I had him comfortably ahead going into the final round.

Woodson defended two more takedown attempts from Bochniak in the opening minute, and then they started trading wildly in the pocket, with both men landing some clean strikes. Woodson was starting to taunt as Bochniak missed on a heavy swing. Woodson landed yet another standing knee to Bochniak’s chin, and Bochniak decided to throw defense to the wind, walking forward with his hands down as he did against Zabit Magomedsharipov. Nonetheless, Woodson continued to utilize his considerable reach advantage to tee off on Bochniak as he worked his way in, and I scored the fight 30-27 in his favor.

WINNER: Sean Woodson by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)

Sean Woodson is freakishly big for a featherweight, and Bochniak was never really able to work his way inside without eating big shots from Woodson. His takedown defense was extremely impressive in this fight as well. This was his UFC debut.

MOLLY MCCANN (9-2, 125) VS DIANA BELBITA (13-4, 125) – FLYWEIGHT

Both fighters were loading up hard on their strikes from the start of this one. Belbita was doing a lot of good work to the body, with knees and kicks. Belbita threw McCann down to the ground briefly. After returning to the feet, McCann chased down a double leg takedown to even the score and took Belbita down one more time at the end of the round. This was a very close round to score, but I narrowly gave it to Belbita.

McCann attempted to take Belbita down while in a standing head and arm choke, and Belbita grabbed the fence. Referee Bryan Miner saw this and halted the action to take a point away from Belbita. Cormier pointed out that whenever McCann goes for the double leg she is succeeding, and McCann took Belbita down one more time, this time raining down aggressive shots that almost stopped the fight. Belbita landed one big strike near the end of the round, but I thought this was a very dominant round for McCann. I scored this round 10-8 for McCann, which would be a 10-7 when accounting for the point deduction.

The third round mirrored the first, more-so than the second, but Belbita had clearly tired while McCann was still putting out a fairly high pace. This round was close, but McCann out-landed Belbita, and the strikes she landed appeared to do more damage then Belbita’s. I scored this fight 29-26 for McCann.

WINNER: Molly McCann by unanimous decision (30-26 all)

McCann looked good here, specifically in the grappling department. She was able to keep a high pace throughout the entire fight, which is always an impressive feat. She should get a ranked opponent in her next fight. McCann is now 3-1 in the UFC.

CHARLES ROSA (11-3, 144) VS MANNY BERMUDEZ (14-1, 148) – FEATHERWEIGHT

Bermudez missed the featherweight limit by two pounds, weighing in at 148lbs, and forfeited 20% of his purse.

It did not take long for Bermudez to get this fight to the ground. Rosa started looking for the armbar as he ate hammer fists. Bermudez was landing some very heavy shots down upon Rosa, who continued to look for that armbar. There was a brief pause in Bermudez’s attack, and referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the fight. As it turned out, Rosa had successfully locked in one of his armbar attempts, and Bermudez had verbally submitted.

WINNER: Charles Rosa by armbar at 2:46 of Round 1

Things weren’t looking good for Rosa, and then suddenly the fight was over in his favor. He stuck with the armbar and it paid off here. This was Rosa’s first fight in over two years and his first win since January of 2016. Rosa is now 3-3 in the UFC.

The UFC put up a tribute to Patrick Day at the start of the ESPN broadcast.

DERON WINN (6-0, 188.5) VS DARREN STEWART (10-4, 185) – MIDDLEWEIGHT

Winn weighed in 2.5 pounds over the middleweight limit and forfeited 20% of his purse.

Stewart stuffed an early takedown from Winn and landed some hard elbows against the cage. Winn powered through it and forced Stewart to the ground. Stewart escaped the position, but Winn feinted a double leg and connected with a right hand, that allowed him to rush in and take Stewart to the ground once more. Winn would take Stewart down with one last emphatic takedown, to seal the round in his favor.

Early in the second Stewart landed a kick to Winn’s groin, which stopped the action momentarily. Winn took Stewart back to the ground shortly after the action resumed. Stewart worked his way up and started to let loose with his hands. He was landing some hard strikes, and Winn quickly returned to the grappling. Stewart broke away with a knee and landed a flurry of strikes rushing forward to end the round. This was a close one, but I gave it to Stewart for the damage done, over Winn’s control.

Stewart appeared significantly fresher to start the final round. Stewart took Winn down with a double leg of his own, but Winn worked his way on top quickly. Winn completed one more takedown in the round, but Stewart continued showcasing his ability to work his way up. They exchanged some wild looping strikes to end the final round. I thought this last round was rather difficult to score, but I ultimately gave it to Winn.

WINNER: Darren Stewart by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)

This was a really close one, and I couldn’t really argue a 29-28 scorecard for either man. It came down to Winn’s control time against Stewart’s striking output. Stewart is now 4-1 in his last 5, after starting out his UFC tenure 0-3-1.

MAYCEE BARBER (7-0, 126) VS GILLIAN ROBERTSON (7-3, 126) – FLYWEIGHT

Roberson pulled guard about a minute into the fight, which is always an interesting strategy. It momentarily paid off for her, as she tried to work it into a single leg and ultimately put Barber against the cage. Barber broke free and started teeing off on Robertson with hooks and elbows against the cage until referee Gary Foreman stopped the fight.

WINNER: Maycee Barber by TKO at 3:04 of Round 1

The stoppage was a bit strange here. I wouldn’t call it bad, as Barber was definitely dominating and landing huge unanswered strikes at that point in the fight, but Robertson seemed cognisant and was throwing back as the fight was being stopped. Nonetheless, this was a great performance from Barber, who remains undefeated and tied the record for most consecutive KO/TKOS in the UFC for the women’s divisions. Barber called out Paige VanZant in her post-fight interview. She has legitimate potential.

JOE LAUZON (27-15, 153) VS JONATHAN PEARCE (9-3, 154.5) – LIGHTWEIGHT

Joe Lauzon got a huge reaction from his hometown crowd.

It did not take long for these fighters to start trading, and Lauzon stunned Pearce with a left hand down the middle. Lauzon completed a body lock and transitioned to Pearce’s back. Lauzon positioned Pearce’s right arm behind his back in a reverse nelson and just started throwing bombs down on the defenseless Pearce until the fight was stopped.

WINNER: Joe Lauzon by TKO at 1:33 of Round 1

Unsurprisingly, the crowd loved this. Lauzon picked up his first win in over two years here and did so flawlessly. He was clearly emotional after the fight and stated that this could potentially be his last fight, but he was undecided. Lauzon is among the longest-tenured fighters on the roster, with his UFC debut coming in 2006, and if this really is the final fight of his career, he will be remembered as one of the most consistently entertaining fighters in the history of the lightweight division.

GREG HARDY (5-1, 264.5) VS BEN SOSOLI (7-2, 1 NC, 264) – HEAVYWEIGHT

Sosoli’s left hand was finding a home early. Hardy connected on a powerful kick to the leg. Hardy landed a quick jab and a straight right that seemed to hurt Sosoli. The crowd was heavily booing the slow pace of this fight. They exchanged big right hands. Hardy won this round 10-9 on my scorecard. At some point in the round Hardy poked Sosoli in the eye, which led to him having trouble with it the rest of the round

Cormier commented on the beauty of Ben Sosoli’s mullet. Hardy landed a pair of leg kicks. By the mid-way point of the second round, they were clearly adding up. The crowd was not enjoying this fight. Sosoli was continuously loading up on his left hand, and Hardy was having no trouble getting out of the way. Hardy was just standing in front of Sosoli at the end of the round with his chin out, daring him to throw. 20-18 Hardy going into the final round.

Hardy used his inhaler between rounds, which as Cormier pointed out, is illegal. Cormier and Cruz were in shock about this incident for the next three minutes. Marc Ratner chimed in on the commentary team and clarified that this was completely illegal. The crowd continued to heavily boo this fight. Hardy kept working the leg of Sosoli to great success. Sosoli landed a big left hook near the end of the fight.

WINNER: Greg Hardy by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

Later in the night, the decision was changed to a no-contest due to the use of the inhaler by Hardy.

Hardy was patient, his hands were fast and his kicks to the leg of Sosoli controlled the fight. I cannot think of a fight that got booed as loudly as this one, start to finish. Naturally, the inhaler will be the talk of this fight. Jon Anik stated that the commissioner allowed the inhaler use for Hardy, as Cruz and Cormier voiced their disapproval of this incident. There was no post-fight interview. Hardy is now 3-1 in the UFC.

 

YAIR RODRIGUEZ (11-2, 1 NC, 145) VS JEREMY STEPHENS (28-16, 1 NC, 145.5) – FEATHERWEIGHT

This is a rematch of their fight from four weeks ago in Mexico City, which ended in fifteen seconds, following an eye poke from Rodriguez to Stephens.

Rodriguez opened with a Fabricio Werdum style, running, jumping kick to the face. They started swinging wildly. The bad blood was definitely real for this one. They battled in the clinch and reached a stalemate. Rodriguez was looking great early, fighting extremely aggressively. He landed this double body kick, looping hook combo a couple of times, which was beautiful. Stephens connected with a clean shot to the body. Rodriguez threw a jumping switch kick to the head of Stephens. Stephens connected hard on a hook, but then got dropped by a Rodriguez jab. They taunted each other as the round ended. Clear 10-9 for Rodriguez.

Rodriguez was really showboating at this point and dropped Stephens with a kick to the body and a low kick. Rodriguez threw brutal ground and pound strikes down at a rapid pace on Stephens, but the fight was not stopped. Rodriguez worked for a D’Arce choke and couldn’t lock it in. After two minutes of taking some serious damage, Stephens finally worked his way back up and managed to take Rodriguez down. Stephens started unloading in the clinch against the cage, and as the round ended, this crowd was going wild. I had it 20-17 Rodriguez going into the final round.

Rodriguez offered to touch gloves, and Stephens turned him down. They started trading wildly in the pocket once more, but Rodriguez’s head movement kept him safe. Stephens completed a pair of double leg takedowns, the latter one keeping Rodriguez down. Stephens was dominating the round with his wrestling and landed some short elbows. Rodriguez survived Stephen’s late attack and took this fight 29-27 on my scorecard.

WINNER: Yair Rodriguez by unanimous decision (29-28 all)

They shook hands and hugged at the end of the fight. Rodriguez looked phenomenal in the first two rounds, but it was clear the momentum was shifting, which was unfortunate for Stephens, given that this was originally scheduled for 5 rounds a month ago in Mexico City. This was a fantastic fight, and a great win for Yair Rodriguez, who will be looking at a top-five opponent after this performance. Rodriguez is now 8-1 in the UFC.

The UFC showed a split-screen of Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic (who was in the crowd). Comically, Cormier was taunting Miocic on his side of the screen, while Miocic had absolutely no interest in playing to the camera.

DOMINICK REYES (11-0, 203) VS CHRIS WEIDMAN (14-4, 204) – LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

Reyes had gone 5-0 since debuting in the UFC, and one more win would surely catapult him into a fight against Jon Jones. Comparatively, Weidman came into this fight 1-4 in his last five, as was looking to get back on the right track in a new division.

Weidman took Reyes down fifteen seconds into the first round. Reyes used the fence to pick himself back up. Reyes dropped Weidman with a straight left hand moving backward and then threw down a trio of hammer fists that forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight.

WINNER: Dominick Reyes by TKO at 1:43 of Round 1

This could not have gone any better for Dominick Reyes. The first clean shot he landed (moving backward) floored Weidman. He should definitely be next in line for a light heavyweight title opportunity.

On the flip side, this was a devastating result for Chris Weidman, who desperately needed a win here to inject life into his career. He has now been brutally finished in 5 of his last 6 fights, and despite having a win over Kelvin Gastelum in there, it is tough to imagine him working his way back into title contention. He stated he would be back in his post-fight interview.