UFC 249 ushers in fan-free, mask-filled era of sports

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Kicks, punches and grunts echoed through the empty arena. Coaches, commentators and camera clicks resonated like never before. Blood, sweat, swollen eyelids and face masks signaled the return of UFC, the first major sporting event to resume since the coronavirus shuttered much of the country for nearly two months.

UFC 249 ushered in a new look for sports, too. One without fans and amid several safety precautions.

It was definitely different — two fighters adjusted their approaches because of what they heard announcers say — and a welcome reprieve for a sports-craved country that went nearly eight weeks with few live events.

“We did this for you, to bring sports back,” fighter Tony Ferguson told fans following his loss in the main event.

Five hours after President Trump congratulated UFC for restarting the sports world, Justin Gaethje stunned heavily favored Ferguson (26-4) in the finale. Gaethje earned a TKO in the fifth and final round of the headliner that was deemed an interim lightweight title bout. It essentially gives Gaethje (22-2) the right to fight titleholder Khabib Nurmagomedov next. Nurmagomedov was unable to fight this weekend because of travel restrictions.

Gaethje flipped over the top of the cage and back in following the biggest victory of his career. He then screamed repeatedly.

“I want the real one,” he said as he threw down the interim belt. “There’s no other fight I want right now.”

The stacked card saw 33-year-old Henry Cejudo, with blood gushing from his forehead and running down his chest, defend his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz and then announce his retirement in the middle of the octagon.

“I really do want to walk away, but money talks,” said Cejudo, an Olympic gold medalist in 2008. “It gets stagnant. I want to leave on top.”

The event also included heavyweight contender Francis Ngannou pummeling another opponent, former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy winning for the sixth time in eight fights and former welterweight champion and fan favorite Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone losing his fourth straight.

Trump grabbed the spotlight early. His taped message was played during ESPN’s broadcast of the undercard.

“I want to congratulate (UFC President) Dana White and the UFC,” Trump said. “They’re going to have a big match. We love it. We think it’s important. Get the sports leagues back. Let’s play. Do the social distancing and whatever else you have to do. We need sports. We want our sports back.”

UFC 249 was originally scheduled for April 18 in New York, but was postponed in hopes of helping slow the spread of COVID-19.

The mixed martial arts behemoth will hold three shows in eight days in Jacksonville, where state officials deemed professional sports with a national audience exempt from a stay-at-home order as long as the location is closed to the public.

The UFC came up with a 25-page document to address health and safety protocols, procedures that led to Jacaré Souza testing positive for COVID-19 on Friday. His middleweight bout against Uriah Hall was canceled that night. Souza’s two cornermen also tested as positive, the UFC said.

All three men left the host hotel to self-isolate elsewhere, where UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and provide assistance with necessary treatments.

The positive results surely increased the focus on the event. Every other sport is watching closely to see how it plays out.

White didn’t want to postpone any fights. He tried to host the event on tribal land in California and still hopes to create a “Fight Island” for future cards.

He settled for Jacksonville for at least a week — without fans and with social-distancing rules in place.

Judges and broadcasters worked from separate tables. Fighters, trainers, referees, judges, UFC staff and even outside media had to undergo COVID-19 testing to get inside Veterans Memorial Arena.

Many of those in attendance Saturday wore masks and gloves, although several were seemingly exempt from the mandate. Referees, ring announcer Bruce Buffer, other officials inside the octagon and the ring girl were unmasked. Play-by-play commentator Joe Rogan, who initially was supposed to interview winners remotely, ended up doing them inside the octagon.

The cage floor was disinfected between bouts, and the padded parts of the octagon were wiped down between rounds.

Without fans, though, sounds that usually would be muted or completely drowned out filled the desolate arena. Fighters said it affected their bouts. Hardy and Carla Esparza said they altered their approach after hearing commentators during early rounds.

“It’s hard to assess without the crowd,” Anthony Pettis said after beating Cerrone in a wild welterweight fight. “When I land stuff, I hear the crowd and know it was a good one. This time, there was no crowd. I saw his head pop, but there was nothing behind it, so it’s hard to tell.”

Also on the card:

— Cejudo (16-2) caught Cruz (22-3) with a right knee to the face that sent him reeling to the canvas. Cejudo then delivered nearly a dozen unanswered blows before the referee stopped it. Cruz argued it never should have been called because he was working to get back on his feet. Cejudo surprisingly ended his career a few minutes later, saying he wants to spend more time with his family.

— Ngannou knocked out fellow heavyweight Jairzinho Rozenstruik in 20 seconds. Ngannou rushed Rozenstruik and delivered a flurry of blows that left Rozenstruik so woozy he had trouble getting into his slides long after the fight ended. It was Ngannou’s fourth consecutive victory totaling less than 3 minutes in the octagon.

— Calvin Kattar (21-4) stopped Jeremy Stephens (28-18) in the second round after consecutive elbow blows, one standing and another on the ground.

— Hardy (6-2) celebrated a unanimous decision over Yorgan De Castro (6-1) in a heavyweight bout.

— “Showtime” Pettis (23-10) beat Cerrone (36-15) in an unanimous decision. Pettis and Cerrone last fought in 2013. Pettis won that one as well. Cerrone has dropped four in a row, including losses to Conor McGregor, Gaethje and Ferguson.

— Aleksei “The Boa Constrictor” Oleinik (59-13-1) beat Fabricio Werdum (23-9-1) in a heavyweight bout featuring a pair of 42-year-olds. It was a split decision that included more toe-to-toe blows than ground grappling.

— Carla Esparza (16-6) edged Michelle “Karate Hottie” Waterson (17-8) in a split decision. It was Esparza’s third straight victory in the straw-weight division.

— Vicente Luque (18-7-1) won for the seventh time in eight fights when he beat Niko Price (14-4) in a bloodbath. The fight was ruled a TKO in the third round after Price developed a nasty cut above his right eye. Luque was ahead on all three cards when it was called.

— Featherweight Bryce Mitchell (13-1) defeated fellow grappler Charles Rosa (12-4) in a unanimous decision.

— Spann (18-5) extended his winning streak to eight by beating veteran Sam Alvey (33-14) in a split decision.

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Jacaré Souza out of UFC 249 after testing positive for COVID-19

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — UFC President Dana White still wants “Fight Island.”

He’s temporarily settling for a peninsula — and had to call off a bout after a fighter tested positive for the coronavirus.

UFC 249 will serve as the first major sporting event to take place since the pandemic shut down much of the country nearly two months ago. The bouts Saturday night in Jacksonville — the main event is set for pay-per-view — are expected to draw a large viewing audience considering the sports-craved nation has seemingly grown tired of replays and video game events.

There’s nothing virtual about the reality of getting punched in the face.

“Right now there is no Olympics. There is no Wimbledon. There is no NBA drafts. No NFL drafts,” said lightweight contender Tony Ferguson. “There is no (expletive) tennis. There is no soccer, hockey. There is no baseball. This what we bring to the table man and we are going out there and do our best and we are going to keep sports alive.”

More like bring sports back to life.

Ferguson (25-3) and fellow lightweight contender Justin Gaethje (21-2) will headline the mixed martial arts card behind closed doors at Veterans Memorial Arena.

“This is going to bring a sense of normalcy to people,” Gaethje said. “Proud to be a part of it, you know the opportunity to inspire. People need to be inspired right now. They need to not let themselves become depressed, emotional because they can’t control what is going on right now.

“We have got to ride it through, and they need to be inspired in a way and we can do that. We have the opportunity.”

Jacaré Souza, tested positive Friday. His middleweight bout against Uriah Hall was called off. Souza’s two cornermen also tested as positive, the UFC said in a statement.

“All three men have left the host hotel and will be self-isolating off premises, where UFC’s medical team will monitor their conditions remotely and will provide assistance with any necessary treatment,” the UFC said.

The UFC is returning after an involuntary eight-week break that upended White’s desire to keep fighting amid the COVID-19 health crisis. The series is holding three shows in eight days in a fan-free arena in Florida, where state officials deemed professional sports with a national audience exempt from a stay-at-home order as long as “the location is closed to the general public.”

The UFC came up with a 25-page document to address health and safety protocols. UFC executives and physicians consulted regulatory officials and outside experts to develop its procedures, which include testing everyone working the event.

Those in attendance, perhaps even referees, will have to wear masks and gloves. The cage floor, inevitably sprinkled with sweat and blood, will be disinfected regularly.

“It is going to be much more of an intimate situation, as weird as that sounds,” Gaethje said. “The fans are going to get to hear the shots when we land our shots. They are going to hear the breathing. They are going to hear the talking from the coaches. … I can’t wait to watch this fight when it is over because I know that it cannot disappoint.”

The undercard will be broadcast on ESPN, whose most recent live sports have been reduced to Korean baseball and cornhole.

Other fights on the card include:

—Henry Cejudo (15-2) will defend his UFC bantamweight champion against former titleholder Dominick Cruz (22-2).

—Francis Ngannou (14-3) fights undefeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik (10-0) in a heavyweight bout.

—Jeremy Stephens (28-17) and Calvin Kattar (20-4) in a matchup of featherweight contenders.

—Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy (6-2) against unbeaten Yorgan De Castro (5-0) in another heavyweight bout.

—And Donald Cerrone (36-14) takes on Anthony Pettis (22-10) in a welterweight fight.

UFC 249 was originally scheduled for April 18 in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The next two major events — UFC 250 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and UFC 251 in Perth, Australia — already have been postponed because of the global pandemic.

White, meanwhile, continues to work to try to stage international bouts on a private island.

Unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov initially was slated to fight Ferguson for the lightweight title, but travel restrictions forced Nurmagomedov to be replaced by Gaethje.

Ferguson and Gaethje will vie for the title of “interim lightweight champion.”

“You will be recognized as the No. 2 man in the world,” Ferguson said. “Khabib can’t fight right now, so these are the two baddest men on the planet in this weight class fighting this weekend for the right to call themselves the best and then ultimately challenge Khabib.

“I think we are fighting for the opportunity to represent America against Khabib and that is what I am fighting for.”

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Fighters see UFC 249 as chance to spread hope, inspiration

When the UFC leads North America’s major sports back into action Saturday night with a pay-per-view show in Florida, Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje know they can’t do anything tentatively.

“We’ve got to go out there and keep sports alive,” Ferguson said Tuesday after he flew into Jacksonville and was quickly tested for COVID-19.

The 24 fighters at UFC 249 all realize they added another risk to their already hazardous professions when they agreed to compete amid the growing coronavirus pandemic. While the UFC has strict safety protocols in place, no one can be certain of the dangers involved when the mixed martial arts promotion returns from an eight-week break with three shows in eight days in Jacksonville.

Ferguson and Gaethje both believe their risks are outweighed by the sporting rewards they will reap and the example they will provide when they fight for the interim UFC lightweight title in a fan-free arena.

“We’re going to bring a sense of normalcy to people,” Gaethje said in a phone interview. “I’m proud to be a part of it. It’s the opportunity to inspire. People need to be inspired right now. They need to not let themselves become depressed (or) emotional because they can’t control what’s going on right now. We’ve got to ride it through. They need to be inspired, and we can do that.”

“I honestly had no reservations,” Ferguson added. “Fighting is very dangerous, so I think we’ll be just fine.”

The UFC never wanted to stop competition while the pandemic grew, and president Dana White was never short of fighters willing to compete while he scrambled desperately to keep holding fight cards amid the unprecedented public health crisis. Now that White has found a state and an athletic commission willing to host him, UFC 249 will be followed by additional shows on May 13, May 16 and probably May 23 from Jacksonville.

“There’s not very often you’re going to get to fight for a world title, much less during a pandemic when there’s zero sports going on and you’re going to be the only one on TV,” Gaethje said. “You have to face your fears. You’ve got to go out there and take the chances when they’re presented. … We get to put paychecks in our own pocket, and we get to put a paycheck in every UFC employee’s pocket that’s going to work this event, and we get to inspire people to not give up right now.”

While many athletes around the world have voiced concerns about being compelled to play their sports in such uncertain times, the UFC’s fighters — who typically don’t get paid unless they compete — have been almost unanimously eager to return.

Even seasoned veterans like ex-champion Dominick Cruz have jumped at the opportunity despite being well aware of the health risks involved. Like Gaethje, Cruz sees UFC 249 as an opportunity to overcome fear.

“Realistically, anybody can contract this virus,” said Cruz, who will return from a three-year cage absence to fight bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo on Saturday. “I think that’s partially the point, is understanding that anybody out there can get this, but you can’t just freeze up when you see something that’s scary. You’ve got to take the precautions, be as safe as possible, but live your life. That’s what I’m doing.”

Some MMA fighters prefer to train in busy gyms with several teammates, while others work out with only their coaches and sparring partners. The necessary changes over the past two months haven’t bothered Cejudo, an Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler and champion of two UFC divisions.

“I really don’t know the difference between the COVID-19 quarantine and me in my training camp,” Cejudo said. “I’m a professional. I train each and every day. I try to do everything right. This whole quarantine, I think by the time the U.S. comes back together, I’m just not going to know the difference.”

Cruz feels particularly strongly about the symbolic importance of the UFC’s return to competition. The former 135-pound champion wants to reclaim the belt to use it as an instrument for social change, even citing Muhammad Ali’s activism against the Vietnam War as his inspiration.

“What’s the value of championship belts or Olympic gold medals when there’s 33 million Americans that just filed for unemployment benefits, that can’t see their families since mid-March?” Cruz said. “There’s no vaccine for COVID-19 coming, probably no end in sight. So I’ve been (contemplating) the question of what’s the value of belts or even Olympic gold medals unless you use it to make a difference in the lives and the service of humanity?”

But after listening to Cruz’s passionate thoughts about the state of the world during their joint phone interview, Cejudo brought the discussion back to usual MMA levels of discourse.

“You’d better sign up for those unemployment checks, because I’m taking you out,” Cejudo said. “Dominick, you sound like Miss Universe.”

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UFC 240: Max Holloway retains featherweight title; Cris Cyborg dominates

  • Max Holloway, left, fights Frankie Edgar during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Max Holloway is hit by Frankie Edgar during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

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  • Max Holloway, left, and Frankie Edgar connect on each other during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Max Holloway punches Frankie Edgar during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Max Holloway, right, punches Frankie Edgar during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Max Holloway, left, blocks a kick from Frankie Edgar during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Max Holloway celebrates the win over Frankie Edgar during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Cris Cyborg celebrates the win over Felicia Spencer during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Cris Cyborg, left, is punched by Felicia Spencer during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Cris Cyborg, left, punches Felicia Spencer during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Geoff Neal gets on top of Niko Price during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, on Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

  • Cris Cyborg, left, hits Felicia Spencer during a mixed martial arts bout at UFC 240, in Edmonton, Alberta, Saturday, July 27, 2019. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP)

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EDMONTON, Alberta — Reigning featherweight champ Max Holloway defended his belt Saturday, overwhelming former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar at UFC 240.

Holloway (21-4-0) won a unanimous five-round decision.

The 27-year-old Hawaiian kept Edgar at a distance throughout the fight, stinging him with jabs and uppercuts in the first round and bloodying his nose in the second.

Holloway resisted all but one attempt by Edgar (22-7-1) to take him down, and said he was proud to be able to go the distance.

“Everybody said I wouldn’t be able to stay with this pace. I wanted to be able to stay for five rounds,” Holloway said.

Holloway has never lost in the featherweight category. He was coming off a lightweight division loss to Dustin Poirier in April, his first loss in five years.

It was one of two headline fights.

In the other headline bout, Brazilian MMA legend Cris Cyborg pummeled Montreal’s Felicia Spencer with punches, leg kicks and knee shots to win a unanimous decision.

Cyborg (21-2, 1 NC), with blood spilling down her face from taking an elbow in the first round, pounded Spencer and deflected multiple attacks to put her in a clinch or take her down in the women’s featherweight fight.

Spencer (7-1) had the crowd cheering as she withstood the assault and launched a few counterstrikes, her white shirt stained red with Cyborg’s blood.

“I trained really hard. Thanks to Felicia for giving me my first cut. I’m happy. I just want to come back and do my job. Thank you, God. I feel very blessed to be here,” Cyborg said.

The 34-yar-old Cyborg is trying to rebuild her brand after coming off a loss to Amanda Nunes in a featherweight championship fight in December, Cyborg’s first defeat in 13 years.

This was the last fight on her UFC contract.

In other bouts, American welterweights Geoff Neal and Niko Price put on a back-and-forth brawl that had the crowd cheering. Neal won a TKO when he pinned Price to the canvas in the middle of the second round and pounded him until Price’s arms went limp.

Marc-Andre Barriault (11-3) lost a split decision to Poland’s Krzysztof Jotko in a middleweight bout, and Olivier Aubin-Mercier (12-5) lost a unanimous-decision to 22-year-old Arman Tsarukyan of Armenia in a lightweight fight.

Gavin Tucker won by submission over South Korean striker Seungwoo Choi in the third round of their featherweight fight.

It was the first MMA fight for Tucker (11-1) since UFC 215 in Edmonton almost two years ago, when he was beaten so badly by Rick Glenn he was hospitalized with a fractured jaw and broken bones to his face.

Gillian Robertson (7-3 in MMA) defeated Brazil’s Sarah Frota in a women’s flyweight fight.

In a featherweight fight, Hakeem Dawodu dominated Japanese fighter Yoshniori Hori, ending in a third round TKO at 4:09. Alexis Davis lost a unanimous women’s flyweight decision to Brazil’s Viviane Araujo.

In a spirited flyweight battle of Brazilians, Alexandre Pantoja and Deiveson Figueiredo stayed on their feet for three rounds, trading flurries of jabs and uppercuts that left Pantoja’s face streaked with blood. Figueiredo won a unanimous decision.

Erik Koch took fellow American Kyle Stewart down four times to win a unanimous decision in their welterweight bout.

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UFC 238: Tony Ferguson beat Donald Cerrone by TKO in lightweight fight

  • Tony Ferguson, right, punches Donald Cerrone, left, during their lightweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 238, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

  • Donald Cerrone, his right eye swollen shut, is unable to fight Tony Ferguson during their lightweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 238, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

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  • Donald Cerrone, left, kicks Tony Ferguson during their lightweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 238, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

  • Donald Cerrone, right, lands a punch against Tony Ferguson during their lightweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 238, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

  • Donald Cerrone, right, looks to hit Tony Ferguson during their lightweight mixed martial arts bout at UFC 238, Saturday, June 8, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski)

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CHICAGO — Tony Ferguson’s path to the lightweight title is becoming clear.

Ferguson won by technical knockout after a medical stoppage in a lightweight fight against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 on Saturday night.

Ferguson (26-3) won his 12th straight fight, the longest active streak in the UFC, after a doctor stopped the fight after the second round after checking on the swelling of Cerrone’s right eye.

Cerrone was taken to a hospital with an orbital fracture.

With the win, Ferguson moved into a position to face the winner of the lightweight unification title fight between champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September.

“If me and Cowboy (Cerrone) don’t fight again, I want that title shot. I’ve had that title, I feel that’s why it’s such an emotional roller-coaster. I’ve increased my value after this fight tonight. If Poirier cannot do it, I’ll go to Abu Dhabi (UFC 242) and do it myself, and if (Conor) McGregor wants to dance, I have a tune for him too, so regardless I’ll be ready,” Ferguson said.

With the crowd and Cerrone wanting more, and Ferguson getting a late hit in, Ferguson wished the bout didn’t end the way it did.

“It’s not the way I wanted to win. It’s been a big journey, I don’t think anyone had to go through the kind of stuff I had to,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson was back in the cage after a layoff because of personal issues.

Ferguson beat Anthony Pettis in October.

Saturday’s main card also featured two title fights.

In the main event, flyweight champ Henry Cejudo (15-2) finished Marlon Moraes (22-6-1) in the third round for the vacated bantamweight championship.

Cejudo, an Olympic gold medal wrestler, showed off his striking game in the second round, delivering a series of uppercuts and knees to the face of Moraes.

Cejudo carried the momentum to the third round, taking Moraes to the ground and delivering a series of punches before the fight was stopped just before the third round ended.

Cejudo defended his flyweight belt against former bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw with a first-round knockout in January. Dillashaw went down to flyweight to chase his second belt, but he was stopped by Cejudo in just over 30 seconds and had his belt stripped after he failed pre- and post-fight drug tests.

Cejudo became the fourth fighter in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in two different weight divisions.

“I’m not a double champion, I’m a triple champion: Olympic champion, flyweight champion and now bantamweight champion of the UFC,” Cejudo said. “I’m the only person in the world who has all these titles, nobody else. Whether you hate me or you love me, I’m the pound-for-pound king.”

In a women’s flyweight title fight, Valentina Shevchenko (17-3) defended her belt by landing a vicious left kick to the head of Jessica Eye (14-7) early in the second round. Eye was knocked out cold, but she was able to recover and walk off on her own power.

The fight between Ferguson and Cerrone was the highlight of the card. They had the attention of the crowd, which was equally split between the fighters.

The two exchanged blows in the first round. Cerrone landed a jab that put a cut above Ferguson’s right eye, bloodying Ferguson’s face.

In the second round, Ferguson went to work on Cerrone’s face, landing a series jabs and kicks, continuing to bloody Cerrone’s face and pounding his right eye.

Cerrone (36-12) took down Ferguson with two minutes left in the round, but Ferguson recovered quickly and continued to pound Cerrone’s face.

Ferguson delivered a punch just after the bell. It wasn’t immediately clear if Ferguson was penalized.

“In the second round, I saw his hands started to drop, my left hand started to land a lot more, he didn’t have too many answers to the kicks, I saw his confidence starting to decrease. And in the end of that round, going through a lot of emotions, just trying to get into it, I let a punch go at the buzzer, I thought I hit him at the buzz, it was on the other side of his face, not the side that was swollen,” Ferguson said.

Cerrone, who was alert and ready to begin the third round, was checked by a doctor who immediately put a stop to fight after checking on the swelling of Cerrone’s right eye.

Ferguson’s road to the lightweight title might not be that simple. Potential scheduling conflicts could affect the coveted title shot for Ferguson. Nurmagomedov’s agent has plans for his client to face Georges St-Pierre at some point, and Conor McGregor, the No. 3 contender, is holding out for a rematch against Nurmagomedov after he lost to him at UFC 229.

Ferguson had the interim title stripped when he wasn’t able to face Nurmagomedov in April of 2018.

Saturday’s fight against Ferguson was finalized just one week after Cerrone beat Al Iaquinta on May 4, giving Cerrone less than a month to prepare for Ferguson.

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Conor McGregor announces retirement from MMA

  • Conor McGregor during the UFC 202 ceremonial weigh-ins at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, NV., Friday, August 19, 2016. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht/Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov, red, chokes Conor McGregor to win via submission during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Conor McGregor during the UFC 229 official weigh-ins at the Park MGM in Las Vegas, Nev. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2018. . (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Conor McGregor is taken to the locker room after being defeated by Khabib Nurmagomedov during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Conor McGregor during the UFC 229 official weigh-ins at the Park MGM in Las Vegas, Nev. Thursday, Oct. 5, 2018. . (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • No. 1 UFC lightweight Conor McGregor during UFC 229 open workouts at the Park Theater Wednesday, October 3, 2018, in Las Vegas Nev. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • No. 1 UFC lightweight Conor McGregor during the UFC 229 press conference at the Park Theater in Las Vegas Nev. Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • No. 1 UFC lightweight Conor McGregor during UFC 229 open workouts at the Park Theater Wednesday, October 3, 2018, in Las Vegas Nev. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • No. 1 UFC lightweight Conor McGregor during UFC 229 open workouts at the Park Theater Wednesday, October 3, 2018, in Las Vegas Nev. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • No. 1 UFC lightweight Conor McGregor during UFC 229 open workouts at the Park Theater Wednesday, October 3, 2018, in Las Vegas Nev. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Khabib Nurmagomedov submits Conor McGregor to retain the title during UFC 229 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. Friday, Oct. 6, 2018. (Photos by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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NEW YORK (AP) — Superstar UFC fighter Conor McGregor has announced on social media that he is retiring from mixed martial arts.

McGregor’s verified Twitter account had a post early Tuesday that said the former featherweight and lightweight UFC champion was making a “quick announcement.”

The tweet says: ” I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as “Mixed Martial Art” today.” The note wishes his colleagues well going forward and said that he would “join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!”

The 30-year-old McGregor also announced retirement on Twitter in April 2016, saying he decided to retire young, though he quickly reversed that amid a dispute with his promoters about how much he should be obligated to tout a fight scheduled with Nate Diaz that was postponed.

Earlier this month, McGregor was arrested in South Florida for stealing the cellphone of someone who was trying to take his photo, authorities said. McGregor was charged with robbery and criminal mischief. His attorney described the altercation as minor.

McGregor, who’s from Ireland, returned to UFC last fall after a hiatus during which he made his boxing debut, a loss to Floyd Mayweather. He was suspended from UFC for six months and fined $50,000 for a brawl after his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov in October.

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UFC 235: Jon Jones pummels Anthony Smith to retain title

LAS VEGAS — If you weren’t sure Jon Jones was back, the light heavyweight champion proved it Saturday night.

Jones spent 25 minutes taking the fight to an overmatched Anthony Smith, throttling him with a diverse arsenal on his way to a lopsided unanimous decision in the UFC 235 main event at T-Mobile Arena.

Afterward, Jones gave heavy praise to his opponent.

“His reputation is known for being so durable. Now I know why they call him ‘Lionheart,’” Jones (24-1, 1 NC) said. “I’ve never had someone talk to me while I was hitting him. ‘That was nice’ and ‘Is that all you got?’”

The only drama came in the fourth round when Jones cracked a downed Smith with a knee to the head, for which he was deducted two points by referee Herb Dean.

As a result, the final scores from all three judges were 48-44.

To his credit, Smith (31-14) wished to continue to fight instead of saying the knee forced him unable to continue.

“I didn’t want to take the DQ win,” Smith said. “I wanted to win it. I didn’t want to steal it.”

As a result, Smith went on into the fifth, which saw Jones keeping him against the Octagon to prevent any sort of crazy finish.

Jones is now 15-0 with one no contest – a title-fight win overturned because of a positive PED test – in his past 16 fights. His only loss came a result via disqualification for delivering illegal elbows when he was dominating and close to finishing Matt Hamill in 2009

Jones, 31, was listed as high as a 10-1 favorite by some oddsmakers coming into this fight, his first since winning the title back with a third-round knockout of Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 232 on Dec. 29 at The Forum.

Jones’ career has been colorful, to say the least, with two drug suspensions and being stripped two times – three counting an interim title.

Despite all that, Jones still has 12 championship fight victories, tying him for second with former flyweight king Demetrious Johnson and trailing only former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre’s 13.

Jones made Smith’s night difficult by using a plethora of kicks – to Smith’ legs, body and head – meant to attack as well as keep the challenger at bay.

Smith, who moved up from middleweight less than a year ago, found himself fighting for the belt after three consecutive finishes over former champions Rashad Evans and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and former title challenger Volkan Oezdemir.

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Brian Ortega title fight vs. champ Max Holloway canceled at UFC 226

LAS VEGAS — The UFC 226 co-main event between featherweight champion Max Holloway and South Bay’s Brian Ortega has been canceled because of Holloway’s health issues.

Holloway, as first reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, began experiencing concussion-like symptoms Monday. After his open workout Wednesday at the MGM Grand, Holloway slept and was reportedly difficult to awaken and began experiencing vision flashes and slurred speech.

UFC 226 is headlined by heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic defending his belt against light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, but the 145-pound title fight between the two warriors in their prime was highly anticipated.

Ortega, 27, was reportedly offered replacements but is leaning strongly toward turning them down in hopes of fighting Holloway soon, according to those close to Ortega.

The undefeated 145-pounder from Lomita is coming off impressive finishes of Cub Swanson in December and Frankie Edgar in March – which came on just three weeks’ notice and ended with a first-round knockout.

This is the third time this year Holloway, 26, has not fought as scheduled on a card. He cited a leg injury in withdrawing a month before his March 3 title defense against Edgar for UFC 222, which led to Ortega’s opportunity. At UFC 223 in April, Holloway stepped up on late notice to fight lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, but was pulled off the card by the New York State Athletic Commission due to difficulties with his weight cut.

UFC 226 is the latest International Fight Week card, typically among the UFC’s biggest of the year around Fourth of July, to be thrown into chaos

At UFC 189 in 2015, then-featherweight champion Jose Aldo pulled out a week before his fight with Conor McGregor.

At UFC 200 in 2016, then-light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was removed from the card and his title defense against Cormier due to an anti-doping violation.

At UFC 213 in 2017, bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes withdrew just hours before her title defense against Valentina Shevchenko because of complications with sinusitis.

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Photos: UFC 222 – Cyborg and Ortega deliver 1st round knockouts

  • Cris Cyborg knocks out Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg knocks out Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg, red, vs. Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by first stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg, red, vs. Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by first stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg moves in on opponent Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg moves in on opponent Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg moves in on opponent Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg moves in on opponent Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg moves in on opponent Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg moves in on opponent Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg kicks Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg kicks Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Referee Herb Dean stops Cris Cyborg from striking Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Referee Herb Dean stops Cris Cyborg from striking Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg celebrates defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg celebrates defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg raises her hand after defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg raises her hand after defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg raises her hand after defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg raises her hand after defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg raises her hand after defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg raises her hand after defeating Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg, red, vs. Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by first stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg, red, vs. Yana Kunitskaya during their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by first stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cris Cyborg leaves the cage after defeating Yana Kunitskaya after their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cris Cyborg leaves the cage after defeating Yana Kunitskaya after their UFC Women’s Featherweight title bout during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Cyborg defeated Kunitskaya by 1st round stoppage. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Frankie Edgar, red, vs. Brian Ortega during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Brian Ortega lands an uppercut to the head of Frankie Edgar sending him to the canvas during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Brian Ortega lands an uppercut to the head of Frankie Edgar sending him to the canvas during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Brian Ortega celebrates with coaches James Luhrsen and Rener Gracie after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Brian Ortega celebrates with coaches James Luhrsen and Rener Gracie after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Brian Ortega has his hand raised after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Brian Ortega has his hand raised after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Brian Ortega celebrates after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Brian Ortega celebrates after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Brian Ortega celebrates after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Brian Ortega celebrates after knocking out Frankie Edgar during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ortega defeated Edgar with a 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Sean O’Malley, red, vs. Andre Soukhamthath during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. O’Malley defeated Soukhamthath by unanimous decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Sean O’Malley, red, vs. Andre Soukhamthath during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. O’Malley defeated Soukhamthath by unanimous decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Sean O’Malley, red, vs. Andre Soukhamthath during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. O’Malley defeated Soukhamthath by unanimous decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Sean O’Malley, red, vs. Andre Soukhamthath during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. O’Malley defeated Soukhamthath by unanimous decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Stefan Struve,red, vs. Andrei Arlovski during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Arlovski defeated Struve by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Stefan Struve,red, vs. Andrei Arlovski during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Arlovski defeated Struve by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Stefan Struve,red, vs. Andrei Arlovski during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Arlovski defeated Struve by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Stefan Struve,red, vs. Andrei Arlovski during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Arlovski defeated Struve by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Cat Zingano, red, vs. Ketlen Vieira during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Vieira defeated Zingano by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Ashley Yoder, red, vs. Mackenzie Dern during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dern defeated Yoder by judges decision in her UFC debut. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Beneil Dariush, red, vs. Alexander Hernandez during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Hernandez defeated Dariush via 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Beneil Dariush, red, vs. Alexander Hernandez during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Hernandez defeated Dariush via 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Beneil Dariush, red, vs. Alexander Hernandez during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Hernandez defeated Dariush via 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Beneil Dariush, red, vs. Alexander Hernandez during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Hernandez defeated Dariush via 1st round knockout. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • John Dodson, red, vs. Pedro Munhoz during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dodson beat Munhoz by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    John Dodson, red, vs. Pedro Munhoz during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dodson beat Munhoz by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • John Dodson, red, vs. Pedro Munhoz during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dodson beat Munhoz by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    John Dodson, red, vs. Pedro Munhoz during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Dodson beat Munhoz by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • CB Dollaway, red, vs. Hector Lombard during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard struck Dollaway after the bell and was disqualified. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    CB Dollaway, red, vs. Hector Lombard during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard struck Dollaway after the bell and was disqualified. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • CB Dollaway, red, vs. Hector Lombard during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard struck Dollaway after the bell and was disqualified. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    CB Dollaway, red, vs. Hector Lombard during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard struck Dollaway after the bell and was disqualified. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • CB Dollaway, red, vs. Hector Lombard during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard struck Dollaway after the bell and was disqualified. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    CB Dollaway, red, vs. Hector Lombard during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard struck Dollaway after the bell and was disqualified. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • CB Dollaway falls after being hit by Hector Lombard after the bell during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard was disqualified for the illegal strike. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    CB Dollaway falls after being hit by Hector Lombard after the bell during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Lombard was disqualified for the illegal strike. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Mike Pyle vs. Zak Ottow during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Ottow defeated Pyle by TKO. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Bryan Caraway, red, vs. Cody Stamann during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Stamann defeated Caraway by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Bryan Caraway, red, vs. Cody Stamann during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Stamann defeated Caraway by judges decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

    Jordan Johnson, red, vs. Adam Milstead during UFC 222 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saturday, March 3, 2018. Johnson won by split decision. (Photo by Hans Gutknecht, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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Photos from UFC 222, Saturday, March 3 in Las Vegas, where Cris Cyborg knocked out Yana Kunitskaya in the main event.
Brian Ortega beat Frankie Edgar in the first round of the co-main.

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