The Latest: Cejudo defends 125-pound belt with 1st-round win
NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on the UFC card in New York with T.J. Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo fighting for the 125-pound title (all times local):
Henry Cejudo did his part to defend the UFC 125-pound title and perhaps the fate of the flyweight division with a punishing first-round win over bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw.
Champ vs. champ was over in less than a minute.
Dillashaw, the 135-pound champ, had cut some serious weight in his attempt to hold championships in two weight classes. Cejudo was a buzzsaw and stopped the fight at 32 seconds of the first round for the fastest finish ever in a flyweight championship fight.
UFC President Dana White wrapped the new title belt around Cejudo’s waist. Cejudo might not get another title defense. Cejudo defeated longtime champion Demetrious Johnson to win the belt and reign in a division that has drawn scant interest with fans or serious contenders in the class.
Cejudo-Dillashaw was the main event on ESPN-plus on the first card of a $1.5 billion, five-year contract on ESPN networks.
Cejudo said “this win was for the flyweights” and offered to move up to 135 pounds to fight Dillashaw again — this time for Dillashaw’s title.
Troubled ex-NFL star Greg Hardy’s UFC debut ended with a disqualification loss after he blasted Allen Crowder with an illegal knee to stop the fight in the second round.
Hardy was soundly booed from the moment he walked out to the octagon at Barclays Center for his first fight for the promotion. He connected on some solid blows in the first round and had answered Crowder’s taunting in the second round with more heavy punches.
But with Crowder down on one knee, Hardy blasted him with a knee and referee Dan Miragliotta immediately separated the heavyweights. Hardy looked confused as medical staff quickly entered the cage and checked on Crowder.
Hardy slumped against the cage on the other side as the crowd erupted in boos and chanted profanities at the disgraced former Carolina Panther and Dallas Cowboy.
Hardy left the NFL after he was convicted of assaulting and threatening to kill a woman, with charges later dropped as officials said they couldn’t locate the accuser and believed she reached a settlement with the athlete.
In other fights on the main card, Glover Teixeira choked out Karl Roberson in the first round, Joseph Benavidez defeated Dustin Ortiz by unanimous decision and Grego Gillespie had a second-round TKO win over Yancy Medeiros.
Paige VanZant won her first UFC fight in 2½ years with a second-round submission victory over Rachael Ostovich at Barclays Center.
VanZant fought for the first time since she broke her right arm in a bout last January. She made Ostovich tap out to an armbar in the second round for her first win since Aug. 27, 2016.
VanZant and Ronda Rousey are the only women to finish at least two UFC fights with armbars.
Ostovich fought for the first time since he was hospitalized from injuries suffered in an alleged domestic violence attack. Honolulu police arrested Ostovich’s husband, Arnold Berdon, who is accused of punching his wife in the head, face and ribs, fracturing her eye socket. Berdon has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone could get his desired match against Conor McGregor after he bloodied and beat Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout. Cerrone extended his record for career UFC wins with 22 and for finishes with 16.
Cerrone got a quick takedown in the first round and then used a hard knee to the face to bust open Hernandez. The 35-year-old Cerrone finished him in the second in front of a roaring New York crowd.
He called out McGregor in the cage — and the UFC great was listening. McGregor tweeted: “For a fight like that Donald, I’ll fight you. Congratulations.”
T.J. Dillashaw has dropped to the 125-pound weight class to fight flyweight champion Henry Cejudo in the main event of UFC’s debut card on the ESPN networks.
Dillashaw, the 135-pound champion, is trying to join Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes as the only UFC fighters to hold titles in two weight classes at the same time.
Dillashaw could also prompt UFC to abandon the flyweight division with a win. Cejudo defeated longtime champion Demetrious Johnson to win the belt and reign in a division that has drawn scant interest with fans or serious contenders in the class.
Cejudo-Dillashaw is the main event on ESPN-plus on the first card of a $1.5 billion, five-year contract that will plaster UFC all over the sports network’s various platforms.
Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone fights Alexander Hernandez in a lightweight bout in the main event of a prelim card that airs on ESPN.
Troubled ex-NFL star Greg Hardy makes his UFC debut in a heavyweight bout and a fight marred by controversy. Hardy left the NFL after he was convicted of assaulting and threatening to kill a woman, with charges later dropped as officials said they couldn’t locate the accuser and believed she reached a settlement with the athlete.
Scrutiny of Hardy’s ascent grew among fans when he was placed on the same card as flyweight Rachael Ostovich, who is fighting Paige VanZant. Honolulu police arrested Ostovich’s husband, Arnold Berdon, who is accused of punching his wife in the head, face and ribs, fracturing her eye socket. Berdon has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.