What a way to celebrate the UFC’s 25th anniversary!
The fight card for UFC Fight Night in Denver, Colorado may not have been packed with a host of MMA’s A-listers, but the big names who did feature top of the card delivered the goods in spectacular fashion to mark the UFC’s landmark weekend in style.
The night’s main event produced fireworks aplenty, as Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez and South Korea’s Chan Sung Jung – better known as “The Korean Zombie” – delivered a five-round war that will be talked about as one of the fights of 2018.
Rodriguez was all flashy techniques and spectacular strikes, while Chan’s more straightforward striking style was arguably more effective. The difference in styles meant you couldn’t take your eyes off the action, and that fact was proved in the closing stages of the contest.
With the result hanging in the balance, it looked like the bout was running down to the final buzzer with both fighters standing and acknowledging each other with 20 seconds of the fight remaining.
But after their final pleasantries were exchanged, they battled it out for the last few seconds, and Rodriguez connected with a stunning elbow that knocked Chan out clean just as the klaxon sounded to end the contest.
1 second left… No better way to go out on the 25th Anniversary! pic.twitter.com/aGg1Z0bAeO
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) November 11, 2018
It was confirmed that the knockout happened at the 4:59 mark of the final round, making it the joint-latest finish in UFC history, tying Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson’s record.
It was a spectacular way to end the contest, and one that will live long in the memory.
Cerrone Stuns Perry with Quickfire Submission
The co-main event saw future UFC Hall of Famer Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone shock “Platinum” Mike Perry, who looked to be doing everything right in the early stages of their welterweight matchup.
But despite taking Cerrone to the mat and establishing top position, Perry was in far more danger than he realised and succumbed to a superbly-executed armbar submission from the wily veteran, who celebrated with his young son after the win.
As well as a home-town victory, Denver native Cerrone’s win gave him the all-time UFC records for the most wins and most finishes.
And the UFC and WEC veteran is showing no signs of slowing down, as he announced his intention to move back down to lightweight and spearhead a new title challenge at 155lbs.
De Randamie Wins Comeback Bout
Former UFC women’s featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie picked up a valuable victory on her return to the octagon after 21-month absence.
The Dutch kickboxing ace, known as “The Iron Lady” held the upper hand throughout her bout with former title challenger Raquel Pennington in their bantamweight clash to mark her return with a win.
De Randamie’s last fight back in February 2017 saw her win the vacant UFC women’s featherweight title, but she was stripped of the title shortly after rejecting a maiden title defence against Cris Cyborg, citing the Brazilian’s prior anti-doping indiscretions.
Injuries delayed De Randamie’s eventual comeback as a bantamweight, but she finally made her return this weekend in Denver with a solid decision victory.
Dream Debut for Denver’s Barber
Twenty-year-old Maycee “The Future” Barber looked every inch a contender of the future as she claimed a second-round stoppage win over fellow debutant Hannah Cifers in their women’s strawweight contest.
Barber has made no secret of her plan to become the youngest world champion in UFC history, and has less than three years to beat Jon Jones’ record.
And she made the perfect start with an impressive victory in her home town to kick off her UFC career on a winning note.
UFC Denver: Main Card Results
Yair Rodriguez def Chan Sung Jung via knockout (elbow), Round 5
Donald Cerrone def Mike Perry via submission (armbar), Round 2
Germanie de Randamie def Raquel Pennington via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Beneil Dariush def Thiago Moises via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
Maycee Barber def Hannah Cifers via TKO (elbows and punches), Round 2
Mike Trizano def Luis Pena via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)