Frankie Edgar slammed home short left hand to put Chad Mendes down and out in the first round to win his fifth fight in a row and make a strong statement that he should earn the next shot at the UFC featherweight title.
Edgar came out fast on his feet and looked confident throwing hands with Mendes, who started his night with a series of hard leg kicks.
Edgar continued to pursue Mendes across the cage and finally during one exchange, he uncorked a short left hook that landed flush on the chin.
Mendes dropped to his knees and then fell to his back as Edgar followed up with more strikes but the fight was already over as the referee rushed in for the stoppage.
Edgar has now defined himself as the true No. 1 contender at featherweight and it’s going to be awfully hard to deny him a title shot after that kind of performance.
In other action on the card, Ryan Hall became the latest winner of "The Ultimate Fighter" with a ground heavy performance to down Artem Lobov while Tony Ferguson submitted Edson Barboza in an instant classic in the lightweight division.
MAIN EVENT: Frankie Edgar vs. Chad Mendes
Mendes with a hard leg kick to get things going and slams another one to the inside of Edgar’s leg. Mendes looks for an uppercut and catches a hard counter from Edgar. Mendes with another big leg kick. Edgar clips Mendes with a short left and drops him to the mat. A few more strikes and it’s over! Edgar with the knockout!
Official result: Frankie Edgar def. Chad Mendes by KO at 2:28, R1
Edgar needed to make a statement tonight and he did that and more with a first-round knockout of one of the best featherweights in the world. Edgar’s hands were fast and on point but now he showed off the kind of power he has as well. Edgar has been the top contender in the featherweight division for a while but this knockout should earn him the winner of the upcoming UFC 194 main event between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor.
Artem Lobov vs. Ryan Hall
Hall wastes no time dropping down to the ground and looks for a submission. Hall takes his back and immediately looks for the rear naked choke. He nearly gets it but Lobov somehow survives! This is the last guy you want on your back but Lobov is holding on. Hall punching away from the back and it looks like Lobov just wants to hold on until round two. Hall is all over him but time runs out in the round.
10-8 Ryan Hall
Lobov with a stiff jab that catches Hall off balance. Hall goes for another takedown but this time Lobov slips out. Hall tries again and doesn’t get the takedown but does pull guard to get the fight back into his world on the ground. Lobov eventually gets free and stands up again. Hall again misses a takedown but pulls guard. Lobov staying composed while Hall tries to land an armbar and switches instead to grab the heel. Hall still fishing for submissions as the round ends.
10-9 Ryan Hall
Hall drops down and grabs Lobov’s leg again and ends up pulling guard. Hall still trying to grab Lobov’s leg for a submission but loses position in a scramble. Hall ends up jumping on Lobov’s back while both fighters are standing. Hall starts punching away at Lobov from the back as he locks on the body triangle. Hall is relentless as he looks for the choke as time runs out in the round.
10-9 Ryan Hall
FOX Sports scores the fight 30-26 for Ryan Hall
Official result: Ryan Hall def. Artem Lobov by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
A truly incredible showing by Ryan Hall, who accepted this fight on short notice and just after training with Lobov for a couple of weeks at his home camp in Ireland. Hall’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu was his best weapon and he used it over and over again throughout the fight to keep Lobov from doing anything with his heavy hands. Hall still has a long way to go in his evolution as a mixed martial artist, but anyone who goes to the ground with him is in trouble.
Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza
The fighters are swinging heavy leather early! Ferguson drops down and rolls for a leg lock and the fighters end up on the mat. Ferguson has a body lock on and as the fighters break Ferguson throws a kick that drills Barboza in the head. Clearly an illegal kick and John McCarthy pauses the fight to check on Barboza. The fight continues but McCarthy deducts a point for the illegal strike. Barboza slams home a couple hard right hands countering Ferguson’s aggression.
10-8 Edson Barboza
Ferguson opens a cut up on Barboza’s head and Ferguson has a cut of his own near the eye. Barboza trips Ferguson up and puts him on the mat but lets him up again. Barboza uncorks a spin kick just as Ferguson ducks out of the way. Barboza goes for a takedown and Ferguson reverses and gets the D’arce choke. Barboza is stuck and he’s forced to tap out! What a fight!
Official result: Tony Ferguson def. Edson Barboza by submission (D’arce choke) at 2:54, R2
Tony Ferguson has been on an absolute tear lately and this latest win just cements his spot as one of the best lightweights in the world. Ferguson showed no fear facing one of the deadliest strikers in the sport and ultimately won by submission. Ferguson is making a charge towards the lightweight title and both Rafael dos Anjos and Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone should take notice of what he did in the Octagon tonight because he might be facing one of them in 2016. Give credit to Barboza as well for taking this fight on short notice and putting on a phenomenal show.
Joe Lauzon vs. Evan Dunham
Lauzon ultra aggressive to start, stalking Dunham across the cage. Dunham catches him with a good counter shot coming in. Dunham’s combinations look great tonight and he’s blasting Lauzon with some hard shots. Dunham looks strong tonight with two and three punch combinations followed by leg kicks while Lauzon keeps reaching for shots. Dunham gets a takedown to seal the deal on round one.
10-9 Evan Dunham
Dunham with a hard right, followed a left that snaps Lauzon’s head back. Dunham with another three hit combination, Lauzon just has nothing in his counters. Dunham looks for the body lock before separating and unloading another trio of shots to the head and body. Dunham staying busy while pressuring Lauzon against the cage. Dunham grabs the Muay Thai clinch and lands a couple hard knees to Lauzon’s face as well before the end of the round.
10-9 Evan Dunham
Dunham still landing with much better accuracy, a picture of consistency tonight. Dunham with a stinging uppercut that pushes Lauzon backwards. Dunham lands a takedown but then just lets Lauzon up again. Lauzon finally tries for a takedown but gets stuff and then Dunham lands a nasty body kick straight to the ribs on the escape. Dunham relentless with his combinations, never giving Lauzon any openings to attempt a counter. Should be a clean sweep for Dunham here.
10-9 Evan Dunham
FOX Sports scores it 30-27 for Evan Dunham
Official result: Evan Dunham def. Joe Lauzon by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-27)
Fantastic performance from Evan Dunham as he showcased tremendous striking throughout the fight, absolutely battering Lauzon during each and every exchange. Dunham’s combinations were fast and accurate all night long. Dunham has shown a lot of confidence lately and while he’s certainly suffered through a lot of hills and valleys during his UFC career, he’s still a very difficult out for anybody in the lightweight division. As for Lauzon, that drops him to 1-2 in his past three fights.
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Jason Knight
Kawajiri wastes no time ducking under a punch from Knight and planting him on the mat with a takedown. Knight looking for a triangle choke from the bottom but Kawajiri finally slips out the back door. Kawajiri presses Knight against the cage as he starts looking for inside elbows. Kawajiri maintaining top control and not allowing Knight any room to escape. Not much action outside of the triangle attempt but Kawajiri was in control for the bulk of the time.
10-9 Tatsuya Kawajiri
Kawajiri with another takedown to start round two after opening up a cut on Knight’s cheek during his initial ground and pound attack during the first round. Kawajiri staying heavy on top while Knight tries to work his guard game to either catch a submission or escape. The fighters are stood up but Kawajiri immediately shoots in after the break and takes Knight to the ground again.
10-9 Tatsuya Kawajiri
A brief exchange on the feet ends in a hurry with Kawajiri landing another takedown. Without a ton of action happening, referee John McCarthy stands the fighters up again and inevitably Kawajiri lands another takedown. Knight trying desperately to kick off the cage and catch a submission but the fight stalls again and the referee puts them back on the feet. And Kawajiri lands yet another takedown.
10-9 Tatsuya Kawajiri
FOX Sports scores it 30-27 for Tatsuya Kawajiri
Official result: Tatsuya Kawajiri def. Jason Knight by unanimous decision (30-27 on all cards)
Kawajiri is a tough fight for anybody to handle much less someone making their UFC debut. Kawajiri didn’t do anything ultra exciting but he was able to take Knight to the ground at will, so when he realized the UFC newcomer couldn’t stop him he just kept doing it over and over and over again.
Julian Erosa vs. Marcin Wrzosek
Wrzosek is head hunting as soon as the fight starts and he catches Erosa with a hard right hook that staggers him for a moment. Wrzosek looks for a takedown but gets stuck in a guillotine choke and ends up underneath Erosa. Erosa transitions to a D’arce choke but Wrzosek is able to wiggle free and stand up again. Close round.
10-9 Julian Erosa
Wrzosek with a quick takedown to open round two, but Erosa works back up to the feet in a hurry. Wrzosek slams Erosa with a hard left hook before the fighters lock up in the clinch. Wrzosek scores another takedown. Wrzosek got another takedown just before the end of the round to likely get the nod on the scorecards.
10-9 Marcin Wrzosek
Erosa with a nice jumping knee to open round three and Wrzosek tried to counter with a takedown but instead he gets reversed and he’s on the ground. The fighters work up to the feet with both Erosa and Wrzosek jockeying for position. Erosa gets another takedown with just under a minute to go and that might earn him the win.
10-9 Julian Erosa
FOX Sports scores it 29-28 for Julian Erosa
Official result: Julian Erosa def. Marcin Wrzosek by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29)
Fun back and forth fight between the two former housemates with scrambles on the feet and on the ground in all three rounds. Erosa got tagged hard a couple of times but his ground game looked solid with his takedowns and submission attempts. Hopefully, Wrzosek will get another shot in the Octagon after a solid showing in his UFC debut.