Lando Vannata came in to Sioux Falls, S.D., on Wednesday night and nearly upset No. 1 lightweight title contender Tony Ferguson. "El Cucuy" held tough after some scares in the first round, however, and finished Vannata in the second with a front choke.
The first round began with Ferguson landing his jab but then getting caught and hurt with a spinning backfist from Vannata. Ferguson fired back, blocking another spinning backfist before landing another jab. Ferguson then sprawled to defend a takedown attempt and locked on a front-choke attempt.
Vannata defended and then dropped Ferguson once more with punches. Ferguson returned to his feet then got dropped again before attempting a heel hook and arm bar at the end of the round.
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In the second round, the two lightweights traded kicks, Ferguson’s an inside low one and Vannata’s a blow to the head. Vannata then ate a big superman straight right to the head.
Afterward, on the inside, he ducked his posture low enough for Ferguson to snatch his head down and attempt a guillotine choke. Ferguson adjusted his grip then hit a snap-down head drag before locking in a modified D’Arce choke.
Vannata could not hold out any longer and tapped out, signaling his submission. The match ended at 2:22 of the second round.
Afterward, Ferguson called out the new lightweight champion. "Eddie Alvarez, if you want an easy fight, go fight Conor McGregor," he taunted.
"But I’m right here on your front doorstep."
The win improves Ferguson’s record to 22-3. Vannata’s loss is the first of his professional career, dropping his mark to 8-1.