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ufc fight night 81

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC Fight Night 81.

The action comes to us from the TD Garden in Boston and airs on FOX Sports 1 and UFC Fight Pass.

In the main event, T.J. Dillashaw defends his bantamweight title against the man who never lost it, Dominick Cruz.

Dillashaw (12-2) has won four in a row, including a pair of title defenses vs. Renan Barao and Joe Soto. Both of those fights, the former Ultimate Fighter alum won via finish, knocking out Barao in the fourth and Soto in the fifth.

Cruz (20-1) returned from a three-year layoff in 2014 and knocked Takeya Mizugaki out in the first round, but another torn ACL sidelined him all of last year. The UFC stripped “The Dominator” of the belt after his first series of injuries.

In the co-main event, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis takes on ex-Bellator titleholder Eddie Alvarez, while heavyweights Travis Browne and Matt Mitrione collide in another main card bout.

Lightweights Francisco Trinaldo and Ross Pearson begin the FS1 main card broadcast after four prelims bout – also on FS1 – featuring Ben Saunders-Patrick Cote, Ed Herman-Tim Boetsch, Medhi Baghdad-Chris Wade and Maximo Blanco-Luke Sanders.

On Fight Pass beginning at 6 p.m. ET will be Paul Felder-Daron Cruickshank, Charles Rosa-Kyle Bochniak, Sean O’Connell-Ilir Latifi, Rob Font-Joey Gomez and Elvis Mutapcic-Francimar Barroso.

Now, on to the action! Remember to keep hitting “refresh” for all the latest results:

PRELIMINARY CARD

Francimar Barroso vs. Elvis Mutapcic

We begin the night on UFC Fight Pass and in the light heavyweight division, as Francimar Barroso (17-4) welcomes Elvis Mutapcic (15-3) to the Octagon. Mutapcic, who was set to fight for the Victory FC title later this month, replaces Abdul-Kerim Edilov on just eight days notice.

Round 1: Right off the bat, Barroso lands with a huge right hand that stuns Mutapcic. Barroso follows up a kick with another big right, but this one misses. Spinning attack by Mutapcic is answered by another body shot. Feeling out process in the early stages outside of the big shots thrown. Takedown scores by Barroso, but he is met with several nasty and sharp elbows. Quickly, Barroso shuts that down and lands his own strikes from the top. Nice, active top game from the Brazilian. Mutapcic, though, is showing his own skills from the bottom, connecting with shots and really avoiding many strikes in the process.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Mutapcic

Round 2: Much like the first, Barroso with a heavy right to start this round. Another leg kick finds a home and he even catches that of Mutapcic. Some damage starting to form on the inside leg of “The King,” as Barroso continues to mix his strikes and kicks. Takedown defended by Mutapcic this time. Brief break in the action after Mutapcic’s mouthpiece comes out. Mutapcic has center of the Octagon, but he hasn’t been able to take advantage of it. Barroso with a left that finds its mark. That last strike opened a huge cut on the face of Mutapcic, and again his mouthpiece comes out.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Barroso

Round 3: Mutapcic comes firing out this round, showing much more aggression and intensity. He follows up with a good shot and seems to have his feet under him now. Barroso lands with an uppercut and fires back with loose jabs to the body. For a third time, Mutapcic’s mouthpiece comes out. Joe Rogan reports it is a cheap one, thus the reason for it coming out. The corner of Mutapcic instructing him to push the pace, but he’s staying more consistent with his attacks and not rushing in. Barroso with more power shots at the end of the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Barroso

Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)

Rob Font vs. Joey Gomez

We’ll move down to the bantamweight ranks for the first time, as Boston’s Rob Font (11-1) goes up against Joey Gomez (6-0).

Round 1: Font comes right out and is ready to go. He’s been out of action with injuries since 2014, so it’s obvious he wants to engage. Gomez appears to be hurt after a body shot and the corner of Font is instructing him to relax and attack. Takedown for Font but he can’t keep him on the ground for very long. Another takedown, but Gomez gets right back up again. Uppercut followed by a left hook that just graces the face. Once more, Font with the takedown and Gomez pounces back up. This time, he finds a home with a shot on the break.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Font

Round 2: Font with a flurry of shots that find a home through the defense. A left followed up by a front-kick by Font, as he is the superior striker. Gomez decides enough is enough, getting aggressive with his offense finally. He goes to the body with a liver kick. Another left and Gomez is hurt. It was a left-hook from Font that did the initial damage. He lands another and Gomez scores with a takedown. Blood pouring from the nose of Gomez and Font attacks, forcing the ref to step in after several shots.

Rob Font def. Joey Gomez via TKO (strikes) at 4:13 of Round 2

ufc fight night 81

Weigh-ins for Sunday night’s special UFC Fight Night 81 card went down earlier today, and FightLine has all your results.

In the main event, T.J. Dillashaw defends his bantamweight belt against former champion Dominick Cruz. Both champion and challenger came in right on the mark at 135 pounds.

Anthony Pettis and Eddie Alvarez were both 155.5 for their lightweight co-main event. In all, all 13 fights were successful and now official.

FightLine will be providing complete and free coverage of all the action Sunday night.

Complete weigh-in results, along with a video replay, can be found below:

MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1/10 p.m. ET)

UFC Bantamweight Championship
T.J. Dillashaw (135 lbs.) vs. Dominick Cruz (135) for Dillashaw’s title

Anthony Pettis (155.5) vs. Eddie Alvarez (155.5)

Travis Browne (238) vs. Matt Mitrione (249)

Ross Pearson (155) vs. Francisco Trinaldo (155.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1/8 p.m. ET)

Patrick Cote (171) vs. Ben Saunders (170)

Medhi Baghdad (156) vs. Chris Wade (155.5)

Tim Boetsch (206) vs. Ed Herman (204.5)

Maximo Blanco (146) vs. Luke Sanders (145.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/6 p.m. ET)

Paul Felder (155.5) vs. Daron Cruickshank (155)

Sean O’Connell (205.5) vs. Ilir Latifi (205)

Kyle Bochniak (145) vs. Charles Rosa (145.5)

Rob Font (135) vs. Joey Gomez (135)

Elvis Mutapcic (201) vs. Francimar Barroso (205)

ufc fight night 81

It’s difficult to look at T.J. Dillashaw vs. Dominick Cruz and not expect a “Fight of the Night” performance from the two bantamweights this Sunday at UFC Fight Night 81.

However, there is another main card bout that has all the makings of an instant classic and possible “Fight of the Year” candidate by the end of the year.

Anthony Pettis vs. Eddie Alvarez.

The two lightweights will be the co-main event on FOX Sports 1, and with both former champions looking to make an immediate 2016 impact, fireworks should be expected.

Pettis will be returning to the Octagon for the first time since a March decision loss to Rafael dos Anjos cost him the lightweight title. “Showtime” was unable to do anything of note vs. RDA, suffering his first setback in almost four years.

After claiming the WEC title with a victory over Benson Henderson in 2010, Pettis debuted in the UFC a year later and was bested by Clay Guida. He rebounded, reeling off five consecutive wins including a first round submission of Henderson that scored him the UFC title.

Following a second submission win over Gilbert Melendez, which was his fourth straight finish, Pettis ran into a buzzsaw. You can believe, though, that he has taken the loss to heart ahead of facing Alvarez.

An ex-Bellator champion, Alvarez finally found his way to the UFC in 2014, falling to Donald Cerrone. Almost a year later, he returned and scored a split decision vs. Melendez to position himself in this title-eliminator.

During his MMA career, Alvarez has bested the likes of Michael Chandler, Shinya Aoki, Roger Huerta and Pat Curran, reeling off a stretch that saw him go 10-1 at one point.

Along with Dillashaw-Cruz, Travis Browne-Matt Mitrione, Patrick Cote-Ben Saunders and Paul Felder-Daron Cruickshank should all bring the TD Garden crowd to their feet throughout the night.

king mo lawal

Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal appeared poised for a run with the UFC after Zuffa purchased Strikeforce.

Instead, Lawal signed with Bellator and has put together an 8-3 record over the past couple of years. Recently, the former Strikeforce champion won three fights in two days to claim the Rizin FF Heavyweight Grand Prix.

While the UFC remains atop the MMA world in terms of promotional rankings, Lawal is happy with Bellator and doesn’t see himself ever competing inside the Octagon.

“Dawg, listen. I’m not a UFC fighter. I never will be. I don’t fit the mold,” said Lawal, during a recent interview with Submission Radio. “You know, I’m too much end work for them. You know what I’m saying? Straight up, I can’t play the game. Like, they do their thing, I do my thing. People there, they do great. I’m happy for them. They’re getting paid. I just can’t, it’s not me. I don’t feel comfortable. Even when I go to a fight, because of my people I’m there, I don’t feel comfortable in that environment. I don’t know what it is. I feel more at home with like, the Strikeforce and the Bellator feel, and even in Japan. It’s just different with the UFC. I just felt different.

“Like, I shut down. And people there are cool and I’ve got all friends that fight for them and they’re doing great. They fit the mold and they’re making a lot of money. The UFC is promoting them. The UFC do their thing. They’re doing their thing, Bellator and me, we’re doing our thing. As far as competition, we ain’t trying to compete. We’re just trying to put on good fights and entertain our fans. That’s all we’re trying to do. The UFC’s doing their own thing. You know what I’m saying?

“We don’t talk about the UFC. I talk about the UFC when people ask me about it. I just chill. Just chill and take care of what I gotta take care of.”

After claiming the Rizin title, Lawal made it known that he wants to fight former heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko in 2016. “The Last Emperor” returned from a self-imposed retirement to fight in Japan.

“Well, you know, that’s where I’m from. You know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t mind having a big fight in Dallas,” he said. “We could do big things there; you know what I’m saying. Fedor is a known legend. We can go to Japan – at the same time, you know, why not do…you know, Bellator did me a favour by letting me go out there and fight and fighting in Rizin. So why not me return the favor back to Bellator and let Fedor fight me in a Bellator, free on Spike TV?”

stipe miocic

Stipe Miocic made an impact this month when he knocked out Andrei Arlovski.

Following the performance, Miocic immediately spotted UFC president Dana White Octagon-side and unleashed a verbal tirade on White, demanding to be the next UFC heavyweight title challenger.

The “attack” stemmed from White telling Miocic that he wasn’t popular enough to warrant a title shot.

“Yeah, 100-percent,” Miocic said during a recent interview with Submission Radio. “I just wanted to get my point across, let him know I wasn’t messing around – just not for show. I was being serious. It was more personal than anything else.”

The 33-year-old Miocic (14-2) has won two in a row and is 5-1 over his last five, scoring finishes vs. Arlovski, Mark Hunt and Fabio Maldonado around a five-round decision defeat to former champion Junior dos Santos.

Ever a popular figure on social media, Miocic believes his outburst at UFC 195 has helped solidify him as a top-level heavyweight.

“Yeah I think the feedback’s been great. I think everyone thinks I deserve it,” he said. “I think it worked out well.”

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