After an extended hiatus, the UFC returned Sunday with a special event from Croatia.
UFC Fight Night 86 went down for the very first time in the country, as the action took place inside the Zagreb Arena.
Former UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos ended the title hopes of Ben Rothwell for the time being, earning a decision in the main event. “Cigano” controlled the action, using his effective striking and keeping Rothwell from every threatening.
The loss snapped a four-fight win streak for Rothwell and improved dos Santos to 3-3 over his last six.
Derrick Lewis ended out string of decisions, slipping a right through to the chin of Gabriel Gonzaga in the co-main event and earning his sixth Octagon win. Lewis knocked out the former title contender, claiming another first round finish in the process and placing himself on the top line in terms of UFC knockouts since 2014 in all divisions with six.
Our first stoppage of the main card came by the doctor, as Curtis Blaydes’ was ruled unable to continue after his right eye swelled shut vs. Francis Ngannou. The French fighter from Cameroon was well on his way to a decision win at the time of the stoppage, which came between the second and third rounds.
Despite a nasty arm injury, Timothy Johnson fought his way to a decision over Octagon newcomer Marcin Tybura. Johnson, wearing his typical mustache, effectively negated the striking and takedown attempts of Tybura.
Igor Pokrajac earned his way back into the UFC, but he was unable to delight the hometown crowd, falling to Jan Blachowicz via decision. Pokrajac, from Zagreb, Croatia, pushed the heavy favorite to the distance.
Maryna Moroz opened up the main card with a decision win over Cristina Stanciu to improve to 7-1 and remain a contender in the strawweight division. The loss was the first of Stanciu’s career.
Veteran Zak Cummings dealt Nicolas Dalby his first pro defeat, earning a decision to complete the televised prelim lineup. Cummings used his experience to keep the explosive Dalby at bay.
Alejandro Perez used his ground skills to claim his 18th career win, finishing off Ian Entwistle with under a minute to go in the first round. Entwistle, a Brit, nearly secured a leg-lock in the early stages, but the power of Perez was too much.
Damian Stasiak opened up the televised fight portion of the prelims by locking in a rear-naked choke on Filip Pejic. Mairbek Taisumov showed off his power next, finishing Damir Hadzovic. Both bouts ended inside of the first round.
In early prelim action on UFC Fight Pass, Lucas Martins claimed a split decision over Robert Whiteford, Jared Cannonier finished Cyril Asker in the first round and Bojan Velickovic kicked things off with a decision over Alessio Di Chirico.
Lewis, Taisumov, Cannonier and Perez all earned “Performance of the Night” bonuses and an additional $50,000. The attendance was announced at 13,177 with a live gate of $549,000.
Complete results can be found below:
Junior dos Santos def. Ben Rothwell via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-45, 50-45)
Derrick Lewis def. Gabriel Gonzaga via KO (strike) at 4:48 of Round 1
Francis Ngannou def. Curtis Blaydes via TKO (doctor’s stoppage) at 5:00 of Round 2
Timothy Johnson def. Marcin Tybura via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jan Blachowicz def. Igor Pokrajac via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Maryna Moroz def. Cristina Stanciu via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Zak Cummings def. Nicolas Dalby via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Alejandro Perez def. Ian Entwistle via TKO (strikes) at 4:04 of Round 1
Mairbek Taisumov def. Damir Hadzovic via TKO (strikes) at 3:44 of Round 1
Damian Stasiak def. Filip Pejic via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:16 of Round 1
Lucas Martins def. Robert Whiteford via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
Jared Cannonier def. Cyril Asker via KO (strikes) at 2:44 of Round 1
Bojan Velickovic def. Alessio Di Chirico via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)