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ufc fight night 68

The Octagon touched down in New Orleans Saturday night with UFC Fight Night 68 and finishes were in strong demand.

It wasn’t the quickest of the 10 finishes, but it might have been the most meaningful, as Dan Henderson knocked out Tim Boetsch in 28 seconds. The former Pride and Strikeforce champion caught Boetsch with a right hand, adding an uppercut and a flurry to earn his 31st career victory.

Henderson stated he had no plans to retire whether he was a winner or loser, but earning his 15th career victory via knockout makes it much easier to continue competing inside the Octagon.

Heavyweights went toe-to-toe for just under two minutes in the co-main event before Ben Rothwell locked up a choke on Matt Mitrione. Rothwell quickly got the tap, and left Jon Anik almost speechless with his post-fight interview in which he stated only “politics” can keep him from the UFC title.

Dustin Poirier gave the Bayou faithful a huge reason to cheer, keeping the string of finishes going with an incredible TKO over Yancy Medeiros in the first round. Poirier, a native of Louisiana, improved to 2-0 inside the Octagon since moving up to 155 pounds.

Brian Ortega and Thiago Tavares appeared to be headed for a tough decision when the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion landed with a clean shot. Ortega followed up and earned a third round TKO, returning from a suspension for a failed drug test.

In a bout 10-months in the making, Anthony Birchak knocked former Bellator champion Joe Soto out cold in the opening round. The two were expected to fight last year, but UFC officials moved Soto into a title fight opposite T.J. Dillashaw after Renan Barao was forced out on weigh-in day.

Francisco Rivera earned his first win since 2013 when he floored Alex Caceres to start the main card in just 21 seconds. He connected with the left, dropping Caceres and earning his 11th career victory in the process – including his seventh finish.

Louisiana’s own Shawn Jordan earned his second win over Derrick Lewis in the prelim main fight, as the heavyweight scored a finish inside of the first minute of round two. Several years ago, Jordan – a former LSU college football standout – earned a decision over Lewis.

Omari Akhmedov scored a TKO over Brian Ebersole after injuring the leg of Ebersole through the first round. Chris Wade used his wrestling to control Christos Giagos and improve to 10-1 with a decision victory.

Joe Proctor made history, scoring the latest three-round lightweight finish when he submitted Justin Edwards at the 4:58 mark of the third. Proctor and Edwards were close heading to the final round, but Proctor locked up a tight guillotine.

Jose Quinonez kicked off the Fight Pass prelims with a picture-perfect submission, easily taking Leonardo Morales down and locking up a rear-naked choke inside the first round. Also, Jake Collier made his three boys at home brought, pulling out a split decision over Ricardo Abreu.

The “Fight of the Night” went to Ortega and Tavares, while Poirier and Jordan each picked up “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The attendance inside the Smoothie King Center was announced at 6,231 for a live gate of $621,523.

Complete results can be found below:

Dan Henderson def. Tim Boetsch via KO (strikes) at :28 of Round 1

Ben Rothwell def. Matt Mitirone via submission (guillotine choke) at 1:54 of Round 1

Dustin Poirier def. Yancy Medeiros via TKO (strikes) at 2:38 of Round 1

Brian Ortega def. Thiago Tavares via TKO (strikes) at 4:10 of Round 3

Anthony Birchak def. Joe Soto via KO (strikes) at 1:37 of Round 1

Francisco Rivera def. Alex Caceres via KO (strikes) at :21 of Round 1

Shawn Jordan def. Derrick Lewis via TKO (strikes) at :48 of Round 2

Omari Akhmedov def. Brian Ebersole via TKO (injury) at 5:00 of Round 1

Chris Wade def. Christos Giagos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)

Joe Proctor def. Justin Edwards via submission (guillotine choke) at 4:58 of Round 3

Jake Collier def. Ricardo Abreu via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

Jose Quinonez def. Leonardo Morales via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:34 of Round 1

ufc fight night 68

Welcome to FightLine’s live coverage of UFC Fight Night 68.

Tonight will see a middleweight battle between Dan Henderson and Tim Boetsch occupy the main event slot, while ranked heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione collide in the co-main.

Both Henderson (30-13) and Boetsch (18-8) are coming off losses, as Henderson was stopped by Gegard Mousasi in January and Boetsch suffered a submission defeat to Thales Leites that same month. Overall, the two are just 3-7 in their last 10 combined fights.

Rothwell (34-9) and Mitrione (9-3) are on the opposite end of that spectrum, having combined to go 7-3 in their last 10. Rothwell finished Alistair Overeem in the first round of their September meeting last year, while Mitrione – who has made all of his pro fights inside of the Octagon – downed Gabriel Gonzaga in December.

Other main card bouts include Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros, Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega, Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak and Francisco Rivera vs. Alex Caceres.

The early FS1 prelims are headlined by heavyweights Shawn Jordan and Derrick Lewis, as Jordan returns home to compete. Also, Brian Ebersole takes on Omari Akhmedov, Chris Wade meets Christos Giagos and Joe Proctor battles Justin Edwards. On Fight Pass, Ricardo Abreu squares off with Jake Collier and Jose Quinonez meets Leonardo Morales to kickoff the night.

Daniel Cormier and Ryan Bader were scheduled as the original headline bout before Cormier was removed and inserted into a recent championship match.

Let’s get to the action!

PRELIMINARY CARD

Jose Quinonez vs. Leonardo Morales

We begin the night with a catchweight contest after Leonardo Morales (4-1) came in heavy for his planned bantamweight affair with Jose Quinonez (3-2).

Round 1: Stiff kick from Morales is caught and Quinonez unloads. He’s backing Morales down and attacking, tying him up in the clinch. Excellent job by Morales to defend the takedown, using his hand to stay upright. Quinonez, though, uses the trip and scores, moving directly into side control. He passes and advances, taking the back and getting both his hooks in. Very quick, very smooth transitions for Quinonez. He’s got the back and the rear-naked locked in, but Morales survives for now. He’s got it back again and it’s tight around the chin, and Morales is forced to tap.

Jose Quinonez def. Leonardo Morales via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:34 of Round 1

Jake Collier vs. Ricardo Abreu

We’ll conclude the Fight Pass prelims with middleweights Jake Collier (8-2) and Ricardo Abreu (5-0). Collier is stepping in for Daniel Sarafian.

Round 1: Collier working off the jab and Abreu just eats them and comes in, only to eat some heavy shots by Collier. More power punches land by Abreu, who is forced to fight from a distance due to a six-inch reach advantage for Collier. Despite being the better wrestler, Collier is content with standing and trading vs. Abreu. Here comes Collier with leg kicks, landing several to the body.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Collier

Round 2: Abreu comes right out and starts landing, but Collier connects with a flying knee. Several strikes from Abreu, but Collier is able to get his guard up and cover. Each time Collier connects to the body, he eats a right-hook right to the side of the head. Abreu’s face is starting to show some wear and tear, as he’s bleeding from the nose area. Inside the clinch and Abreu’s doing work to the body. He gets double-underhooks in and Collier fights to defend, staying upright. Spinning back-fist for Collier lands after a combo of strikes, followed by a nice 1-2 to the chin. Takedown for Abreu as we go under a minute left in the round.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Collier

Round 3: Collier really showing a diverse striking game, starting out the right with a counter-hook and a front-kick even throwing a spinning back-kick. Power takedown for Abreu, and he immediately goes to the back. Collier gets up without taking any punishment and is free. He goes right back to walking forward. Abreu lands and he has him rattled for a brief moment, throwing up a head-kick. Here comes Collier, going to the body and trying to finish. Collier now bleeding from the face, as these two have been putting in a solid battle. Another takedown for Abreu, but he’s again unable to do any damage.

FightLine scores the round 10-9 for Abreu

Jake Collier def. Ricardo Abreu via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)

ufc fight night 68

Fighter weigh-ins for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 68 event went down earlier today from New Orleans, and you can find complete results right here on FightLine.

In the main event, Dan Henderson takes on Tim Boetsch in a middleweight affair, while ranked heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione square off in the co-main event.

Henderson came in right at 186 pounds, while Boetsch weighed in a half-pound less. Mitrione was 255 and Rothwell 265.

Yancy Medeiros and Leonardo Morales each missed weight and will have two hours to weigh back in. Medeiros was 159.5 and Morales 140.

Early prelim action Saturday starts on UFC Fight Pass at 7 p.m. ET before fights shift over to FOX Sports 1 for the remainder of the night at 8 p.m. ET. The six-fight main card starts at 10 p.m. ET from the Smoothie King Center.

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

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

Dan Henderson (186 lbs.) vs. Tim Boetsch (185.5)

Matt Mitrione (255) vs. Ben Rothwell (265)

Dustin Poirier (156) vs. Yancy Medeiros (159.5)

Thiago Tavares (146) vs. Brian Ortega (146)

Joe Soto (136) vs. Anthony Birchak (136)

Alex Caceres (136) vs. Francisco Rivera (136)

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

Derrick Lewis (264.5) vs. Shawn Jordan (263.5)

Brian Ebersole (170.5) vs. Omari Akhmedov (171)

Christos Giagos (155.5) vs. Chris Wade (155.5)

Joe Proctor (156) vs. Justin Edwards (156)

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/7 p.m. ET)

Jake Collier (185.5) vs. Ricardo Abreu (183)

Leonardo Morales (140) vs. Jose Quinonez (135)

ufc fight night 68

When you look at the lineup for Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 68 card, it’s hard to pinpoint much of importance in terms of the championship chase.

Yes, heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Matt Mitrione are on the cusp of contending, and sure, Joe Soto fought for the UFC bantamweight title in his debut, but there’s one key component that must not be overlooked.

Dan Henderson.

Like Randy Couture, BJ Penn, Chuck Liddell and countless others before him, each time Henderson steps foot inside the Octagon it just might be his last.

Henderson is one of the all-time greats, dominating over a period of time in multiple weight classes. While he didn’t secure UFC gold, he has went toe-to-toe with the legends of the sport.

As always, FightLine will have you covered with complete results, including live play-by-play of the event.

So, here’s a look at three key fights set for the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans this weekend. And, hint, hint, Henderson is included:

Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch

As previously mentioned, it’s hard to remember the Henderson that wore Pride middleweight and welterweight gold, along with the Strikeforce light heavyweight title from years past.

He’s been on the receiving end of a pair of tough losses to stomach at the hands of Gegard Mousasi and Daniel Cormier in recent years, along with fights vs. Vitor Belfort, Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida.

In fact, Henderson hasn’t beat somebody other than Mauricio “Shogun” Rua since July 2011 when he finished Fedor Emelianenko.

For Boetsch, this fight is a career-defining moment. The 34-year-old is several bouts removed from a four-fight win streak that featured victories over Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami.

To make a statement and remain relevant, he’ll need to forget about a January submission loss to Thales Leites and focus in on Henderson, much like he did vs. Brad Tavares last August and C.B. Dollaway in 2013.

Ben Rothwell vs. Matt Mitrione

Like Boetsch, this could be the fight that sets the tone for the rest of Matt Mitrione’s future.

The Ultimate Fighter alum, who’s made all 12 of his pro bouts inside the Octagon, has looked incredible in stringing together three consecutive wins. Mitrione’s finished Gabriel Gonzaga, Derrick Lewis and Shawn Jordan in that time.

Rothwell, meanwhile, made an impact last September when he finished Alistair Overeem. Now, though, he’ll be the hunted vs. Mitrione.

“Big Ben” has been inside the Octagon with some of the best in the heavyweight division, including Overeem, Mark Hunt, Cain Velasquez, Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson.

Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak

So I might have cheated a bit when I mentioned members of all three key fights inside of the opening paragraphs, but this bantamweight affair between Joe Soto and Anthony Birchak has intrigue.

We all remember Soto’s debut, as the former Bellator champion was cast into the spotlight vs. T.J. Dillashaw after Renan Barao passed out cutting weight. Officials moved him from an early prelim into a world title fight, and Soto went 20-plus minutes with Dillashaw.

Now, he’ll face the man he was scheduled to meet on that August night in Birchak, who lost his debut with the UFC last December via submission to Ian Entwistle.

ufc fight night 68

The Octagon heads to New Orleans this Saturday night with another FOX Sports 1 event, UFC Fight Night 68.

Featuring Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch, much of the action airs on FS1 from the Smoothie King Center.

The original main event was to include Daniel Cormier returning home to take on Ryan Bader, but officials placed “DC” in a light heavyweight title fight – which he won, submitting Anthony Johnson late last month.

Along with Henderson-Boetsch, the card includes Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell, Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros, Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega and Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak.

Check out the complete lineup below, along with a video preview:

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

Middleweight: Dan Henderson vs. Tim Boetsch

Heavyweight: Matt Mitrione vs. Ben Rothwell

Lightweight: Dustin Poirier vs. Yancy Medeiros

Featherweight: Thiago Tavares vs. Brian Ortega

Bantamweight: Joe Soto vs. Anthony Birchak

Bantamweight: Alex Caceres vs. Francisco Rivera

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

Heavyweight: Derrick Lewis vs. Shawn Jordan

Welterweight: Brian Ebersole vs. Omari Akhmedov

Lightweight: Christos Giagos vs. Chris Wade

Lightweight: Joe Proctor vs. Justin Edwards

PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass/7 p.m. ET)

Middleweight: Jake Collier vs. Ricardo Abreu

Bantamweight: Leonardo Morales vs. Jose Quinonez

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