Henry Cejudo Ushers in UFC’s ESPN Era With 32-Second TKO in 125-Pound Title Fight

By Mike Sloan Jan 19, 2019

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Henry Cejudo not only wanted to defend his Ultimate Fighting Championship flyweight title, he wanted to make a statement at UFC Fight Night 143.

“The Messenger” come out aggressively from the opening horn and landed a fierce kick to T.J. Dillashaw’s ribs. From there, Cejudo (14-2) landed a glancing head kick and then rocked his foe with punches to the head. Dillashaw tried scoring a takedown from his knees, but he was dropped again and again from punches to the head.

Cejudo never stopped throwing bombs until Dillashaw (16-4) rolled out and referee Kevin MacDonald pulled him off, ending the main event in just 32 seconds.

Cejudo retained his title and thwarted Dillashaw, the reigning bantamweight king, from trying to become the fourth fighter in UFC history to win world titles in two weight classes simultaneously.

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Hardy Disqualified for Illegal Knee

Allen Crowder was nearly knocked out very early into his co-featured fight with Greg Hardy, but he wound up victorious. Hardy, a much-maligned former NFL player, stormed out of his corner and tore into Crowder with punches, nearly knocking him out.

But when “Pretty Boy” didn’t wither under the storm of fists, he slowly turned the fight in his favor. Crowder (10-3) scored multiple takedowns and forced Hardy into a state of exhaustion. With Crowder landing punches and talking trash in the second, he shot in for another takedown. Hardy (3-1) stuffed it, but with Crowder down on one knee, Hardy pelted him with a blatantly illegal knee to the head.

Referee Dan Miragliotta quickly disqualified him, ending the fight at 2:28 of the frame.

Gillespie Wears Down Medeiros

Gregor Gillespie remained unbeaten in his MMA career by dominating Yancy Medeiros (15-6) for nearly two rounds before stopping him. “The Gift” scored several takedowns and mauled him from start to finish and never allowed the Hawaiian to ever get things going.

Gillespie (13-0) eventually took “The Kid” down late in the second, seized his back and then teed off on him with punches until referee Todd Anderson intervened. The end came with one second remaining in the frame.

Benavidez Makes it 2-0

Longtime veteran Joseph Benavidez kept Father Time at bay a little longer by surviving a wild grappling affair with Dustin Ortiz (19-8).

The flyweights went full-force for three rounds and fought tooth and nail for every moment of the battle. Ortiz was taken down repeatedly, but he never allowed Benavidez to dominate him on the ground. Rather, the two scrambled, swept, threatened with submissions and scrambled again and again.

In the end, though, Benavidez (27-5) was a step ahead of the Tennessee fighter and won a unanimous decision via scores of 29-28 across the board.

VanZant Takes Ostovich's Arm

Things looked a little hairy for popular flyweight Paige VanZant, but the former "Dancing with the Stars" contestant prevailed. Opponent Rachel Ostovich scored several takedowns in the opening round, nullifying virtually everything “12 Gauge” tried. However, the two women tore into each other in the second on the ground and VanZant wound up finishing her foe.

Ostovich (4-5) scored a takedown, but VanZant quickly scrambled and took the Hawaiian’s back. After VanZant (8-4) missed a rear-naked choke, she locked in an armbar and forced the tap. The end came officially at 1:50 of the second, ending a two-fight losing streak and coming back after a year-long delay due to injury.

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Teixeira Shows the Goods at 39

Just seconds into his fight with late replacement Karl Roberson, Glover Teixeira was a cooked goose. The Brazilian shot in for a takedown, but “Baby K” stuffed it and rocked him badly with elbows to the head.

Roberson then moved to full mount and landed several punches to the head, but Teixeira somehow survived it. From there, the light heavyweight veteran scrambled to his feet, scored a takedown and quickly moved to mount. It took Teixeira (28-7) two attempts to fully sink it in, but he eventually forced Roberson (7-2) to tap out with a textbook arm-triangle choke.

The New Jersey fighter bowed out 3:21 into the opening frame.

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