The UFC closed up shop on 2015 Saturday night with UFC on FOX 17.
It’s been a rough stretch for reigning UFC champions, but Rafael dos Anjos successfully entered the Octagon with the title and left with it, scoring a first round TKO over Donald Cerrone.
Cerrone entered having won eight straight, having not lost since a defeat to dos Anjos, but the Brazilian was all over him from the start. Dos Anjos landed with a left kick that hurt “Cowboy,” following up with a knee and a flurry.
A statement was made by Alistair Overeem, as the former Strikeforce champion ended a three-year rivalry with Junior dos Santos by finishing the ex-UFC champ. Overeem connected with a left-hook in the final seconds of round two, earning his 40th career win.
For Nate Diaz, taking a year off to recover from the rigors of fighting paid off, as he earned a decision victory over Michael Johnson. Diaz improved to 2-1 over his last three, losing only to dos Anjos.
Unbeaten fighter Karolina Kowalkiewicz made a triumphant debut inside the Octagon, earning a decision over Randa Markos. Kowalkiewicz used her range to defeat the Canadian and improve to 8-0 in her career.
Charles Oliveira missed weight on Friday for his prelim showdown with Myles Jury, but he made sure to leave Orlando with a win, submitting the featherweight newcomer. Oliveira picked up his 13th career win via submission with a standing guillotine choke.
With a perfectly-timed right-hand, Nate Marquardt kept his name relevant, knocking C.B. Dollaway out in the second round. Marquardt caught Dollaway coming in, landing and earning his 34th career victory.
Making her UFC debut on eight days notice Valentina Shevchenko picked up a career-building split decision over Sarah Kaufman, claiming it on two scorecards. Shevchenko replaced Germaine de Randamie and signed with the promotion after winning 17 Muay Thai world championships.
Competing inside the Octagon for the first time in over 2,000 days, Tamdan McCrory ruined the night for Orlando native Josh Samman with a third round submission win. McCrory locked up a triangle choke after dominating the first two-plus rounds.
After nearly seeing his career come to an end due to intense weight cuts, Nik Lentz made a strong impact at lightweight by scoring a split decision over Danny Castillo. While Lentz improved to 5-2 in his last seven with the win, Castillo lost for the fourth time in a row – three of which have been via split decision.
The televised fights started with a no-contest, as an accidental eye poke ended the fight between Cole Miller and Jim Alers in the second round.
In early prelim action, Kamaru Usman earned a decision over Leon Edwards, Vicente Luque submitted Hayder Hassan with an anaconda choke and Francis Ngannou knocked out Luis Henrique.
For their efforts, dos Anjos and Luque scored “Performance of the Night” bonuses, while Diaz and Johnson won “Fight of the Night.” All four picked up an additional $50,000. The attendance was announced at 14,559 for a live gate of $1.71 million.
Check out complete results below:
Rafael dos Anjos def. Donald Cerrone via TKO (strikes) at 1:06 of Round 1 to remain the UFC lightweight champion
Alistair Overeem def. Junior dos Santos via TKO (strikes) at 4:43 of Round 2
Nate Diaz def. Michael Johnson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Randa Markos via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Charles Oliveira def. Myles Jury via submission (standing guillotine choke) at 3:05 of Round 1
Nate Marquardt def. C.B. Dollaway via KO (right-hand) at : 28 of Round 2
Valentina Shevchenko def. Sarah Kaufman via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Tamdan McCrory def. Josh Samman via submission (triangle choke) at 4:10 of Round 3
Nik Lentz def. Danny Castillo via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 30-27)
Cole Miller vs. Jim Alers ruled a no-contest (accidental eye poke) at 1:34 of Round 2
Kamaru Usman def. Leon Edwards via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
Vicente Luque def. Hayder Hassan via submission (anaconda choke) at 2:13 of Round 1
Francis Ngannou def. Luis Henrique via KO (strike) at 2:53 of Round 2