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SAN ANTONIO – In a fight that was as furious as it was fast, Cody Gibson (12-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) came back from the brink of defeat to notch a first-round TKO of Johnny Bedford (19-11-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at the 0:38 mark of Round 1 – though the ending was not without some controversy.

The bantamweight bout was part of the preliminary card of today’s UFC Fight Night 44 event at AT&T Center in San Antonio. It aired on FOX Sports 1 following an additional prelim on UFC Fight Pass and ahead of the main card on FOX Sports 1.

Bedford got off to a good start in the opening exchange, backing Gibson up against the fence and launching a jumping knee that tagged his opponent on the crown of the head. But just as Bedford got a little too aggressive in his attack, Gibson fired back with two right hands. The second dropped Bedford straight back, bouncing his head off the mat.

That’s where things got weird, as referee Kerry Hatley initially moved in as if to stop the bout, then appeared to hesitate, then finally waved off the bout just as Bedford appeared to have regained his wits.

Gibson wasted no time launching into a victory celebration, but Bedford was up on his feet right away, livid with Hatley’s stoppage and parading around the cage in protest.

After the bout, Gibson told UFC commentator Jon Anik that he saw Bedford’s eyes roll back in his head after the right hand landed.

“But when I put someone down, I want them to stay down,” Gibson added. “Johnny’s up and he’s protesting, so if he wants to do it again, man, let’s do it.”

Gibson gets his first UFC win after dropping a decision in his debut in February. Bedford gets his second unsatisfying result in a row, with this questionable stoppage coming on the heels of a no-contest finish against Rani Yahya in April.

Up-to-the-minute UFC Fight Night 44 results include:

For complete coverage of UFC Fight Night 44, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Steven Marrocco contributed to this report on-site in San Antonio.)

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