UFC traveled to Ergo Arena in Gdansk, Poland, on Saturday evening for a card jam-packed with head-turning tilts, and it was Donald Cerrone and Darren Till who shone in the main event as they battled for welterweight supremacy.
A women's strawweight clash between Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jodie Esquibel, meanwhile, headlined the co-main event.
Here's a rundown of the evening's results as well as a recap of the action.
Main Card Results
The night belonged to Till, and it wasn't particularly close.
In a big spot against Cowboy Cerrone, Till lived up to the hype and justified his place in the welterweight division as he sent the 34-year-old packing with a power-packed performance that was buoyed by tactical superiority in all phases.
Bloody Elbow offered an overview of the dominant outing:
Bloody Elbow @BloodyElbow
Till definitely stepped up his output, but moreover, Cerrone just didnt' have an answer to Till's pressure and lefts. #UFCGdansk2017-10-21 21:00:24
Bloody Elbow @BloodyElbow
Cerrone's footwork on the retreat was a real problem. Till wasn't throwing a huge amount, but he had Cerrone pinned to the cage. #UFCGdansk2017-10-21 21:04:53
ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto noted Till stepped up with a chance to bolster his profile:
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
Darren Till KOs Donald Cerrone in first round and it was his fight, start to finish. Rose to occasion, best performance of his UFC career.2017-10-21 20:59:43
With the win in hand, Till understandably wasn't short on confidence.
"I'm a f--king light heavyweight fighting in the welterweight division," he said, per MMA Fighting (warning: NSFW language) on Twitter. "Look how powerful I am."
Till also wasted no time in cutting an epic promo, as he called out Mike Perry—who was conveniently stationed ringside, as UFC showed on Twitter:
Fans should be ecstatic, too, because Perry didn't hesitate to accept the 24-year-old's challenge:
"We're going to make that fight happen." @PlatinumPerry on @DarrenTill2 #UFCGdansk https://t.co/8Ity2iSPY52017-10-21 21:10:39
In other words, get your popcorn ready.
The early story on the main card revolved around hometown favorite Oskar Piechota, who maintained his undefeated record (10-0-1) with a thorough unanimous-decision defeat of Jonathan Wilson.
In control from start to finish, Piechota imposed his will against the American and sent him to the mat with a vicious right hand toward the end of Round 2, as UFC documented on Twitter:
OHHHH @PiechotaOskar drops Wilson at the end of round 2!! #UFCGdansk https://t.co/BBemnawcdD2017-10-21 19:36:02
Wilson was ultimately saved by the bell and battled to the finish in Round 3, but Piechota rode raucous energy from the Polish faithful to a victory on his biggest stage yet.
"The crowd took my level even higher tonight," he said after the win, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Heidi Fang. "Without them it would have been a lot harder."
Polish dominance continued in the ensuing bout, which pitted Jan Blachowicz against challenger Devin Clark in back-and-forth light heavyweight action.
Holy body kicks!! @JanBlachowicz #UFCGdansk https://t.co/dIUeXauFcQ2017-10-21 20:04:24
But unlike Piechota, whom Wilson pushed the distance, Blachowicz stopped the proceedings in Round 2 when he embraced Clark in an instant and set up a rear-naked choke out of nowhere to take home the win:
OHHHH MY!!! What a finish by @JanBlachowicz!!! Unreal!! #UFCGdansk https://t.co/UwyMvXr8R22017-10-21 20:07:20
By virtue of the win, Blachowicz was able to snap a two-match losing streak and regain his footing. And just like Piechota, he credited a return home for sparking his performance.
"It's been an emotional week because everything started here," he said, per Fang. "You can never stop doing what you love because of obstacles."
It was also a night of redemption for Karolina Kowalkiewicz, who found her footing following consecutive losses to Claudia Gadelha and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
In need of a bounce-back performance, Kowalkiewicz brought the heat and applied pressure on Jodie Esquibel with punches and knees:
KNEES!!! @KarolinaMMA lands some SERIOUS knees and punches and rocks Esquibel!! #UFCGdansk https://t.co/fabI6EXANu2017-10-21 20:28:18
Now back on the winning track, Kowalkiewicz is primed for a step up in the division with Brazilian Jessica Andrade in her sights, per Okamoto:
Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN
Kowalkiewicz says she's good with Andrade next. That would certainly make sense. I'm in.2017-10-21 20:42:04
The 26-year-old will pose a stiff test for Kowalkiewicz if the fight is ultimately made, but her performance Saturday evening should inspire confidence that she can continue her climb up the strawweight ranks as 2018 approaches.view original article >>
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