Whenever the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) comes to Madison Square Garden, they always pack the card with very good fights from top to bottom. The UFC 244 event this past Saturday night did not disappoint because there were seven KO's or TKO's out of the twelve fights that were in the early preliminary bouts, in the preliminary bouts, and in the main card. Without further ado, let us take a look at the stoppages.
Lyman "Cyborg" Good (22-5) absolutely destroyed Chance "Black Eagle" Rencountre (14-5) in their early preliminary welterweight clash. The KO occurred with 2:58 remaining in the third round. During the fight, Good was peppering Rencountre pretty good with leg kicks. However, in the last fight sequence, Good cornered Rencountre and went with a head kick instead of a leg kick that sort of surprised Rencountre. The "Black Eagle" was able to put one of his wings up to block the kick, but Good followed the kick with an immediate right cross that knocked Rencountre to the canvas. Instead of swinging a haymaker, Good set up the KO with a combination that is not seen as often in the UFC
If you watched the prelims, then you know that every fight on ESPN2 was a knockout. Undefeated heavyweight prospect Jairzinho "Bigi Boy" Rozenstruik (9-0) only needed 29 seconds to knockout former UFC champion Andre "The Pit Bull" Arlovski (28-19). Rozenstruik is from Suriname, which is heavily influenced by Dutch culture. That means that Rozenstruik fights in the style of a Dutch kickboxer. This style is very physical and very precise. Rozenstruik showed his punching power with a left hook behind the ear that threw Arlovski's equilibrium off. That one-punch knockout should put Rozenstruik in the heavyweight rankings.
Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) is moving up in the middleweight rankings with a first-round KO of Brad Tavares (17-6). Shahbazyan started his onslaught two minutes into Round 1 when he caught Tavares with a straight right after missing the left jab on a classic one-two combo. He then swarmed Tavares with some punches. Tavares was able to cover up well for the next twenty seconds of the bout. However, Shahbazyan landed a left kick to the chin that ended the fight with 2:34 remaining. What made this KO so special is that Shahbazyan stay composed and gave himself space after the swarm in order to land a perfect kick.
One of the best fights of the night was this featherweight bout between Shane "Hurricane" Burgos (13-1) and Makwan "Mr. Finland" Amirkhani (15-4). Amirkhani was able to open up a cut over the left eye of Burgos and was able to secure a takedown of Burgos in the first round. Burgos stormed back to win the second round with constant pressure on the feet along with some solid body shots. With the third round still in the balance, Burgos was able to secure the KO with thirty seconds remaining in the fight.
The most emotional KO of the night was secured in the light heavyweight division by Corey "Overtime" Anderson (13-4) over Johnny Walker (17-4). The UFC hype train was all behind Walker because Walker had knocked out his past three opponents in the first round. If Walker would have won this fight, then Walker would have been given a title shot. However, Anderson gave Walker a taste of his own medicine by knocking out Walker in the first round. The key to this knockout was four straight uppercuts that landed in the clinch.
The best knockout of the night went to Kevin "The Motown Phenom" Lee (18-5) in his lightweight fight with prospect Gregor "The Gift" Gillespie (13-1). Lee ended the undefeated reign of Gillespie by jumping in quick with a right hand followed by a left kick to the grill that put out the lights of Gillespie right at the start of the first round. Up to this point, Gillespie had not fought an opponent that had any good wrestling in the UFC. Gillespie's weakness in the striking area was exposed immediately with the combination that was delivered by Lee. Lee definitely needed this performance after losing his last two fights.
The last knockout was actually a stoppage after the third round in the main event. In the welterweight division, Jorge "Gamebred" Masvidal (35-13) defeated Nate Diaz (20-12) for the newly-minted "Baddest Motherf*****" (BMF) belt. Masvidal was able to open up a cut in the first minute of the fight over the right eye of Diaz with his famous "three piece and a soda" combo. Throughout the fight, the cut became progressively worse over his left eye to the point that Diaz could not see out of his eye by the end of the third round.