This is beginning to sound like a broken record, but we have a new UFC champion.
On Saturday night in Atlanta, Tyron Woodley destroyed Robbie Lawler in the very first round of the UFC 201 main event to become the new promotion's new welterweight champion.
It happened in a flash, but the UFC tweeted this message almost as fast as Woodley finished Lawler:
Woodley landed the big right hand with just under three minutes left in the first round and Lawler was flattened. The former closed in on his fallen opponent and delivered a few shots that forced referee Dan Miragliotta to stop the bout.
Woodley gave honor to God after his victory, per this quote tweeted by Mark La Monica of Newsday:
Since April, six UFC champions have now lost their titles. Sports Illustrated's Jeff Wagenheim adds even more perspective:
Woodley would appear to be on a collision course with Stephen Thompson. That would be a matchup between dynamic strikers and superb athletes.
It could be a race to see who lands the first big shot. As we saw on Saturday, Woodley only needs one.
Kowalkiewicz Edges Namajunas
In the co-main event, Karolina Kowalkiewicz set herself up for a shot at UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk with a hard-fought split-decision win over Rose Namajunas.
Kowalkiewicz used well-placed knees and counter shots to earn an advantage. Namajunas secured two first-round takedowns to grab the early momentum, but Kowalkiewicz's striking in close quarters became a factor in the second round.
The aforementioned knees did more damage in the third and were enough to earn her the decision.
- Damien Brown def. Cesar Arzamendia via first-round KO
- Michael Graves def. Bojan Velickovic majority draw (30-28 Graves, 28-28 x2)
- Wilson Reis def. Hector Sandoval via first-round submission
- Anthony Hamilton def. Damian Grabowski via first-round KO
- Jorge Masvidal def. Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28x2)
- Nikita Krylov def. Ed Herman via first-round KO
- Ryan Benoit def. Fredy Serrano via split decision (28-29, 29-28 x2)
- Erik Perez def. Francisco Rivera via unanimous decision (30-26x2, 29-28)
- Jake Ellenberger def. Matt Brown via first-round KO
- Karolina Kowalkiewicz def. Rose Namajunas via split decision (29-28x2, 28-29)
- Tyron Woodley def. Robbie Lawler via first-round TKO
Analysis and Highlights
Damien Brown was hellbent on putting in a short night's work. He walked through Cesar Arzamendia with a ferocious first-round KO.
Brown initially hurt Arzamendia with a counter right hand, and once he did the damage, he would not relent until he had captured the victory via stoppage, footage courtesy of the UFC:
It was a brutal way to kick off the UFC Fight Pass prelims.
Wilson Reis was supposed to face Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight title on Saturday, but an injury forced the champion out of the fight.
Perhaps Reis was irritated and decided to take out his frustrations on Hector Sandoval. The result was the fastest submission win in the history of the UFC featherweight division.
Here's a look at the finish, via Fox Sports: UFC:
Reis proved he's ready for a shot at the title whenever the opportunity arises.
It only took 15 seconds for Anthony Hamilton to take out Damian Grabowski. A quick onslaught from the big heavyweight left his opponent down and humbled next to the cage.
Hamilton has unquestionable power, and this quick victory could put him in line to appear on another card before the end of the year.
Krylov the Crusher
Nikita Krylov is a fun fighter to watch, but not too joyous to face. Ed Herman found that out the hard way. Take a look at the head kick that spelled the end for Herman, via Fox Sports: UFC:
Rarely do you see a light heavyweight fight finished with a head kick. When you consider Krylov used to fight at heavyweight, it makes the finish even more impressive.
Krylov has now won five fights in a row, and each of the victories have come by stoppage. With two or three more wins, he could be fighting for the title.
Ellenberger Blows Up Brown
The finishes just kept coming. In the second-biggest surprise of the evening, Jake Ellenberger stopped the rugged Matt Brown in the very first round.
Brown is known for his toughness, but on Saturday, he fell victim to Ellenberger's titanic right hand. No one has ever questioned Ellenberger's punching power, and Brown found that out firsthand.
The victory might have saved Ellenberger's spot on the roster as he had lost two fights in a row and five of his last six. If he wasn't dangling on the cut line, no one should be.