It was a busy weekend for MMA, particularly on American soil.
On Friday night, CES MMA returned to UFC Fight Pass with the stacked CES 60 event in Lincoln, Rhode Island. On Saturday night, the action continued with a UFC Fight Night card in Raleigh, North Carolina, that aired on ESPN+, and the stacked Bellator 238 card in Inglewood, California, that was broadcast on DAZN.
Given the amount of high-level MMA shoehorned into that two-day stretch, it should come as no surprise that there are quite a few highlights to enjoy as the week gets underway.
Keep scrolling for some of the best finishes of the weekend, which we'll all surely be discussing for days to come.
CES 60 was easily one of the best cards to date from the Rhode Island-based organization.
The nine-fight card was topped by a featherweight title fight between former UFC veteran Matt Bessette and Charles Cheeks III, which Bessette won by third-round stoppage.
The event was co-headlined by a heavyweight title fight between champ Greg Rebello and short-notice challenger Jordan Mitchell, which Rebello won by second-round stoppage, and a fight for the vacant flyweight title between Blaine Shutt and Johnny Lopez, which Shutt won by split decision.
The card also featured the fourth pro victory from the undefeated John Gotti III, the grandson of the mobster of the same name, and a fighter who has already caught the eye of UFC President Dana White. Gotti won his fight against the more experienced Marcos Lloreda by unanimous decision.
William Knight, who earned a developmental deal with the UFC on Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, also picked up an impressive W on the card, beating Rocky Edwards in the third round of their light heavyweight fight.
Here are some of the best finishes from the card:
Matt Bessette Defeats Charles Cheeks III by 3rd-round knockout
Ashiek Ajim defeats Andres Rodriguez by 3rd-round TKO
William Knight defeats Rocky Edwards by 3rd-round TKO
UFC Fight Night 166
There was not a lot of buzz surrounding Saturday's UFC Raleigh card, partly because we're all still digesting Conor McGregor's UFC 246 comeback on Jan. 18, but also because it simply wasn't the good on paper.
Nonetheless, the card did produce some memorable finishes.
In the main event, wrestling specialist Curtis Blaydes showed off some new tricks, pulverizing the former heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos on his feet en route to a second-round TKO win. Blaydes extended his win streak to three and asserted himself as one of the top contenders in the division.
Elsewhere on the card, we saw stoppage wins from flyweight contender Alex Perez, who choked out Jordan Espinosa in the first round; strawweight veteran Angela Hill, who thumped Hannah Cifers in Round 2; and the debuting Herbert Burns, who decimated Nate Landwehr in the first round of their welterweight fight in arguably the best finish of the whole weekend.
Here's some of the best action from this under-the-radar UFC card:
Curtis Blaydes defeats Junior Dos Santos by 2nd-round TKO
Alex Perez defeats Jordan Espinosa by 1st-round submission
Angela Hill defeats Hannah Cifers by 2nd-round TKO
Herbert Burns defeats Nate Landwehr by 1st-round knockout
On Saturday night, Bellator MMA promoted its first card of the year, and the Viacom-owned company pulled out all the stops.
In the main event, we saw former Strikeforce, Invicta and UFC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg add a fourth major title to her crowded trophy case, defeating Julia Budd to capture the Bellator featherweight belt.
In the co-main event, former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell moved to the semifinals of the Bellator Featherweight World Grand Prix by submitting the formerly undefeated Adam Borics.
Elsewhere at The Forum in Inglewood, California, we saw big finishes from former UFC flyweight contender Sergio Pettis, who debuted in the Bellator bantamweight division with a first-round submission of Alfred Khashakyan, and the hot-and-cold but undeniably promising Aaron Pico, who got back on track with a blistering second-round knockout of Daniel Carey—another front-runner for the best win of the weekend.
Here's some of the best action from this stacked Bellator card:
Cris Cyborg defeats Julia Budd by 4th-round TKO
Darrion Caldwell defeats Adam Borics by 1st-round submission
Sergio Pettis defeats Alfred Khashakyan by 1st-round submission
Aaron Pico defeats Daniel Carey by 2nd-round knockout