Cyborg disposes of Yana Kunitskaya and Brian Ortega shocks Frankie Edgar at UFC 222

CRIS “Cyborg” Justino and Brian Ortega were the big winners at UFC 222 in Las Vegas on Sunday.

Justino, fresh from a victory over Ronda Rousey conqueror Holly Holm, made mince meat of Russian challenger Ana Kunitskaya after Ortega became the first man to finish veteran Frankie Edgar.

Main card: Cyborg devours another foe

Cris “Cyborg” Justino defeated Yana Kunitskaya via TKO (punches) — R1, 3:25

There’s still no one capable of testing Cyborg.

The Brazilian beast finished another opponent with relative ease as Yana Kunitskaya was dismissed inside a round.

The Russian, who fights at a lower weight in rival promotion Invicta, was ushered in to offer Justino a fresh challenge — but the featherweight champion quickly ushered her back out.

Kunitskaya did not want any part of the striking exchanges with Justino and shot for her ankles early in the fight. She slowed the champ for a minute or two by hanging on to her back and then pushing her against the Octagon, but Cyborg shook her off and went to work.

She landed the type of heavy shots no other woman in the sport is capable of delivering and it wasn’t long before Kunitskaya was on the floor covering up.

It was devastating — if not entertaining. “She is the most dominant champion in the UFC, bar none,” light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier said.

The UFC will hope bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes takes care of business against Raquel Pennington at UFC 224 in May so it can set up another champ vs champ headliner.

Featherweight

Brian Ortega defeated Frankie Edgar via TKO (punches) — R1, 4:44

Brian Ortega became the first man to finish Frankie Edgar — now he looks destined for a title shot.

The Californian was called in as a late replacement for featherweight champion Max Holloway, who was supposed to headline this card with Edgar but pulled out with injury.

With a devastating first round stoppage Ortega stole Edgar’s streak of 27 fights without being stopped — and his shot at Holloway’s gold.

After an even opening, Ortega — who was the far bigger man inside the Octagon — landed a fight-turning elbow that rocked his opponent.

He showed poise and clinical finishing ability to close the deal, landing several heavy shots including a nasty uppercut that was the finishing blow. “I fear myself getting knocked out in there,” Ortega said. “But that fear makes me deadly.”

Bantamweight

Sean O’Malley defeated Andre Soukhamthath via unanimous decision (29-27 x 2, 28-27)

Sean O’Malley dropped Andre Soukhamthath with a killer right hand late in the first round after already landing a vicious combination of leg and spinning head kicks.

He was putting on a helluva show and “The Asian Sensation” was lucky the buzzer saved him.

Soukhamthath fought back in the second as he held off an attempted rear naked choke but there was nothing he could do to reverse the one-sided affair.

He had a chance to work his way back into the bout when O’Malley looked to break his foot following an attempted head kick gone wrong in the third but Soukhamthath kept the fight on the ground. O’Malley lay in the Octagon after the final round came to an end, screaming in agony as doctors came to his aid.

“It’s nothing a little medicine can’t fix at the after-party,” O’Malley told commentator Joe Rogan, still lying on the canvas.

“A star is born,” fellow commentator Daniel Cormier said.

Heavyweight

Andrei Arlovski defeated Stefan Struve via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x 2)

Bantamweight

Ketlen Vieira defeated Cat Zingano via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)

After a brief scare on the scorecards Ketlen Vieira overcame Cat Zingano via split decision in the opening fight of the main card.

The Brazilian started strong and never let up. She landed a nice takedown late in the first round and tried to trap Zingano’s right arm on the ground in the second, but the American’s defence held up.

Zingano was hellbent on kicking her way to victory but she hurt her leg in the third and was in obvious pain for the remainder of the right, even needing to sit on a chair in the Octagon while she waited for the result to be made official.

She let loose with a late flurry, throwing punches and knees to the body, but it all came too late to convince two of the three judges she deserved to win.

Many were surprised Zingano was given the win on one scorecard when she was — by and lareg — dominated for the majority of the fight.

Undercard

Strawweight

Mackenzie Dern defeated Ashley Yoder via split decision (29-28 x 2, 28-29)

Mackenzie Dern doesn’t love being compared to former bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey but it’s a tag she’s lived with since making the move from jiu-jitsu to MMA.

And on her UFC debut in Las Vegas she certainly started off well on her path towards emulating Rousey’s success when she defeated Ashley Yoder via split decision (29 x 2, 28-29).

It was an ugly start to the fight as both women threw down, Dern focusing on power rather than technique. She edged the first but Yoder had the better of the second round, only for Dern to launch a comeback in the final round.

She landed a takedown and looked to choke out Yoder, who just managed to survive until the buzzer, but she still finished on the wrong side of the ledger.

Lightweight

Alexander Hernandez defeated Beneil Dariush via KO (R1, 0:42)

Alexander Hernandez landed a left hand from hell to put Beneil Dariush to sleep less than a minute into their lightweight clash he only took on a week’s notice.

The American stunned the Vegas crowd on his UFC debut with a perfectly timed hook that sent his Iranian opponent to the canvas with no hope of getting back up.

“We came here to make a violent impact in this organisation and that’s exactly what we did,” Hernandez said after the fight. “We’re going to make a f***ing impact on this game. You didn’t know me then but I promise you know me now.”

Bantamweight

John Dodson defeated Pedro Munhoz via split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29)

John Dodson won’t be enjoying any X-rated celebrations following his split decision win over Pedro Munhoz after his groin copped a hammering.

A Munhoz kick found Dodson’s crown jewels and the victor was left doubled over in pain at one point during the entertaining fight.

Middleweight

CB Dollaway defeated Hector Lombard (disqualified)

The first fight of the preliminary card ended in controversy when Hector Lombard dropped CB Dollaway with a late shot after the bell.

Lombard hit Dollaway’s chin with a killer left hand but it came after the buzzer to signal the end of the first round and he was disqualified.

Dollaway was in a bad state after the blow, constantly asking the referee and his camp what happened. The dazed fighter was taken away from the Octagon on a stretcher to a local hospital by medical staff.

Per MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Lombard’s camp will likely appeal the loss because the Cuban fighter was upset the ref was too late to step in.

Classy act after UFC demolition

Mike Pyle suffered a disappointing end to his MMA career, stopped in the first round by Zak Ottow in the final bout of the early prelims.

Ottow recorded his first stoppage victory in the UFC as the referee stopped the fight at the 2:34 minute mark.

He dropped Pyle with a right hand then pummelled the American into submission, raining down punches on his head. Pyle couldn’t defend himself and just like that his 42-fight professional MMA career came to an end as he slapped the canvas and swore in frustration.

“I loved it, I f***ing loved it,” Pyle said of his nearly two decade career.

Ottow was classy in victory, heaping praise on Pyle rather than taking the limelight for himself.

“I just want to congratulate Mike Myle on a legendary career. Everybody give him a round of applause,” Ottow said. “He’s a pioneer of MMA and a pioneer of our division and I wish him the best in retirement.”

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