The opening bout of UFC 156 looked like it had slugfest written all over it, and it delivered. Edwin Figueroa and Francisco Rivera threw down early and often, but it was Rivara that eventually emerged victorious. Figueroa got off to a good start over the first half of the fight, but it looked like he might have gassed out and Rivera blasted him into oblivion late in the second to get the TKO victory. The finish came at 4:20 of the middle stanza.
Rivera got started early in the fight with a bevy of low kicks. Figouroa landed a counter left hook that dropped Rivera. Rivera held on in guard to weather the cobwebs though. A missed Rivera armbar attempt led the fighters to get back to the feet. Cisco went back to the kicks, but and got a couple of takedowns over the final two minutes.
Rivera went back to the leg kicks in round two, but Figueroa finally caught one and got a takedown. He spent an extended time working some ground and pound against the cage before Rivera finally got up halfway through the round. Figueroa looked a little tired after that though, and Rivera took over the striking.
Rivera really started blasting away with a minute to go, and Figueroa looked out on his feet against the cage. Rivera continued to pound away, and landed some huge shots on Figueroa as he retreated across the cage. Finally the ref jumped it after Figueroa went down.