Undefeated Brazilian bantamweight phenom Thomas Almeida welcomed Brad Pickett back to the 135 lbs division to open up the UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor pay-per-view main card. Almerida came into the bout with 18 stoppage wins in 19 fights and Pickett has a history of racking up post-fight bonus awards in the WEC and UFC. Excitement and fireworks were expected between old guard and new guard.
Round 1 was outrageously fun. The heavy underdog Pickett got into an early rhythm with his boxing and dropped Almeida with a left hook. Almeida recovered but then got knocked down again by a knee, he attacked with a leg lock in desperation. They returned to standing and Almeida dropped Pickett with a right elbow and was able to get a foothold of his own towards the final minutes of one of the most entertaining first rounds of the year.
The 2nd round ended almost as quickly as it began. Almeida threw a crushing, picture-perfect flying knee that flattened Pickett. No need for another strike as John McCarthy stopped the fight, with Pickett sprawled out on his back.
No doubt this was the toughest fight of Almeida's career, but he showed great heart and gave fans an absolutely spectacular finishing blow on Pickett, who suffered his first (T)KO stoppage loss since 2005. It's his first straight-up KO loss in his 35 fight career.
Continue following live coverage here: UFC 189: Mendes vs. McGregor live results and play-by-play for PPV main card