On Friday, we showed you some footage of former UFC middleweight champion Luke Rockhold sparring with Andrew Tabiti (14-0, 12 KOs), a cruiserweight boxing prospect who is opening the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor pay-per-view main card. Tabiti’s opponent is former champion Steve Cunningham (29-8-1, 13 KOs), whose best days are behind him but he’s still never been knocked out in a cruiserweight contest.
For some interesting trivia for MMA fans, two of Cunningham’s defeats came in Germany against Cuba’s Yoan Pablo Hernandez, who first took the IBF title away from him in a disputed technical split decision (after 6 rounds), and then won a thrilling unanimous decision in the immediate rematch. Hernandez (29-1, 14 KOs) is the younger brother of UFC middleweight contender Yoel Romero, although Yoan has been inactive since 2014 due to numerous injuries. Whether he’s retired or not is a different story altogether, but consider him on hiatus.
Hernandez dropped Cunningham three times over the course of their two fights, and you could’ve easily argued for a first-round stoppage in the first meeting. A clash of heads ended that fight prematurely (and controversially), and the decision going Hernandez’s way was not a popular one. Hernandez twice had Cunningham on the canvas in round 4 of the second encounter — again with a strong case that Cunningham could’ve been stopped by the referee — and then had him badly hurt in round 12 before Cunningham rallied back, only for Hernandez to return fire in the closing seconds.
You can watch highlights of the first bout, plus the full fight video for their immediate rematch at the bottom of the page.
Cunningham vs. Hernandez I (October 1st, 2011)
Timestamps: 2:20 for the knockdown, 3:39 for the clash of heads, 11:40 for the end of the fight.
Cunningham vs. Hernandez II (February 4th, 2012)
Timestamps: 16:39 for knockdown 1, 16:57 for knockdown 2, 46:55 for round 12, 48:40 for back-and-forth sequence, starting with Hernandez hurting Cunningham.
Mayweather vs. McGregor will happen on Saturday, August 26th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Prior to the Showtime PPV start time of 9 PM ET/6 PM PT, two hours of prelims will be televised on the FOX network, beginning at 7 PM ET/4 PM PT.