The UFC 244 ESPN2 portion of the prelims are in the books, and the #7 ranked light heavyweight, Corey Anderson, just put hands on the hyped up #11 ranked Johnny Walker. Anderson landed big punches early to hurt his foe, and never let off the gas, pouring on the punishment and scoring a standing TKO in the opening round. The win makes four-straight for Anderson, who just may have earned himself a shot at Jon Jones and the championship.
Before that, New York’s own Shane Burgos overcame getting rag dolled in the opening round by Makwan Amirkhani to pull out a punishing third round TKO. The gas tank and takedown defense was there when it mattered, with his strikes sealing the deal. Burgos is now riding a three-fight winning wave.
The #13 ranked middleweight, Edmen Shahbazyan, remained undefeated with a superb first round head kick knockout of the #11 ranked Brad Tavares. At just 21-years of age, Shahbazyan appears top be the real deal. This is his third straight opening round finish, and this impressive win will surely catapult him up the rankings. Opening up the ESPN2 prelims, Jairzinho Rozenstrui melted Andrei Arlovski in a sporty 29-seconds. That makes three up and three down for Rozenstrui, all by knockout. Could Rozenstrui be for real?
Corey Anderson def. Johnny Walker by TKO at 2:07 of round 1: Light Heavyweight
Walker came out giving all sorts of looks. Anderson closed the distance but Walker was able to reverse and shove him up against the fence. Back in open space, Anderson landed a set of right hands that wobbled and knocked down Walker. Just when its looked like Walker was going to recover, Anderson poured it on. Anderson kept throwing and landed more bombs. Walker tried to throw back, but Anderson caught him again, prompting the referee to step in with Walker still standing. Whoa!
Shane Burgos def. Makwan Amirkhani by TKO at 4:32 of round 3: Featherweight
Amirkhani instantly looked to get the fight to the ground. He cut Burgos with a punch that enabled him to tie up and find top position. Burgos tried to standup but Amirkhani had a strong body lock and stayed attached. Amirkhani briefly attacked with a guillotine, but Burgos scrambled out and up to his feet.
Amirkhani was landing some solid straight punches early in the second round, but was unable to find the takedown. Once Burgos started to press forward, Amirkhani was able to close the distance and grab up a body lock. Burgos id a sound job of staying vertical and ultimately freed himself. Burgos started to work the body, looking to take away some more energy from Amirkhani. Off of a botched takedown attempt, Burgos dropped a big hammer fist as he took top position.
Burgos dropped Amirkhani right away to kick off the final round. He instantly pounced, dropping aggressive ground and pound. He backed away to let Amirkhani up, who was slow to get back to his feet. Amirkhani was desperate and on wobbly legs. He tried his best to get the fight to the floor, but the sprawl game of Burgos was there. Amirkhani continued to eat strikes going for the takedown. Burgos let him back up and finished off Mr. Finland.
Edmen Shahbazyan def. Brad Tavares by KO at 2:27 of round 1: Middleweight
Just when it looked like a feeling out round was going on, Shahbazyan dropped Tavares with a clean right hand. He instantly went in for the kill. He started throwing a flurry, and then went upstairs with a head kick. The blow instantly dropped Tavares, and then one followup shot scored before the referee stepped in. Wow!
Jairzinho Rozenstrui def. Andrei Arlovski by KO at :29 of round 1 : Heavyweight
Rozenstrui went right at Arlovski, backing up the veteran to the fence. Then BOOM! Rozenstrui hit a beautiful fade away left hand that melted Arlovski. No followup was needed.