Dan Henderson had at least one more crippling right hand left in him, and Tim Boetsch was the unfortunate recipient.
A former two-division Pride Fighting Championships titleholder, Henderson wiped out “The Barbarian” with first-round punches in the UFC Fight Night “Boetsch vs. Henderson” headliner on Saturday at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. Boetsch (18-9, 9-8 UFC) wilted 28 seconds into round one, losing for the fifth time in seven appearances.
Henderson (31-13, 8-7 UFC), who entered the Octagon on a two-fight losing streak, got straight to business. The 44-year-old Californian buckled Boetsch’s knees with a right cross, followed with a glancing knee from the collar tie and then dropped him with a right uppercut. Henderson did not relent, blasting away with punches to force the stoppage.
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Rothwell Choke Taps Mitrione
Ben Rothwell submitted Blackzilians export Matt Mitrione with a first-round front choke in the heavyweight co-main event. Mitrione (9-4, 9-4 UFC) bowed out 1:54 into round one, his three-fight winning streak a thing of the past.
The two men traded liberally on the feet during their brief encounter. Rothwell (35-9, 5-3 UFC) tagged “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 10 graduate with a clubbing right hand, but Mitrione wielded the quicker hands and mixed in a few kicks to the legs and body. However, the 36-year-old moved for an ill-advised body-lock takedown attempt and wandered into the choke. Rothwell crashed on the maneuver, forcing Mitrione to tap vigorously with both hands.
The 33-year-old Rothwell has won three straight since his January 2013 loss to Gabriel Gonzaga.
Poirier Wrecks Overweight Medeiros
American Top Team’s Dustin Poirier won for the fifth time in six fights, as he blew away Yancy Medeiros with punches in the first round of their featured pairing at 155 pounds. Poirier (18-4, 10-3 UFC) closed the deal 2:38 into round one.
Medeiros (11-3, 2-3 UFC), who missed weight for the match, was never a factor. Poirier floored the Hawaiian twice early on, first with a straight right and then a left, before landing a takedown, moving to the back and hunting a rear-naked choke. Medeiros scrambled to his feet, only to be doubled over by a body kick. Poirier then bottled him up against the fence and uncorked a wicked string of hooks and uppercuts with both hands, leaving referee John McCarthy no choice but to intervene on the still-standing Medeiros’ behalf.
Unbeaten Ortega Tops Tavares
Onetime Resurrection Fighting Alliance champion Brian Ortega disposed of Thiago Tavares with third-round punches in a bloody featherweight showcase. Tavares (19-6-1, 9-6-1 UFC) succumbed to blows 4:10 into round three, his modest two-fight winning streak at its end.
A replacement for the injured Zubaira Tukhugov, Ortega (9-0, 1-0 UFC) did much of his work from his back following Tavares takedowns. He opened a horrendous cut above Tavares’ right eye with repeated elbow strikes, survived the Brazilian’s ground-and-pound and fished for various submissions, from armbars and triangle chokes to heel hooks. They hit the third round with the outcome still very much in doubt, both men doused in Tavares’ blood. Late in the frame, Ortega staggered his counterpart with a two-punch combination, followed him to the mat and climbed to full mount before unleashing a barrage of unanswered punches that forced referee Dan Miragliotta to act.
Birchak Flurry KOs Soto
Former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder Anthony Birchak knocked out Joe Soto with a violent volley of first-round elbows and punches in their featured clash at 135 pounds. Birchak (12-2, 1-1 UFC) brought it to a close 1:37 into round one.
Soto (15-4, 0-2 UFC) never established himself. Birchak sat him down with a short right hook, followed him to the canvas and dodged an attempted kneebar before resuming his pursuits in the standup. Still dazed from the initial knockdown, Soto was a sitting duck. Birchak pinned him along the fence and flurried with elbows and punches until the onetime Bellator MMA champion was facedown and unconscious.
Rivera Blitzes Caceres in 21 Seconds
World Extreme Cagefighting veteran Francisco Rivera took care of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 quarterfinalist Alex Caceres with a clean left hook and follow-up punches in the first round of their bantamweight showcase. Caceres (10-8, 5-6 UFC) met his end 21 seconds into round one.
Rivera (11-4, 4-3 UFC) did not mess around. He countered a lazy Caceres jab with a short right hand and a savage left hook, flooring him where he stood. Rivera then pounced on his dazed foe and finished him with standing-to-ground rights and lefts, putting the brakes on a two-fight losing streak.