B.J. Penn struggled mightily against Frankie Edgar. | Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa/UFC/Getty
This was not the storybook ending B.J. Penn supporters had envisioned.
Frankie Edgar steamrolled the former two-division Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholder, as he put away the popular Hawaiian with third-round ground-and-pound in “The Ultimate Fighter 19” Finale main event on Sunday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. “The Answer” had all the answers, pounding on Penn for two-plus rounds before finally forcing an intervention by referee Herb Dean, the stoppage coming 4:16 into round three.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for B.J.,” Edgar said. “This is a bittersweet victory. I said I wanted to finish him because he’s never been finished [by me] and I knew how tough he was, but I almost feel bad about it.”
Penn, who had not competed in 19 months, looked out of sorts from the start. Edgar ran circles around the upright “Prodigy” in the standup, using his quick hands and nimble feet. He also mixed in takedowns in all three rounds, battering Penn with elbow-laced ground-and-pound. Edgar finally broke his rival in round three, where he delivered another takedown, opened a cut near the future hall of famer’s left eye with a well-placed elbow strike and drew their trilogy to a close with a steady stream of unanswered punches.
Afterward, Penn admitted it was time to walk away for good.
“Frankie did a great job,” he said. “I shouldn’t have come back. I shouldn’t have been in the ring tonight. [UFC President] Dana [White] said it was over, and I’ve got to agree with him at this point.”
Anderson Crowned Light Heavyweight Winner
Corey Anderson took care of Alliance MMA’s Matt Van Buren with a flurry of first-round punches in “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 19 light heavyweight final. Van Buren (6-3, 0-1 UFC) wilted 61 seconds into round one, having absorbed copious amounts of punishment.
Anderson (3-0, 1-0 UFC) let his hands fly, and the results were devastating. The 24-year-old Rockford, Ill., native rattled Van Buren with a multi-punch combination, backed it up with a takedown and unleashed some ground-and-pound. Van Buren managed to return to an upright position, at which point he was met with more fist-to-face contact and another takedown. He turtled at Anderson’s feet and did not react to referee Mario Yamasaki’s call to defend himself.
Gordon Dispatches Lima in 71 Seconds
Serra-Longo Fight Team’s Eddie Gordon wiped out Dhiego Lima with punches in the first round of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 19 middleweight final. A training partner of reigning UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, Gordon (7-1, 1-0 UFC) closed the deal 1:11 into round one.
Lima (9-2, 0-1 UFC) never stood a chance. Gordon set the Atlanta-based Brazilian on his heels with sweeping power punches. Lima retreated to the cage, where he was met with an overhand right that marked the beginning of the end for him. Gordon unleashed a wild barrage of lefts and rights -- a few appeared to connect to the back of the head -- and drove his opponent to the canvas before finishing it with a volley of left hands on the ground.
Lewis Smashes ‘Guto Inocente’
Onetime Legacy Fighting Championship titleholder Derrick Lewis knocked out Carlos Augusto Filho with crushing first-round ground-and-pound in a featured heavyweight matchup. Filho (6-3, 0-1 UFC) succumbed to the blows 3:30 into round one, the defeat snapping his four-fight winning streak.
Lewis (11-2, 2-0 UFC) closed the distance on the Brazilian kickboxer before countering a leg kick with a takedown. The enormous New Orleans native dodged upkicks from the grounded Filho, dove into a dominant position behind an errant right hand and knocked the Blackzilians representative temporarily unconscious with a series of savage right hands.
Ortiz Hands Scoggins First Loss
Roufusport’s Dustin Ortiz utilized takedowns, ground-and-pound and an active top game in capturing a split verdict over the previously unbeaten Justin Scoggins in a competitive flyweight showcase. All three cageside judges scored it 29-28, two of them siding with Ortiz (14-3, 3-1 UFC).
Scoggins (9-1, 2-1 UFC) sank a deep armbar in the first round, but the Duke Roufus disciple kept his composure and freed himself from danger. The 15-minute match featured wild scrambles between the two flyweights, with Ortiz oftentimes settling in top position. He also held his own on the feet against Scoggins, an accomplished karate practitioner who had knocked out five of his first five opponents inside the first round.
Ortiz, 23, has won six of his last seven bouts.
Lee Edges Ronson on Scorecards
Xtreme Couture representative Kevin Lee utilized well-timed takedowns and healthy punching combinations, as he slipped past Jesse Ronson by split decision in a preliminary lightweight battle. Two of the three cageside judges sided with Lee by 29-28 and 30-27 marks; a third cast a dissenting 29-28 nod in favor of Ronson.
Lee (8-1, 1-1 UFC) was most effective in round one, where he landed in combination, executed multiple takedowns and scored in close quarters. Ronson (13-5, 0-3 UFC) had his moments, especially on the feet, but too often allowed himself to be sucked into clinches from which his 21-year-old adversary could take him to the ground. The Canadian kickboxer nearly finished Lee with a hooks-out rear-naked choke in the third round, but he allowed him escape to top position and thus squandered his last opportunity to take the judges out of the equation.
Ronson, 28, has lost three fights in a row.
Issa Armbar Finishes Tuerxun
Evolve MMA’s Leandro Issa submitted Jumabieke Tuerxun with a third-round armbar in a preliminary bantamweight encounter. Tuerxun (14-2, 0-2 UFC) asked out of the match 3:49 into round three.
Issa (12-4, 1-1 UFC) bided his time with leg kicks but had to overcome a point deduction for grabbing the cage in the second round. Tuerxun enjoyed significant success in the standup arena, as he wobbled the Brazilian with left hooks and scored consistently with overhand rights. However, Issa lured him to the ground inside the first minute of round three and went to work, eventually achieving full mount. The One Fighting Championship veteran, having already threatened with a tight guillotine choke, later caught Tuerxun in a scramble and locked down the armbar for the finish.
Martins Hook KOs Puig
Former Jungle Fight champion Adriano Martins knocked out Juan Manuel Puig with a beautiful counter right hook in the first round of their undercard duel at 155 pounds. Puig (11-3, 0-1 UFC) met his end 2:21 into round one, his six-fight winning streak halted in violent fashion.
Martins (26-7, 2-1 UFC) enjoyed early success with his punches, as he staggered the Mexican newcomer with a stiff left. Later in the round, with Puig moving forward, the Brazilian countered with a right hook to the chin that sent the 25-year-old crashing face first to the canvas. No follow-up blows were required.
Walsh Outduels Castmate Spohn
Takedowns and a stifling top game carried Wai Kru MMA representative Patrick Walsh to a unanimous decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 19 castmate Dan Spohn in a preliminary light heavyweight affair. All three cageside judges scored it the same: 29-28 for Walsh (5-1, 1-0 UFC).
Walsh drew the Bellator MMA veteran into tie-up range and scored with repeated takedowns. Mild ground-and-pound often accompanied those takedowns, as Spohn spent more than half the fight on his back. Walsh ran out of gas in the third round, leaving the door cracked for a possible comeback. Spohn (8-4, 0-1 UFC) tore into him with punches and opened a cut on his forehead, but he tried for an ill-advised guillotine choke and again wound up on the bottom, short circuiting his rally.
Moras Decisions Newcomer Dufresne
“The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 graduate Sarah Moras relied on an active bottom game in capturing a unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Team Quest export Alexis Dufresne in a preliminary women’s catchweight clash at 143 pounds. All three cageside judges scored it for Moras (4-1, 1-0 UFC): 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
Dufresne (5-1, 0-1 UFC) struck for takedowns in all three rounds but had issues navigating the Canadian’s spidery guard. Moras bottled up the Californian from the bottom, attacking with short punches and elbows, along with a steady stream of submissions. She made her final pitch for victory late in round three, where she drilled Dufresne with an upkick and threatened from her back, first with a triangle choke and then an armbar.
Drysdale Choke Submits Berish
Robert Drysdale submitted former Ring of Combat champion Keith Berish with a first-round rear-naked choke in an undercard scrap at 205 pounds. Berish (5-1, 0-1 UFC) conceded defeat 2:03 into round one.
Drysdale (7-0, 1-0 UFC) swooped in for a double-leg takedown inside the first 30 seconds, moved to the back and cinched a neck crank. Berish successfully defended and rose to his feet with the 2007 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist still attached. A standing rear-naked choke came next. Berish then collapsed awkwardly on his left leg, resulting in a gruesome knee injury and immediate tapout.