Tony Ferguson Triangles Kevin Lee at UFC 216; Demetrious Johnson Armbar Steals Show

By Brian Knapp Oct 7, 2017

Your move, Conor McGregor.

“The Ultimate Fighter 13” winner Tony Ferguson laid claim to the interim Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title, as he submitted Kevin Lee with a triangle choke in the third round of their UFC 216 headliner on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Lee (16-3, 9-3 UFC) conceded defeat 4:02 into Round 3, his five-fight winning streak having run its course.

Ferguson (23-3, 13-1 UFC) now awaits word from McGregor, who has not appeared inside the Octagon since he defeated Eddie Alvarez for the undisputed lightweight crown in November.

Lee pushed “El Cucuy” to the limit in the first round, where he delivered a takedown, climbed to mount and unleashed a torrent of punches and elbows. The barrage might have finished a lesser man. Ferguson shrugged. Lee’s pace slowed noticeably in the second, and he continued to deteriorate physically in the third. There, he executed two takedowns but lacked the energy to consolidate them with damage. Ferguson nearly tapped him with an armbar before catching the triangle and eliciting the tapout.

Ferguson, at the height of his power at age 33, now finds himself on a 10-fight winning streak -- the longest such tear in the history of the UFC lightweight division.

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Spectacular Johnson Armbar Taps Borg

The incomparable Demetrious Johnson authored another unimaginable finish, as he submitted Ray Borg with a fifth-round armbar to retain his flyweight championship in the co-main event. Borg (11-3, 5-3 UFC) bowed out 3:15 into Round 5, the victim in the frontrunner for “Submission of the Year.”

With the win, Johnson (27-2-1, 15-1-1 UFC) breaks Anderson Silva’s all-time record for consecutive Ultimate Fighting Championship title defenses. This was his 11th.

Johnson dominated virtually every second of the match and did so like only he can. He outstruck, out-scrambled and outgrappled his game but overmatched challenger. Johnson transitioned from one superior position to the next, hunting the finish while battering Borg with elbows, punches and knees to the body. In the fifth round, he added to his legend. Johnson hoisted Borg into the air from the rear waistlock position and caught the armbar on the way down. Hopelessly entangled in the champion’s web, Borg fought to free himself before the pain became too much.

The 31-year-old Johnson has rattled off 13 wins in a row. He now has three fifth-round submissions on his resume.

Werdum Armbar Dispatches Harris

Two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships gold medalist Fabricio Werdum submitted Walt Harris with an armbar in the first round of their featured heavyweight clash. Originally booked to face Mark Godbeer on the undercard, Harris (10-6, 3-5 UFC) filled in for the injured Derrick Lewis on a few hours’ notice and bowed out 65 seconds into Round 1.

Werdum (22-7-1, 10-4 UFC) executed a single-leg takedown inside the first 40 seconds, quickly climbed to mount and then scrambled to the back. Harris defended against the rear-naked choke but left his arm exposed and became an unwitting victim to the former UFC heavyweight champion.

The 40-year-old Werdum has won eight of his last 10 fights.

Borella Choke Submits Faria

American Top Team’s Mara Romero Borella submitted onetime Titan Fighting Championships titleholder Kalindra Faria with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their women’s flyweight feature. A short-notice fill-in for Andrea Lee, Borella (12-4, 1-0 UFC) brought it to a close 2:54 into Round 1.

Virtually nothing went right for Faria (18-6-1, 0-1 UFC). Borella delivered a takedown inside the first 30 seconds, advanced to full mount and then transitioned to the back. She consolidated her advantage with hip pressure and ground-and-pound before threading her arms around the neck for the fight-ending choke. Faria resisted briefly but had no choice but to tap out.

Borella, 31, has won four fights in a row.

Dariush, Dunham Battle to Majority Draw

Divisional mainstays Beneil Dariush and Evan Dunham fought to a majority draw in a three-round lightweight showcase. Judge Sal D’Amato scored it 29-28 for Dariush, while Dave Hagen and Glenn Trowbridge saw it 28-28. The draw snapped a four-fight winning streak for Dunham (18-6-1, 11-6-1 UFC).

Dariush (14-3-1, 8-3-1 UFC) had the Las Vegas-based Oregon native in serious peril in the first round, where a pair of standing elbows sent him to the canvas. Dunham ate some hellacious ground-and-pound -- including two brutal knees to the body -- but refused to yield to his opponent’s advances. All the hard work cost Dariush valuable energy. Dunham responded in the second, as he secured a takedown and capitalized against the visibly fatigued Kings MMA standout. Both men had their moments in Round 3 but failed to author the finish they needed.

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