The ordering process for Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-views has changed: UFC 244 is only available on ESPN+ in the U.S.
If Corey Anderson didn’t derail the hype train behind Johnny Walker, he at least stomped on the brakes, stopping the flamboyant Brazilian with first-round strikes in the featured UFC 244 preliminary bout.
Walker may not have landed a single strike, as Anderson rocked him badly with a right hook in the opening moments. From there, Walker was in survival mode, tumbling around the cage as Anderson gave chase and tagged him with strikes. Walker wilted against the fence under a final rain of punches, and referee Kevin MacDonald stopped the fight at 2:07.
The win, his fourth straight, takes “Overtime” to 13-4 overall, while the loss snaps a nine-fight winning streak for Walker (17-4).
Burgos Outlasts, Overwhelms Amirkhani
Shane Burgos (13-1) overcame a rough first round at the hands of Makwan Amirkhani (15-4) on the way to a third-round stoppage.
The first frame was all Amirkhani, as “Mr. Finland” cut Burgos with the first punch of the fight, quickly secured a takedown and spent most of the round in control, looking for a choke from the front headlock position. That was the high-water mark for Amirkhani, though, as his gas tank failed him and Burgos took over.
A lopsided second round for Burgos gave way to a final round that saw Amirkhani nearly too tired to stand. Burgos knocked an exhausted Amirkhani all around the cage for four minutes plus, until a final flurry of punches spurred referee Keith Peterson into action, giving Burgos the TKO win at 4:32.
The victory, Burgos’ third straight, runs his UFC tally to 6-1 and propels him ever closer to the title picture at 145 pounds.
Related » UFC 244 Round-by-Round Scoring
Shahbazyan Blasts Tavares
Middleweight prodigy Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) passed the stiffest test of his young career with flying colors, as he blew away Brad Tavares (17-6) with first-round strikes.
A straight right counter dropped Tavares, but the veteran managed to survive and return to his feet, where Shahbazyan flattened him with a left head kick moments later for the knockout win at 2:27.
The sensational KO is the 10th first-round finish of Shahbazyan’s career so far, and leaves him at 3-0 since joining the UFC.
Rosenstruik Short-Circuits Arlovski in Seconds
It turned out to be a very short heavyweight showcase, as Jairzinho Rosenstruik (9-0) separated Andrei Arlovski (28-19, 2 NC) from his senses in under a minute. “Bigi Boy” appeared to rock the former UFC heavyweight champ almost immediately with a hard jab, but it was a short left hook behind the ear that put Arlovski face-down on the canvas. No follow-up shots were needed, as referee Dan Miragliotta was there instantly to save the veteran from further head trauma.
With the 29-second knockout, Rosenstruik remains undefeated, with eight of his nine career wins by stoppage, and appears poised for another step up in a heavyweight division starved for fresh contenders.
Chookagian Pot-shots Maia for Three Rounds
Katlyn Chookagian (13-2) used her height, reach and superior footwork to stymie the offense of Jennifer Maia (17-6-1) for 15 minutes.
Chookagian’s most effective tools were her jab and stinging leg kicks, which left Maia chasing her for most of the fight. A takedown in the final minute of the third round was too little, too late for Maia, and the judges awarded the fight to “Blonde Fighter” by unanimous 29-28 scores.
The win runs Chookagian’s UFC record to 6-2 -- 4-1 in the flyweight division -- and leaves her the presumptive next challenger for Valentina Shevchenko. Meanwhile, former Invicta FC flyweight champ Maia, who missed weight for the second consecutive fight, falls to 2-2 in the UFC.
Good Punishes, Punches out Rencountre
Lyman Good (21-5, 1 NC) busted up Chance Rencountre (14-4) for two and a half lopsided rounds before putting him away in the third.
A former junior college All-American wrestler, Rencountre made no apparent effort to bring the fight to the canvas and was punished for it, as Good fed him a steady diet of sharp jabs and straight rights. A little under halfway through the third, a thunderous right melted Rencountre against the fence. Good followed his hurt foe down with a couple more punches, but referee Keith Peterson was already charging in for the stop, awarding him the TKO win at 2:03.
The win gets Good back on track in the welterweight division after his first-round submission loss to Demian Maia back in February.
Dawodu Edges Arce
In the featherweight opener, Hakeem Dawodu (11-1-1) outstruck Julio Arce (16-4) for most of 15 minutes. Aside from a brief exchange on the ground in the second round, the fight was conducted entirely on the feet, to the Canadian’s slight advantage.
Dawodu landed more and harder shots in all three rounds, stinging Arce with a variety of kicks to the legs and body. After three rounds, the judges saw the fight for Dawodu by split scorecards, 29-28 (twice) and 28-29.
The win is Dawodu’s fourth straight since losing his UFC debut, and marks him as a rising star in the crowded 145-pound division.