The UFC octagon was in Rio Rancho, New Mexico on Saturday for UFC on ESPN+ 25 headlined by a light heavyweight contest between fifth ranked Corey Anderson and sixth ranked Jan Błachowicz. The two previously fought at UFC 191 in September 2015 where Anderson defeated Blachowicz by unanimous decision.
Five years removed from their first fight, both Anderson and Blachowicz are now contenders in the 205-pound division on the cusp of a title shot. Blachowicz emerged as the top contender in the division and evened the score with Anderson scoring a first-round knockout.
The two did not touch gloves before the bout and met in the center of the cage. Blachowicz landed first with a leg kick but Anderson responded with a stiff jab. The two exchanged leg kicks and jabs before Blachowicz connected with a left hand during the first real exchange. Blachowicz found his timing early in the fight and landed a combination. Anderson closed the distance and unloaded a leg kick but was met with a right hand that sent him crashing to the canvas. Blachowicz followed up with a hammer first leaving Anderson unconscious.
“The whole world was wrong. They were wrong about me. I proved that I am one of the best in the world,” said Blachowicz following the knockout win. “I proved that I am the next contender for the title shot. Let’s talk about my next opponent, Jon Jones.”
With the victory, Blachowicz is riding a three-fight winning streak and believes he should face champion Jon Jones in his next outing. He addressed Jones who watched the fight cageside.
“You promised me that,” said Blachowicz to Jones. “You’re next. Let’s do this. Tell me when. Give me the place and time.”
The co-main event ended in bizarre fashion. UFC Hall of Famer Diego Sanchez faced Michel Pereira in a welterweight contest. Pereira took the fight to Sanchez. He landed kicks and knees to the body as Sanchez circled along the fence.
Through two-rounds, Pereira was having his way with Sanchez. He showboated in the opening moments of the final round. Midway through the frame, Pereira initiated the clinch and delivered knees to Sanchez’ body. Sanchez dropped to his knees after absorbing a knee and Pereira connected with a knee to Sanchez’ forehead while Sanchez was downed. The knee was deemed illegal and a doctor was called in to check Sanchez’ condition.
The refree asked Sanchez if he was able to continue. Sanchez stated that he couldn’t see due to the blood from a cut opened up on his forehead due to the illegal knee. He then asked if he couldn’t continue if the fight would end in a disqualification. Sanchez asked the referee if he could talk to his coach and the referee denied the request. Sanchez was then asked if he wanted to continue or not. He responded no, saying that he could not see out of his left eye.
Pereira was disqualified and Sanchez was ruled the winner. After the fight, Sanchez was transported to a hospital for evaluation according to the event’s post show.
UFC on ESPN+ 25 Full Results:
– Jan Błachowicz def. Corey Anderson by KO (punch) at 3:08, R1
– Diego Sanchez def. Michel Pereira by DQ (illegal knee) at 3:09, R3
– Montana De La Rosa def. Mara Romero Borella by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– Brok Weaver def. Kazula Vargas by DQ (illegal knee) at 4:02, R1
– Ray Borg def. Rogério Bontorin by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-25)
– Lando Vannata def. Yancy Medeiros by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
– Daniel Rodriguez def. Tim Means by submission (standing guillotine choke) at 3:37, R2
– Jon Dodson def. Nathaniel Wood by TKO (punches) at 0:16, R3
– Scott Holtzman def. Jim Miller by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
– Devin Clark def. Dequan Townsend by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-26, 30-26)
– Merab Dvalishvili def. Casey Kenney by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 29-28)
– Macy Chiasson def. Shanna Young by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 30-26)
– Raulian Paiva def. Mark De La Rosa by KO (punches) at 4:42, R2