Masvidal owned the first half of the opening round, as he caught a kick and then landed several kicks and punches of his own while Ellenberger’s leg was in his possession.
Ellenberger got his leg back and they continued to trade on the feet, but that was when Masvidal took over. He moved in, landing a body kick followed by a right hand across the jaw that sent Ellenberger backward in a defensive crouch. Seeing he had his opponent hurt, Masvidal unleashed a brutal onslaught of punches and knees, driving Ellenberger to the canvas.
Somehow, Ellenberger regained his feet, and survived Masvidal’s continued attacks.
Moments alter, as the two were trading and moving across the cage, Ellenberger’s foot slid out from under him and into the cage fencing. Actually, his foot slid under the cage, caught between the fence and the canvas.
Masvidal, seeing Ellenberger on the canvas, kept throwing punches until referee Herb Dean stepped in to call a halt to the action, although he didn’t immediately wave off the fight. As he did so, Ellenberger freed his foot from under the cage.
Dean immediately consulted with Nevada Athletic Commission officials, trying to determine if Ellenberger’s foot sliding under the cage was considered an equipment malfunction. Unfortunately for Ellenberger, it was not.
UFC Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and former Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Marc Ratner explained that the fight ended in a TKO stoppage, albeit due to perplexing circumstance.
“His toes actually got caught in the fence, but there’s nothing that the referee can do. There’s nothing legally but to call it anything but a TKO,” Ratner explained.
“It’s unfortunate, (but) Herb was saying that he couldn’t defend himself and that’s why he called timeout.”
It surely wasn’t the path to victory that Masvidal wanted, but it was a victory none the less, and he wasted no time calling for his next opponent.
“Cowboy, I’m praying for you to win your fight,” said Masvidal. “If you’re such a bad ass as you say, let’s do it, man. Super Bowl weekend, whenever you want. I’m here, man.”
He was, of course, referring to Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who is slated to fight Matt Brown at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 in Toronto.
— #TUFFinale (@ufc) December 4, 2016