Dubai: Brazil’s Gilbert Burns announced himself as the new face of the welterweight division with a hard-as-nails victory over former champion Tyron Woodley as the UFC returned to its home base in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday night.
Burns, 33, moved to 19-3 in the Octagon with a unanimous 50-45, 50-44, 50-44 decision win over a rival who was hoping to make a big statement following his decisive title loss to Kamaru Usman last March.
Woodley, who had battled depression since that loss, never looked like he could turn the tide against a more aggressive and purposeful opponent in Burns who never took his foot off the pedal right from the opening seconds of the five-round contest.
Soon after being declared the winner by referee Joe Martinez at the UFC’s Apex Arena, shorn of fans, Burns called out teammate Usman.
This was Burns’ second successful eye-catching performance in the Octagon following a big knockout win over Damian Maia at UFC Fight Night 170: Brasilia in March.
Earlier in the evening Jamahal Hill, who only made his official UFC debut in January where he defeated Darko Stosic for a light heavyweight contest, posted a devastating first-round TKO win against Brazil’s Klidson Abreu to catch the attention of Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry.
Hill dropped Abreu early but with the second knock-down he piled on the pressure against a defenceless Abreu with less than two minutes into the fight on the prelims.
It the post-fight interview, conducted with social distancing principles and via conference, UFC analyst Daniel Cormier told Hill in that Halle Berry texted UFC boss Dana White to tell him that Hill was “fire.”
In a much-anticipated women’s lightweight contest Katlyn Chookagian scored a unanimous decision win over Antonina Shevchenko, the elder sister of Valentina, who she had lost to in her previous fight.
It was sweet revenge for Chookagian who was a dominant force from the opening bell until the third and final round to move to 7-3 in the UFC. Antonina dropped to 2-2.
Gilbert Burns def. Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44)
Jamahal Hill def. Klidson Abreu via TKO — Round 1, 1:51
Daniel Rodriguez def. Gabe Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Roosevelt Roberts def. Brok Weaver via submission — Round 2, 3:26
Katlyn Chookagian def. Antonina Shevchenko via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
Mackenzie Dern def. Hannah Cifers via submission — Round 1, 2:36
Billy Quarantillo def. Spike Carlyle via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Augusto Sakai def. Blagoy Ivanov via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
Chris Gutierrez def. Vince Morales via TKO — Round 2, 4:27
Casey Kenney def. Louis Smolka via submission — Round 1, 3:03
Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott via submission — Round 2, 3:18