Fighter's Planet weekend recap
The UFC made it’s debut in Prague, Czech Republic and delivered a sold-out card that showcased some quality fights at the O2 Arena.
Thiago Santos continues his ascension up the light heavyweight ranks with another stellar performance in the main event, as he scored a signature win via knockout in the third round against Jan Blachowicz.
The victory puts Santos (21-6) in good position to challenge the winner of next week’s main event at UFC 235 between champion Jon Jones and heavy underdog Anthony Smith.
Santos and Smith are both former middleweights who produced one of the best fights of 2018 against each other, with Santos gaining the win, before both fighters moved up a weight class.
Longtime heavyweight contender Stefan Struve was knocked down in the early seconds of the very first round before overcoming that shot and securing a triangle arm choke in the second round to garner the submission win over Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
Struve (29-11), who owns a knockout win over former UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, snapped a three fight losing streak and announced his retirement inside of the Octagon after the fight.
Struve, 31, laid out his gloves in the middle of the cage for possibly the last time and declared he was almost sure that was his last fight.
The tallest fighter in UFC history at 7 feet tall was a mainstay in the heavyweight rankings for years and faced off against the likes of Mark Hunt, Alistair Overeem, Pat Barry, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira during his solid career.
Bantamweight Petr Yan (12-1) dominated former title contender, John Dodson, to cruise to a unanimous decision win on the undercard.
Chris Eubank Jr. scored a unanimous decision victory over faded former champion, James Degale, in the most significant win of his career.
Eubank scored knockdowns in the second and 10th rounds to lock up the win.
The win netted Eubank the vacant IBO super middleweight title and sets him up for bigger fights in 2019.
Heavyweight prospect Joe Joyce (8-0) stopped former WBC heavyweight champion Bermane Stiverne in the sixth round in a fight he easily controlled to pad his undefeated record.
Anthony Dirrell claimed a vacant super middleweight title with a technical decision in the 10th round after suffering a bad cut over his left eye in the seventh round by a headbutt from Avni Yildirim to prompt the bout to be stopped and decided on the scorecards which had two Dirrell leading in points according to two judges, while the third judge had Yildirim ahead.
Humberto Soto turned back the clock for at least one night with an exciting win over the always game Brandon Rios to score a unanimous decision win in Tijuana, Mexico.
Soto (69-9-2, 37 KOs) delivered a clever game plan of attacking Rios (35-5-1, 26 Knockouts) in the final seconds of most of the early rounds to possibly steal some close rounds and gained enough of a lead on the scorecards to edge out the win.