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Ngannou, Alvarez shine in main card action at UFC 218

NGANNOU vs OVEREEM

<a href='../fighter/francis-ngannou'>Francis Ngannou</a> punches <a href='../fighter/Alistair-Overeem'>Alistair Overeem</a> in their heavyweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images) Francis Ngannou likely secured his shot at heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in the UFC 218 co-main event Saturday at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, as the Cameroon native scored a spectacular first-round knockout over No. 1-ranked contender Alistair Overeem.  

“I think I’ve got it,” the 31-year-old wrecking machine said with a smile. “I’m ready for that.”

He sure looked like it.

A confident Overeem fired a wild left hook at Ngannou to begin the fight, and while he missed, he was able to close the distance and lock up with his foe. Ngannou handled the pressure well and a stall in the action produced a restart from referee Dan Miragliotta. That break was all Ngannou needed, as he fired off a left of his own that knocked Overeem out instantly. The official time of Miragliotta’s stoppage was 1:42.

The No. 4-ranked Ngannou ups his record to 11-1. Overeem falls to 43-16 with 1 NC.

CEJUDO vs PETTIS

(R-L) <a href='../fighter/Henry-Cejudo'>Henry Cejudo</a> kicks <a href='../fighter/Sergio-Pettis'>Sergio Pettis</a> in their flyweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC) Henry Cejudo was solid, yet unspectacular, in winning a shutout three-round unanimous decision over Sergio Pettis in their clash of top five flyweights.

After showing off his striking in his recent win over Wilson Reis, Cejudo went back to his wrestling in round one, as he took Pettis down and kept him there for much of the first five minutes.

Pettis had success with his striking in the first minute of round two, but when he tripped to the mat, Cejudo capitalized and went back to his ground attack. In the final minute, Pettis got loose and rose to his feet but didn’t have enough time to mount the comeback he needed.

A minute into the final round, Cejudo put the fight on the mat once more, and he kept him there until there were 90 seconds left in the bout. It was time for one last charge from Pettis, but he wasn’t able to put it together, allowing Cejudo to leave Detroit with the victory via identical scores of 30-27.

The No. 2-ranked Cejudo moves to 12-2 with the win. The No. 4-ranked Pettis falls to 16-3.

RELATED: UFC 218 Prelim Results | Paul Felder Octagon Interview | Yancy Medeiros Octagon Interview

ALVAREZ vs GAETHJE

 (L-R) <a href='../fighter/eddie-alvarez'>Eddie Alvarez</a> punches <a href='../fighter/Justin-Gaethje'>Justin Gaethje</a> in their lightweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC) In a fight UFC fans had been waiting for ever since it was announced, Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje delivered the goods and then some, with the former lightweight champion scoring a stirring third-round knockout over Gaethje, who suffered his first pro loss in the process.

Gaethje went after Alvarez’ legs with kicks to start the bout, and while Alvarez fired back with punches well, the kicks were having an effect almost immediately. Switching stances to deal with the kicks, Alvarez’ movement was being compromised and Gaethje just kept marching forward. Alvarez got a flash takedown with just over two minutes left, but Gaethje stood almost as soon as he hit the deck. Late in the round, Alvarez began digging to the body, and he also opened a cut over Gaethje’s left eye, capping off a strong finish for the former champ.

Alvarez had a solid second round, mainly focusing on the body attack that was taking its toll on Gaethje, but “The Underground King” didn’t abandon the head either, adding to his lead. Gaethje was far from finished though, and he barrage of return fire raised a huge swelling on the right side of Alvarez’ face late in the round.

Gaethje staggered Alvarez with another hard kick to the leg early in round three, and the Arizonan kept the heat on the leg as Alvarez attempted to keep his foe at bay with shots to the head. With a little under three minutes left, Alvarez dragged the fight to the mat but he couldn’t keep Gaethje there, and the leg assault continued. In response, Alvarez did his best to close the distance and keep Gaethje from having the room to operate, and as the Philadelphian got his wish, he landed a thudding right knee that sent Gaethje to the canvas. A follow up series of punches from Alvarez finished the job, with referee Herb Dean halting the bout at 3:59 of the third frame.

With the win, the No. 4-ranked Alvarez ups his record to 29-5 with 1 NC. The No. 5-ranked Gaethje falls to 18-1.

TORRES vs WATERSON

<a href='../fighter/Tecia-Torres'>Tecia Torres</a> kicks <a href='../fighter/michelle-waterson'>Michelle Waterson</a> in their women's strawweight bout during the UFC 218 event inside Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2017 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC) Tecia Torres’ third consecutive win was one of the most important of her career, as the strawweight contender opened up the main card with a unanimous decision victory over Michelle Waterson.

Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice.

Waterson struck first in the fight with a shot that opened up a cut under Torres’ right eye, but from there, it was “The Tiny Tornado” in control, as she implemented a busy attack that kept Waterson guessing.

Waterson scored a takedown in the second minute of round two and did well from the top position for a while, but Torres stayed busy, working for a kimura and a triangle choke from her back before they rose in the closing seconds of the frame.

With her left eye bruised up, Waterson had something else to deal with in the third round and Torres capitalized, using her strikes to set up a takedown. Once on the mat, Torres took over with hard strikes that nearly halted the fight, but the gutsy New Mexico product was able to escape just before the end of the bout.

The No. 5-ranked Torres moves to 10-1 with the win. The No. 6-ranked Waterson falls to 14-6.

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