Jorge Masvidal had been out of action for nearly a year and he returned to the octagon with the tall task of defeating Darren Till, the 26-year-old hometown star who was coming off of a welterweight championship loss to now-former champion Tyron Woodley last September.
After a back and forth first round that slightly favoured Till after he dropped Masvidal early, the Miami-native responded in the second knocking Till out cold with an overhand left that left the O2 Arena in London, England stunned.
It was Masvidal’s first win in over two years, but one that will likely vault him into the top-5 of the welterweight rankings. Following the victory, Masvidal declared that he was coming after the welterweight title currently held by Kamaru Usman, which Masvidal’s close friend Colby Covington will likely be challenging for next.
Masvidal is 5-4 since his move to welterweight, but his losses have come against some of the top competitors in the division.
Edwards wins co-main event, gets into backstage scuffle with Masvidal
Leon Edwards continued to make gains in the welterweight division, earning his seventh straight win by defeating Gunnar Nelson via split decision.
Edwards started the first round by surviving Nelson’s typically dangerous ground attack and then turning things around to win the round on all but one judge’s scorecard.
Edwards then decidedly won the second round, which one judge awarded him as a 10-8 round and survived a late third round offensive by Nelson, which ended with Edwards being mounted when time elapsed.
Following the event, Edwards was caught on camera shouting something inaudibly at Jorge Masvidal while he was being interviewed backstage. Masvidal quickly left his interview to confront Edwards and landed some punches on him before being separated.
According to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, several police officers went to the fighters’ hotel following the event to investigate the incident, however, Edwards’s management team Paradigm Sports told Helwani that they would not be pressing charges.
Reyes earns controversial decision
One of the dark horse contenders in the light heavyweight division has been Dominick Reyes, who had not lost a single round in his professional MMA career prior to his matchup in London against Volkan Oezdemir.
That would not be the case when Reyes fought to a very close split decision win over Oezdemir, a result that was not popular with those in attendance.
At 29, Reyes is one of the younger competitors in the light heavyweight division and among the very few with a blemish-free record. With a college football pedigree and significant range, Reyes is one of the athletes in the division who would be an interesting matchup for the champion Jon Jones.
With a very narrow margin of victory over the former title challenger Oezdemir, it is likely that Reyes will need at least one more win before he gets the title shot against Jones that he mentioned in his post-fight interview.
Attendance and bonuses
UFC Fight Night at the O2 Arena in London, England drew 16,602 attendees for a $2.4 million (USD) gate, a record gate for a UFC event held in London.
The Fight of the Night went to Masvidal and Till, while Performance of the Night bonuses went to Masvidal and Dan Ige, who scored a stoppage win over Danny Henry early in the first round.
Till and Ige earn an additional $50,000 (USD), while Masvidal earns an additional $100,000 (USD).
Romero accuses Costa of USADA violation
Following a stint on the Spanish reality television show Exation, Yoel Romero was interviewed on The Ariel Helwani MMA Show and dropped an interesting nugget of information when he was asked why his originally reported opponent Paulo Costa had been replaced by former adversary Jacare Souza in the main event of the UFC Fight Night card in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on April 27.
Romero told Helwani that he was informed that Costa had been flagged for an anti-doping violation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).
Costa was the most tested UFC athlete of 2018 by USADA (tied with Daniel Cormier) and has not fought since last July.
Per the revised UFC/USADA policy, those who have violated the anti-doping policy cannot be named until the process has played out and the sanctions have been determined.
Costa’s manager Walid Ismail denied Romero’s claims according to Helwani.