The Octagon touched down from “Beantown” for a special Sunday night edition of UFC Fight Night 81.
Six takedowns and a strong third round helped Eddie Alvarez claim a decision victory over Anthony Pettis in the co-main event. Alvarez, a former Bellator champion, earned his second victory since signing with the UFC by taking a page from the book of Rafael dos Anjos.
Travis Browne got back in the win column with a third round TKO over Matt Mitrione. After going 1-2 over his last three entering the fight, “Hapa” was able to find a home for his right hand in the third, following up with vicious ground-and-pound for the victory.
Two alums of The Ultimate Fighter, Ross Pearson and Francisco Trinaldo, kicked off the FOX Sports 1 main card with a three-round battle. In the end, it was Trinaldo – a member of TUF: Brazil’s first season – picking up the decision over Pearson – a winner in 2009 on the reality show.
To conclude the prelims, former middleweight title contender Patrick Cote improved to 6-1 over his last seven with a second round TKO vs. Ben Saunders. Cote has now picked up three straight, including two via stoppage.
Fighting at 205 pounds for the first time, Ed Herman showed his power remains with a second round finish of Tim Boetsch. The Ultimate Fighter veteran connected with a knee and followed up, prompting the finish. Chris Wade pushed his win streak to six, including four with the UFC, by scoring a first round submission vs. Mehdi Baghdad. The submission was the second among Wade’s Octagon appearances.
It’s taken Luke Sanders a long time to get to the UFC, but he made the most of his opportunity. After a thrilling opening few minutes, Sanders caught Maximo Blanco with a left to begin the televised action, immediately locking up a rear-naked choke and earning the win.
Coming off a pair of tough decision losses, Paul Felder earned his 11th victory – and first via submission – with a rear-naked choke win over Daron Cruickshank to complete the UFC Fight Pass prelims.
Finishes are becoming the norm for Sweden’s Ilir Latifi, as he knocked Sean O’Connell out in just 30 seconds of their light heavyweight contest affair. Kyle Bochniak stepped up on four days notice and pushed Charles Rosa to the distance. Rosa, though, pulled out the decision victory.
Boston’s Rob Font got the first finish of the night, dropping Joey Gomez and handing him his first career loss in the second round. It was the first bout for Font since 2014 due to injuries. Francimar Barroso opened the night with a decision over UFC newcomer Elvis Mutapcic.
Cruz and Dillashaw were awarded $50,000 each for “Fight of the Night,” while Herman and Sanders claimed the same after winning “Performance of the Night” bonuses. The attendance was announced at 12,022 for a live gate of $1.3 million.
Check out complete play-by-play on FightLine, with quick results below:
Dominick Cruz def. T.J. Dillashaw via split decision (48-47, 46-49, 49-46) to become new UFC bantamweight champion
Eddie Alvarez def. Anthony Pettis via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Travis Browne def. Matt Mitrione via TKO (strikes) at 4:09 of Round 3
Francisco Trinaldo def. Ross Pearson via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
Patrick Cote def. Ben Saunders via TKO (strikes) at 1:14 of Round 2
Ed Herman def. Tim Boetsch via TKO (knee/strikes) at 1:39 of Round 2
Chris Wade def. Medhi Baghdad via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:30 of Round 1
Luke Sanders def. Maximo Blanco via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:38 of Round 1
Paul Felder def. Daron Cruickshank via submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:56 of Round 3
Ilir Latifi def. Sean O’Connell via KO (strike) at :30 of Round 1
Charles Rosa def. Kyle Bochniak via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Rob Font def. Joey Gomez via TKO (strikes) at 4:13 of Round 2
Francimar Barroso def. Elvis Mutapcic via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)