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Tony Ferguson (24-3) added another impressive win to his resume with a second-round TKO victory over Anthony Pettis (21-8) in the co-main event of UFC 229 from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Pettis’ corner called an end to the fight after the fighter sustained a hand injury in an action-packed second round.
The fight got off to a slow start for El Cucuy. Ferguson’s mobility appeared to be hampered by a previous knee injury, giving Pettis the opportunity to land early leg kicks and build some momentum.
Iain Kidd @iainkidd
Tony Ferguson, who did no physical therapy for his knee, seems to be limping on his knee 10 seconds into this fight. Shocked. #UFC229
While Ferguson eventually settled in and started applying his patented pressure striking game, the stage was set for a war between the two lightweights.
Strong close to the first round by The Boogeyman! @TonyFergusonXT #UFC229 https://t.co/rJyZJASM6E
Pettis took early control of the second round with a right hand that put Ferguson on the ground and had him scrambling to survive. Showtime followed him to the ground and continued to rain down strikes, but El Cucuy rallied himself back to his feet.
OHHHHHH HUGE shot from Pettis hurts Ferguson!!! #UFC229 @ShowtimePettis https://t.co/qcL4A5SxY7
Once back there, it was Ferguson backing a bloodied Pettis to the cage and inundating him with strikes to defend.
Unfortunately, Pettis suffered a broken hand in the action and coach Duke Roufus wouldn’t allow his fighter to continue.
Simon Head @simonhead
Fight’s over. Pettis tells Duke Roufus that he has a broken hand and his coach does the right thing by his fighter, telling Pettis: “I can’t have you fighting him if you don’t have that hand.” That’s a proper coach doing his job and looking after his man. #UFC229
The win moves Ferguson’s win streak to 11, dating back to October 2013, and gets him closer to a shot at the lightweight title he feels is rightfully his.
Ferguson won the interim lightweight title a year ago with a submission victory over Kevin Lee but was later stripped of his belt on account of injury. Coming back just months after major knee surgery, Ferguson appears to be on the warpath to prove the UFC made a mistake.
“I’m the f–king champ,” Ferguson said in the lead-up to the fight, per Marc Raimondi of MMA Fighting. “See this gold right here. I didn’t lose my belt. They took it from me. The one thing they didn’t take is my smile. So after my surgery, I made a conscious decision to not want anybody else’s help that didn’t want to help me. So yeah, I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder.”
A win on the main card of the Khabib Nurmagomedov-Conor McGregor matchup is certainly a great way to build to the fight against the champion that El Cucuy is seeking.