For a minute or two, it appeared Jake Matthews' showcase fight in front of a potential record-setting crowd would turn into a nightmare.
Veteran Akhbar Arreola got the better of the 21-year-old Australian in the opening round of their UFC 193 lightweight fight. But Matthews rallied for a ferocious round two and earned a TKO via doctor's stoppage at the end of the round at Melbourne's Etihad Stadium.
Arreola (23-10-1), a Tijuana native, took it to Matthews in the first round. He hit Matthews with a solid head kick, then followed with a left-right combo which floored him.
Arreola went for the finish, mounting Matthews' back and sinking in a rear-naked choke. But Matthews escaped. In the waning second of the round, he got to his feet, knocked Arreola to the mat, and rained down punches.
It was a preview of things to come. Matthews took Arreola down in the opening seconds of the second, the remained in top position for the rest of the round. Matthews put on an old-shoo ground-and-pound clinic, opening cuts on Arroela's face with punches and elbows.
Arreola came out of the round with horrific swelling over his right eye. After the cageside doctor checked him out, the bout was waved off.
Matthews (9-1), of nearby Epping, Victoria, shook off his first career loss with the win.
"We knew he was very experienced that's what we want," Matthews said. "We want the next level to push myself in there."