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UFC Fight Night 63 results: Chad Mendes knocks out Ricardo Lamas to remain in title chase

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jose Aldo is the best featherweight in the world. And it's hard to say Chad Mendes is not a close second.

Mendes proved that again by knocking out Ricardo Lamas at 2:45 of the first round in the main event of UFC Fight Night 63 on Saturday afternoon in Fairfax, Va. Mendes landed a right hand in a scramble and then poured it on from there until referee Dan Miragliotta called a stop to the action.

"I needed to come here and make a statement," Mendes told Jon Anik afterward. "That's what I said I was gonna try to do and I got it done."

Mendes (17-2) was coming off a unanimous decision loss to Aldo at UFC 179 last October in what many chose as the 2014 Fight of the Year. Lamas (15-4) only had one loss since 2010 and that also came against Aldo.

Mendes, 29, put himself in good position to face the winner of Aldo's featherweight title fight against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas. There's also another important 145-pound fight between Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber next month in the Philippines.

But no matter what happens in those bouts, Mendes kept himself right there among the very elite in the featherweight division.

"I'm gonna be watching those fights very closely," the Team Alpha Male product said.

Lamas, 32, was not even finished by Aldo when the two fought at UFC 169 in February 2014. He was coming off a first-round submission win over Dennis Bermudez at UFC 180 in November.

The co-main event provided some fireworks of its own -- and that was after the fight. Al Iaquinta won a split decision (29-28, 27-30, 29-28) over Jorge Masvidal and then ripped into the crowd for booing him after the controversial scorecards were announced.

Iaquinta (12-3-1), who has won four straight, was nearly finished in the first round. The second round was very close and Iaquinta likely won the third. Masvidal (28-9) had every right to be unhappy about the decision. He opened up a nasty cut under Iaquinta's right eye in the first and looked very good throughout.

Afterward, Iaquinta asked the crowd if they were booing him and then told them "f*ck you!"

"I got extremely frustrated when the crowd was booing me," Iaquinta said. "I do this for them, I looked in the crowd and a guy was giving me the middle finger - it really got to me because I do this for the fans, I don't know if they were booing me or the decision, but that hurt. I do this for the cheers."

Michael Chiesa always seems to be improving and he showed off some more of his arsenal Saturday. The bearded Ultimate Fighter alum defeated Mitch Clarke via unanimous decision (29-26, 29-26, 29-28), dominating the first and second rounds. Clarke, who showed off a good chin and excellent submission defense, was super game and came back to win the third round. But it was too little, too late.

Chiesa (12-2) made a pitch to be in the lightweight top 15 afterward in his interview with Jon Anik. The 27-year-old made a pretty decent case against Clarke.

After being out for more than a year following tearing almost every ligament in her knee, Julianna Pena made a huge splash with a TKO win over Milana Dudieva at 3:59 of the first round. Pena effortlessly slipped to mount and gradually pounded Dudieva out until Keith Peterson has seen enough.

In a women's bantamweight division in need of stars, Pena (6-2) could be the next big one. The 25-year-old Ultimate Fighter 18 winner is a proven finisher and she should get a top opponent next.

Clay Guida executed his game plan perfectly in a unanimous decision win over Robbie Peralta. The veteran, who left Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA to train at Team Alpha Male and Glendale Fighting Club recently, grinded Peralta out and then asked for big fights at both lightweight and featherweight. The always-popular Guida (32-15) seems to still be going strong at age 33.

It was a serious welcome back to lightweight for Dustin Poirier, who knocked out Diego Ferreira at 3:45 of the first round. Poirier's boxing looked very sharp and, though, he was on one of the best featherweights in the world, fighting at 155 pounds agrees with him more, he said. Poirier (17-6), still just 26 years old, has exciting fights ahead of him at lightweight, for sure.

On the prelims, Liz Carmouche beat Lauren Murphy by unanimous decision, Alexander Yakovlev defeated Gray Maynard via unanimous decision and Ron Stallings took out Justin Jones by unanimous decision. Timothy Johnson had the lone finish, beating Shamil Abdurakhimov by TKO at 4:57 of the first round after slipping to mount.