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UFC Beijing results: Francis Ngannou, Alistair Overeem steal show with first-round finishes

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Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou
Alistair Overeem vs Francis Ngannou
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Francis Ngannou reminded the MMA universe what all the fuss was about regarding his stopping power with a 44-second finish of surging heavyweight Curtis Blaydes in their main event rematch at Saturday’s UFC Beijing event.

Ngannou crumbled “Razor” with a right hand just 30 seconds into the contest. Referee Marc Goddard was all over the situation as Blaydes attempted to stay in the fray, but “The Predator” continued to land shots, prompting Goddard to stop the action.

The former heavyweight contender put his finger to his lips after the win, hinting at his silencing of critics following his underwhelming performances against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis.

“It’s been a hard time, but listen man, I’m back,” Ngannou told Dan Hardy in his post-fight interview.

“2018 was a hard year for me. I found myself. I had to settle what wasn’t settled yet. I had to grow as a fighter and by the end of the year…I have learned more in this year than I have in my whole career.”

As for whom he wants to face next, Ngannou had three names on the tip of his tongue.

Junior dos Santos owes me one,” he said. “I’m looking Alexander Volkov also and revenge over Stipe Miocic. In that fight I didn’t do well and I really want to fix it.”

In the co-main event, Alistair Overeem put an end to a two-fight skid with a first-round finish over promotional newcomer and previously undefeated Russian Sergey Pavlovich.

Overeem tripped his counterpart to the canvas from the Thai clinch and unloaded on his head from side control with a furious medley of grounded strikes. The referee stopped the former UFC title contender’s onslaught with 40 seconds left on the clock in the first-round.

Yadong Song made it three wins in as many UFC outings with a clear-cut decision victory over Vince Morales. Yadong put pressure on Morales throughout the first, attempting spectacular kicks and landing a number of clean punches. Morales gave a better account of himself in the second, but any chances of a late resurgence were put to bed when Yadong hit a double leg in the third round.

Jingliang Li had to fight his way back into his clash with European stalwart, David Zawada, after being knocked down in the first round of their main card clash.

“The Leech” came alive in the second-round, landing a combination of damaging blows towards the end of the five minutes with the referee having to separate the two on the claxon. Li finished the fight with a sidekick to the body in the third round. Zawada slumped to the canvas after taking the shot. The Chinese welterweight followed up the damaging blow with a right hand before the fight was officially called.

Alex Morono had to fight through a gnarly eye poke for the last few seconds of his meeting with Chinese fan favorite Kenan Song before claiming a unanimous decision win. Morono’s footwork constantly kept him out of Song’s firing range and he managed to land big shots while moving backwards to frustrate his counterpart. The defeat marks the first of Song’s UFC career.

Yanan Wu was presented with her blue belt after submitting Lauren Mueller with an armbar in the first round of their flyweight bout, handing the American her first professional loss in the process. “Mulan” shared her delight her home crowd after the win, having lost her promotional debut, a decision loss to Gina Mazany.

Weili Zhang made it 18 wins in a row with an overwhelming showing against former WSOF champion, Jessica Aguilar. Zhang took Aguilar down early, fed her a feast of elbows before submitting her with a tight armbar. Weili improved to 2-0 with the UFC and the win has definitely highlighted her as a threat in the strawweight division.

Kevin Holland must have marveled at the toughness of John Philips after the Welshman gritted out a series of devastating body shots in the first round of their middleweight clash. Philips managed to score a second-round knockdown of his own, but eventually succumbed to a third round rear-naked choke.

Opening the event, Louis Smolka made his UFC return with a second-round submission win over Su Mudaerji. Smolka dominated the fight on the ground and eventually got the finish with an armbar. Overwhelmed by his successful return, the Hawaiian cut an emotional figure in his post-fight interview.

Check out the full results for UFC Beijing here.