If you didn’t tune in for the UFC 224 Fight Pass prelims, you missed an epic display of heart and determination.
Swedish middleweight Jack Hermansson was highly likely down on the scorecards of his bout with former title challenger Thales Leites on Saturday night in Rio de Janeiro, and was in a bad way in the final round.
But Hermansson, who fought through an apparent broken rib suffered in the first round, somehow managed to reverse position, and when he did, he took full advantage.
Hermansson rained down ground-and-pound until the referee waved off the bout at the 2:10 mark for the TKO, just Leites’ second stoppage loss in his 36 pro bouts.
After that matchup, Hermansson, who had to sit on a stool for his postfight interview, explained the injury.
“I broke my rib in the first round I could feel it bouncing around,” Hermansson said. “I felt terrible, the most painful thing I ever experienced.”
The story of the fight was basic until the fantastic finish, as Leites, as sound a jiu-jitsu player as you’ll find in the game, more or less outworked Hermansoon on the ground, right until Hermansson found his opening.
After his 14th stoppage win out of 17 career victories, Hermansson said you should never sleep on his ground-and-pound.
“I have the most powerful ground and pound in the world,” Hermansson (17-4) said. “Everyone talks about Khabib [Nurmagomedov], he’s good, but you know i finish more people.”
Hermansson has now won three of his past four, all via TKO. Leites (27-9) has dropped two straight and three of four.