From the start of the fight, Gutierrez looked dialed in as he showcased tremendous striking skills on the feet while keeping Edgar on the end of his punches and kicks. With Edgar determined to continue moving forward, Gutierrez made him pay with a jumping knee that landed flush.
Edgar, who said that UFC 281 would serve as his retirement bout, immediately fell unconscious to the ground as the referee swooped in to stop the fight with the end coming at 2:01 in the opening round. Afterwards, Gutierrez admitted he was battling a lot of emotions with his mother fighting cancer as well as his head coach Marc Montoya, who was also diagnosed with cancer in his kidney yet he still made it to the fight to corner him on Saturday night.
“It’s just been a rollercoaster,” Gutierrez said. “I come from nothing. Statistically I wasn’t supposed to be here. I’m here now. It’s a dream come true to be here in Madison Square Garden.”
Gutierrez was very active from the start with a variety of strikes coming at Edgar including a series of leg kicks and a spinning back elbow that caught the New Jersey native off guard. He was also showcasing a lot of footwork and movement, which prevented Edgar from really setting up any of his combinations.
As Gutierrez continued to dominate on the feet, Edgar looked to close the distance to set up his rapid-fire punches but he never really got the chance.
As soon as Edgar stepped forward, Gutierrez jumped into the knee strike that connected directly on the chin of the former UFC lightweight champion. Edgar fell in a heap to the canvas as Gutierrez celebrated the biggest win of his career.
Edgar eventually got back to his feet as he addressed an adoring crowd that nearly fell silent after he suffered a shocking defeat in what will be the final fight of his career.
“I love this sport,” Edgar said. “I didn’t want to go out like that. This sport’s a b****. I got my family here, that’s all that matters. Congrats to Chris. This sport’s not always so forgiving.”