While Ferguson started strong, Green weathered the storm and eventually started pouring on the punishment both on the feet and on the ground. Green’s hand speed and power continuously gave Ferguson trouble yet the veteran lightweight contender kept finding a way to survive.
That changed late in the third round when Ferguson rolled for a takedown but ended up with Green on top of him. From there, Green quickly advanced his position, locked on the submission but Ferguson refused to tap out — and he eventually fell unconscious, which forced the referee to stop the fight.
The end came at 4:54 in the third round.
“I got a new black belt,” Green touted after his win. “[Tony Ferguson is] incredible. Just when I thought I had a good shot, he was taking them well.
“Jeremy Horn are you out there? I just want to thank you right now. Thank you so much for being part of this trial and journey.”
The always unorthodox Ferguson was keeping Green guessing early with a takedown attempt followed by a quick straight punch that landed flush on the chin. Ferguson connected with another stiff shot that wobbled Green momentarily as the one-time interim lightweight champion continued his strong start.
An eye poke from Green paused the action, which also allowed him time to reset while Ferguson recovered.
When the fight restarted, Green’s confidence surged while displaying his signature fast hands with several combinations snapping Ferguson’s head back.
In the second round, Ferguson made an awkward move in an attempt to drag the fight to the ground but that resulted in Green ending up on top where he began dropping some bombs. Green showed no fear inside Ferguson’s guard as he continuously found openings for his ground and pound.
When the fight got back to the feet, Ferguson was wearing a lot of damage on his face but he was still marching forward trying to turn the tables on Green.
With five minutes remaining, Ferguson remained quick on his feet but it was Green consistently connecting with the better punches Green was just sitting back and waiting for an opening before unleashing a series of left-right combinations that kept finding a home on Ferguson’s chin.
Ferguson was making every attempt at a comeback but he was seemingly a step behind Green in nearly every exchange. That’s when he attempted to roll for a potential knee bar but he missed grabbing the leg and Green ended up on top of him.
Rather than hammer away with punches, Green opted for the submission and Ferguson didn’t stop until he went to sleep from the head-and-arm choke. That submission defeat served as Ferguson’s sixth loss in a row overall with three consecutive finishes after previously falling to Nate Diaz and Michael Chandler.
As for Green, he gets back in the win column following a pair of losses and a no contest in his previous outing while becoming only the third person to put Ferguson away by submission.