Fight Pass prelims

UFC 200 kicks off with 3 first-round finishes including stunning Lauzon win over Sanchez

The opening portion of the card lived up to expectation.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 00.40.16 Joe Lauzon celebrates a big result against Diego Sanchez.

THE UFC SPARED neither expense nor superlative in promoting tonight’s event and, thus far, UFC 200 has certainly delivered.

The promotion’s landmark show is taking place at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and it began with three star-studded preliminary bouts that streamed exclusively on Fight Pass, the organisation’s online broadcast platform.

An epic battle was expected from the feature Fight Pass bout, a lightweight contest between Joe Lauzon and Diego Sanchez, but a determined Lauzon wasn’t in the mood for one of his trademark back-and-forth tussles.

The Boston native took his record to 26-11 as he became the first fighter to stop Sanchez (26-9) via strikes, with the referee stepping in to bring a halt to proceedings after just 86 seconds.

Although Sanchez was still upright, the veteran former Ultimate Fighter winner was very unsteady on his feet after shipping several heavy blows so there could be no questioning the validity of the stoppage. In fact, it should probably have come a little sooner.

It was Sanchez’s ninth career defeat, seven of which have come via decision. His only other loss inside the distance came from a doctor stoppage against BJ Penn in 2009. Sanchez entered tonight’s bout on the back of a win against Jim Miller in March, while Lauzon rebounded from a December defeat to Evan Dunham.

Before that, Gegard Mousasi (39-6-2) ended Thiago Santos’ four-fight win streak in emphatic fashion, knocking out the Brazilian (13-4) in the latter stages of the opening frame.

In one of his most impressive recent performances, Mousasi swarmed Santos from early on and then dropped him with a right hand. The ex-Strikeforce champion added another couple of shots for good measure but referee Marc Goddard moved in swiftly to wave the fight off, as the Dutch fighter made it back-to-back successes following his victory against Thales Leites in February.

In the opening bout of the night, Jim Miller made short work of Takanori Gomi in a battle of two veteran lightweights with 83 professional bouts between them.

After catching an attempted kick from Gomi, Miller took the former Pride champion down and moved to his back, before unloading a barrage of punches from back-mount which forced the stoppage just before the midway point of the first round.

Miller bounced back from a pair of defeats to Michael Chiesa and Diego Sanchez to move to 26-8-1, while Gomi — 35-12-1 — has now suffered three first-round losses on the trot.

UFC 200 Fight Pass prelims

  • Joe Lauzon def. Diego Sanchez via TKO (punches) after 1:26 of round one
  • Gegard Mousasi def. Thiago Santos via KO (punches) after 4:32 of round one
  • Jim Miller def. Takanori Gomi via TKO (puches) after 2:18 of round one

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