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SIPA USA/PA Images Gilbert Burns is announced the winner alongside referee Herb Dean and opponent Tyron Woodley.
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UFC returns to Las Vegas as Burns dominates former welterweight champion Woodley
The Brazilian announced himself as a contender with the biggest win of his career in the main event.

COMBAT SPORT RETURNED to Las Vegas in the early hours of this morning as Brazil’s Gilbert Burns defeated former welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in the main event of an Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts card.

As in the UFC’s recent live events from Florida, there were no fans in attendance at the UFC Apex and social distancing measures were in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But it heralded a to Vegas, where the Nevada State Athletic Commission last week gave the greenlight not only to UFC but also to boxing cards in June.

33-year-old Brazilian Burns (19-3) dominated US fighter Woodley (19-5-1) and claimed a unanimous victory, scoring 50-45, 50-44 and 50-44 with the judges. 

Promoter Bob Arum’s Top Rank has lined up cards to be held at the MGM Grand Conference Center, starting with a 9 June event featuring Shakur Stevenson, unbeaten in 13 fights, taking on Puerto Rican Felix Caraballo in a non-title bout.

Stevenson, the World Boxing Organization featherweight champion, had been scheduled to make the first defense of his belt on 14 March against Miguel Marriaga in New York, but that event was canceled because of the pandemic.

“The goal was to start out with really good, competitive fights, with names that people are familiar with, who have been on ESPN shows,” Arum told broadcaster ESPN on Saturday, adding they opted not to start with title bouts to streamline the logistics.

Arum said the health protocols put in place by Nevada officials offered “a sensible way to push ahead.

“You’ve got to make sure all the procedures are safe and so forth,” Arum said. “Hopefully, what we’re doing will serve as a template for other promoters to put on shows.”

UFC on ESPN 9 results

Main Card

  • Gilbert Burns def. Tyron Woodley via unanimous (50-45, 50-44, 50-44) 
  • Augusto Sakai def. Blagoy Ivanov via split decision (27-30, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Billy Quarantillo def. Spike Carlyle via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
  • Roosevelt Roberts def. Brok Weaver via submission (rear naked choke) (Round 2, 3:26)
  • Mackenzie Dern def. Hannah Cifers via submission (kneebar) (Round 1, 2:36)

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  • Katlyn Chookagian def. Antonina Shevchenko via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
  • Daniel Rodriguez vs. Gabriel Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Jamahal Hill def. Klidson Abreu via TKO (Round 1, 1:51) 
  • Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott via submission (arm triangle) (Round 2, 3:18) 
  • Casey Kenney def. Louis Smolka via submission (guillotine) (Round 2, 3:03)
  • Chris Gutierrez def. Vince Morales via TKO (Round 2, 4:27)

© – AFP 2020 with additional reporting from Ben Blake

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