The UFC on ESPN 9 main event between Tyron Woodley and Gilbert Burns may well have signaled a changing of the guard in the welterweight division after former champion Woodley was dominated from start to finish. Woodley was returning to the Octagon for the first time since a decisive title loss to Kamaru Usman last March and was looking to make a big statement in an attempt to get back to a championship fight. Instead, Burns pounced early in the first round and didn’t give an inch to the former champion through the final bell as the UFC returned to their home base of Las Vegas, with the fights going down from the UFC APEX.
Burns scored with a pair of right hands early in the first round, rocking Woodley and opening him up to a massive flurry. Burns managed to maintain control on the ground, despite Woodley being able to survive the early danger, he was left with a massive gash over his left eye and seemed to have had the fight beaten out of him in those opening moments.
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Woodley spent the majority of the fight circling around the cage, looking for single knockout shots while Burns worked him over with strikes to the body and a steady dose of leg kicks. The dominance never stopped for Burns, even if the flashy moments at the open never returned.
By the end of the fight, Burns had compiled an advantage of 76-to-29 in significant strikes, scored the only two takedowns of the fight and had positional control on the ground for nearly five minutes to just two seconds for Woodley.
Given the dominance, it was no surprise when the official scorecards were heavily tilted in Burns’ favor by scores of 50-45, 50-44 and 50-44.
The statement win was the sort of performance that often leads to championship opportunities, and Burns wasted little time after his victory calling out his friend and training partner, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman.
“Come on, I love the champ, my training partner, Kamaru Usman,” Burns said. “But give me a shot. I want to fight for the title. A lot of respect. A lot of love for you. But I think I’m next. I’m next. I’m right there. He beat the former champion I just beat the same way, I don’t know, maybe better. I think I’m next. I just beat the former champ and I have no scratch. No nothing.”
CBS Sports was with you all night with live updates and coverage of UFC Fight Night from Las Vegas. Check out a complete recap of the results below.
UFC Fight Night: Woodley vs. Burns card, results
- Gilbert Burns def. Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision (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 second-round submission (rear-naked choke)
- Mackenzie Dern def. Hannah Cifers via first-round submission (kneebar)
- Katlyn Chookagian def. Antonina Shevchenko via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-25)
- Daniel Rodriguez def. Gabriel Green via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
- Jamahal Hill def. Klidson Abreu via first-round TKO (punches)
- Brandon Royval def. Tim Elliott via second-round submission (arm triangle)
- Casey Kenney def. Louis Smolka via first-round submission (guillotine)
- Chris Gutierrez def. Vince Morales via second-round TKO (kicks)
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Official result: Gilbert Burns def. Tyron Woodley via unanimous decision (50-45, 50-44, 50-44)
76-29 strike, 2-0 takedown and 4:57 to 0:02 advantages for Burns
Unofficial scorecard after round 5: 50-44 Burns
Round 5: Woodley keeps his back to the cage as Burns keeps distance. Woodley ducks under a left and grabs the clinch again. Not much happens for the rest of the fight. And this one heads to the scorecards for an academic decision.
Round 5: Woodley and Burns are trading positions in the clinch against the fence. Woodley is just hanging on and not trying to do anything with the position, forcing Herb Dean to break the fighters.
Round 5: Woodley throws some heavy punches, seeming to have a degree of desperation heading into the final round. Burns pushes forward and looks for a takedown against the cage.
Unofficial scorecard after round 4: 40-35 Burns
Round 4: Burns ends the round squeezing a guillotine choke that may have ended it had there been 10-20 seconds more before the horrn.
Round 4: Burns scores a takedown and lands some punches and Woodley looks totally lost at this point. Unsure of what to do, getting beaten in the striking and grappling end of things and seemingly lacking any urgency in his game to turn things around.
Round 4: Burns explodes with a massive combination, hurting Woodley and forcing him to shoot for a takedown, which he does not get.