The Octagon set up shop in Melbourne, Australia Saturday night for UFC Fight Night 101.
Robert Whittaker appeared to almost be out on his feet in the early stages of his first main event vs. Derek Brunson.
But just like that, Whittaker showed the heart and strength that has many believing he is a future title contender, recovering and finishing Brunson in a wild and crazy first round.
Whittaker connected with a left hook, added a head-kick and landed a flurry of strikes before referee Herb Dean stepped in to end the contest.
Andrew Holbrook didn’t care that this was supposed to be Jake Matthews’ night to shine. Holbrook deal the Melbourne native a loss, earning a split decision in the co-main event. He is now 12-1 overall after the win.
Originally, the event was to feature a rematch between former Strikeforce champions Luke Rockhold and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. But when Rockhold, also a former UFC titleholder, was injured, the bout was scrapped.
Alex Volkanovski ended Yasuke Kasuya’s night in the second round with a flurry, while Omari Akhmedov picked up a decision over veteran Kyle Noke.
Tyson Pedro ended the long run of decisions, submitting Khalil Rountree in the first round with a rear-naked choke. Pedro, fighting in his home country in his UFC debut, pushed his record to 5-0 with four submission wins.
Danielle Taylor kicked off the main card with a split decision win vs. Seo Hee Ham.
Ben Nguyen, Jonathan Meunier, Damien Brown and Dan Kelly each had their hands raised as the winner on the FS1 prelims. Kelly defeated Chris Camozzi in the headline bout, improving to 12-1 overall and 5-1 inside the Octagon.
In early action, Jason Knight, Marlon Vera and Jenel Lausa all claimed decisions on UFC Fight Pass.
Bonuses were handed out to Whittaker, Brunson and Pedro. Whittaker and Brunson earned “Fight of the Night,” while Whittaker and Pedro picked up “Performance of the Night” checks.
Complete results can be found below:
Robert Whittaker def. Derek Brunson via TKO (strikes) at 4:07 of Round 1
Andrew Holbrook def. Jake Matthews via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Omari Akhmedov def. Kyle Noke via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
Alex Volkanovski def. Yasuke Kasuya via TKO (strikes) at 2:06 of Round 2
Tyson Pedro def. Khalil Rountree via submission (rear-naked choke) at 4:07 of Round 1
Danielle Taylor def. Seo Hee Ham via split decision (28-29, 30-27, 30-27)
Dan Kelly def. Chris Camozzi via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27)
Damien Brown def. Jon Tuck via split decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28)
Jonathan Meunier def. Richard Walsh via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Ben Nguyen def. Geane Herrera via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
Jason Knight def. Dan Hooker via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-26)
Marlon Vera def. Ning Guangyou via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Jenel Lausa def. Yao Zhikui via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)