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Images from the 2018 UFC Fight Night 139 at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado

UFC Fight of the Year Contender

Nov 122018

Monster Energy’s Yair ‘El Pantera’ Rodriguez lands buzzer-beater elbow at 4:59 of Round 5, knocking Chan Sung Jung “The Korean Zombie,” cold in the main event of UFC Fight Night 139 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado, which was live and free on Fox Sports 1. Teammate Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone also made history in the co-main welterweight division when he armbarred Mike Perry in the first round to become the all-time leader in wins (21) and finishes (15). Both Rodriguez and Cerrone won bonuses for their performances of the night. Rodriguez’s last second KO and Cerrone’s dramatic finish when he submitted Perry in round one.

Celebrating UFC’s silver anniversary where it all started 25 years earlier, Rodriguez and Jung put on an absolute show and went to war for almost five grueling rounds delivering fans one of the most memorable fights of the year. But it was Rodriguez who ended things with a bang, delivering a brutal reverse elbow that sent Jung straight to the canvas in literally the final second of the fight. The victory represented a triumphant return for Rodriguez who filled in for injured Frankie Edgar as a last-second replacement after a year-and-a-half hiatus following a TKO loss to Edgar at UFC 211.

After trading blow for blow for almost 25 minutes, Rodriguez unleashed an unorthodox reverse elbow from a unique angle that caught the “Korean Zombie” flush on his chin and put him to sleep.

Afterwards, Rodriguez fell to the ground in exhaustion and said he had injured his foot in the first round from a kick he threw. He said the title shot will be there eventually, and the only thing he cares about is showing up for his family and putting food on the table. There is also talk about a possible fight with Zabit Magomedsharipov.

In the co-main welterweight event Cerrone delivered a stunning and strategic performance against powerful Mike Perry. Cerrone slowed and controlled the action early, clinching and exchanging knees with the brawling Perry, and when they separated, he controlled range with his jab and low kick until a surprise take down from Perry found the two on the mat. Cerrone quickly reversed and gained side control, then briefly took his back before Perry shook him off and Cerrone found the triangle, then seamlessly transitioned to belly-down arm bar for the submission tap in round one. The victory made Cerrone the winningest fighter in UFC history with 21 overall in his career, passing George St-Pierre and Michael Bisping. He also broke the record for most finishes, with 15, to surpass Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort.

What’s next for Cerrone? He’s talking about going on a title run in lightweight and believes he can make it happen at 155. Perhaps a fight with Justin Gaethje, which would have the potential for an incredible match.