Tavares earns first stop­page since 2011

Af­ter fourth con­sec­u­tive UFC win, Wa­iakea grad calls out Bisp­ing

Hawaii Tribune Herald - - SPORTS -

Krzysztof Jotko left his chin up, and Brad Tavares was happy enough to put him down.

Tavares, a 2005 Wa­iakea grad­u­ate, added a touch of pizazz to his fourth con­sec­u­tive mixed mar­tial arts vic­tory Satur­day, fin­ish­ing Jotko in third round of their mid­dleweight bout at UFC on FOX 29 in Glendale, Ariz.

It was the 30-yearold’s first stop­page vic­tory since 2011.

“I feel like I’m one of the best strik­ers in the 185 di­vi­sion,” Tavares said. “I’m fast, ex­plo­sive and I hit hard.”

Tavares (17-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) used his right hand to con­trol much of the fight, and he dropped Jotko (19-4 MMA, 6-4 UFC) with a huge right flush to his chin, pounc­ing on his op­po­nent with a bar­rage of ham­mer fists to earn a TKO at 2:16 of the fi­nal round.

“I al­ways en­vi­sion my hand raised at the end,” Tavares said. “I re­ally felt I was go­ing to get the fin­ish. I felt I was the su­pe­rior fighter.

“I was ready for wher­ever the fight went. At the end of the day, the right hand did the trick.”

The 13th-ranked Jotko lost his third bout in a row, and it was clear af­ter the fight that the 15th-ranked Tavares is tired of ap­pear­ing on pre­lim­i­nary cards.

Dur­ing the post­fight in­ter­view on Fox, Tavares called out for­mer mid­dleweight cham­pion Michael Bisp­ing – who was pro­vid­ing anal­y­sis on the tele­cast – invit­ing him to a tus­sle at UFC 226 on July 7 in Las Ve­gas.

“I just ran into him in the green room,” Tavares said later in his news con­fer­ence.

For the most part, Tavares said he kept it re­spect­ful.

“I told him, ‘You need an op­po­nent for your fi­nal fight, let me give you your walk­ing pa­pers,”’ Tavares said.

“That’s the fight I want. That’s the fight I’ve al­ways wanted.”

Tavares’ first stop­page was against Phil Ba­roni at UFC 125 in 2011.

• Dustin Poirier stunned Justin Gaethje with a hard left hand in the fourth round and won by tech­ni­cal knock­out a UFC light­weight fight.

The fifth-ranked light­weight, Poirier (23-5) blood­ied Gathje in the first round and fin­ished him off with a flurry early in the fourth to move a step closer to a ti­tle fight.

Gaethje (18-2), from Saf­ford, Ari­zona, had the crowd sup­port and landed a se­ries of punches in the se­cond round af­ter a shaky first. He won the third round on all three scorer’s cards de­spite a point de­duc­tion, but couldn’t avoid Poirier’s left hand in the fourth to lose his se­cond straight fight af­ter open­ing 18-0.

Alex Oliveira filled in as a re­place­ment against Car­los Con­dit in the co-main event af­ter Matt Brown tore his ACL. The 30-year-old Brazil­ian earned the big­gest win of his ca­reer in the desert on two weeks’ no­tice, forc­ing the for­mer in­terim wel­ter­weight champ to sub­mit with a se­cond-round guil­lo­tine choke hold in a fight that blood­ied both fight­ers.

Up and comer mid­dleweight Israel Ade­sanya of New Zealand won a split de­ci­sion over Ital­ian Marvin Vet­tori. Michelle Water­son opened the main card with a split-de­ci­sion vic­tory over Maui’s Cort­ney Casey in a tech­ni­cal straweight fight.

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