The undercard of UFC 200 was loaded with top-10 contenders in their divisions, but one fighter nowhere near the top stole the show Saturday.
Kelvin Gastelum, ranked No. 12 in the welterweight division, woke up the crowd at T-Mobile Arena during a memorable upset against Johny Hendricks.
Gastelum’s vicious combinations led to a unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) over Hendricks, a former welterweight champion ranked No. 6 at 170 pounds.
Gastelum, a San Jose, California, native, came out swinging and didn’t let up to control the rounds. Hendricks battled back and traded blows with Gastelum in the final 20 seconds of the bout as the crowd applauded on its feet.
“Oh, man, it was a battle,” Gastelum said. “I’m definitely feeling it now. At the end of the fight, we went with the moment and just gave it for the fans. This win puts me in the conversation to possibly fight for a No. 1 contender spot.”
Here is a recap of the other fights on the undercard:
PENA DOMINATES CAT
Many figured the matchup between Julianna Pena and Cat Zingano would be the most intriguing on the card. It failed to deliver, unless you’re not a fan of striking.
Pena controlled the ground game to defeat Zingano by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Pena dominated the final two rounds by not letting Zingano get up.
“Sometimes I just let my opponents gas themselves out and do their thing,” Pena said. “Then I’ll come out in the second and the third where I know I’m my strongest and my cardio is the best.”
DILLASHAW ON THE COMEBACK
TJ Dillashaw is on his way back to reclaiming the bantamweight championship. In a battle of top-three contenders, Dillashaw dominated Raphael Assuncao for a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Dillashaw lost the title to Dominick Cruz in January.
“I’m the champion in the bantamweight division,” Dillashaw said. “That’s my belt. Cruz knows I won that fight. I want my belt back. I’m coming for that title.”
SUPER SAGE SURVIVES
After suffering the first loss of his young career, 20-year-old Sage Northcutt bounced back against Enrique Marin.
Northcutt escaped a second-round armbar by Marin to win by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28). Northcutt didn’t have his best performance, but controlled Rounds 1 and 3.
It appeared Marin was going to take the victory when he locked in an armbar, but Northcutt somehow was able to flip out of it.
Northcutt (8-1) was coming off a loss to Bryan Barberena in January.
MOUSASI, LAUZON MAKE QUICK WORK
Gegard Mousasi and Joe Lauzon rushed through the UFC Fight Pass early prelims.
Mousasi connected on a vicious combination to drop Thiago Santos and forced the referee to end the bout with 27 seconds left in the first round.
Lauzon jumped on Diego Sanchez at the outset of their lightweight match, smothering him with a barrage of punches to record a first-round technical knockout.
MILLER PERFECT IN UFC 100 AND 200
Jim Miller opened the milestone card with a first-round knockout of Takanori Gomi. Miller and Brock Lesnar are the only fighters to compete in both UFC 100 and UFC 200.
“It’s big for me to have earned a win at both UFC 100 and 200,” Miller said. “It’s another notch in the belt.”
In 2009, the New Jersey native defeated Mac Danzig by unanimous decision during the century card at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Contact Gilbert Manzano at email@example.com or 702-383-0492. Follow him on Twitter: @gmanzano24