Tony Ferguson defeated Rafael dos Anjos via decision at UFC Fight Night Mexico City Saturday night, making him the first UFC lightweight to have nine wins in a row.
The judges scored the close fight a unanimous victory for El Cucuy (48-47, 48-47, 48-47)
"Thank you for this fight. Viva Mexico!" he said during his Octagon interview, then promptly walked away.
Ferguson opened the round by keeping his distance and using the height difference to his advantage. From that range, he was able to land kicks to keep dos Anjos at bay, and was able to avoid an early takedown attempt. Late in the round, dos Anjos clipped Tony behind the ear, but he seemed unfazed and fired back with more of his own shots. Dos Anjos took his chance, kicked Ferguson's feet out from under him, then pounced on the grounded fighter. Ferguson was able to get to his feet unscathed.
Early in round two, an accidental eye poke stopped the fight for a couple minutes, despite referee Herb Dean not seeing the act at first glance. Ferguson showed class by not pouncing on the fighter,allowing him the chance to alert the referee. As the fight continued, Ferguson landed punches, eventually causing blood to pour from dos Anjos' nose like a fountain. He stunned the former champ with a slick combo in the last minute of the round, but was unable drop or finish him.
Round three began with a flurry of strikes from Ferguson backing dos Anjos against the cage where he landed a smooth spinning backfist. Dos Anjos, definitely on the defensive, was able to land a headkick, but it didn't seem to affect Ferguson. For a third round at high altitude, the pace was unreal, and neither fighter was willing to back down or show fatigue.
In the fourth, dos Anjos was carrying a badly swollen eye and bloody nose, but came out strong. Ferguson quickly responded by taking cage control, forcing dos Anjos to react, rather than lead.
In the fifth and final round, the first time Ferguson had ever seen a fifth round, the native Californian controlled the center of the cage, forcing dos Anjos back. Although Ferguson was absorbing strikes, he was not rocked once the entire fight. The former champion, blood gushing from his face, refused to give up, and kept Ferguson on his toes. In the end, neither fighter got the finish, but the fans got one Hell of a fight.