ANOTHER challenger, another win for Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg of Brazil after beating Russian Yana Kunitskaya in their headliner for “UFC 222” in Las Vegas yesterday by way of first-round technical knockout due to punches.

Despite taking the fight in just three weeks’ notice, Cyborg hardly showed any problem with the short preparation, overcoming the initial salvo of her opponent and going for the finish when the opportunity presented itself for the quick victory.

Also emerging victorious at the T-Mobile Arena was featherweight Brian “T-City” Ortega who knocked out veteran Frankie “The Answer” Edgar, who was scheduled to headline UFC 222 with a title fight with champion Max Holloway, in the opening round.

Cyborg was initially made to work by Ms. Kunitskaya, taken down and forced to a clinch thereafter in the opening minutes of the first round.

The Russian continued to go for Cyborg’s leg but the latter showed good defense to frustrate the former before they separated.

Cyborg connected with a huge right and clipped Ms. Kunitskaya with a knee that sent her down. Sensing victory, the Brazilian unleashed a ferocious ground-and-pound to which the challenger had no answer to, prompting referee Herb Dean to stop the contest at the 3:25 mark of the first round.

“I’m always ready to take anyone they want me to fight even on short notice,” said Cyborg (20-1) after the win, before calling out a possible unification bout with fellow Brazilian UFC champ Amanda Nunes (women’s bantamweight).

The loss dropped Ms. Kunitskaya, who made her UFC debut, to 10-4.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ortega (14-0) continued with his unbeaten run with a devastating win over Mr. Edgar (22-6-1).

Mr. Ortega connected with a solid left elbow with under a minute left before setting up with a huge right uppercut that rocked Mr. Edgar to the mat. Hammer fists later sealed the deal for Mr. Ortega.

In other fights at UFC 222, bantamweight Sean O’Malley downed Andre Soukhamthath by unanimous decision (29-27, 29-27 and 29-28), heavyweight Andrei Arlovski defeated Stefan Struve by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28 and 30-27), and women’s bantamweight Ketlen Vieira beat Cat Zingano by split decision (29-28, 28-19 and 29-28).

Next for the UFC is ”UFC Fight Night 127” in London, England, on March 17 that will feature the heavyweight battle between former champion Fabricio Werdum and Alexander Volkov.

In the Philippines, Cignal TV, the country’s foremost direct-to-home (DTH) company, is the home of the UFC after the two groups agreed to an extensive deal that will see the UFC beamed on various platforms. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo