DALLAS -- The co-main for UFC 228 was supposed to be a UFC women's flyweight championship bout between champion Nicco Montano and No. 1 contender Valentina Shevchenko, but things haven't gone exactly as planned for the UFC in 2018, as at least eight main events have been affected by injury, weight cuts or other outside factors since February alone. Before Friday's weigh-ins Montano was taken to the hospital after having difficulty cutting weight, and the bout with Shevchenko was canceled. Shevchenko, who was a heavy favorite, had predicted as late as Thursday that Montano would find a way not to show up for the fight. Montano was subsequently stripped of her championship.
That left the women's strawweight bout between Jessica Andrade and Karolina Kowalkiewicz as the card's new co-main event. Andrade (19-6) made the most of her featured match with a knockout win at 1:58 of the first round. Andrade recorded the rare one-punch knockout with a vicious right hook that dropped Kowalkiewicz (12-3). Andrade has now won three straight since losing to then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk with 14 takedowns in her previous two fights going into Saturday. Andrade lived up to her reputation as one of the best strikers in the flyweight division, as she lands 6.42 significant strikes per minute, which is the seventh-highest in UFC history. Andrade now wants a title fight against Rose Namajunas to co-main event the Cris Cyborg-Amanda Nunes fight at UFC 232.
Zabit Magomedsharipov (16-1) defeated Brandon Davis (9-5) at American Airlines Center with what was officially called a kneebar at 3:46 of Round 2, but it was actually the rarely seen Suloev Stretch that won him the fight. There had been only one executed in UFC history before Saturday, but UFC 228 saw two fights end with the move after Aljamain Sterling defeated Cody Stamann with it in his fight.
Magomedsharipov, who had 17 takedowns in three UFC fights while being taken down twice going into Saturday, controlled the fight early on and was in control before claiming the win in the second round. He now has won 12 consecutive fights, including all four in the UFC. He has six wins by KO/TKO and six wins by submission, including three in the UFC.
Jimmie Rivera (22-2-0) defeated John Dodson (20-10-0) via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) in a fight that fell way below expectations. In the midst of what was one of the best cards the UFC has staged this year, the restless crowd booed during much of the match as Rivera and Dodson circled the ring for three rounds.
Rivera, 28, won his first fight since suffering a head-kick knockout loss to Marlon Moraes in just 33 seconds on June 1 at UFC Fight Night 131, which snapped his 20-fight winning streak. Meanwhile, Dodson was not able to win consecutive fights in the UFC, something that has eluded him since 2015. Dodson is now 4-4 in his past eight fights.
Abdul Razak Alhassan defeated Niko Price with a knockout at 43 seconds of the first round. This fight was destined to end quickly, as both fighters came out looking for the early finish, but it was Alhassan (10-1) who made quick work of Price (12-2) with a devastating left hook that forced the quick stoppage.
All 10 of Alhassan's victories have come by first-round KO or TKO, including all four of his fights in the UFC. Six of those victories have come within the first minute. Alhassan's only loss came to Omari Akhmedov in May 2017, and he has won his past three fights since that setback. All seven of Price's UFC fights have ended by stoppage (four wins, two loss and one win overturned to a no contest) and 11 of his 12 career wins have come by stoppage.