Curtis Blaydes dominates Mark Hunt on floor, earns decision win

Heavyweight Curtis Blaydes, left, defeated Mark Hunt by decision on Saturday night at UFC 221. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC heavyweight Curtis Blaydes added a major boost to his title aspirations on Saturday, as he outworked veteran Mark Hunt in a decision win.

The heavyweight fight co-headlined UFC 221 in Perth, Australia. Blaydes (9-1) frustrated Hunt -- as well as the Aussie crowd -- by repeatedly taking him to the floor. Hunt, a New Zealander who trains out of Sydney, had no answer for Blaydes' offensive wrestling.

Hunt (13-12-1) threatened to knock Blaydes out once in the first round, after he hammered Blaydes with a counter right hand. Blaydes was staggered, but he ducked under Hunt's punches for a crucial takedown moments later.

"He came out like I knew he would, swinging for the fences," Blaydes said. "He caught me early. I learned my lesson. I went back to my takedowns and ground and pound."

According to Fightmetric, Blaydes, 26, converted 10 of 13 takedown attempts. He also outstruck Hunt 127 to 35.

The win improves Bladyes' UFC record to 4-1, with his only loss coming to former title challenger Francis Ngannou in April 2016.

A former junior college wrestling national champion, Blaydes said he would like to fight next at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago, his hometown.

Hunt, who the UFC pulled from a fight in 2017 due to health concerns, now has two fights remaining on his contract; he has said he intends to leave the UFC once the contract is over.

Nigerian prospect Adesanya dazzles in UFC debut

Promising middleweight prospect Israel Adesanya (12-0) delivered in his UFC debut, as he finished Rob Wilkinson (11-2) via TKO in the second round.

The 28-year-old's debut in the Octagon had the MMA world buzzing, and he did not disappoint. A native of Nigeria now fighting out of New Zealand, Adesanya calmly defended Wilkinson's nonstop attempts to get him to the floor, then expertly picked him apart on the feet.

The finish mercifully came as Wilkinson slumped to the floor up against the cage. Adesanya hurt him with left hooks and knees to the body, plus a hard left hook under the chin. Adesanya has finished all 12 of his professional MMA fights via knockout.

"Middleweights, I'm the new dog in the yard, and I just pissed all over this cage," Adesanya said.

Heavyweight youngster Tuivasa electrifies crowd with first-round stoppage

Don't look now, but there might be some new blood in the heavyweight division. Finally.

Tai Tuivasa (7-0) kept his perfect record intact with a dominant, first-round knockout over France's Cyril Asker (9-4). The bout was called off at the 2:18 mark, after Tuivasa devastated Asker with punches along the fence. The final blow was basically a shove, which sent Asker face-first to the canvas.

After declaring he would head "straight to the after-party," UFC cameras caught Tuivasa chugging a beer from a sneaker, which was handed to him from a fan in the crowd.

Tuivasa has recorded first-round knockouts in all seven of his professional MMA bouts, including two appearances in the UFC. He fights out of Sydney.

Matthews delivers convincing win in home country

Australian welterweight Jake Matthews (12-3) took care of business at home, upsetting Li Jingliang (14-5) via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-26, 29-28).

Matthews, 23, came close to finishing the fight with a guillotine in the second round, but he lost his grip after Li gouged his left eye. The foul appeared clear enough for the referee to disqualify Li, however the bout continued. Matthews later said he did not believe Li committed the foul intentionally.

Luckily, it had no effect on the result. Matthews, who was bounced between lightweight and welterweight, fought assertively, and he knocked Li down multiple times with right hands. Matthews suffered a cut over his left eye in the second round but did not appear bothered by it.

Matthews is now 6-3 in the UFC. He has fought highly ranked competition -- including Kevin Lee and James Vick -- at a young age.

Brazil's Formiga scores highlight finish over Nguyen

Brazilian flyweight Jussier Formiga (21-5) rocked Ben Nguyen (16-7) with a spinning forearm strike before submitting him via rear-naked choke at 1:43 of the third round.

It was a standout finish for the 32-year-old contender, who is still searching for his first UFC title shot. Formiga boasts an impressive 7-4 mark in the Octagon, but he has struggled to defeat the top names in the division.

This performance should help his cause. Formiga appeared to be comfortably ahead on the scorecards when he dropped Nguyen with the spinning blow. Nguyen had no shot to recover, as Formiga quickly jumped on his back and applied the choke.

It is the 10th submission win of Formiga's career. ESPN ranked Formiga the No. 7 flyweight in the world coming into the fight.