The MMA world had eyes on the Daniel Cormier vs. Stipe Miocic trilogy at UFC 252 on Saturday night, but the card was propped up with an undercard that featured a former UFC Heavyweight Champion, among others.
Heavyweights #5 Junior dos Santos (21-8) and #6 Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) engaged in a competitive and methodical striking exchange across the first two rounds. JDS and Rozenstruik both landed. Each man's chin held up until Rozenstruik backed up his opponent and unleashed with a flurry of strikes in round two. JDS worked to his feet after the initial knockdown but was finished shortly after.
A UFC veteran in Daniel Pineda found his way back into the UFC after six years away from the company, and even after losing his way out of other companies.
Pineda (27-13) made the most of his short-notice opportunity and returned to UFC in violent fashion. The savvy veteran took out Herbert Burns (11-3) with a second-round TKO via elbows from the crucifix position.
Merab Dvalisvili continued to make his impression felt in the UFC Bantamweight division, toppling a former UFC title challenger in John Dodson.
Dvalishvili (12-4) did what Dvalishvili does, clinching and taking down Dodson (21-12) en route to a clear decision. Dodson's speed and slipperiness meant "The Machine" only notched two of 20 attempts but his unrelenting pressure stole the judges' hearts.
Elsewhere on the show, the curiously #15 ranked Felice Herrig (14-9) returned after a two-year layoff, but war promptly armbarred in the first round by Virna Jandiroba, who improved to 16-1.