Jimmy Crute had a plan, he stuck with it and it served him well.
Eight seconds into the co-main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday night in Auckland, New Zealand, Crute shot for the legs of Michal Oleksiejczuk and took him to the canvas. And when the Polish lightweight climbed back to his feet, Crute took him down again. And again and again.
Before he was finished, Crute had scored eight takedowns. The 23-year-old from Australia didn't need any more, because after securing his eighth, Crute worked his way into full mount, then voluntarily exchanged that position for side control. From there, he locked in a kimura and elicited the tapout for a submission victory at 3:29 of Round 1.
It was the second kimura victory of Crute's young career. No one in UFC history has more.
"He's too dangerous to stand in front of, so I'm going to take him down," Crute said Oleksiejczuk. "I said I'm going to take him down, choke him out or take his arm."
It was the most takedowns ever in a UFC fight to finish in the first round. No UFC fighter had ever landed more than 5 takedowns in a one-round fight before.
Oleksiejczuk (14-4, 1 NC), 24, who lost his second straight after a 12-fight unbeaten run, came in with 10 knockouts among his 14 wins.
Crute (11-1) got back in the win column after suffering his first career loss in September, when Misha Cirkunov submitted him. Crute hasn't forgotten that. He brought up Cirkunov in his postfight interview, saying, "I'm coming for you, brother."
Both co-main combatants were ranked in ESPN's recent list of the top 25 MMA fighters under age 25, with Crute at No. 7 and Oleksiejczuk at No. 11.
Yan hits Kowalkiewicz with some sweet chin music
Yan Xiaonan hits Karolina Kowalkiewicz with a kick to the face in Round 3. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
The fight went the full 15 minutes, but it was essentially over in the first 30 seconds.
Yan landed a left hook to her opponent's right eye in one of the earliest exchanges, and Kowalkiewicz was compromised the rest of the way, covering up the damaged eye and going mostly defensive, never getting into an offensive groove.
Yan took the decision on all three scorecards by identical 30-26 tallies to run her unbeaten streak to 11. She has five UFC victories, tying Tatiana Suarez for the longest active win streak in the strawweight division. The 30-year-old from China has not lost a fight since 2010.
For Kowalkiewicz, it was her fourth straight loss and sixth defeat in her past eight fights, a downward slide that began with her unsuccessful challenge of then-champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2016.
Once the 34-year-old Pole began covering her eye with her right glove, it was as though she was setting a bull's-eye for her opponent to target. And Yan did just that, splitting the guard with straight punches to the face and also landing damage to Kowalkiewicz's unguarded body. In the third round, Yan had a 69-11 striking advantage.
The emerging narrative, as Kowalkiewicz took an onslaught of damage, was that she was too tough for her own good. But midway in the final round, she secured a leg lock and put Yan on the defensive for a while. But Yan persevered, and the victory was all hers.
Sosoli, de Lima have wild start to heavyweight fight
Marcos Rogerio de Lima and Ben Sosoli throw some heavy leather in the opening seconds of their heavyweight bout. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Well, at least Sosoli got an actual result this time. His past two fights had ended in no contests -- against Greg Hardy in his UFC debut in October and versus Dustin Joynson on Dana White's Contender Series in August.
That's the glass-half-full perspective on Sosoli's short night, as de Lima handed the Australian heavyweight his first career knockout defeat in an explosive bout that was not exactly a technical duel.
Both big boys came out winging wild punches, and neither stopped until a four-punch flurry by de Lima sent Sosoli face-first to the canvas for the TKO at 1:28 of Round 1.
For de Lima, who had not fought in a year and had lost two of his past three, it was his 13th first-round finish. The 34-year-old from Brazil has had 11 fights in the UFC, and nine have ended in a finish.
De Lima entered the night with the third-shortest average UFC fight time among active fighters (4:43), and his short evening's work will only enhance that statistic.
"This is my division!" he yelled in his postfight interview in the cage. "Come on!"
Sosoli, a 30-year-old brawler out of Melbourne who is known as the "Combat Wombat," has not won since last March in a regional promotion in his native Australia.
Riddell drops Mustafaev with right hand
Brad Riddell lunges and lands a big right hand that sends Magomed Mustafaev to the mat in Round 1. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
When the result was read, the crowd roared. Riddell, a New Zealand native, received a hero's welcome when he entered the Octagon. And he more than delivered.
In a bloody, back-and-forth lightweight fight, Riddell defeated Mustafaev by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28). Riddell dropped Mustafaev in the first and third rounds but took his fair share of damage, as well. It was a physical, hard-hitting battle. At the end, Riddell was the man with his hand raised.
"I come in here for war, and I come in here to perform," Riddell said afterward, while also calling out Alexander Hernandez. "I did both."
Mustafaev worked his wrestling well throughout. He landed eight takedowns in total, per ESPN Stats & Information data. Coming into the night, fighters who landed at least eight takedowns were 89-9-1 (1 NC) in the UFC. But Riddell was the man doing the most damage, including a jaw-clattering elbow in the third round that wobbled Mustafaev. In the pivotal third, Riddell outlanded Mustafaev 18-4 in significant strikes.
Riddell, 28, has won five straight, including his first two UFC fights. "Quake" is a teammate of UFC champions Israel Adesanya and Alexander Volkanovski at Auckland's City Kickboxing.
Mustafaev, a 31-year-old Dagestan native, has lost two of his past three fights.
"I won, but I think I have a few more tests ahead of me, like maybe a really good jiu-jitsu guy," Riddell said. "Alexander Hernandez hasn't been talking about me, but he just talks trash in general. He doesn't shut up. He's disrespectful to a lot of the fighters. You don't have to be disrespectful. They're doing the same thing as you and trying to achieve the same goals."
Tukhugov drops Aguilar in first
Zubaira Tukhugov drops Kevin Aguilar in the first round with a huge left overhand punch. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
One of Khabib Nurmagomedov's closest confidantes earned his most impressive UFC victory.
Tukhugov ran through Aguilar in the featured prelim. The Chechen's onslaught started with a left hook that rocked Aguilar. Tukhugov pounced and landed a big combination that culminated with a left hook that put Aguilar down for good. Tukhugov followed up with punches on the ground, and referee Marc Goddard had no choice but to stop the featherweight fight via TKO at 3:21 of the first round.
Tukhugov, 29, has just one loss in his past 12 fights. He is perhaps best known for jumping into the Octagon to engage Conor McGregor during the UFC 229 brawl in October 2018 following the bout between McGregor and Nurmagomedov. Tukhugov is a longtime training partner and friend of Nurmagomedov, who has a heated rivalry with McGregor.
This was Tukhugov's first win since December 2015. He was suspended two years by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in 2016 due to a positive drug test for the banned substance ostarine. Tukhugov also was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) for his role in the UFC 229 melee.
"I'm very happy, because I went four years without a win," Tukhugov said. "I'm back now. I want to tell the whole 145-pound division to be careful. I'm back and ready for more knockouts, just not teammate Zabit [Magomedsharipov]. Everyone other than Zabit.
"I really love my grandfather, and he died one year ago. I told him before he died that my next win would be for him. I have now won for my grandfather, and I really miss him. I want to fight against a top-15 opponent next."
Aguilar, a 31-year-old Texas native, has lost two straight following a nine-fight winning streak.
Turner improved his UFC record to 2-2 with the ninth finish of his career, eighth by KO/TKO. He has won two of his past three fights.
Culibao was the lone debuting fighter on the card. He suffered the first loss of his MMA career. Culibao was the only undefeated fighter on this card at 8-0.
"I've felt like I've always had the skills and I relied on those for so long," Turner said. "Now I'm just working a lot harder and smarter. I showcased everything I wanted. I have to be more patient. I'm still young (24). I was in a rush to get to the UFC for so long and took some stupid fights that put me in tough positions. Now I'm just in a mental space where I can focus on me and get better.
"I've always tried to be really active, but this last break helped me so much. So I was thinking I'd like to fight in July during International Fight Week. That'd be perfect. We'll see. I have my daughter's birthday coming up and my birthday coming up. I don't want to be cutting weight during those times, but I'll fight if the opponent makes sense."
Matthews lifts Meek off his feet with uppercut
Jake Matthews stuns Emil Meek with a dangerous uppercut the puts Meek on the mat. For more UFC, sign up here for ESPN+ http://plus.espn.com/ufc.
Matthews has won back-to-back fights and five of his past six. His nine wins are the second most by an Australian fighter in UFC history, two behind Robert Whittaker, who was born in New Zealand but represents Australia.
Meek lost his third consecutive fight. This was his first fight since July 2018.
"The grappling was definitely part of the game plan," Matthews said. "My corner was telling me not to brawl, but I love a good scrap. I wanted to make up for my last performance. I would have thrown more, but Dan Kelly told me to stop brawling.
"What's next? I'm going to have a beer."
Song won his second consecutive fight with the eighth KO/TKO win of his career. It was the 10th career first-round finish for Song, who now has finished 14 of his 16 career wins.
"I had a lot of different plans for this fight, but knocking him out in the first or second was one of them," Song said. "I would have been ready to go all three rounds and win on points."
Kara-France got back in the win column after suffering his first UFC loss in December. The New Zealand fighter has won nine of his past 10 bouts and moves to 4-1 in the UFC.
"Ever since I started MMA, this was my dream to fight for the UFC in Spark Arena," Kara-France said while choking back tears. "I can finally take this off the bucket list.
I love it when dreams come true!!— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) February 22, 2020
Shot @kaikarafrance 🥳
"This is the best feeling ever, just to feel the energy of my people. They really made me rise to the occasion. This wasn't for myself -- this was for everyone here. This is for the next generation. When I grew up, there was no blueprint to get here. I could feel the fans in my heart, soul and spirit. I felt like it was my ancestors pushing me on.
"It's a privilege and an honor to represent New Zealand on the world stage. This means everything to us. This is the takeover in 2020. It will be massive year for us."
Nam fell to 0-2 in the UFC, with both losses coming by unanimous decision.
Hill's streak isn't just about volume any longer. It's about success too. It was Hill's sixth fight in 11 months, the most within a 12-month stretch for any woman in UFC history. And she has won three straight.
"I fight every day," Hill said. "This is my 9-to-5 job. Yeah, it's just me."
Hill started off the first round strong, finding a home for her hard right hands that clearly bothered Lookboonmee. In the second, Hill also did the most amount of damage, and even when Lookboonmee took her down, Hill was the aggressor on the ground, going for armbars, triangles and elbows. The third was much of the same, with Hill landing hard right hands on the feet and knees to the body in the clinch.
Lookboonmee's best moment of the fight came in the third with a hard front kick to Hill's face.
Afterward, Hill vowed to continue her productive run of fights.
"More wins, more money," she said. "Let's keep it going. Put me back in, man, I'm ready."
Hill, 33, is now tied for second-most strawweight wins in UFC history with seven. The San Diego resident is the first UFC fighter to win two fights in 2020. Hill, the former Invicta FC women's strawweight champ, has won three of four. Lookboonmee (4-2), an experienced Muay Thai fighter out of Thailand, had a two-fight MMA winning streak snapped.
"I think the fast turnaround keeps me out of my head," Hill said. "It keeps me focused on what's next and not the past. I've had a lot of ups and downs in my career. Sometimes that weighs heavy on me in the Octagon. Putting that behind me, I feel like I've emerged as a new fighter."
Cachoeira's 40-second finish is the fastest in women's flyweight history. She snapped a three-fight losing streak with the fifth KO/TKO win of her career due to a vicious uppercut. It is the first win of Cachoeira's UFC career. She famously lost to Valentina Shevchenko in her UFC debut being outlanded 230-3 in total strikes.
Cachoeira cashed in as a +170 underdog, according to Caesars Sportsbook.
It was Dobson's third consecutive loss after winning her UFC debut in December 2017.