As the rest of the sporting world continues to wait patiently for a return to action, the UFC remains full steam ahead following UFC 249 on Sunday.
The pay per view card was thrown into turmoil when a fighter tested positive ahead of the event, but the card went off without a hitch and became the talk of the sporting world.
Less than a week later the fights returned with UFC Fight Night in Jacksonville, Florida. A blockbuster card was highlighted by a main event showdown between Anthony Smith and Glover Texeira.
But it was earlier in the card that sent social media into a spin when Gabriel Benitez suffered a sickening injury to his shin.
Catch up on all of the action from UFC Jacksonville below.
FANS SAVAGE FIGHTER’S CORNER
Anthony “Lionheart” Smith earned his nickname on Thursday, but it was 40-year-old Glover Teixeira who was far too strong on the day.
Smith was in complete control in the opening round and into the second, but Teixeira turned the tables with a monster punch that rocked Smith’s foundations.
From that point on it was one-way traffic as Teixeira landed enormous punch after enormous punch. A left hook in the third round dropped Smith to the canvas face first, but he miraculously survived.
The onslaught continued into the fourth round as Smith’s face quickly turned into a mess of blood and swelling. But again he survived the round before telling his corner “my teeth are falling out”. Fans watching on couldn’t believe the fight kept going with Smith’s corner not throwing the towel before Teixeira earned the TKO stoppage victory in the fifth round.
“This did not need to happen. Sometimes you’ve got to save your fighter,” Daniel Cormier said in commentary.
UFC legend Michael Bisping told ESPN it was “sickening” for Smith’s corner to send him out for the final rounds while UFC commentators labelled it “criminal”.
SICKENING INJURY STUNS FANS
Omar Morales walked out with the unanimous victory decision after a brutal three-round war, but it was Gabriel Benitez who stole the limelight with a sickening injury.
Benitez suffered a deep laceration in the opening round of the fight to his right shin, but pushed through to the final bell. The blood continued to trickle down his leg as the fight unfolded but after the final bell, ESPN opted to show a close up of the injury, leaving viewers squirming in their seats.
Benitez decided to show off his injury to his followers by uploading an image of the deep cut to his Instagram account.
BIG BOYS THROW BOMBS
Ben Rothwell and Ovince Saint Preux stood toe-to-toe right until the final horn as they let their hands fly.
Rothwell showed in the early going of the fight he had the upper hand as he landed the better shots and put his body on Saint Preux, but a big left hand in the latter stages of the second round flipped the script.
In the final round the two men let it all out and it was again Saint Preux who had the better of the exchanges as he landed several powerful shots in the dying seconds and floored Rothwell after the horn.
But it was Rothwell who walked out the victor, earning the split decision win.
‘RELENTLESS’ STAR TEES OFF
Drew Dober put on a punching clinic against Alexander Hernandez in the second round of their fight and forced referee Herb Dean to step in and wave the contest off.
In a back and forth opening round, Hernandez showed off his speed as he landed shots from all angles and took Dober down to the canvas. But in the second the fight was as one-sided as they come with Dober pushing Hernandez all around the octagon.
Then Dober found his spots and began landing heavy bomb after bomb that found a home on the head of Hernandez who could do nothing to defend himself.
SLUGFEST GOES THE DISTANCE
A brilliant fight between Ray Borg and Ricky Simon went the distance with Simon earning the split decision victory.
The two men traded heavy shots throughout the three rounds as they landed cleanly in stand up and when the tussle went to the canvas. In the end fight fans had it an easy decision victory for Simon, but one judge saw it differently and handed the victory to Borg. Of course the remaining judges handed it to Simon who got it done.
HELLACIOUS KNOCKOUT ROCKS JACKSONVILLE
The short notice to take up the fight didn’t affect Brian Kelleher who absolutely rocked opponent Hunter Azure in the second round with a lunging left hook that landed right on the button and dropped Azure to the canvas.
Kelleher moved up a weight class and took on the fight at late notice but made his presence felt in the second round after Azure got the better of the exchanges in the opener.
But it was in the second round with just under 90 seconds left on the clock that Kelleher unleashed with a reaching left hook before landing a hammer first before the fight was called off.
FULL JACKSONVILLE CARD + RESULTS
Glover Teixeira defeated Anthony Smith via TKO (punches), 1:04 of round 5
Ben Rothwell defeated Ovince Saint Preux by unanimous decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Drew Dober defeated Alexander Hernandez via TKO (punches), 4:25 of round 2
Ricky Simon defeated Ray Borg via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Andrei Arlovski defeated Philipe Lins via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Thiago Moises defeated Michael Johnson via submission (heel hook), 0:25 of round 2
Sijara Eubanks defeated Sarah Moras by unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 30-26)
Omar Morales defeated Gabriel Benitez by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28 x2)
Brian Kelleher defeated Hunter Azure via KO (punches), 3:40 of round 2
Chase Sherman defeated Ike Villanueva via TKO (punches and elbows), 0:49 of round 2