At UFC 217 on Saturday night as Madison Square Garden, struggling former champion Johnny Hendricks looked the get his career back on track against Brazil’s Paulo Borrachinha. It wasn’t to be.
Arguably the biggest event of the promotion’s year, UFC 217 was a night of champions, featuring three title fights at the top of the card. The main card, airing on PPV, opened with a former champion however: Johny Hendricks. Hendricks, 1-4 in his last five and coming off a loss to Tim Boetsch, was desperately in need of a win against the undefeated Paulo Costa, a.k.a. Paulo Borrachinha.
The Brazilian opened the action with a body kick early, and almost immediately, Hendricks was showing some discomfort. He would find himself backpedaling and looking to escape; the obvious avenue of a takedown didn’t seem to be there early. Hendricks would run into a knee on one shot in, and Borrachinha was able to keep the fight standing. His punches were connecting, as he walked Hendricks down, while the former champ’s counters fell short.
“Bigg Rigg” would finally turn it on with just over a minute remaining, unloading with a flurry of punches and a leg kick that got the crowd into the action. He could not keep the volume up, but it did seem to get his jab going. Borrachinha would whiff on a spinning back kick late in the round, and they’d continue to trade to the buzzer.
Round two was a firefight from the get-go, with Hendricks being clipped multiple times. The Brazilian added high kicks to his output, but it was a series of hard punches by Paulo Costa along the cage that would finish the deal. The ref came in to save the day, keeping Hendricks from taking any more unnecessary damage.
Where Hendricks goes from here remains to be seen.
Paulo Borrachinha def. Johny Hendricks by TKO, Round 2, 1:23