Daniel Pineda’s journey back to the UFC has been anything but traditional, but at UFC 252, for the first time in six years, he stepped into the octagon. After detours in Bellator MMA and the PFL, a failed drug test that saw two wins in a single night overturned, and barely two weeks of training camp, Pineda returned to the biggest stage in the sport to face Herbert Burns.
The always dangerous Herbert Burns. The jiu-jitsu expert. The man who called Pineda “more dangerous than Alexander Volkanovski.” And an opponent who missed weight Friday by a considerable margin.
Pineda opened up the affair with a leg kick and a big overhand right. Another exchange on the feet followed, then Burns took the fight down. Pineda popped back up, and Burns stayed on him. Pineda snuck in an elbow, reversed, and took Burns down. A dangerous tactic, given Burns qualifications and the fact the pair were dry. Still, Pineda managed to work in some nasty ground n’ pound including a smashing elbow. Just a ton of damage was the outcome of Pineda’s time on top, and he stayed busy until the end of the round.
Herbert Burns started the second with an immediate takedown. While Pineda worked his way back up, the Brazilian dragged him down again, taking the back and trapping a leg. Pineda began elbowing his opponent’s thigh, but Burns was able to move to mount, working on an arm triangle choke. Using a combination of punches and bucking free, Pineda scrambled up, was dragged back down, but reversed. He moved to half guard, and immediately began landing some short punches.
Pineda then managed to move to mount, then to a crucifix position, trapping Burns and landing elbows and punches to the head. The ref urged Burns to fight back; when he couldn’t, with Burns split open, he called it — giving Daniel Pineda a huge win in his return.
RELENTLESS GnP from @DanielPitPineda ends it!! What a performance! #UFC252 pic.twitter.com/xOfBJExBsP
— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) August 16, 2020
Six years away, a short-notice fight, and cutting 27lbs in two weeks. Despite all those obstacles, Pineda’s UFC return was well worth the wait.
Official Result: Daniel Pineda def. Herbert Burns by TKO, Round 2, 4:37