Two of the heavier hitters in the UFC’s light heavyweight division threw down during the prelims of UFC Vegas 52 on Saturday night, as Tyson Pedro took on Ike Villanueva.
Pedro came in riding a two-fight losing streak after being stopped by Ovince St. Preux and Shogun Rua respectively. Pedro had not fought since losing to Rua in 2018, going through multiple ACL surgeries during his absence, and made his long-awaited return to the octagon in one of the more exciting match-ups on the card.
Villanueva was also on a two-fight losing streak, with KO losses to both Marcin Prachnio and Nicolae Negumereanu.
In an explosive match-up between two men with serious stopping power, something would have to give.
Pedro opened a very low-action affair in the early going with a leg kick; the ref then warned both fighters for having their fingers extended. Mind you, they’d have to throw something for that to become a concern. Through the first two minutes, Pedro had thrown nothing but kicks. Villanueva worked his jab, then was caught low with a kick that briefly halted the action.
Back underway, Pedro fired a low kick immediately followed by one to the body. Pedro finally uncorked a right hand, and followed up with a knee — square to the groin. A longer break, this time, for Villanueva to recover.
As they got going again, Ike fired a right hand, Pedro hit home with a leg kick. Pedro would land a couple more of those, and Villanueva was feeling them. His motion was hampered, which made closing the distance an issue. Just as the end of the round was nearing, Pedro got his hands going, hurt Villanueva, and sat him down with another outside leg kick. Right hands followed, and Villanueva’s night was over.
WELCOME BACK @TYSON_PEDRO_ 💥 #UFCVegas52 pic.twitter.com/FlnEpPXLwm
— UFC (@ufc) April 24, 2022
Official Result: Tyson Pedro def. Ike Villanueva by TKO, Round 1, 4:55