It could not have been “The Reply” the group wished on the finish — not by a protracted shot — however Frankie Edgar’s MMA profession got here to a detailed Saturday evening.
Edgar, in what he has introduced as his last struggle, fell exhausting towards Chris Gutierrez through a brutal knee knockout at 2:01 of the primary spherical on the primary card of UFC 281 at Madison Sq. Backyard.
A proud native of Toms River, N.J., Edgar will finish his profession 24-11 with 11 finishes.
“I like this sport, man,” an injured Edgar advised the group within the cage, after UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan requested if he would consent to an interview. “I didn’t wanna exit like that. This sport’s a b—h.”
The struggle remained on the toes for its quick period, and Gutierrez (19-4-1, 10 finishes) stung Edgar together with his notoriously heavy leg kicks early.
Chris Gutierrez knocks out Frankie Edgar within the first spherical. Getty Pictures
Frankie Edgar is emotional after the final bout of his profession. Zuffa LLC
However Edgar’s chin, as soon as famed for absorbing blow after blow earlier than proving a legal responsibility lately, couldn’t stand up to Gutierrez’s energy. The knee that despatched Edgar backward stiffly to the mat induced his third consecutive knockout loss in brutal trend — all through knees or kicks towards a number of the heaviest hitters at 135 kilos.
A loud “Fran-kie, Ed-gar” chant sounded out from the Backyard crowd shortly earlier than the bout was made official and never lengthy after Gutierrez gave his opponent a protracted and respectful embrace, because the surefire future Corridor of Famer sat on the stool he needed to be raised as much as sit upon.
On his strategy to the again, Edgar shared an embrace together with his spouse and kids.
Edgar, who reigned because the UFC light-weight champion from 2010-12, made his title on his capability to beat early adversity towards bigger opponents. In his last years of competitors, he had dropped all the best way all the way down to bantamweight — weighing in 20 kilos lower than when he dominated the 155-pound division.
Frankie Edgar is helped to his toes after his defeat. AP
All through the week, nearly all of the athletes on the struggle card and in New York for the festivities had shared what Edgar’s profession meant to them. Many cited his fight-of-the-year draw towards Grey Maynard in 2011 — a championship bout wherein Edgar rallied from a disastrous first body to retain the bel — as his most memorable. Edgar put an exclamation level on the rivalry with a fourth-round knockout of the bigger Maynard 10 months later.
Gutierrez, a Jersey Metropolis native who trains in Colorado, prolonged his unbeaten streak to eight fights and secured the highest-profile victory of his profession.