Tyson Pedro wins by knockout on his return to the UFC after record-breaking layoff
Aussie fighter Tyson Pedro wins in stunning style with a knockout on his return to the UFC after a record-breaking three-year hiatus due to a string of horror injuries
- Pedro freezes Ike Villanueva in the first round of their fight at UFC Vegas 52
- Aussie was out of the octagon for 1239 days due to a knee injury
- Had three major knee surgeries and tore his meniscus twice during training
After spending a record 1,239 days outside the octagon, Australian fighter Tyson Pedro had plenty of frustrations to work out – and he did to his opponent Ike Villanueva when he won a first round knockout at UFC Vegas 52.
The Sydney west light heavyweight finished the proceedings by knocking Villanueva off his feet with a nasty leg kick before landing two devastating right uppercuts that forced the referee to rush in and wave the fight off.
Pedro was in control from the start and used those leg kicks to great effect before accidentally catching Villanueva in the groin with a knee forcing him to take a medical time-out.
After the fight, Pedro told former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier that the massive layoff had improved him as a fighter.
“It’s surreal right now…I can’t even put into words how hard it has been. Four long years,’ he said.
“If you’ve seen some of my last fights, they were rushed. It was a bit amateurish.
“One thing that has happened is that my mentality has gotten a lot better. I am much more patient.
“This is the proudest thing I can say of myself in a long time.”
Pedro (left) dodges a shot from Villanueva. He controlled the fight from start to finish with devastating leg kicks
No UFC star has ever been sidelined for longer than the 30-year-old, who underwent three major knee surgeries during his timeout, as well as tore his meniscus twice in training.
He suffered a heartbreaking setback about 18 months after his discharge when he learned his rehab had gone very wrong during a conversation with NRL star Andrew Fifita.
“There was a certain point in my recovery, about 18 months into it, where we were talking about what I could and couldn’t do,” Pedro told Dean. Daily Telegram†
‘And he [Fifita] said to me “bro, this isn’t right…you should be able to do (a lot more) now”.’
“He wanted me to go to Cronulla physio and let me in to see him. And it was such luck that he did.
This straight didn’t land – but the two uppercuts Pedro threw to end the fight were right on the button, prompting the referee to intervene
“I feel like I’m in a dream right now,” said Pedro after his win
“The Sharks eventually sent me to another surgeon who said my ACL wasn’t properly tunnelled, and this was after 18 months of recovery.
‘The new surgeon told me they could do it’ [an operation] that would support the knee or they could start over. So we started all over again.’
Pedro admitted that “there were some tears” after undergoing his second surgery, but the support of Fifita and the Sharks got him through it.
The fight was Pedro’s eighth win due to a first-round stoppage.
“First of all someone has to get my daughter for me and then book me another fight because daddy has to be paid,” he said in the octagon after the win.
“I feel like I’m in a dream right now,” he wrote on Instagram.