10 Feb - 
UFC 234: Devonte Smith stings Dong Hyun Ma early, finishes with flurry

Devonte Smith hurt Dong Hyun Ma late in the opening round, then finished with an emphatic burst to remove all doubt.

After stinging him on the feet, it was a flurry of hammerfists from Smith (9-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) as Ma (16-9-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) lay face-down on the mat that forced the TKO stoppage at the 3:53 mark of Round 1.

The lightweight bout served as the featured ESPN prelim at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia. It followed prelims on UFC Fight Pass and preceded the pay-per-view main card.

From the opening moments of the bout, it seemed clear that Smith would likely be the faster man in this match-up. He darted in and out, frustrating Ma’s attempts to get any offense started, all while occasionally battering his calf with low kicks.

A little more than midway through the round, Smith convinced Ma to go walking into a two-punch combination that clearly hurt him, and from there it was only a matter of time.

After a solid left hook to the jaw, a straight right from Smith let the lunging Ma staring down at the canvas. From there, a few hammerfists behind the ear sealed the deal beyond all doubt, forcing referee Herb Dean to jump in and call it off.

“I had to be very patient,” Smith said. “I knew if I was overly anxious in there, I knew he would grapple me and we would have to deal with all of that and it would be dragged out. So I knew I had to stay smart and keep my distance, and when I saw his leg go weak, I knew it was time to go home and do what I do. I’m now going to chill. I’ll be back in Denver training until I get that fight with Francisco Trinaldo, so once I get that fight I’ll be back.”

Smith has now won six in a row, including two straight in the UFC. Ma’s loss snaps a three-fight winning streak.

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For complete coverage of UFC 234, visit the UFC events section of the site.