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Hayder Hassan Fights His Way Back Into TUF 25 Tournament

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During last week’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption two fighters were selected to compete in the wildcard fight to gain a rebirth back in the welterweight tournament. Season 2’s Joe Stevenson from Team Dillashaw and TUF 21’s Hayder Hassan were given a second opportunity at $250,000 and a shot at a UFC contract.

Stylistically, Hassan wanted to keep the fight standing while Stevenson planned to take the action to the ground where he had an advantage. Hassan pressed the action and took the fight to Stevenson. “Joe Daddy” looked for an early takedown, but Hassan easily defended the attempt. Hassan closed the distance and landed an uppercut that sent Stevenson crashing to the canvas. Hassan followed up with two more punches before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. The bout lasted 18 seconds.

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Coach Cody Garbrandt didn’t like the matchup because Stevenson had fought six days prior in a two-round fight that he took some shots in. After the bout, he and Coach T.J. Dillashaw had words about the selection after the knockout.

“It was bittersweet. Hayder is a knockout artist. I’m a big fan of Hayder, but it was bittersweet seeing Joe get knocked out,” said Garbrandt. “He was in a fight six days before that in a fight that he was pretty hurt in.”

“It was hard to fight a guy like Joe. I have a lot of respect for Joe. He’s fought for the world title. He’s done amazing things in the sport,” said Hassan after the win. “That’s what’s hard about his sport. You’ve got to fight your friends. You’ve got to fight your brothers. You’ve got to fight your teammates. It’s the nature of the game, the nature of the beast. It was do or die and what you saw is what I’m capable of.”

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