Dominick Cruz made his long awaited return to the Octagon -- and when I say "long awaited", I mean some three years -- tonight (Sat., Sept. 27, 2014) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, to take on Takeya Mizugaki on the preliminary card of the UFC 178: "Johnson vs. Cariaso" pay-per-view (PPV).
There were question marks, of course. After so many devastating injuries and multiple setbacks while recovering from those injuries, no one could know for sure if this would be the Cruz who dominated the bantamweight division before getting hurt.
Wonder no longer. Answer: He's just as good as ever.
Cruz used his trademark footwork to great effect early on, avoiding any damage from Mizugaki as he threw punches that couldn't find a home. Then, Cruz snagged a takedown and from there, he laid in with heavy shots. One of them hurt Mizugaki, then another, and another, and another.
It took the referee far too long, but he finally stopped it when it was obvious beyond a shadow of a doubt that Cruz had knocked Mizugaki senseless.
He did it in just 61 seconds.
For complete UFC 178 results and blow-by-blow coverage of all the night's action click here.