Matt Frevola (blue gloves) celebrates his victory over Drew Dober...

Matt Frevola (blue gloves) celebrates his victory over Drew Dober (red gloves) in their Lightweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Prudential Center on May 6, 2023 in New Jersey. Credit: Anna Sergeeva/Anna Sergeeva

NEWARK — Standing operating procedure in the MMA sphere when a UFC fight card comes out is to scour the bouts and look for the banger. The one that figures to get the heartbeat racing and the blood pressure soaring as the fighters swing for the faces.

Most every eyeball looking at Saturday’s UFC 288 card at Prudential Center settled in the same spot: Drew Dober vs. Matt Frevola. And once they got there, they likely said “Fight of the Night.”

Frevola, from Huntington, and Dober both tend to throw hands. Wildly and violently. And those hands often end the nights of their opponents.

Frevola and Dober proved everyone correct. And it was Frevola who ended the night of Dober with a first-round TKO.

“It’s just my time. I’m in the prime of my life,” Frevola said. “I’m on a run. I’m going for that title now."

It’s the third straight knockout for Frevola — all in the first round. And it came against a fighter who is tied for the most knockouts (eight) in UFC lightweight history.

“I’m blessed,” Frevola said. "I put in the work, and the hard work is paying off.”

Dober landed a left to the body, but Frevola took it and countered with a devastating right to the chin that dropped Dober. The Serra-Longo fighter then swarmed on the grounded Dober and punched his way to referee Herb Dean stopping the bout at the 4:08 mark of the first round.

“I was just thinking finish, finish, finish,” Frevola said. “He started recovering and I'm just hitting him and I'm getting flashbacks of the [Genaro] Valdez fight where the guy just wouldn't die. But I just kept punching and Herb stopped it.”

Dober was seen yelling “no, no, no, no” to Dean after he stopped the bout but didn’t pursue it any further. Frevola had landed enough strikes to the defenseless Dober to warrant the stoppage.

Frevola (11-3-1) saw some success at the start of the bout as he landed a few kicks to the body and some strikes to the head. Dober (26-12) withstood the barrage and was able to land a few strikes of his own, but Frevola wasn’t to be stopped on this night.

“I'm in shock,” trainer Ray Longo said. “I didn't think we'd get a first-round knockout. That's three in a row.”

Dober was ranked 14th in the UFC lightweight division and the exact type of opponent Frevola had been chasing — a ranked fighter with a name and a penchant for punching.

“It's all going good,” said Frevola, who took photos with Matt Martin, Oliver Wahlstrom and a couple of other Islanders backstage after the bout. “And now it's on to the next. We continue to dream. And I think it all in all leads MSG in November with [Paddy Pimblett.]”

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