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With his welterweight title contention hanging in the balance in Round 3, Jack Della Maddalena took his future out of the judges' hands by seizing the momentum and violently stopping veteran Gilbert Burns. 

The second bout of the UFC 299 pay-per-view main card proved to be an exciting one as the 37-year-old Burns, widely ahead on two of three scorecards and in complete control due to his dominant grappling in the final round, saw a sure-fire victory get snatched when his Australian opponent reversed position on the ground before catching with a flush knee to the face as he stood up. 

Della Maddalena (17-2) improved his unbeaten UFC record to 7-0 as he jumped all over a wounded Burns (22-7) to finish him via vicious ground-and-pound, which forced referee Dan Miragliotta to save the bloody native of Brazil at 3:43 of Round 3. 

The biggest win of Della Maddalena's two-plus years in the UFC was also his 17th straight overall after losing both of his first two pro fights in 2016. Given Burns' ranking of No. 4 heading in at 170 pounds, the No. 11 Della Maddalena announced himself in a big way as, potentially, the biggest future threat to Leon Edwards' title. 

To make sure there was no doubt about his true intentions, Della Maddalena, 27, used his post-fight interview inside the Octagon to call out the division's uncrowned champion in waiting, 18-0 Shavkat Rakhmonov.  

"It feels good. My plan was to come here and grab and dash the cash," Della Maddalena said. "There are some scary people in this division but I'm f---ing scary. Shavkat Rakhmonov, I think you and I would make a hell of a title eliminator. He's one of the best in the business. Let's go."

The fight against Burns was competitive throughout, despite the lead Burns had built on the scorecards. Both of the opening rounds could've been scored either way as Burns mixed looping right hands with timely takedowns opposite the steady combination boxing and stance switches of the defensively sound Della Maddalena. 

Burns went on to control Round 3 with chain wrestling until Della Maddalena created the late opening. 

"[Burns] stayed in there a long time," Della Maddalena said. "He's the man." 

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