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By: Chris Park, MMATorch UK Specialist
For those tuning in for the Spike broadcast tonight, MMATorch's UK Specialist Chris Park was in attendance today for the event, so you can follow along with his thoughts on the event as it took place earlier today. Enjoy!
Just taken our seats at the LG Arena. Feels a lot smaller than most other main arenas but this place is packed to the rafters and ready for action.
Local lad Vaughan Lee will be kicking things off soon in front of his hometown crowd.
Jamie Penick will post results through all of the prelims and I will back for a live Octagon-side update through all of tonight's main card.
Prelim Fight One: Chris Cariaso def. Vaughan Lee via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Prelim Fight Two: Che Mills def. Chris Cope via TKO at :40 of the first round
Prelim Fight Three: Michihiro Omigawa def. Jason Young via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Prelim Fight Four: Philip De Fries def. Rob Broughton via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Prelim Fight Five: John Maguire def. Justin Edwards via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Chris Park back here. The prelims are in the books and this crowd is seriously starting to warm up.
John Maguire has just put on the performance of his life and will now be a cult hero with UK MMA fans all over.
Che Mills was another standout with a 40-second TKO victory over Chris Cope.
Disappointment for both Vaughan Lee and Jason Young but both are deserving of another shot in the UFC.
The UFC montage is now playing with some of the best moments from the last year as we lead in to the main live broadcast.
Thiago Alves has just appeared on the big screen and the crowd went nuts.
An even bigger cheer for Brad Pickett.
Munoz says this won't go past two rounds - "bombs are gonna fly and im gonna finish Chris Leben"
It feels like forever since we last saw Terry Etim in the Octagon. As he has been saying its what happens from now that counts.
I for one was very dissapointed we didnt get to see him and Joe Lauzon clash and that is one bout i would love to see in the future.
BUT.... Faaloloto is not to be taken lightly.
Faalploto just apologised for having to cause Etim to lose in front of his home town. Well we are actually in a city called Birmingham, and Etim is from a city called Liverpool, which is quite far from here, but we are all British and so we all know one another right?
Etim is walking in to Phil Collins classic "In The Air Tonight" much to the crowds delight
FIGHT ONE: TERRY ETIM VS. EDWARD FAALOLOTO (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Bruce Buffer gets us started and the midlands crowd goes nuts.
Huge reception for Etim. The comeback starts here! Wow!!! That was insane !!!
Frantic pace. Etim catches Faalaloto with a spinning back kick. Faalaloto caught the kick but Etim jumps up for the guillotine.
They drop, it's tight, he taps!!!
WINNER: Etim via submission (guillotine choke) at :17 of the very first round
Rogan calls it as close to a perfect performance you can get. Etim talks of his frustration at being out so long.
But by hell he is back!
FIGHT TWO: CYRILLE DIABATE VS. ANTHONY PEROSH (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Missed the early part of the round, bathroom break after Etim's win. Diabate landing some leg kick early . Good body shot landed as well. The majority of the round was spent with Perosh on top.
ROUND TWO: Diabate stalking. Fight hits the mat and Perosh ends up in the mount position. He takes Diabate's back but can't pull off the submission.
Perosh working an arm triangle but diabate escapes. Perosh takes his back, hooks
are in and he begins to rain shots down on Diabate. He sinks in a rear naked choke and the Frenchman is forced to tap.
WINNER: Diabate via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:09 of the second round
-Rashad Evans appears on screen and the boos echo through the LG Arena.
-A Matt Hughes video is show. with Frank Trigg, B.J. Penn and Dana White expressing how big a deal this guy is.
"The greatest Champion," says Trigg.
"He built us," says Penn.
It's the return of the Pitbull but he may just have his hands full. Why do I have a feeling this is going to be fight of the night?
Abedi is wearing a flat cap, smoking a cigar while dancing to the Octagon. Abedi is a huge at 170. Thiago Alves enters the arena to warm reception. Remember he knocked Matt Highes out in his last UK outing so a very happy hunting ground for that man
Alves is ready. Is this gonna be a war? Or is Alves going to expose Abedi? Define tension between these two.
FIGHT THREE: THIAGO ALVES VS. PAPY ABEDI (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Abedi crawls out Jon Jones style. They both engage early. Front kick lands by Abedi. He pins Alves against the cage with a body kick. Hard body kick lands for Alves. Abedi lands and then a knee he is getting the better of this so far.
As I speak Alves lands a hard strike and wobbles Abedi. The Pitbull swarms and rains down strikes. This looks close, again the ref again looks like he changes his mind at the point of contact.
More strikes and Abedi gives up his back. Alves sinks a rear naked choke and wow there's something in the air here. Alves wins by submission
WINNER: Alves via submission (rear naked choke) at 3:32 of the first round
"Is that your first submission victory?" Rogan asks.
"Yes it is," Alves beamed.
"The pitbull is back," states Rogan.
Amazing win by Alves.
People have criticized this card to death but once again the fights are top drawer. We already have a headache on deciding submission of the night.
It's time for Pickett vs Barao. Both look wild in the highlights shown.
This could be something special. Remember Pickett isn't as well known here as he is in the states. He has a big reputation but there was zero coverage of the WEC here so tonight is his coming out party.
Out he walks in trilby hat, vest, braces and newspaper. He's been doing this for years but now he has done it in the UFC
FIGHT FOUR: BRAD PICKETT VS. RENAN BARAO (BANTAMWEIGHT)
The co-main event gets started and the crowd goes crazy ad Pickett is introduced. This is amazing to see. I remember interviewing Pickett before he was in the WEC and now here he is a making his UFC debut.
ROUND ONE: They wildly engage early both landing hard. Someone's going to sleep in this one. Flying knee misses by Barao. Big right by Pickett although his eye looks cut from here. Crowd chants "Pickett, Pickett, Pickett."
They engage again with Pickett stalking against the cage. Both land hard again. And again. Big knee to the head by Barao and a right hand drops Pickett down. The follow up flurry is vicious - Pickett is hurt badly. He survives but Barao takes his back and in an instant rolls him over. Takes a while but Pickett is forced to tap.
That was a crazy pace from the start. The flying knee was the beginning of the end.
WINNER: Barao via submission (rear naked choke) at 4:09 of the first round
Barao tried to do some flip celebration but fell on his ass much to the crowd's delight.
The way he took Pickett's back was very impressive; he grabbed hold and then just swung himself around Pickett. Very disappointing for Pickett in his UFC debut.
Good job this main event is five rounds and we have had four of our five main card fights already. And we are only 1hr 20min in!
The main montage begins for the main event. Both fighters insisting that this is not gonna last long.
"Don't blink," says Munoz.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT FIVE: MARK MUNOZ VS. CHRIS LEBEN (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
The main event is set. Munoz gets a good reception. Leben gets a better one. It was right here a few years back he lost to Michael Bisping. He won the fans over that night and as he walked in to mad world. He clearly still has them with him.
I'm not sure if Leben has contacts in or not but his eyes look scary.
I may just be posting a result on this one guys!!!
Some nutter just jumped the fence and into the Octagon while Leben and Munoz are standing there.
Good Job security in whipping him straight out
ROUND ONE: The first ever five-round non title fight main event gets started. Leben has his hands up and is ready. Munoz gets the takedown early. Clearly his way to win this one. Leben lands an elbow from the bottom. Leben pushes up against the cage and is back to his feet. They tussle for control and stray to throw wildly. Leben takes Munoz down and then throws. Leben lands against the cage . Huge slam by Leben, Munoz back to the feet and ends up in top of Leben in side control. Munoz rains down big strikes and is working for a choke. Munoz lands big but Leben fires back. He's like a zombie coming forward. The sticks sound and Leben goes in for it.
ROUND TWO: The second round gets started. They touch gloves. Leben stalking back Munoz against cage. Munoz reverses and takes Leben down. Munoz throws down strikes. Heavy shots landing here.
Leben looks out on his feet but gets up and fires back. Munoz is on top again, lands heavy and hits again. Leben reverses and is working a choke here. Leben's eye is bleeding quite bad. Doc comes in are they gonna call this off?
Leben says he's fine. Were back on.
Leben lands a barrage. Munoz then slips out and tries to take his back. Lands shots to the body and then the head as Leben gets back to his feet. Leben is bleeding even more from here. Come to think of it there's not been much blood tonight.
Bizarre; they are both on there knees winging shots at each other
This is war and Leben is losing. The crowd erupts with boos as the doctor calls off the fight after the round.
A real shame as this was a war. But Leben was bleeding a lot.
They said it wouldn't go past two rounds and it didn't. Bruce buffer announces that the corner of Chris Leben call an end an Mark Munoz takes the TKO win.
WINNER: Munoz via TKO (corner stoppage) at 5:00 of the second round
The crowd are booing. Munoz said he has paid his dues and wants a title shot. Anderson Silva is pound for pound best but he wants a title shot even though they are friends
Leben said he needs to evaluate his ground game. He said a good man knows when he is beaten and he was beaten tonight.
A very humble Leben.
One comment Leben made to Rogan was that it's "impossible to fight when you're choking on blood."
This was a real shame but in all honesty Munoz was putting a beating on Leben. He used his wrestling very well here and has some serious power of his own.
Very good game plan and a great win for Munoz. Not sure how close to a shot this takes him but he is certainly making the right noises in getting that shot.
Well thats UFC 138 in the books and despite the criticism of this card that was one hell of a night of fights.
We will be recording a special of The ESPN UFC Podcast tomorrow so don't forget to tune in!
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
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