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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC 141: LESNAR VS. OVEREEM
DECEMBER 30, 2011
LIVE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA
=====Facebook Preliminary Card Quick Results=====
* Diego Nunes def. Manny Gamburyan via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
* Jacob Volkmann def. Efrain Escudero via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
* Dong Hyun Kim def. Sean Pierson via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
=====Spike TV Prelims=====
-Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan introduce the final live Spike broadcast of UFC fights ever, running down the fights scheduled on tonight's pay-per-view broadcast. First up tonight on the Spike portion is a lightweight bout between Anthony Njokuani and Danny Castillo.
FIGHT ONE: ANTHONY NJOKUANI VS. DANNY CASTILLO (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Njokuani threw a couple of short punches and backed away from Castillo's first shot. He landed a good right as Castillo tried to engage. Castillo landed a kick. Njokuani landed a nice left. Castillo ducked under and completed a takedown. Njokuani stood up, but Castillo stayed on him and slammed him. Njokuani again hopped up, and Castillo landed some hard knees to his thighs. Castillo continued the assault on Njokuani's legs with knees. Njokuani turned around, but Castillo completed the takedown. Castillo rode up his legs and attempt to get to mount, but Njokuani tried to keep his back on the cage. Njokuani got to his feet and tried to land a throw, but Castillo kept control. Njokuani tried for a kimura but it failed. Castillo picked him up again and took him down, then took his back. Njokuani tried to defend as Castillo got both hooks in and went for a choke. Njokuani spun out and grabbed for a guillotine as he stood up, but Castillo picked him up and slammed him to break free. Nice sequence. Njokuani got to his knees and stood as Castillo tried to take his back. Njokuani landed a knee to the body. Njokuani missed a couple of strikes as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Castillo. He's clearly the better grappler, and controlled much of the round, but Njokuani certainly has improved in that area. He was able to counter a lot of what Castillo did, and nearly had a choke of his own, but he can't let the fight go like this for all three rounds.
ROUND TWO: Njokuani came out pawing with his jab in the center. He got in a short combination and backed off. He threw a high kick but it was blocked. He held off a takedown attempt. Njokuani landed a nice left and a big knee. He then landed a throw but didn't complete it as Castillo shot in. It did allow him to get to his feet, though. Njokuani landed a nice short combination. He ducked under a punch and landed one to the body. Njokuani landed another body punch. Castillo shot in, but Njokuani stuffed it, grabbed a Thai clinch and landed a few really nice knees before separating with an elbow. Castillo landed a jab. Njokuani buckled Castillo with a huge right, then landed a big knee as Castillo tried to recover. Castillo, on instinct, completed the takedown. Njokuani held him in his guard. Castillo tried to stay active, but didn't do much in the guard early. Njokuani landed threw him off nicely and got back up. Castillo tripped his leg as the round came to an end.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Njokuani. He buckled him twice and landed a number of really nice strikes. Unfortunately, the takedowns always weigh heavily with judges and a minute and a half on his back may hurt him here.
ROUND THREE: They each got in a couple of jabs early. Castillo shot in, but Njokuani held it off. He completed the takedown against the cage. Njokuani tried to crawl back up, but Castillo held him down, and he's running out of time. Njokuani rolled for a leg bar and used it to get up. He landed a few knees. He got in a jab. He walked Castillo down and landed a few strikes. Castillo got another takedown. Njokuani got to his feet again, but Castillo stayed on him. Njokuani letting it slip out of his hands. Njokuani got loose and landed a couple of strikes. He pressed and landed a nice flurry, but it will be too little, too late.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Castillo. Njokuani simply didn't do much, and Castillo's takedowns here were the factor.
WINNER: Castillo via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**-) The second round was really good, but Njokuani just wasn't able to do much, and Castillo's wrestling game, while effective, just wasn't all that fun to watch tonight.
FIGHT TWO: ROSS PEARSON VS. JUNIOR ASSUNCAO (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Pearson took the center and pressed the action early. Assuncao tried to press him back with a couple of kicks, then he shot in and scored a takedown on the cage. Pearson tried to scramble and got to a knee. Assuncao took his back as Pearson stood up. Pearson turned around and pressed in with a flurry. As they separated, Pearson took the center again. He landed a leg kick. He ducked under a punch from Assuncao. Assuncao threw a high kick that was blocked. Pearson tried to walk him down. Assuncao shot in but ate a knee. Pearson landed a right. Pearson landed a kick and Assuncao shot in again. Pearson held it off on the cage. Assuncao separated with an elbow. Pearson went back to stalking and landed a leg kick. Pearson landed a few strikes as he finally walked Assuncao down. He landed a nice combination in the center and stalked again. Assuncao landed a hard combo. Pearson landed a kick as he got in. Pearson stalked again and landed a strike as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Assuncao. Pearson was pressing the pace, but didn't land much, took a couple of strikes and got taken down himself.
ROUND TWO: Pearson tried to engage early but Assuncao landed a few nice kicks to the body. Assuncao shot in and took Pearson down briefly, but Pearson got back to his feet and got separation. Pearson landed a right, but got hit with two counter punches. Assuncao grabbed a single leg and drove Pearson to the cage. Pearson held it off and Assuncao backed off. Assuncao shot in, but Pearson sprawled and briefly had top position before backing off. Assuncao shot in again, but Pearson again held him off. Pearson landed a nice right and ducked under the counter. Pearson landed a nice combo. He dropped Assuncao with a jab. He landed a body shot, then a knee to the body. He swarmed Assuncao with a combo and Assuncao clinched. Pearson landed a right and a hard knee to the body. He landed another knee, then Assuncao got loose. Assuncao shot again and Pearson held it off. He turned Assuncao around and tripped him. Assuncao tried to grab a leg, got to his feet, and then took Pearson down. He ended the round landing strikes as Pearson scrambled to his feet.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Assuncao. He's simply being more effective than Pearson here, and frustrating him throughout.
ROUND THREE: Pearson landed a hard jab as Assuncao shot in, but Assuncao completed the takedown. He took Pearson's back. Pearson scrambled out and got to his feet in the clinch. They continued to battle for position and Assuncao took him down again. Pearson got back to his feet. He landed a knee as Assuncao shot in. Pearson landed a left in separation. He landed a head kick and a knee, but Assuncao again clinched and grabbed a single leg. Pearson held it off and landed a hard strike. He got in another combination. He landed a few more punches and Assuncao shot in. Pearson held it off as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Pearson. Wasn't enough offense for a 10-8 to make this a draw, but all the offense was Pearson's even though he was frustrated by Assuncao's takedowns.
WINNER: Pearson via unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (*+) Pearson was getting very frustrated by Assuncao's counter-attack, but he was getting in the better offense throughout. I'm a bit surprised he won all three rounds, but he was doing a lot more damage despite getting taken down.
-Goldberg and Rogan break down the night's broadcast and what's to come on this pay-per-view card as they welcome the pay-per-view audience.
FIGHT THREE: NAM PHAN VS. JIM HETTES (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Hettes threw a high kick early and immediately shot in. He landed the takedown into side control. Phan scrambled and Hettes briefly had his back standing. He pulled Phan down. Hettes landed a couple of strikes as Phan walked back up the cage. Hettes grabbed for a guillotine but then let it go. He landed some good strikes from the top in the guard and was putting a beating on Phan. Phan went to his knees and Hettes got his hooks in. Phan got to his back again but ate a bunch of strikes. Phan got back to his feet and Hettes put him on the cage again. Hettes landed a nice uppercut and Phan got separation. Phan landed an uppercut. Hettes shot in and grabbed the clinch again. He pulled off an excellent throw into side control and passed to mount. Phan gave up his arm and Hettes exploded for an armbar. He landed strikes as Phan desperately tried to hold off the hold. Hettes stepped his leg out, hit Phan in the face, and put the leg back over. Phan continued to defend, however, and Hettes went back to mount. He ended the round landing strikes. Awesome start by Hettes.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-8 Hettes. That was a dominant round, and he nearly finished it with both strikes and that armbar attempt.
ROUND TWO: Hettes shot in early but he was held off. He then threw a flying knee, clinched, and took Phan down again. Phan went for a leg lock, but Hettes got out of it and dropped back to half guard. He landed a few big strikes and passed to mount. He went for a choke, but was too far to the side. Phan got out, and Hettes went for a choke, but wound up on his back. Phan landed a few strikes, but Hettes then got to his feet and went back to the clinch. Hettes landed some strikes and knees on the cage. He landed a big knee to the body. Hettes tripped Phan up again and landed a few strikes as Phan tried to get his back to the cage. Phan got back to his feet again. Hettes got in for the clinch again and tried to trip Phan up. He landed a throw into side control again. He landed a few hard punches in side control. Phan rolled over, but Hettes again dragged him back down. He landed some strikes on the way up as Phan stood again. Hettes continued to control the clinch as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Hettes. He's continuing to control the pace and looking really, really good in this fight.
ROUND THREE: Hettes missed a left early. He shot in for a single but Phan held him off. Hettes threw a high kick. Hettes landed a hard left. Phan landed a jab. He got in a short hook, but then Hettes got in and tripped him up again. Phan tried to walk up the cage, but Hettes stayed on him with a knee to the body. Phan stood, and Hettes grabbed a double leg and took him down. Hettes landed more strikes on the cage but Phan got back to his feet. Hettes landed a nice knee as they separated. Phan landed a couple of strikes. Phan landed a hard body punch. Hettes clinched and scored another takedown. He landed more strikes on Phan in the half guard. He grabbed for an arm triangle. Phan defended, but Hettes moved to the mount and started raining down strikes. Phan got back to half guard as Hettes continued landing strikes. Hettes kept landing strikes, and added in some elbows before Phan regained guard. Hettes landed another hard right hand. Hettes continued landing strikes through the final ten seconds to finish the bout strong.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Hettes. This was a great performance from the 24-year-old, a real breakout fight as he dominated the round again.
WINNER: Hettes via unanimous decision (30-25, 30-25, 30-26)
STAR RATING: (**+) That was a fantastic performance by Hettes, and a real message to the rest of the featherweight division that he's someone to watch. He dominated a very solid fighter in Phan, and showed off some extremely smart ground work and very good ground and pound along with his grappling.
FIGHT FOUR: VLADIMIR MATYUSHENKO VS. ALEXANDER GUSTAFSSON (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: After an early feeling out process, Matyushenko tried to reach in with a big overhand right, but it missed. Gustafsson worked his feints early. He missed an uppercut but landed the second strike. He landed a straight kick, but Matyushenko caught it. He got separation and pressed in with some strikes. Gustafsson dropped Matyushenko with a big punch, and followed up with some strikes on the ground. Matyushenko just curled up and the fight was stopped. Replay shows Matyushenko walked into a jab on the button.
WINNER: Gustafsson at 2:13 of the first round
STAR RATING:(**-) There wasn't a lot to the fight, but that's another impressive win for Gustafsson, and he joins Jon Jones as young prospects that have stopped "The Janitor."
FIGHT FIVE: JON FITCH VS. JOHNY HENDRICKS (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Fitch pawed a few strikes that missed. Hendricks landed a left that dropped Fitch! He landed one more that put him out! The ref stepped in as Fitch came to. Wow! Replays show a very good stoppage by Steve Mazzagati, Fitch went cold twice. What a win by Hendricks.
WINNER: Hendricks via KO at :12 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**+) That was incredible. Fitch has only ever been beaten by GSP by decision in the UFC, and Hendricks just finished him in one of the fastest fights in UFC history. That was a perfect punch by Hendricks and he just took Fitch out of contention.
-The preliminary card fight between Dong Hyun Kim and Sean Pierson is replayed.
FIGHT SIX: DONALD CERRONE VS. NATE DIAZ (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Cerrone ran out to the center and threw strikes at Diaz. Diaz clinched and tried to take Cerrone to the ground. Cerrone held it off but ate a couple of punches with his back on the cage. Cerrone landed a knee to the body. Diaz responded in kind. Diaz landed a good strike, and Cerrone responded with a nice right. Diaz landed a good jab. Cerrone landed a leg kick. Cerrone landed a knee to the body. Diaz landed a few good strikes. Cerrone landed a short elbow. Another combination from Diaz. Diaz landed a few more, and Cerrone's taking punishment early. Diaz popped Cerrone's head back again. He pressed him to the cage and landed a few strikes. Diaz continued to throw and land. Cerrone finally circled away. Diaz landed a few more on the cage. Diaz continued to pop in with his strikes. Cerrone landed a leg kick. Diaz landed another jab. He got in a short combo. And another. Cerrone was earring a lot of punches. Diaz with another combo and Cerrone threw a knee. Cerrone landed a head kick. He got in a leg kick, but ate a few more straight punches. Cerrone wasn't moving his head at all and was eating a lot of punches. Diaz landed another short flurry. Cerrone slipped on a high kick but popped up. Diaz blasted him with a combo. Diaz added some body punches into the mix. Cerrone threw a straight kick but couldn't keep Diaz at bay. Diaz with another three punches. Diaz continued picking Cerrone apart. Diaz grabbed a clinch and landed a few strikes. Cerrone landed a knee as the round ended.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Diaz. Not quite enough damage for a 10-8, but Diaz is taking over the fight so far. Very good start for him in that round.
ROUND TWO: Diaz came straight across and landed a couple of strikes. Cerrone landed a hard kick that tripped Diaz up, but Diaz got right back to his feet and landed a combination. He landed a couple more strikes. Cerrone popped in with a knee. He tripped Diaz up again with the leg kick, but didn't go to the ground. Diaz grabbed a clinch and took Cerrone's back standing. Cerrone spun out of it and separated. Diaz continued to stay active with his strikes. Cerrone landed the knee again. Cerrone almost tripped him again. Diaz landed a hard right. Cerrone landed a short forearm, but ate a bunch of punches after. Cerrone landed a head kick that dropped Diaz but he slipped and didn't follow up. Diaz got to his feet. Cerrone kicked his legs out again. Diaz landed another combination. Diaz landed a flurry, but Cerrone popped in with a few strikes. Diaz landed a left hook. He continued to follow up with strikes and Diaz continued the attack. Cerrone tripped Diaz up again. Diaz got up and landed a body punch and an elbow. Cerrone popped in with a left. Diaz with another combination. Cerrone tripped him again. Rogan dropped a gem - "The punches that land are the most dangerous ones". Diaz almost dropped Cerrone. They traded punches. Cerrone threw a knee and ate a right. Diaz landed a couple more. Another flurry from Diaz ends the round.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Diaz. He's out-striking Cerrone by a wide margin, and even though Cerrone was knocking him down with leg kicks, he wasn't doing much.
ROUND THREE: Cerrone landed a right. Diaz landed a good one. Diaz landed a three punch combo and backed away from the counter. Diaz with another flurry. He got in a few punches to the body and head. Cerrone landed a body kick but was tripped up. He got to his feet and Diaz landed a body kick. Diaz with another big combination in the center. Cerrone landed a left but got hit with a bunch more strikes. Cerrone landed a knee to the body. They traded strikes in the center. Diaz popped in with another left. Cerrone tripped Diaz up again but let him stand. Diaz landed a flurry. Cerrone landed a right but got hit with three in a counter. He landed a hard knee to the body. Cerrone ate a few punches but landed a big knee. Diaz continued throwing strikes. He got in a few more strikes. Cerrone tripped him with another kick, but did nothing with it. Diaz came forward with body strikes again. Cerrone got in a short combo. Diaz then landed another of his own. Cerrone landed a flying knee, but it didn't fully land. Diaz with another flurry. He continued landing strikes. Cerrone landed a couple and a head kick to follow up. Diaz slipped on a strike. The started trading bombs as the fight came to a close.
Penick's Scorecard: 10-9 Diaz. Cerrone has a hell of a chin, and got in some more offense that round, but this was all Diaz, and perhaps his most impressive UFC performance.
WINNER: Diaz via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
STAR RATING: (**+) It was a violent scrap, and both fighters landed some big strikes, but Diaz just put on his best performance in this fight. He took more strikes than maybe he could have, but his strikes were on point all fight, and he beat up a fighter that was on a huge run in Cerrone.
-Mike Goldberg interviews Gina Carano cageside.
MAIN EVENT FIGHT SEVEN: BROCK LESNAR VS. ALISTAIR OVEREEM (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Overeem took the center and Lesnar stayed on the outside. Lesnar landed a leg kick. Overeem tried to step in and Lesnar landed a jab. Overeem missed a right and Lesnar ducked in. Lesnar missed a right. Overeem tried to walk him down. Lesnar grabbed a single leg and Overeem shrugged him off. Overeem was already cut on the right eyebrow. Overeem rushed in and landed a knee. Lesnar threw one of his own. Lesnar landed a left. Overeem rushed in with knees to the body. He landed a few strikes and Lesnar backed away. Lesnar caught a leg kick but Overeem popped away. Overeem backed Lesnar up again. Lesnar landed a right. Overeem landed a knee. He landed a body kick and Lesnar dropped to the cage. Lesnar covered up and Overeem continued landing strikes and the fight was stopped. A bit anticlimactic, but Overeem attacked the body early and often to get the win.
WINNER: Overeem via TKO at 2:26 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) A bit of an anticlimactic fight, but Overeem busted Lesnar's body up. Overeem said after that he promised a first or second round stoppage. The body shots were brutal, and for someone that has battled a digestive tract disease, that was not good at all.
-Lesnar gave Overeem respect for his performance. He thanked his training partners. Then said he'd had a rough couple of years, and said this would be the last fight of his career. He said he's officially retired. He said he promised his wife that if he lost this fight he'd be done. He ended saying "Alistair, it's been a pleasure."
-The Diego Nunes-Manny Gamburyan fight is replayed.
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