--Alex Caceres def. Damacio Page by submission (triangle choke) at 1:27 of the second round
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FIGHT ONE: RAFAEL DOS ANJOS VS. ANTHONY NJOKUANI
ROUND ONE: Marco Rosales is the third man in the cage. Dos Anjos comes out fighting southpaw. Dos Anjos lands a big left hand and gets a solid takedown. Nkokuani up, and they separate. Two minutes into the round. Njokuani working the jab now. Leg kick by Dos Anjos. Another one, very heavy as well. Dos Anjos is being very aggressive, pressing forward whenever possible. Straight kick to the body by Njokuani backs Dos Anjos off for a moment. Nice duck under by Dos Anjos, going for a double against the cage, but he has to give it up. Dos Anjos has an underhook up against the cage. Knees to the thigh by Dos Anjos. Njokuani spins free with thirty seconds left. Nice body kick by Njokuani, partially checked. 10-9 Dos Anjos Dos Anjos is eating some body kicks, but he’s controlling the round so far.
ROUND TWO: Dos Anjos missed a leg kick and ate a body kick from Njokuani. Dos Anjos is still throwing leg kicks with high frequency. Nice right hook by Dos Anjos, but he took a leg kick for his efforts. Dos Anjos has landed 20 leg kicks so far, per UFC stats. Dos Anjos ducks under, shoots a double into the cage. Njokuani’s on his butt, sitting against the fence. Njokuani gives up his back in order to get to his feet. Njokuani spins, and Dos Anjos loses the back. Dos Anjos is working hard against the fence for the takedown. Dos Anjos trips him, and gets the takedown in the middle of the cage with about two minutes left in the round. Dos Anjos trying to pass to half-guard, and get gets it. Looking for an arm, but Njokuani slips out and gets to his feet. Dos Anjos has a body lock up against the fence. Dos Anjos is relentlessly pursuing the takedown. Failed to get a suplex, but gets right back for the double, and plants Njokuani yet again. Half-guard. Dos Anjos is trying to get a guillotine from the top. Not going to get it. 10-9 Dos Anjos
ROUND THREE: Njokuani told his corner at the end of the first round that he broke his right hand. Njokuani comes out with a head kick that misses, follows up with a couple front kicks. Not a lot of action in this round, lots of circling, not much throwing. Njokuani’s finding his range, as dos Anjos seems content to circle and get a decision victory here. Njokuani’s landing the jab now. Short kknee by Njokuani lands, but Dos Anjos shot a double as soon as it landed. Dos Anjos has Njokuani up against the fence. Dos Anjos lifts Njokuani high in the air, but Njokuani landed on his feet when being slammed. Well defended. Dos Anjos gets the same position, and this time he gets the slam takedown. Half-guard. That’s got to be 5 or 6 takedowns tonight for Dos Anjos. One minute left. Dos Anjos is landing short elbows to the head from half-guard. Bac to full guard, and Dos Anjos is throwing multiple shots now. Njokuanis gets to standing, and Dos Anjos presses him up against the fence. 10-9 Njokuani. 29-28 Dos Anjos Third round could go either way. Dos Anjos won this fight, though, 29-28 at worst, as there’s no case to be made for Njokuani in the first or second rounds.
WINNER: Rafael Dos Anjos by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**) Njokuani is fun to watch. I mean, who doesn’t like human kicking machines? But dos Anjos is clearly the better fighter. The fight itself was nothing special. Just a run of the mill mi-level fight.
FIGHT TWO: T.J. DILLASHAW VS. VAUGHAN LEE
ROUND ONE: The referee for this fight is Jason McCoy. Short flurry from Dillashaw thirty seconds backs Lee off briefly. Lee lands a nice combination at the one minute mark to even things up. Lee misses with a wild high kick, which leads to Dillashaw taking him down. Lee gets back up, but Dillashaw has his back. Dillashaw is riding Lee with both hooks in. Dillashaw is looking for a choke, and he’s close. It’s a neck crank right now, and Lee taps out as he collapses to the canvas.
WINNER: T.J. Dillashaw by submission (rear naked choke) at 2:33 of round one.
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**+) Why in God’s name would you throw a wild headkick from distance against a premium wrestler? Never trust Vaughan Lee’s fight IQ from this point forward. That said, Dillashaw is no joke, and he might be ready for the top ten of the division with one or two more similar performances. That was very impressive.
FIGHT ONE: FRANCIS CARMONT VS. KARLOS VEMOLA
ROUND ONE: Carmont has a ridiculous 78” reach, which is three inches more than Vemola’s reach. The great Josh Rosenthal has been tasked to referee this fight. Vemola circling early as Carmont takes the middle of the cage. Vemola follows up a leg kick with a double leg, which Carmont stuffs. Scramble, body lock, and Vemola takes him down to side mount. Carmont gets him back to butterfly guard. Reversal, and Back to standing. Vemola looking for a standing guillotine against the cage. Carmont reverses Vemola into the cage, but his neck is still at risk. Carmont on top now, but his neck is still stuck. His neck is out, and hr’s on top, against the cage. Side mount now for Carmont. Carmont gets mount, and he’s looking for an Americana. Vemola rolls to his stomach and back to his back, and it got his arm out of trouble, and he improved to half-guard. Vemola escapes to his feet, and we’re back to the middle with 1:15 left. Nice grappling. Carmont ducks under and shoots a double. He gets the takedown, but it’s another guillotine attempt for Vemola. It’s deep, but Vemola doesn’t have Carmont’s body well controlled. Carmont escapes with twenty seconds left. Full guard. 10-9 Carmont Fun grappling.
ROUND TWO: BIG front kick to the jaw by Carmont to start the round, reminiscent of Silva on Belfort. Amazingly, Vemola walked right through it and is working a double leg against the fence. Wow. Carmont working a guillotine on his feet, Vemola ducks down, gets out of it, and has Carmont up against the fence. I love this fight. Carmont gets him down, and has a back position crucifix. How did he get that position?! Transitions to a rear naked choke, and Vemola can’t get out of this too, can he? Nope. What a fantastic fight. There was some seriously high level stuff in this fight.
WINNER: Francis Carmont by submission (rear naked choke) at 1:39 of round two.
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (***+) This was a highly entertaining fight. There’s been a dearth of fun grappling exchanges lately, so whenever I get to see anything that even resembles unique grappling, I eat it up. That said, there was some powerful stuff going on here, and it would behoove you to find a video of this fight.
FIGHT ONE: KENNY ROBERTSON VS. AARON SIMPSON
ROUND ONE: Marcos Rosales will be the rferee for this bout. Simpson takes the center of the cage right off. Both gues waste no time throwing haymakers. Robertson with a body lock and a knee to the gut as he presses Simpson into the cage. Simpson trying to reverse with his over-under. Rosales calling for action, and Simpson reverses position. They separate without incident. Bog shots to the body by Simpson, and Robertson responds with a knee as he gets pressed into the fence. One of those shots cut Robertson open on the forehead. Maybe a headbutt? Simpson gets a takedown, but Robertsom uses a whizzer to get back up. He lands a big left hand that cuts Simpson, and they separate. That was a big shot. Body kick by Robertson. Simpson gets underhooks and presses Robertson into the cage. Knee to the body by Simpson, which Simpsons follows up with an elbow to the temple. Rosales again telling the fighters to work. I have a new least favorite referee. Robertson, while not working, somehow manages to reverse position, get a single, and switch to a double. Simpson, while not working, reverses, gets Robertson’s back, and takes him down. JUST IMAGINE IF THEY WOULD WORK! Robertson back up, but Simpson still has his back. Robertson lands a couple back elbows, and Simpson takes him back down. Robertson squirms out as the round ends. 10-9 Simpson but it could go either way. Fun round. I just wish they would work a little harder.
ROUND TWO: Body lock in the middle. Both guys trying to trip the other. Simpson working hard for the takedown, Robertson gives up his back and is trying to get out of this position. Heavy knees to the back of the leg by Simpson. Simpson still has his back, and Robertson’s face is pressed into the fence. Simpson gets the takedown, but Robertson immediately sweeps and gets back to his feet. Robertson pulled a Chael backfist and got taken down. Simpson is on top now, and is pounding the head of the seated Robertson. Simpson moves to back control, but Robertson gets back to his feet, with Simpson still on his back. Simpson backs off, lets Robertson back up, and immediately latches onto his back again. Another takedown, and Simpson is inside full guard against the cage now. Simpson stands up and lands a big shot. North south. And by north south, I mean that Simpson is legit sitting on Robertson’s face. Robertson grabs a heel, so Simpson spins off. Simpson on top, landing short shots now that his leg is free. Simpson has his back, looking for hooks now. He’s got one hook set, and is trying to stretch Roberstson out. Simpson is now looking to get an arm under the jaw. There’s no choke there, so he just pounds away as the round ends. 10-9 Simpson There’s no doubting who the better fighter is so far.
ROUND THREE: Simpson throwing to the body. Tobertson looks exhausted. Pace has slowed from both fighters. Considerably slowed, I should say. Simpson grabs a thai clinch, drops down to a single against the cage. Simpson is clearly the fresher guy, although his pace is slower. Simpson drags him to the ground with little resistance. Robertson is on all fours, with Simpson on his side. North south now. Simpson looking for an arm, but loses it. He’s got a tight inverted triangle. Robertson uses his legs to pry Simpson off of him. Nice escape. Simpson gets another double leg with about two minutes left. Simpson is on top in butterfly. Now full-guard. UFC stats show Simpson outlanding Robertson with ground striked by a margin of 36-2. Probably 40 -2 now, just as I was typing that. Nice elbows. Simpson on his feet, in guard, landing elbows. Simpson is looking to pass, but seems content to get back to guard is the pass isn’t there. There’s the pass to side control with forty-five seconds left. The crowd is booing as Simpson works for an armbar. Simpson gives it up and is mercilessly pounding away until the horn sounds. 10-8 Simpson. 30-26 Simpson Nice 170 pound debut for the old man.
WINNER: Aaron Simpson by unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 29-28)
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**-) Nothing special. After seeing how the whole fight play out, I forgot Robertson had a case for the first round. It sure felt like a mismatch by the end of the fight. Simpson looked positively, um, himself. I still don’t think he’s anything more than a low level gatekeeper.
FIGHT ONE: JOEY BELTRAN VS. JAMES TE HUNA
ROUND ONE: Jason McCoy is the referee here. Both guys come out swinging, and missing. TeHuna with a nice right hook early. I still can’t believe how different Beltran looks at 205. Nice right by TeHuna. He looks loose, but his hands are scary low. He’s baiting Beltran, that’s risky. Beltran firing out the jab. Nice body kick by Beltran. TeHuna’s right hand is landing every time he throws it. TeHuna leaps into a left hook. Another front body kick by Beltran. Tehuna unloading on Beltran. Beltran circles out of danger. Those uppercuts are menacing. TeHuna’s found his range, and it’s just a matter of time. Big left rocks Beltran. Beltran grabs a Thai clinch and lands a big knee. Beltran spins off the fence and is pressing TeHuna into the fence. UFC stats show a significant strikes advantage for TeHuna of 45-25. TeHuna escapes. Huge left hook and a right drops TeHuna. TeHuna gets the mount. He’s pounding away with elbows. Beltran hip escapes, back to standing, but he’s being pounded against the cage. Beltran’s out on his feet as the horn sounds. This fight will continue! 10-8 TeHuna that could have been stopped.
ROUND TWO: Beltran has a hell of a chin. Just amazing. TeHuna landed more significant strikes in round one than any light heavyweight in UFC history, per UFC stats. 71 significant strikes. It’s up to about 85 now after landing here and there in the first minute of round two. He’s changing levels and pace here. Working the body hard now. Beltran still pistoning the jab at TeHuna. TeHuna ducks under a lazy jab and lands the easiest takedown in UFC history. Full-guard for ten seconds, and already being scolded by the damn referee. Beltran’s guard is wide open, if TeHuna wants to pass, he’ll pass. Referee stands them up. Pathetic. TeHuna unloads with big combinations. The pace has really slowed down here. Beltran landing a couple of body kicks, one with each leg. TeHuna with a nice body body head combination. Beltran felt those. One minute left. Beltran is landing more than TeHuna right now. Beltran to the body with a right hand. TeHuna with a push kick. This round has been just bad. And Beltran dropped TeHuna with a left hand as the horn sounded. 10-9 TeHuna That round was bad.
ROUND THREE: Beltran’s corner told him between rounds that he needs a finish, and that the left hook is there. TeHuna comes out energized, landing lefts and rights. Somehow, Beltran absorbs them. Beltran pressing forward, looking for a double against the cage. teHuna has wrist control, and Beltran looks for a single. Nice elbows by Beltran as he disengages. TeHuna goes for a takedown, doesn’t get it, and we’re back to the middle. Beltran coming forward, gets in tight and lands a nice combo to the body. TeHuna gets a trip takedown and presses Beltran into the cage. Beltran is bleeding from the mouth. Full-guard. TeHuna has a forearm against the throat, but Beltran gets up and eats some massive shots. TeHuna grabs a single leg with no set up and throws Beltran to the ground. This is sloppy as all hell. Zuffa employee Florian thinks it’s great. It’s not. It’s sloppy. TeHuna is muscling Beltran around and shoving him to the canvas. TeHuna with a jab. 117 significant strikes landed by TeHuna, but most of them in round one. That 117 is still second most in LHW history. Beltran with a takedown, but TeHuna gets back up. If this were at altitude, both guys would be on oxygen masks soon. A big sloppy flurry of weak arm punches to end the fight. Florian and Anik are drooling. I’m falling asleep. I’ve seen better fights , let’s just leave it at that. 10-9 Beltran. 29-27 TeHuna
WINNER: James TeHuna by unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (**) Despite the fact that it was sloppy and low-level, it’s still something else to see someone take so much punishment. Had it ended after the first it would’ve been (***) but it dropped fast as the fight continued. TeHuna might as well get a crack at a borderline top 10 guy. Nogueira, maybe?
FIGHT ONE: MARK MUNOZ VS. CHRIS WEIDMAN
- It’s worth noting that Weidman has a gigantic seven inch reach advantage. Munoz is getting a decent babyface pop here.
ROUND ONE: This fight is in the very capable hands of Josh Rosenthal. 20 seconds in, nothing landed. Nothing thrown but a Weidman front kick. Weidman shoots a high crotch, gets the takedown, and lands in side control. Munoz is trying to power out, and is working on weidman’s arm. Munoz is on all fours now. Weidman looking to get his hooks in. Spins to get Munoz’s neck. Lands a couple knees as Munoz gets up, and Munoz is back down. Weidman still has that front facelock. Got to watch the D’Arce from here. He’s got a mounted guillotine. Weidman gives it up and lands some elbows. Looking for an arm lock now. He’s going hard for a kimura while sitting on Munoz’ head. Loses it, but back to the front face lock with Munoz on all fours once again. Two minutes left. Weidman is overpowering Munoz so far. He’s being very controlled, knowing it’s a long fight. Munoz is on his back, Weidman is looking for another mounted guillotine. Munoz is rolling back and forth, desperate for an escape. Weidman gives up the choke, but keeps the neck. Munoz almost escaped, but Weidman dove on top to get the same position. Munoz to his feet with Weidman on his back. Twenty second left. 10-8 Weidman A couple of those chokes were tight.
ROUND TWO: Weidman with an immediate takedown, and gets to side control immediately. Munoz keeps spinning to look for a way out, and he gets to his feet while Weidman was looking for a D’Arce. Back to standing, one minute in. Munoz throwing the jab, but he’s too far out to land. Munoz dives in to land a jab, and Weidman crushed him with a PERFECT short right elbow. Munoz crumpled, and Weidman’s savaging him on the ground. Munoz is bleeding like a stuck pig, and this fight is all over. Amazing performance by Chris Weidman.
WINNER: Chris Weidman by TKO at 1:37 of round two.
STAR RATING AND FINAL THOUGHTS: (***+) That was the most best performance of the year, by anyone. Weidman dominated literally every single second of that fight. I don’t think Munoz landed one strike, and Weidman did anything he wanted. Weidman called out Anderson Silva in his post-fight interview, and in the immediate aftermath of that performance, it’s hard to argue against that. As a dedicated Alan Belcher mark, I’m sure I’ll come up with something. Eventually.
Also, I should have made a bigger point of this… The stoppage in the Weidman fight was way late. Like, fifteen to twenty shots on the ground late. Rosenthal is better than that, but he totally missed the fact that Munoz was a corpse.
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