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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
UFC FIGHT NIGHT 39
APRIL 11, 2014
LIVE FROM ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
=====Fight Pass Prelims Quick Results=====
-Johnny Bedford vs. Rani Yahya ends in a no contest due to an accidental headbutt at 0:39 seconds
-Jim Alers def. Alan Omer via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
-Thales Leites def. Trevor Smith via TKO at 0:45 of the first round
-Jared Rosholt def. Daniel Omielanczuk via unanimous decision
=====Fight Pass Main Card=====
-After a brief rundown of what’s on tonight’s card, it’s on to the first fight.
FIGHT ONE: RAMSEY NIJEM VS. BENEIL DARIUSH (LIGHTWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Nijem came straight across the cage firing out a couple of kicks. He backed off a bit. Dariush landed a hard straight left that staggered Nijem and slowed him down. Dariush landed a hard body kick and tried to roll as it got caught. Nijem got in a couple of strikes but Dariush popped back to his feet. Nijem landed a hard leg kick and Dariush tripped as he shot in. He got the clinch, though, and landed some big strikes up against the cage. He landed some nice punches and elbows before separating. Dariush went high with a kick which was blocked. Nijem ducked to the left and landed a right hand. Dariush popped in and out with a strike. Nijem dropped Dariush in an exchange and went on a flurry of strikes. Dariush was in big trouble as Nijem unleashed a torrent of offense. He then went for a really tight guillotine choke and it almost looked like Dariush went out for a second, but he let it go and went on the offensive again. Dariush continued trying to cover up and respond and Nijem moved to mount. The offense continued piling up and Dariush was just bloodied and battered. Finally the ref stopped the fight. Wow, huge performance from Nijem.
WINNER: Nijem via TKO at 4:20 of the first round
STAR RATING: (***) Really, really good performance by Nijem. Dariush is a tough guy and took a ton of punishment, but Nijem’s killer instinct was on display as he just unleashed hell until the ref stopped it.
FIGHT TWO: JOHN HOWARD VS. RYAN LAFLARE (WELTERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: LaFlare landed a couple of opening body kicks. Howard fired back. LaFlare then shot a single leg and scored a takedown. He patiently worked to pass and got into side control. Howard tried to escape but LaFlare held position. LaFlare then tried to set up a D’Arce choke, but Howard stayed patient and got loose. He worked to his feet but ate a knee on his way up. He landed a right and LaFlare tried to roll off a caught kick. They moved to the clinch. LaFlare landed a solid elbow off the cage. LaFlare ducked under and grabbed a body lock, but Howard stayed on his feet at the cage. LaFlare pulled off a nice throw, but Howard rolled with it and got to his feet with his own single leg attempt. LaFlare got free with another elbow. Howard landed a couple of hard strikes as he moved into a clinch. LaFlare landed some hard body strikes. He got in a knee to the head as he threw his leg up. LaFlare landed a nice superman punch. Howard landed a low kick. LaFlare landed a hard body kick but Howard caught it before the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 LaFlare. Solid opening round. He had a lot of offense, got the better of the grappling, and just did more overall.
ROUND TWO: Howard opened up with a big combination that dropped LaFlare, but LaFlare recovered and shot in. Howard worked out of it and scored a takedown of his own. They both countered a few positions on the ground in a nice little grappling exchange, then wound up on their feet back in the clinch. LaFlare then tossed in a knee that went straight to the cup and brought a halt to the action. Howard stayed down and was taking much of his five minute recovery time. He finally stood up with a couple of minutes left but he was still clearly in pain. That knee landed directly between the legs, so this certainly wasn’t milking it. That was a bad one. At the last second, Howard got up to continue, but his face was in such pain. He didn’t want the fight to end on that shot though. LaFlare landed a body kick as they restarted. Howard landed a strike but got taken right down. LaFlare had side control, but Howard rolled to his knees and got to his feet. They clinched to the cage. LaFlare landed a couple of knees to the body. He threw a couple of strikes to the body. He tried to pull off a throw but Howard reversed and they clinched again at the cage. Howard got in an uppercut. He landed a good combination. He tossed a high kick that was blocked at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Howard. Interesting round. Howard had the more significant and damaging offense, but LaFlare did quite a bit himself.
ROUND THREE: Howard came forward and scored with a couple of strikes, nearly taking LaFlare’s leg out with a kick. LaFlare then scored a takedown. Howard worked to his feet after a bit, then landed a nice combination. LaFlare tossed back a couple of strikes. LaFlare shot in, Howard reversed, and LaFlare scrambled back to get on top. he passed to side control. Howard nearly reversed but Howard tried to take his back. LaFlare looked to set up an arm triangle but Howard turned out of the spot. Howard rolled for a leg and tried for a kneebar. LaFlare got his leg out though, then rolled back into Howard to take back top position. LaFlare landed some strikes to the head and body. Howard attacked an arm but LaFlare defended and rode out the fight on top. Good stuff.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 LaFlare. Hard fought battle, but I think LaFlare gets the edge in the grappling that round. Close, good fight though.
-Howard was still bothered by that groin strike after the fight, and was visibly uncomfortable.
WINNER: LaFlare via unanimous decision (scores not read)
STAR RATING: (***-) Really entertaining fight, pleasantly so. Great scrambles on the ground, toughness from LaFlare to survive some hard strikes from Howard, and both fighting until the end there. Competitive and fun fight.
FIGHT THREE: CLAY GUIDA VS. TATSUYA KAWAJIRI (FEATHERWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: They exchange strikes early. Kawajiri scored a few hard strikes, then got dropped by a right hand. Guida pounced and landed a few strikes before trying to take his back. Kawajiri recovered and turned into Guida. He tried to turn into him and Guida tried to pick him up. Kawajiri locked on a kimura and tried to wrench the arm free. Guida rolled out of the attempt and Kawajir tried to grab an armbar. Guida picked him up and slammed him, but his arm was still in danger. Guida then got out and tried to take Kawajiri’s back. Kawajiri got to his feet with Guida on his back standing. Kawajiri went for the kimura again. This time Guida picked him up and slammed him on his face. Kawajiri popped back to his feet and again went for the kimura. Guida tried to defend and pick Kawajiri up again. Kawajir let it go and they stood up. Guida landed a couple strikes. Kawajiri then grabbed a double leg, picked Guida up, and slammed him. Guida went for the kimura, but Kawajiri shifted to mount. Kawajiri defended the hold. They rolled at the horn.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Guida. Guida had the knock down early, but Kawajiri was constantly threatening submissions and forced Guida to defend. Close to a 10-10, can see an argument for Kawajiri. Good round.
ROUND TWO: After a couple of early exchanges, Guida landed a strike and shot in for a single leg and pulled Kawajiri down on the cage. Kawajiri once again grabbed for the kimura. He landed a couple of elbows on the cage. Kawajiri rolled him through with that attempt and they stood. Kawajiri landed a couple of strikes. Guida shot in again at the cage. Kawajiri landed a couple of elbows. He briefly stayed up, then Guida shot in and took him down. Kawajiri got to his feet but Guida took his back standing. Kawajiri again attacked for the kimura and almost got the better position because of it, but he lost his spot and Guida went back on the attack. Guida took his back standing and landed a couple knees to the thigh. Kawajiri again looked to grab the arm, but Guida turned into him. Kawajiri drove Guida’s head down. He tried to lock his head up but Guida got into side control briefly. Kawajiri again got to his feet with Guida on his back, throwing knees to the thigh. He again grabbed at the kimura to no avail.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Guida. Less entertaining round. Back to Guida scoring takedowns and smothering but not doing much else, and though Kawajiri’s attacking he doesn’t have the energy to work these submission attempts.
ROUND THREE: Kawajiri pawed out the jab early. Guida fired out a high kick that was blocked with a strike behind it. He landed an inside leg kick. Guida landed the left. Kawajiri looked quite tired. Guida blocked a spinning back fist. Kawajiri shot in and Guida tried to grab a choke but just held the head lock. Kawajiri tried to drive forward and Guida landed some short strikes. Kawajiri tried to drag him down, but Guida continued defending, and landing short strikes. Guida finally got loose and to his feet. Guida landed a couple of strikes. Kawajiri went for the spinning back fist slowly and Guida just side-stepped it. Kawajiri got in a knee to the head. Kawajiri missed an overhand right and Guida took his back standing. Kawajiri again went for the kimura from that position and tried to break Guida’s hands. He tried to pull him down, then went for the head lock. Guida slammed him as he grabbed for a guillotine, and he popped out. Kawajiri rolled for a leg but Guida got out and to the side. He landed some knees to the body to close out the fight.
Penick’s Scorecard: 10-9 Guida. Kawajiri just didn’t have the energy that round to do much. Guida stayed busy enough and should pick up the win here.
WINNER: Guida via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
STAR RATING: (**) The first round was on the better end of action in a Guida fight, the rest was just Guida doing enough with control against an increasingly tired Kawajiri.
-Guida called out Conor McGregor for featherweight, then Josh Thomson at lightweight.
MAIN EVENT: ROY NELSON VS. ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA (HEAVYWEIGHT)
ROUND ONE: Nogueira moved ahead, backing Nelson up early. They traded punches. Nogueira landed a right hand. Nelson landed a big uppercut, then came back with the overhand right that dropped Nogueira. Nogueira worked back to his feet but he was wobbly and in bad shape. Nelson moved forward looking for the finish but missed a big right hand. Nogueira got his legs back under him. Nogueira came forward with some strikes. Nelson’s output slowed. They traded strikes. Nelson landed the step-in overhand right and Nogueira went down. Nelson let him up and Nogueira again tried to regain his bearings. He was on wobbled legs again. Nelson moved forward and landed a huge overhand right that sent Nogueira crumbling unconscious to the canvas. He put his hands up and walked off. That was just a matter of time.
WINNER: Nelson via KO at 3:37 of the first round
STAR RATING: (**) Look, Nelson did what we knew he could do, but it was kind of just sad to see Nogueira in there taking that type of punishment. It could have been stopped on the first knockdown with a TKO, or the second, and instead it took another concussive overhand right that knocked Nogueira out cold. He slammed the back of his head on the mat on that final one, and given the punishment he’s taken in his career, that’s not at all what you want to see.
-That’s the card today! Thanks for joining us, make sure to tune in tonight as Rich Hansen comes back for a night to cover tonight’s Bellator 116 event on Spike TV!
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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