john lawrence debuts for pop-break with the site’s first ever UFC piece…
The UFC was back on Fox for another free event. I have to say that, for a free fight, this card was absolutely stacked. Personally, I was excited to see the triumphant return of one of my all-time favorite fighters, BJ Penn. There are a ton of other exciting fighters on the card such as Matt Brown, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and of course the Lightweight Title fight between Nate Diaz and Benson Henderson.
The preliminary undercard, which was on FX, started with a featherweight (145lb) fight between Dennis Siver and Nam Phan. My pick was Dennis Siver. This fight was incredible. Nam Phan has an iron jaw and Dennis Siver looked like a beast. The fight started out with a ton of action and continued all the way through. Ultimately, Siver got the upper hand and maintained it. He punished Phan for three rounds and won a unanimous decision in dominating fashion. Winner: Dennis Siver by unanimous decision.
The second fight of the evening was between lightweights Marcus Levesseur and Abel Trujillo. I don’t know much about either fighter, but I picked Abel Trujiilo. This fight started out quite a bit slower. The first three minutes were a little back and forth. With about two minutes left, Levesseur goes in for a single leg takedown, only to get kneed in the face. After a ton of knees, punches, and elbows, the first round ends with Levesseur basically holding onto Trujillo’s leg for dear life. Round 2 starts with a lot of action. Fighters trading shots, some submission attempts, but after another failed takedown attempt by Levesseur, he ends up curled up on the ground. Trujillo starts raining down somw of the most brutal knees to the body I have ever seen, and it’s not long before the referee steps in and stops the fight. Winner: Abel Trujillo by referee stoppage.
Fight number three puts Daron Cruickshank against Henry Martinez in the Lightweight division (155lb). My pick was Daron Cruickshank. It doesn’t take long for these two to start brawling. This is just another great fight between two great strikers. Cruickshank lands a huge body kick and Martinez is clearly hurt. He continues to take a beating for the remainder of the first round. The second round starts just as quickly, but at about three minutes in, Cruickshank lands a roundhouse kick to the head of Martinez, and that’s the end of that. Winner: Daron Cruickshank by KO.
Next fight is Ramsey Nijem against Joe Proctor in the Lightweight division. My pick is Joe Proctor, and boy was I wrong. Ramsey catches Proctor with a crane kick (yes, that crane kick) and Proctor is bleeding. Proctor eventually gets his rhythm back and is able to finish the round fairly strong. The 2nd and 3rd round is a lot of back and forth with Ramsey being the aggressor and it goes to the judges. Winner: Ramsey Nijem by unanimous decision.
The next couple fights were pretty slow paced so I’ll just get to the important part.
Raphael Assuncao defeats Mike Easton by unanimous decision (bantamweight)
Yves Edwards defeats Jeremy Stephens by KO (lightweight)
The last fight of the prelims was Scott Jorgensen vs John Albert. My pick is Scott Jorgensen. This fight started out fairly uneventful for the first few minutes, but became really exciting in the last 2. Albert attempts a triangle choke on Jorgensen, who is able to defend and eventually escape the choke. Jorgensen reverses it and is able to get in Albert’s guard. He starts ground and pounding Albert, until he gives up his back. Jorgensen capitalizes and takes the rear mount and is able to sink in a rear naked choke. It looks like Albert is going to make it out of the round, but he taps less than a second before the buzzer. Winner: Scott Jorgensen via rear naked choke.
That’s all for the preliminaries, so now we switch over to Fox for the main card.
First up is Mike Swick against Matt Brown in the welterweight division. I didn’t make a pick on this one because I like both fighters. Brown comes out in the first round and looks great. I thought the fight was over when he locked in a darce choke, but Swick showed incredible submission defense. In the second round Brown pushes the pace harder. He throws a beautiful combo and knocks Swick out cold. Winner: Matt Brown by KO
And now, for the fight I’ve been waiting for. BJ Penn vs Rory Macdonald. As soon as the bell rings, both men are swinging. This looks like it’s going to be a great fight. But, BJ’s cardio started coming into question late in the first round. The second and third rounds were completely dominated by Macdonald, who was landing shots at will and showboating every chance he got. I found it to be disrespectful and apparently so did the crowd. As Macdonald won the decision, the crowd instantly began booing. Macdonald called out Carlos Condit at the end of the fight, so we can only hope that Carlos accepts and beats him down accordingly. Winner: Rory Macdonald by unanimous decision.
The next fight was light heavyweights Alexander Gustaffson vs Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Shogun was my pick, because let’s face it, the man is a legend. I really liked this fight. Shogun hit Gustaffson with everything but the kitchen sink, but to no avail. After this fight, I’m not entirely sure that Gustaffson is even human. He survived a few submission attempts and more than a few barrages of strikes. He weathered the storm and was able to gain control in the second half of the fight, securing the decision victory. Winner: Alexander Gustaffson by unanimous decision.
And now for the main event Benson Henderson vs Nate Diaz for the lightweight title. On paper, this should’ve been the best fight of the night, but it turned out to be a little more one sided. Henderson was easily able to neutralize Diaz’s boxing and his submissions. As Nate transitioned from submission attempt to submission attempt, Henderson was able to punch his way through. On their feet, Henderson was able to land leg kicks and punches at will. Henderson put on a clinic for all 5 rounds, and apparently the judges thought so too, as they gave the decision to him. Not to take anything away from Nate Diaz, who fought his ass off for 5 rounds. This was a good fight between two great fighters, but if Diaz couldn’t beat Henderson, I don’t know who will. Winner: Benson Henderson via unanimous decision
Fight of the Night honors went to Scott Jorgensen and John Albert
Scott Jorgensen also won Submission of the Night
Knockout of the Night went to Yves Edwards