The BankAtlantic Center played host to the UFC on Friday night, as the rematch between Demetrious Johnson and Ian “Uncle Creepy” McCall headlined an action-packed fight card for UFC on FX 3.
Johnson and McCall first met earlier this year in the first round of the flyweight tournament, with Johnson originally being announced as the winner by majority decision. However, we later found out that there was an error on the scorecards and the bout was actually a draw.
With a “sudden death” fourth round missed due to the incorrect scoring, the decision was then made to have a rematch headline the FX card on June 8. The bout was the first UFC card to ever feature flyweights in the main event.
That historic fight will be remembered, but it was only part of what made this a highly entertaining fight card. Here are the 10 most memorable moments from UFC on FX 3: Johnson vs. McCall.
Coming into Friday night’s UFC on FX fight card, it had been a combined five years since Tim Means or Justin Salas had lost an MMA fight.
The two UFC newcomers each made their debut earlier in 2012 at UFC on Fuel TV: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger where both men earned a unanimous decision victory. With their first UFC wins under their belt, a step up in competition was certainly needed.
Tim Means proved that he was most ready for the bigger challenge, as he made quick work of Salas, catching him just seconds into the bout and repeatedly thereafter until the fight was stopped just 1:06 into the first round.
The final blows came when Salas desperately shot for a double, only to have Means sidestep him. Salas smashed his own face off the mat in the struggle, which allowed Means to finally put him away with a few punches.
The knockout was a relatively easy one for Means, who has now improved to 2-0 in the Octagon and will likely be back in action shortly.
The UFC typically doesn’t bring back fighters who are not winners on The Ultimate Fighter and then also lose on the finale show, but they must have seen something in Dustin Pague that gave them the confidence to give him another chance.
Pague didn’t let them down, as “The Disciple” made quick work of Jared Papazian, submitting him with a beautiful rear-naked choke just 3:21 into Round 1. It was Pague’s sixth victory in his past seven pro fights. In 11 career victories, he has finished every opponent by knockout or submission.
It’s not often that we remember a fight that wasn’t very entertaining, but in the case of a Leonard Garcia fight, we have come to expect that we will be on the edge of our seats from bell to bell.
Unfortunately, that’s not what happened on Friday night, as Garcia got stuck in a wrestling match with the gritty ground-and-pound specialist Matt Grice.
Grice stayed away from the brawls that have come to describe Garcia’s career by frustrating the two-time UFC “Fight of the Night” winner on the feet and taking him down in every round.
Judges saw the fight 30-27 for Grice in a very one-sided fight, proving that being exciting in the cage doesn’t always translate to getting in the win column.
MMA referees aren’t perfect. Sometimes they make mistakes; sometimes they don’t see things that appear very obvious to us couch potatoes sitting at home.
But during the Lance Benoist vs. Seth Baczynski fight, referee Chris Adams witnessed two illegal knees from Benoist, neither of which which he deducted a point for.
The first knee came not long into the fight when Benoist had Baczynski’s back against the cage. With Baczynski’s knees on the ground, Benoist threw a knee that connected near the neck of his opponent, just inches away from where it could have potentially ended the fight.
These mistakes happen, and it’s hard to fault Adams for not taking a point after the first knee. But when it happened again later in the fight, with the second knee landing flush on Baczynski’s head, we all expected that there would be a point taken away.
It ended up not mattering in the end, as Baczynski was given the victory by a split decision on the judges’ scorecards. But given the 30-27 score (for Benoist) that one judge gave the fight, the lack of point deduction could have potentially cost Baczynski the fight in what was a very closely scored contest.
Mike Pierce sparked some controversy recently when he called out any Brazilian welterweight, noting that he wanted an “easy fight.” Carlos Eduardo Rocha was the man who stepped up to accept the challenge and defend his country from the overconfident American.
But Pierce proved that he wasn’t overconfident in a dominating victory where he controlled the fight for the entire 15 minutes, never allowing Rocha to utilize the jiu-jitsu which has made him so dangerous in the past.
Pierce’s time spent training with Marcello Salazar, a Brazilian Top Team black belt, served him well in this contest, as he easily backed up his trash talk and won on two judges’ scorecards. Of course, one judge, Ric Bays, inexplicably scored the bout 30-27 for Rocha, but anyone who was watching the bout could tell that it should have been 30-27 for Pierce.
As expected, Eddie Wineland and Scott Jorgensen gave the fans a highly entertaining bout, worthy of the “Fight of the Night” honors bestowed upon them.
The bantamweights set a furious pace from the very first seconds of the fight all the way through.
Wineland picked Jorgensen apart in the first round, but it was Jorgensen who was getting the better of the striking in the second, even opening up a large gash over Wineland’s left eye. Wineland was able to stay focused, however, and he eventually caught Jorgensen with a huge right cross that ended the fight.
Any time that there is a “worst haircuts in MMA” article written on the Internet, Miguel Torres’ weird mullet always finds itself prominently ranked. It’s his style, and it’s something that a lot of people know him for.
But when Mike Pyle showed up to his UFC on FX 3 bout sporting his own version of the “Torres,” all any of us could do is laugh.
It’ll be fun to see whether this was just a one-time appearance or if we can begin to expect this ridiculousness in the future.
Haircut aside, Mike Pyle might have had the biggest win of his UFC career on Friday night as he knocked out Josh Neer in the closing seconds of the first round.
Pyle’s wrestling and offensive striking both appeared to be on as he controlled the pace of the fight early. When Neer pushed him against the cage and began unloading on his body, though, Pyle knew that he needed to get out of there. “Quicksand” answered with a short right hand which caught Neer right on the button, putting him down for good.
At 36 years old, Pyle has now won five of his past six fights, and a case could be made that he has never been better.
The hype surrounding welterweight prospect Erick Silva has been growing in recent months, even after the Brazilian was unreasonably disqualified in his most recent fight against Carlo Prater in January.
Though many experts believe that Silva is a potential contender down the road, some questioned whether he could handle the grinding wrestling that many of the top UFC welterweights bring to the table.
Silva answered that question against Charlie Brenneman on FX, as he used an impressive sprawl and incredible athleticism to keep the fight on the feet where he was easily the better striker.
In the end, it was a sprawl which allowed Silva to take Brenneman’s back where he quickly cinched in a beautiful rear-naked choke to get the submission near the end of the first round.
It’s hard to say what’s next for Silva, but a top-10 challenger could be a real possibility.
Former bantamweight title contender Demetrious Johnson has finally found the right weight class for himself in the newly-created UFC flyweight division.
After fighting to a draw with the former No. 1 flyweight in the world, Ian McCall, earlier in 2012, “Mighty Mouse” became the first man to defeat McCall at 125 pounds when he did so in the main event of UFC on FX 3.
McCall was rumored to be around 150 pounds as he stepped into the cage on Friday evening, a day after weigh-ins. The added weight gave little to no advantage to “Uncle Creepy,” however, as it was Johnson’s speed and elusiveness which made all the difference.
“He’s the toughest guy I’ve ever fought in the UFC, tougher than Dom[inick Cruz],” Johnson said of McCall in the post-fight, in-cage interview.
Johnson walked away with a decisive unanimous decision victory and will now fight Joseph Benavidez later this year for the inaugural UFC flyweight championship.