Ehsan Karam locks in the rear-naked choke on Randy Lene, securing the submission late in Round 5. (Photo thanks to Kasey Noll of Kasey Jean Photography)
Right hook to the body immediately from Lene who then moved in and brought Karam down. Karam is a Brazlian jiu-jitsu wizard, though, and was very comfortable on his back. Karam looked for the sweep from his back as Lene pushed his head against the cage. Lene broke free and stood up but Karam defended with some up-kicks.
Lene moved back in and Karam worked his rubber-guard. Lene lifted him up and slammed him down. Karam locked up Lene’s arm and worked for a submission but then used the positioning to get on Lene’s back while still controlling the arm.
The scramble finally ended with Karam ending up in side control. Lene got to his feet but ate a few punches for his trouble. Leg kicks from Karam to end the first round.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Karam
More leg kicks from Karam were able to help keep Lene at a distance. Solid body kicks and leg kicks from Karam. Lene was getting frustrated as Karam kept moving away from him. Lene started to open up with his own leg kicks. Karam continued to work the leg kicks, hoping to wear down Lene over the five-round fight.
Lene landed a punch to the body, which seemed to affect Karam a bit. Karam shot in and achieved a takedown against the cage. He quickly moved into side control. Lene worked for a guillotine choke but the positioning not in his favor and Karam easily slipped free. Karam took Lene’s back and looked for the rear-naked choke before the round ended.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Karam (20-18 Karam overall)
Lene came out with a little more intensity this round, throwing a head kick and a combination of punches, but Karam seemed to block almost all of it. Leg kick from Lene got countered by a right overhand from Karam. More leg kicks from Karam.
Big body kick from Lene seemed to surprise Karam. They each got a good string of punches with the other fighter’s back against the cage. Karam put Lene against the cage and moved for a takedown again. Lene went for a standing guillotine choke and tripped Karam in the process, with Lene landing in mount.
Karam broke free and eventually swept Lene, putting him right in his own corner. Karam unloaded with punches in the final seconds of the round. Lene looked for an upkick but Karam avoided them and landed a few more punches before the round ended.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Karam (30-27 Karam overall)
Lene looked to get his low kicks working more early in this round but he missed with two before Karam answered with two that landed to Lene’s lead left leg. As many kicks as Karam has landed, Lene didn’t appear to be affected by it at this point in the fight.
Both fighters were a bit more hesitant early in this round than they were in the first three. Finally Karam shot in and went for another takedown. A beautiful switch from Lene put Karam on his back. Karam didn’t take any damage from there before achieving another beautiful sweep.
Lene held on for dear life, which didn’t allow Karam to land any punches that had power to them. Karam did throw a few hammerfists and one solid left hand before the round ended.
Bleacher Report Unofficial Score: 10-9 Karam (40-36 Karam overall)
Head kick missed from Lene, then he followed it up with a right kick to the body. Nice double-leg takedown from Lene who seemed to be in desperation mode coming into this round as he felt his title slipping away. Karam took a few punches but eventually achieved yet another sweep and put Lene on his back.
Karam battled from side control. He worked his positioning and eventually moved to mount with about half of the round remaining. Lene was in trouble as he tried to buck him off. He flipped over and gave up his back which allowed Karam to lock in the rear-naked choke. Lene could not escape and was forced to tap.
Official Result: Ehsan Karam defeated Randy Lene by submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:10 in Round 5
In the post-fight, in-cage interview, a very excited yet humble Karam spoke highly of the former champion.
“Randy Lene is a stud," Karam said. "I kind of underestimated his ground game. He’s extremely strong.”
Karam is now 4-0 with all four wins coming by of submission due to rear-naked choke.