Welcome to the San Diego Sports Arena, site of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's latest offering—UFC Live: Jones vs. Matyushenko.
For a change, I managed to arrive at the arena about an hour before the first bout thanks to a relatively easy drive down Highway 5 from my buddy's house in Encinitas. I was actually one of the first non-employee in the arena, even managed to upset the nice ladies who were getting the media area organized.
Incidentally, for those of you who've never been to San Diego or its immediate surroundings, I highly recommend a trip.
Lovely weather, lovely women (and/or dudes, I imagine) and just an all-around lovely vibe.
Except some of the people seem oddly angry considering they live in such a picturesque place. Oh well, perhaps there's some dynamic between locals and tourists that I don't fully understand.
Anyway, the doors are open, the crowd is trickling in, and the sound system has cranked up. In other words, we're about 15 minutes from kicking things off.
Stay tuned because it should be a good one.
Even Scott Smith looks excited and antsy for the action to begin—I saw him behind the magic curtain separating the arena seating area from its under-belly and he was doing a little shadow boxing.
Of course, a guy like Smith is probably always throwing punches at something.
I'm just glad it wasn't me.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jon Jones—Light Heavyweights
The moment the MMA world has been waiting for is here; time to see what Jones can do against a Belorussian badass. Matyushenko, aka "The Janitor," might lack Jones' sex appeal, but he's tough as nails and an ornery gentleman in between those eight sides.
He enters the cage first before the UFC's brightest young star makes his approach.
"Bones" Jones carries a lot of hype as everyone knows, but the hype has been warranted to date. We'll see if the 23-year-old's youth and athleticism win out or if his 39-year-old antagonist can use his experience to author an upset.
Dean's the referee.
For the record, I didn't see a pre-scrap flip from Jones.
And away we go.
The fighters slap hands in the center of the cage as Jones assumes his usual wide stance and opens up with his jab, which services as a range-finder. A spinning back kick lands from Jones and is followed by a relatively easy takedown.
Right off the bat, however, "The Janitor" shows his experience by trapping Jones' left arm in an awkward spot, which forces Jones to pause his positioning.
The operative word is "pause," as in
Big elbow lands on Matyushenko and this one's gonna end quickly as he writhes directly into a mounted crucifix. More hideous elbows rain down with astonishing speed and accuracy.
Dean wisely stops the fight before "Bones" breaks a sweat.
Jon Jones defeats Vladimir Matyushenko by TKO at 1:52 of the first.
That didn't take long. As Rogan said, it's time to toss this kid into deeper waters because he's shredding the relative shallows.
Get the dude a top contender and let's see if he can start his reign of terror over the light heavyweight division.
Just in case anyone's worried Jones isn't mentally ready for the really big time, he seals the deal with his parting line, "you stay classy, San Diego."
Yeah, the youngster's got the talent and the demeanor for the biggest, brightest spotlight.
Yushin Okami vs. Mark Munoz—Middleweights
Even though it's flown a bit under the radar, this fight is the penultimate one of the evening for a reason.
Okami, aka "Thunder," is a serious contender at 185 pounds (at least as serious as one can be in a division ruled by Anderson Silva). The Japanese product is no joke.
And neither is Munoz, who also goes by "The Filipino Wrecking Machine."
He's an All-American wrestler from Oklahoma State who won a national championship his senior year. Furthermore, he's taken to the UFC like a fish to water—a head kick from Matt Hamill is the only blemish on his sparkling record.
Strap yourself in for what should be a good one.
Big John's in the house...and the cage.
Okami opens the action in the center of the cage while Munoz flits around the outside of the Japanese fighter's position. In a show of well-founded respect, neither warrior is anxious to engage and end the test phase.
More dancing as the crowd gets restless.
Munoz is feinting with his left hand and fires off a leg kick that misses. Okami takes advantage and closes the distance to land a pretty shot, but it produces little carnage. Another left lands from "Thunder," which elicits the first shot from Munoz.
After a small pause, "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" secures the takedown. He can't turn it into further points, though, as Okami gets back to his feet.
Now, they're against the cage as Munoz tried to turn his hold on Okami's left leg into a single-leg takedown. He's thwarted and eats an uppercut as he disengages.
Thwacking body shot might be the first sincere damage done by Munoz. A 10-9 round for Okami ends without further ado.
The second unfolds similarly to the first except Okami is showing less hesitance to engage. Perhaps the first stanza swelled his confidence because he seems a little looser out there.
Shot from Munoz is stuffed by a fine sprawl from Okami and the Filipino has to let it go.
They're standing for an exchange again, but Munoz is having a hell of a time overcoming Okami's apparently superior reach.
As I type that, "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" puts "Thunder" down with a smashing right hand. Okami seems to recover for the most part, but he's noshing on more and more right hands from his opponent.
Munoz shoots for another single-leg, but the Japanese warrior's sprawl will not oblige. He's on the verge of completing the takedown, but Okami wriggles free enough to be saved by the bell.
Tough one to score, but I think Munoz takes it by virtue of the momentary knockdown, 10-9.
Last round should be the decisive one if my scorecard is accurate (no promises there).
Okami opens the third with firm fist to Munoz' dome that has the Filipino retreating. With his back against the cage and nowhere to go, he shoots desperately for another single-leg and "Thunder" easily defends.
A few more shots land and Munoz comes shooting back in to no avail. He eats some hammerfists for his troubles. They separate and Munoz goes down from an Okami right hand, but recovers quickly.
"The Filipino Wrecking Machine" fakes a shot and Okami sprawls for it—hook, line, and sinker. Munoz might be spent, though, because he's not quick enough or precise enough to put a fist on the prone fighter.
Another shot from Munoz, another stuff from Okami, and the shooter eats hammerfists instead of letting go. The horn ends the third round and secures a unanimous victory for Okami by virtue of a 10-9 third round (in my eyes).
Yushin Okami defeats Mark Munoz by split-decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Hmm, I'm not sure how you could give Munoz two of those rounds, but one of the judges did.
Everyone's favorite judge, Cecil Peoples, is Octagon-side so I guess I shouldn't be surprised.
"Strap yourself in for what should be a good one."
Like I said below, it's not an exclusive club.
Jake Ellenberger vs. John Howard—Welterweights
Like everyone else in the MMA world, I'm most excited to see the next step in the evolution of Jon Jones. But Howard's bout is a close second—this guy has exciting talents and has shown the intangibles necessary to succeed in the UFC.
Will he actually do so? That's why I'm amped up.
Ellenberger, aka "The Juggernaut," talked a good game in his hype reel, but I didn't see a ton of conviction behind those eyes.
Howard, who also goes by "Doomsday," didn't get too much face time on that reel, but he doesn't need it. His performances speak far louder than his trash talk ever could.
Didn't hear entry music for either scrappers.
Mr. Dean is back in the Octagon.
Ellenberger comes out quickly, perhaps evidencing that conviction I thought was absent. Howard absorbs the storm and fires back for points of his own. The movement presses up against the cage and, naturally, stagnates.
The duo comes off the fence and "The Juggernaut" goes for a trip, but "Doomsday" will have none of it. Back up against the Octagon, nothing much happens so Dean pulls them apart and restarts the pleasantries.
Ellenberger is really taking the bout to Howard and "Doomsday" looks a little out of sorts, as if he wasn't expecting such aggression. The underdog goes for a takedown and completes it this time.
From top position, the Nebraskan works for openings and is having trouble finding one. After a few seconds of a whole lotta nothing, Dean stands them up.
Back on his feet, Howard looks to get off, but Ellenberger scores another takedown and proceeds with a bit of ground 'n' pound as the horn sounds.
Ugly round for "Doomsday" goes against him 10-9.
I think Howard's corner said something along those lines to their entrant because he came out quickly. First, a high kick wobbled Ellenberger and then a nice right hand continued the wobbling.
Those two blows notwithstanding, "The Juggernaut" shoots headlong for the takedown and Howard sinks in a guillotine as he lets his opponent take him to the ground. From his back, the man who calls Boston home tosses up a few submission attempts before Ellenberger re-establishes a safe position.
Those elbows from Ellenberger are creating a gnarly mouse under Howard's left eye.
Not shaken by his swelling face, "Doomsday" scrambles to his feet and lands a few power shots. Despite the successful strikes, things aren't looking too good for Howard as he's swinging almost from the hips without setting anything up.
A couple land before Ellenberger ducks under and takes his adversary back to the ground before the horn sounds.
Another 10-9 round for Ellenberger.
Well, it's now or never for Howard because his left eye is closing and he's behind on the scorecards.
He comes out like a house afire, throwing bombs and lands a flying knee. But "The Juggernaut" is pantsing me by showing one hell of a chin and heart. After weathering the early flurry, Ellenberger scores a takedown and resumes his effective gameplan.
Oof, now the entire left side of Howard's face is a swollen mess and Dean calls in the doctor to take a look. The doctor's not happy, which means neither Howard nor the crowd will be either.
The fight's over as "Doomsday" can't see from one eye.
Jake Ellenberger defeats John Howard by TKO (injury) at 2:21 of the third (Fight of the Night).
I don't mind telling you that was disappointing.
Gotta give Ellenberger massive credit for dominating a very hot contender. Not to mention making me look like an idiot.
Of course, as I'm fond of saying, that's not a particularly exclusive club.
Takanori Gomi vs. Tyson Griffin—Lightweights
Alright folks, time for the main card and a ripper to open it up.
Gomi, also known as "The Fireball Kid," was one of Pride Fighting Championships biggest and most colorful stars. Alas, he got drubbed by Kenny Florian in his UFC debut and is looking for his first win Stateside.
Couldn't make out his entry music.
On the other hand, Griffin comes out to the immediately recognizable "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor. The American seems like he's been around forever so it's startling to remind yourself he's only 26 with a host of shiny wins on his resume.
However, he too is coming off a lackluster split-decision loss to Evan Dunham.
Chances are the California native will enjoy the lopsided support of the crowd though it seems Gomi did bring a few loyalists along for the ride.
Herzog's number is up again.
I'm stunned every time I see Griffin's thighs—my man has tree trunks instead of quadriceps.
The action gets off to a slow start with both gladiators trying to find their range. Suddenly, "The Fireball Kid" finds the distance and annihilates Griffin with a BRUTAL right hook that lands square on the button.
The Californian goes down, face-first, like a ton of bricks and isn't moving. Gomi pounces on him before Herzog jumps into the fray to prevent further insult to injury.
Takanori Gomi defeats Tyson Griffin by KO at 1:04 of the first (Knockout of the Night).
Tyson seems a little perturbed about the stoppage, but he's got absolutely no reason to complain. Not a single little iota of an argument.
He got blasted and was dead to the world; that's a seriously dangerous spot when you've got a guy with Gomi's obvious power on top of you.
For those keeping score, that's "The Fireball Kid's" first UFC victory. That makes the second v-card that's been punched tonight.
Jacob Volkmann vs. Paul Kelly—Lightweights
Volkmann, who goes by "Christmas" and hails from Minnesota, enters the cage first to another fine AC/DC tune, "TNT." Kelly's a familiar Brit, although this will mark his first turn in an American Octagon.
I have no clue what his entry music is nor do I know the significance of his moniker, "Tellys."
Big John gets the call again.
Volkmann assumes his usual southpaw, very low stance and begins the feeling out process. Couple strikes land from both fighters as the fight's odometer inches toward the red.
And then it drops back down to zero as the action stagnates.
"Christmas" seems intent on using leg kicks to keep his adversary at bay and the strategy is working wonderfully. Despite that distance, Volkmann's able to shoot in for a takedown and assumes the dominant position.
After a couple heavy hands find their mark, Kelly manages to retake his feet only to be sent back down to the canvas almost immediately. More lumps of coal from "Christmas" as Kelly is gives up full mount and then his back.
Volkmann looks very comfortable as he takes his antagonist apart. He spends a couple seconds on Kelly's back, then bounces back into full mount, and finally gets shaken off right into an armbar attempt as the horn sounds.
Clear 10-9 for Volkmann.
The second round kicks off and the fight goes immediately to the ground where Volkmann continues his technical domination. Within 60 seconds, he's on Kelly's back again except—as Rogan points out—he's not sinking in hooks from behind.
Instead, he's neutralizing one leg, which seems odd to both Rogan and me.
A brief crucifix is abandoned by Volkmann if favor of Kelly's back before a submission attempt sends the Brit cartwheeling over his opponent in an attempt to escape. The attempt is successful and allows Kelly to assume top-control for the first time since the bout started.
Despite his advantageous position, "Christmas" is able to control "Tellys'" upper body and Kelly has to concede the position in an effort to secure more offense. Volkmann sneaks back on top before Kelly reverses him.
Again, though, Volkmann is controlling the roll from the bottom and Kelly is able to do nathan before the horn sounds.
Closer, but still 10-9 for Volkmann.
Third round opens up with Kelly needed a stoppage or an impossibly dominant five minutes to take this baby.
He goes for a guillotine choke early and it's deep at first, but the excellent grappler is able to maintain his composure until he's out of peril. Still, Kelly's got the upper hand and continues to exert it.
"Tellys" stays on top of his slippery foe, but he's not dishing out enough damage to threaten "Christmas." In fact, he's not dishing out enough damage, period, as Big John stands the gladiators...much to Kelly's chagrin.
The break kills the Brit's momentum as Volkmann is able grab top position. "Christmas" spends a few seconds looking for chinks in Kelly's defense before the Brit kicks him off. Kelly hops to his feet and then lands a brilliant flying knee that collapses Volkmann, but he's not badly hurt and recovers quickly.
Kelly finishes off the 10-9 round, but it won't be enough.
Jacob Volkmann defeats Paul Kelly by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
As Rogan interviews Volkmann, Jon Jones passes through the media center looking for food. I kid you not—dude's fighting in an hour or so in front of thousands of people and he's munching on something while looking for more. He entered the room saying, "I smell food."
What a freak.
Matthew Riddle vs. DaMarques Johnson—Welterweights
Alright, let's see if a change of venue can work out the kinks in the connection. I've moved back to the media area at the San Diego Sports Arena where the connectivity seems to be better. We'll see.
Riddle enters first to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and he's looking quite a bit more jacked than I remember him ever being. He's certainly added a substantial amount of muscle since his turn on The Ultimate Fighter.
Johnson, who's coming off two wins, looks pretty much the same except he might have a couple new tats. Can't tell what his music was from back here. His nickname is "Darkness," but I'm not sure a white boy like me gets to use it too liberally.
Herzog gets another turn in the cage.
Riddle seems like such a goof ball, it's tough not to root for the kid. His handle is "Monster Mash" for Pete's sake.
The welterweights come out very slowly as they feel each other out with jabs. One of the jabs felt a little too much of Riddle's eye as he backs up, but Herzog's having none of it—apparently, it was Riddle's own digit that got pushed into his ocular cavity.
Regardless, they're back at it in the center of the cage.
Johnson lands a low kick and Riddle likes the idea so he lands one of his own. More trading as neither fighter has been able to gain the upper hand yet. The action goes to the ground with Riddle on top and he scores a couple points with strikes.
More elbows and fists find softness in the body and head of Johnson; slowly but surely, Riddle assumes control of the round.
Johnson briefly sets up a leg triangle, but "Monster Mash" reads it and gets out of danger. Now, the younger fighter—Riddle is 24 to Johnson's 28 years—is working to pass guard. He succeeds and grabs side control right before the end of the round.
Definite 10-9 for Riddle.
The second opens up slowly before "Monster Mash" grabs another takedown and resumes raining elbows and fists onto his adversary. Up kick glances off Riddle's face as "Monster Mash" falls back into Johnson's guard.
DaMarques looks like he's having serious issues dealing with Riddle's size and strength.
Riddle's just having his way with "Darkness" on the ground; he's smoothly spinning around his prone opponent, switching from guard to side control to north-south and then to control on the opposite side.
Johnson's spent pretty much the entire round on the ground and looks to be bloodied. Finally, he climbs back to his feet and grabs a single-leg, but is unable to turn it into a successful takedown.
Oof, "Darkness" lands what sounds like a crushing knee and Riddle's momentarily stunned, but recovers quickly. He retakes control, gets to mount, and has no trouble getting Johnson's back.
He blasts away with both bombs until Herzog dives in to save "Darkness" from his namesake.
Matthew Riddles defeats DaMarques Johnson by TKO at 4:29 of the first.
Riddle gives a shout out to his recently born twin daughters after hopping around and pointing in excitement as Joe Rogan approached for the post-fight interview.
Johnson just got backstage and let the expletives fly. Can't blame him; he got obliterated.
Igor Pokrajac vs. James Irvin—Light Heavyweights
Pokrajac fights out of Zagreb, Croatia and enters to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.” Seems about right. He goes by “The Duke.”
Irvin is “The Sandman” so naturally he enters to Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” I don’t really think he has any other choice—not that he should want to make a change because the anthem is badass. James always looks like he stepped out of a tanning booth and into the Octagon.
He either trains outside or spends a lot of time sunning himself.
Dean gets the call again.
The gladiators meet in the middle, touch gloves, and the Croatian fires off a stellar combo that gives Irvin pause. He looks at his opponent as if to say, “what the HELL was all that about?”
“The Duke” shoots in for a takedown and gets it. He then proceeds to launch a couple rifle shots from above before eating an up-kick from Irvin. That might’ve rattled him a bit because “The Sandman” sweeps Igor’s legs and ends up in the dominant position.
More struggling on the ground before the fighters get back to their feet and go sprint-jabbing across the cage. Pokrajac finds a home for more than a few straight shots and Irvin might be in trouble. The action goes to the ground courtesy of a Croatian trip, followed by some Eastern Bloc elbows that force “The Sandman” to give up his back.
“The Duke” takes immediate advantage and sinks in a fatal rear-naked choke. Irvin taps and hands Pokrajac his very first UFC victory. Congrats.
Igor Pokrajac defeats James Irvin via submission (rear-naked choke) at 2:29 of the first.
Mike Massenzio vs. Brian Stann—Middleweights
Now we’re talking—Massenzio enters to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” That’s one of the best tunes out there and perfect for a brawler. Stann, who’s ex-military and a notch on Phil Davis’ bedpost, enters to a metal remake of Bad Company’s “Bad Company.”
No lie, it’s giving me chills and I have no idea who the artist is.
Massenzio goes by “The Master of Disaster” while Stann opts for “The All-American.” He gets a deafening welcome from the SD crowd—remember, San Diego is a military town.
Oh, maybe the cheers were for Big John McCarthy, who’s back in the UFC where he belongs.
The two men take the center of the Octagon for the customary feeling out process before “The Master of Disaster” gets a nice takedown. He’s not able to turn it into anything, though, as Stann quickly gets to his feet.
Massenzio scores a nice trip and the fight is back on the ground where Massenzio ends up on his back, but he tries for a choke. “The All-American” doesn’t look to be in any trouble and manages to sneak out, which draws more applause from the crowd.
Stann is definitely the crowd favorite here.
He stays on top and delivers some bombs from above. They score points, but nothing looks too dangerous.
Right as I type that, Stann lands two larger shots and Massenzio wants out. Out he gets as they bounce to their feet and “The Master of Disaster” retreats across the Octagon. Stann chases him down, but might have done so recklessly as Massenzio shoots for another takedown.
Stann maintains balance for a bit, but eventually ends up on his seat against the fence. He stands back up and an uneventful clinch ends the round. Call it 10-9 for Stann.
The scrappers are back in the middle of the ring, but they appear to be a shade more cautious to start the second. Massenzio comes in for this takedown and gets the softest “slam” I’ve ever seen. Nevertheless, he’s on top and has Stann dominated at the moment.
He continues to dish out some light punishment, just enough to keep Big John from standing them up. More shots from above as Stann tries to throw his legs up for a triangle. Massenzio backs up briefly, which gives “The All-American” a chance to get to his feet.
Massenzio comes back in and the pair goes back to the mat, except Stann’s secures top position in the scrum. The crowd’s favorite starts dishing out some real mayhem from above as two strong shots land on Massenzio’s grill.
The round ends in the same position.
Stann didn’t spend as much time on top in this round, but he was more offensive for the duration so call it another 10-9 for him.
The combatants touch gloves to start the third and Massenzio quickly comes in for a shot. Stann stops him with a heavy shot and “The Master of Disaster” backpedals before shooting back in.
This time, the maneuver’s more successful as he gets the battle to the ground where all hell starts breaking lose.
There’s a few shots traded before a tumbling act ends with Stann in some sort of awkward leg triangle. Massenzio shakes it off and jumps to his feet, quickly followed by Stann. The All-American lands another big hand that sends Massenzio cowering to the ground momentarily.
“The All-American” closes in for the kill, at which point Massenzio lands a shot of his own that seems to drop Stann. But it doesn’t seem to hurt him as a heel kick from the ground lands pretty well. The frenzy continues until the pair ends up in the middle of the cage on the ground.
From there, Stann slowly positions himself before locking in a savage triangle choke and forces Massenzio to tap.
Brian Stann defeats Mike Massenzio via submission (triangle choke) at 3:10 of the third.
The crowd is going absolutely bonkers for their guy as Stann gets a few minutes with Joe Rogan. He uses a few seconds to thank Greg Jackson—who doesn't Jackson get his hooks into?
Charles Oliveira vs. Darren Elkins—Lightweights
Still no Internet so, apologies if/when you eventually do read this.
Oliveira’s fighting out of Houston, but he’s a native of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He enters to something that sounds distinctly like Christian rock, but in Portuguese—not a huge fan.
His opponent, Elkins, comes to us from Hobart, Indiana and opts for some country music. Sounds familiar, but the twangy country isn’t my bag.
Herb Dean gets the honors.
As the 155-pounders typically do, Oliveira and Elkins come running out and waste no time beginning the hostilities in earnest. A few shots are traded before Elkins picks the Brazilian up for a gnarly slam.
Unfazed, the Brazilian locks in a severe leg triangle.
It looks very bad as Elkins is writhing around trying to shake it off and is able to do so. But only because Oliveira sees a better opening for an arm bar. Elkins isn’t getting out of this one; he’s forced to tap, giving Oliveira a lightning quick submission victory.
Charles Oliveira defeats Darren Elkins via submission (armbar) at 0:41 of the first (Submission of the Night).
The quick stoppage means Joe Rogan’s in the Octagon for an exit interview. Oliveira says hello to the crowd in English, which draws a huge ovation. The rest of the interview is handled through an interpreter and the crowd loses interest.
Still, an all-around impressive showing by the Brazilian.
Steve Steinbeiss vs. Rob Kimmons—Middleweights
Ah, the wonders of technology.
With the first fight about to start, the Internet craps out. Wonderful.
Anyway, Steinbeiss is entering the cage...or maybe it’s Kimmons—I’m not sure because I was trying to figure out what happened to my connection as the announcements were made. Nope, it as Steinbeiss since Kimmons is now approaching the cage.
Neither man’s musical selection were recognizable or worth mentioning. Not terrible, but not memorable for any reason.
Kimmons is looking a little soft, but he’s fighting out of Missouri (where I was born) so I’m hoping that isn’t portentous.
The two middleweights take the center of the cage and quickly begin throwing in a more violent feeling out period than you normally see. Steinbeiss landed a couple early shots, which apparently convinced Kimmons that shooting for a takedown or clinch is the way to go.
The pair are pressed up against the cage with Steinbeiss throwing some decent knees while Kimmons is content to land half-shots to the side of his opponent’s head. In truth, though, nothing much of consequence is landing.
Steinbeiss is basically winning the round using control and knees, which are landing in the breadbasket and starting to wear Kimmons down. His hands are dropping and he’s no longer enjoying the close quarters.
The fighters separate much to the delight of the crowd, but things continue to go south for the native of the Show Me State. He eats a couple shots and then a big leg kick, the sum total of which convince him to clinch back up.
A takedown attempt is stuffed by Steinbeiss and the round ends with him in control. Easy 10-9 for Steinbeiss.
The second starts much as the first—they meet in the center and Steinbeiss begins to assert himself with a couple crisp shots that put Kimmons on his heels momentarily. He recovers and comes forward with jabs before shooting for the takedown.
Steinbeiss defends initially before being dragged slowly and briefly to the mat. Now, they’re on their feet and Kimmons seems to be more active this time around. They take turns with their backs against the cage in the clinch and then Kimmons FINALLY gets a sincere takedown.
Steinbeiss kicks him off and tries to spring up, but ends up in a gentle guillotine. Kimmons can’t take advantage and the effort of the offense seems to have drained him. He’s eating shot after shot and doesn’t look interested in putting up much of a defense against the English attacker.
The native of Ipswich lands a nice high kick and a couple more fists before Kimmons catches his second (or third) wind. The American hoists the Brit off his feet and drives him into the canvas. Don’t know if it’s enough to reverse the momentum of the round, but it sure looked pretty.
The horn sounds with Kimmons on top and Steinbeiss breathing hard as he returns to his corner. I think I’ll give that to Kimmons, 10-9, but it was really close.
On my scorecard, this will be the decisive round and Steinbeiss looks prepared as he comes out striking. Another jab lands and snaps Kimmons head back; he’s not moving much and just absorbing low kicks, a straight kick, and some more jabs.
Clearly, the American is watching and waiting for an opening for the shoot. He sees one and pushes forward, but they end up against the fence where nothing happens so the ref (Jason Herzog) separates them.
Steinbeiss jumps into a guillotine attempt and it backfires. He loses his grip as Kimmons goes to the ground, which means the Brit is in a dominated position. Kimmons puts on a choke of his own, but it goes nowhere and actually allows Steinbeiss to regain his feet.
More clinching with little action so Herzog separates them again and, again, Steinbeiss lands a sharp blow before Kimmons shoots for a successful takedown. Kimmons maintains top position as he sprinkles in a little ground ‘n’ pound.
Really, though, it’s G/P in name only as he’s not doing much damage. Still, he’s controlling the fight at this point and crumples Steinbeiss with a couple knees to the head right as the horn sounds.
Close fight, but I think Kimmons did enough in the third to take the round 10-9 and the fight by unanimous decision.
And that’s what it is.
Rob Kimmons defeats Steve Steinbeiss by unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).