There seems to be some confusion as to what we're calling the UFC action in Seattle on Saturday night. Depending on whom you ask, you might hear UFC Fight Night 24, UFC Fight Night: Seattle or UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis.
That's a little irritating and possibly not the best promotional approach, but you know what they say about a rose by any other name...
Regardless of what you call this blossoming card, it promises to smell just as sweet once the leather starts flying.
The centerpiece is, of course, the main event between Antonio "Minotoro" Rogerio Nogueira and Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis. The twin brother of legendary heavyweight Antonio "Minotauro" Rodrigo, Nogueira was originally set to take on Tito "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Ortiz, but Tito suffered what's been reported as a gnarly cut in training so he had to withdraw from the bout.
That turned out to be a blessing in disguise for a variety of reasons.
Mr. Wonderful is a far more relevant light heavyweight than either Little Nog or the guy from Huntington Beach (Ortiz ain't much of a bad boy anymore, at least not in the Octagon). With eight wins in eight trips to the cage, the undefeated 26-year-old is one of the brightest up-and-comers in the organization. A distinction which took on a much more interesting hue in the wake of Jon "Bones" Jones' ascension to the 205-pound throne at UFC 128.
Murmurings around the MMA world have pegged Davis as a potential thorn in the side of Jones' soon-to-be-mythical joyride through the division. This will be his first chance to prove those whisperings aren't simply the ravings of predictable contrarians and he'll get it against a considerably tougher opponent than anyone he's yet seen.
In other words, yeehaw!
And the fun doesn't stop there.
John "The Hitman" Hathaway will try to bounce back from his first loss in 15 engagements, which counts as intriguing when you consider the Brit is only 23. Alex Caceres, only 22 himself, will make his injury-delayed UFC debut after an eventful spin on The Ultimate Fighter: Team GSP vs. Team Koscheck.
Finally, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon after a knee injury waylaid him for almost 18 months. He'll trade nuclear bombs with fellow dynamic striker Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy in what is sure to be a feast for the fight fan's senses.
All in all, it's quite a nice little bundle of hostility for a free offering on Spike TV and Facebook.
However, if you can't catch the visuals, Bleacher Report will have all the action and results for you live. So check back with us when the gloves drop around 3:15 PM PT.
**Click the Icon To Learn More About the Paralyzed Veterans of America**
Alright, a few computer issues have been resolved so we pick up the action in the second. Apologies, but something about the cageside connection is always a little buggy. Some day, I'll learn and get my own wireless widget.
Anyway, Round 1 was an easy 10-9 for Lowe—he found a home for numerous power punches on Nik "The Carnie" Lentz and also managed a pair of takedowns, the latter of which was reasonably loud.
Lentz deserves credit for continuing to engage and not quailing from the one-sided action, but not enough to make the first a favorable five minutes.
Unfortunately for the Carnie, the second round isn't going much better. In fact, it is arguably going worse. Not as many power shots have landed from Lowe, but a few slightly less perilous pops have found their mark as well as another takedown. Call it another 10-9 for Lowe.
Man, Waylon Lowe is absolutely having his way with Nik Lentz.
The third is unfolding much like the first i.e. with Lowe blasting away at the Carnie, who is bleeding and battered but not beaten. At one point, the pair just stand toe-to-toe trading haymakers a la Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
And the crowd is going nuts for them—I've never been to a sporting event in Seattle, but if this is the kind of reception the city gives its athletes, why the hell did the Supersonics ever leave?
Stop the presses, the Carnie just slapped on a TIGHT guillotine choke while I was mid-digression and Lowe is in enormous trouble. If he can't power through this, he's gonna lose a fight he's been dominating.
That is, indeed, the outcome as Waylon is forced to tap.
Nik Lentz defeats Waylon Lowe by submission (guillotine choke) at 2:24 of the third round.
That was one of the largest and most sudden comebacks I've ever seen and definitely the most superlative I've ever witnessed live.
Lentz has one hell of a chin and an even stronger heart.
Aaron "A-Train" Simpson comes out to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" in a shamelessly transparent attempt to kiss up to a hometown crowd.
It does him no good as "Super" Mario Miranda is a thunderous crowd favorite; the Brazilian fights out of Seattle so no mystery there. Can't place his music, though it was metal-esque.
We're off to a fast start as Miranda and Simpson clinch in the center of the cage before the duo move to the cage for another stagnating clinch. After a few seconds of nothing, referee Dan Miragliotta separates them to the approval of the KeyArena crowd.
The space is short-lived as both men move in for the clinch and they're back against the fence.
Simpson scores a takedown, but can't turn it into much of an advantage before Miranda is back on his feet. More clinch work results in a nice trip by A-Train and a few knees to the midsection follow on the ground. Shortly, however, Mario retakes his feet, but he can't stay there.
A few knees to the leg from Simpson precedes another gentle takedown. Aaron works on some ground 'n' pound from the dominant position although Super Mario sneaks in a couple hammefists from his back that get his adversary's attention.
A-Train's not going anywhere, however, as he rides out the rest of his 10-9 round in top position.
The second starts same as the first—a clinch in the center of the Octagon that Simpson controls and pushes to the cage. There he works for a semi-takedown, but Super Mario's able to defend a little better so A-Train is forced to relent and Miranda backs away to open space.
The Brazilian comes back in for a clinch and tries for a trip of his own, but Simpson avoids and turns the struggle in his favor. The American scores another takedown and quickly moves to Miranda's back. He slams a couple knees and fists into the fleshy parts, but isn't making much progress as Mario looks to Miragliotta and gestures for a standup.
It ain't coming so he tries to stand up himself and is somewhat successful, locking in a kimura attempt. Simpson isn't a fan of the hold so he slams Miranda to the ground and that seems to do the trick. The Brazilian doesn't release immediately, but Aaron's out of the thickest danger.
Mario's still working the hold in an attempt to turn the tide of the exchange and it works for a bit. But A-Train scores yet another slick trip and finishes another 10-9 round in his favor on top of his adversary.
The crowd isn’t going to like the outcome at this rate, but Aaron Simpson is steadily winning this contest. He’s not inflicting a ton of damage on Miranda, but he is controlling the fight. Another opening clinch results in a whizzer attempt that sends both men tumbling to their knees, but no advantage is gained by either so they’re quickly back on their feet.
That’s when Simpson starts with more knees to Super Mario’s legs and scores another hard takedown. Now, the American is just lying on top of Miranda, absorbing a few elbows to his kidneys while dishing out a little punishment of his own.
There's another struggle to get the fight back to its feet, but it ends with a synchronized cartwheel that ends with Miranda on his back, yet again. A-Train can't hold him there and there's a brief flurry of strikes from Miranda, but Simpson comes shooting right back in for a takedown.
He doesn't get it, but the resulting clinch bleeds the rest of the round off the clock. The crowd boos another 10-9 round for Aaron Simpson.
Aaron Simpson defeats Mario Miranda by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
No stopping this wagon, folks.
TJ Waldburger is already in the cage for his UFC debut and Johny Hendricks approaches to his customary "50 Dollars and a Flask of Crown" by Blue Edmondson.
Awesome, AWESOME song and I don't even like country (I do like Crown, however).
Waldburger doesn't look too nervous in his first trip to the Octagon, which is a little odd considering he's facing a pretty dangerous guy in Hendricks. The opening exchange doesn't yield much and, as space opens up, Waldburger comes flying across the cage and almost takes down his opponent, who is an accomplished wrestler.
Johny looks a little taken aback and it might be screwing with him.
TJ lands a fantastic leg kick that echos through the arena and Hendricks cocks his head to his side as if to say, "c'mon man, you gotta do better than that." Usually a sure sign that the strike found a painful resting place.
Maybe the leg kick just made Hendricks angry because he promptly powders TJ with a nice left and finished the job with another vicious straight left that floors the newcomer. A little more insult follows the initial injury before referee Mario Yamasaki can dive in to stave off further abuse.
Johny Hendricks defeats TJ Waldburger by TKO (punches) at 1:35 of the first round.
We've got a little downtime before our next bout so let's talk about the early judging returns. It's probably fitting that, on the night that Nam Phan and Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia were supposed to meet in a rematch of their first bout which ended in a split decision/highway robbery for Garcia, the judging has already been flat-out embarrassing.
Or at least one has been: Terry Boehlke.
Terry hasn't affected the outcome of a fight yet, but check this out.
He/she gave Nik Lentz the second round of his fight with Waylon Lowe, 10-9. Uh...excuse me? How the hell is that even possible? Lowe was OBLITERATING Lentz right up until the choke that beat him.
THEN good ol' Terry gave Aaron Simpson the second round in his fight by the score of 10-8. Again, excuse me? That's just brutal and there are no two ways about it. Same judge gives a guy who was dominated a 10-9 round, then turns around and hands a 10-8 to a fighter who did very little.
In all seriousness, when do we hit a tipping point and admit that MMA judging seems almost random?
I though I'd heard it all when the Eagles were mashed up with some manner of gangsta rap, but little did I know. I just sat through Journey's "Worlds Apart" mashed with what I believe was Jay-Z. Who the hell even thinks of such an atrocity?
Anyway, the big boys are center stage and in the cage so on with it.
The crowd seems to be on Sean "Big Sexy" McCorkle's side in his battle with Christian "Warcraft" Morecraft, but it's not doing wonders for his performance thus far. Morecraft is all over him, almost locking in a fatal kneebar that probably would've ended the night for a less experienced fighter...or one with weaker knees.
Big Sexy is able to weather the storm, but can't do much more as Morecraft still has dominant position. Never one to be bashful or careful, McCorkle still plays to the crowd even from the dominated position.
Now, Christian is just standing over Sean as the latter beckons him to bring it while the arena starts reverberating with boos. It is LIVE in here.
McCorkle has personality for days, but he needs to mount more than a public relations offensive or he's gonna lose his second bout in a row. Like he just lost the first round, 10-9.
The pair comes out striking to start the second, but it's not the crispest or most technical display you'll ever see. In fact, I'm far more entertained by the "Morecraft" inked across Christian's slightly gelatinous stomach.
Never understood it when a guy gets his own name tattooed on his body; are you that fond of yourself? Is there some risk of you forgetting? Curious.
Anyway, the striking gives way to a takedown and Big Sexy is on his back again. Morecraft isn't exactly capitalizing on the opportunity, but he's staying active and doing enough to control the round. Finally, Christian has had enough (of the ground fighting or the boos, I'm not sure) and backs away ever so slightly.
A gassed McCorkle lumbers to his feet and almost eats a game-changer from Morecraft, but instead lands a nice left hook of his own. In return, Big Sexy gets a heavyweight knees right to the mommy-daddy button and slumps against the cage as he tries to recover.
Key Arena shames him to his feet, but he still looks uncomfortable...though most of the discomfort may be coming from the swollen left side of his mug. More boos as Sean tries to walk it off and he does.
We're back at it. Kind of.
Nothing has happened since the restart except a fleeting leg kick and some flirtations with a striking exchange. McCorkle then stumbles forward for a takedown attempt, but instead gets caught in a standing guillotine from Morecraft.
Someone says Christian is too tall to finish the move, but nobody tells Big Sexy because he's O-U-T as Morecraft lets go and casts him aside.
Christian Morecraft defeats Sean McCorkle by submission (standing guillotine choke) at 4:10 of the second round.
That's the first win in the Octagon for the guy who Wikipedia lists as 24-25 years old. Congrats, big fella.
Forgot to mention that we're streaming live on Facebook so hit up the social media site to see the fights in living color.
We've got a battle of UFC newcomers in this one and Michael "Mayday" McDonald might be as young as 19 so take a look.
Holy lord, it's always a crazy contrast when bantamweights follow heavyweights to the cage, but this is crazy!
After a rather mundane couple of rounds from McCorkle and Morecraft, McDonald and Edwin Figueroa are getting after it. There is about a 30 second exchange when Mayday is throwing punches in a blur and Figueroa is just juking/jiving to stay alive (or conscious).
Figueroa is able to avoid the brunt of the damage, but he eats more than enough fists for his pleasure. McDonald is a Tasmanian devil in there; just a frenzy of punches and relentless pressure. I've never seen this kid before, but we could be looking at the (ironically) next big thing in the sport.
The 19- or 20-year-old has already demonstrated a proficiency in the striking department and now drops down for a thwacking takedown. On the ground, he tenderizes his opponent before they get back to their feet and finish with some more standing fireworks.
An easy 10-9 for McDonald.
The second starts about as quickly as the first except that Figueroa is on the immediate offensive. Mayday comes charging forward, but Figueroa pulls guard and starts working the submission game. McDonald resists and suddenly finds himself in a rather serious looking kneebar.
Unperturbed, the youngster powers through and takes Edwin's back. He locks in a dire rear-naked choke and the crowd senses the finish, but Figueroa persists and manages to free himself.
Now, he's caught in a triangle that Mayday adds an armbar to in the middle of Figueroa's thrashing, but this also goes wanting as Edwin mini-bombs his way out. He can't get completely free, however, and now he's back in the throes of said triangle. McDonald keeps working that arm in hopes of heaping misery upon misery, but Edwin simply will NOT tap out.
He extricates himself from all the holds and then starts raining fists on Mayday from above. He finishes the round with some offense of his own, but I don't think it's enough. Another 10-9 for McDonald.
I've got McDonald up two rounds to none; we've seen his striking, we've seen his submission game and now we'll see how his cardio is because he's expended a tremendous amount of energy against an adversary who doesn't seem to have any quit in him.
In other words, Mayday will have to finish strong or he might be the second fighter to drop a bout he owned.
So far, he's getting outpointed in the third by Edwin, but he's also not in trouble especially after securing a nice takedown. He tries a little ground 'n' pound before backing off Figueroa and the latter climbs to his feet. Perhaps Mayday just likes the takedown, though, because he secures another as soon as Edwin is standing.
To his credit, Figueroa manages to reverse and now owns the dominant position, but he's not doing enough to get the finish and that appears to be what he needs.
After another armbar attempt by Mayday, Edwin takes on an air of urgency and starts winging thumpers at McDonald a few get through before Mayday scrambles to his feet. The kid grabs one final takedown just to put the round to bed. Another 10-9 for McDonald and a UD on my card.
Michael McDonald defeats Edwin Figueroa by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Great fight between two 135-pounders of whom I'm guessing we'll see a lot more. Remember, that was each individual's UFC debut.
And Edwin Figueroa took the scrap on SIX-DAYS notice (it was also his first pro loss in eight fights).
Both men give big ups to Jesus in their post-fight interviews; had no idea he was such a fight fan.
We've got a battle between to possible up-and-comers slated for the next attraction so let's get to it.
The opening exchanges don't yield much of note so let's talk about how good both fighters look physically. John "The Hitman" Hathaway looks a lot thicker than he has previously whereas Kris "Savage" McCray looks dynamite at 170.
As for the actual fight, there's still not much to report.
Hathaway had McCray in a relatively deep kneebar, but the attempt failed as Savage whaled his way out of the submission with loud shots to the Hitman's body. He proceeded to use that momentum and grab a takedown once the action returned to the feet.
The vapors of a few elbows landed before Hathaway was able to move back to a standing position, but he couldn't avoid another successful takedown from the American. Hathaway keeps throwing his legs up as if to go for a triangle or armbar, but Savage is too deft on the ground.
As the pair separates and the Hitman tries to get back to his feet, McCray lands a soccer kick right to the Brit's body. That's the last substantial scoring of a 10-9 round for the TUF alumnus.
The second starts with some light sparring that ends with a nice right hook clipping McCray, although he doesn't seem any worse for the wear. He might be slowing a little, though, as the Hitman grabs his first takedown of the match.
It's a brief victory as Kris is back on his feet, but a straight right lands this time.
The action goes to the ground with the Hitman working for an armbar, but Savage smoothly pivots around his arm and escapes danger. Now, he's in Hathaway's guard looking to inflict some carnage. Not much is forthcoming, but Savage is definitely scoring points in the eyes of the judges for position/control.
He does seem to be flagging a bit as his takedown attempts aren't as compelling and the successful ones don't last as long. McCray's punches have also lost some of their technical appeal, taking on a decidedly more flailing appearance.
For his part, the Brit doesn't even look like he's sweating.
McCray gets his second wind as he follows a nice left kick to the midsection with an equally pretty straight left. He finishes the round in top position after another takedown. Call it a less impressive 10-9 for McCray.
That's two rounds to none for Savage on my scorecard; let's see if he can finish it off.
The early returns aren't too promising as Hathaway grabs a depressingly easy (to McCray's corner) takedown. Kris is offering only token defense as his gas tank seems to have run dry. John is landing with elbows and punches to the head plus the sporadic-but-heavier shots to the body.
The KeyArena crowd is getting restless as referee Herb Dean looks on, but the Hitman is staying very active and landing with much of his offense so I'm not sure about the discontent.
Savage finally musters his strength and turns it into a reversal such that he's lying in the Hitman's guard at the base of the fence. The Brit tries to inch his way up the cage, but McCray drags him back down into the muck.
Again Hathaway struggles to his feet and this time he's staying there.
The Hitman grabs a takedown, but with only about 60 seconds left, that's gonna be too late too little if he's trying to win a decision. By my count, he needs to stop a weary McCray and the ground might not be the best place to do that.
The Brit marks up his opponent's face and impresses with one final takedown, but the horn ends the 10-9 round for Hathaway and should mean a UD for McCray.
We shall see.
John Hathaway defeats Kris McCray by split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
These decisions don't even raise my blood anymore. That was the wrong call in my eyes, but considering how many utterly horrible decisions we've seen of late, this one barely rates.
Still, tough pill for McCray to swallow as his third-straight defeat.
Next up, we've got everyone's favorite TUF alumnus Alex "Bruce Leeroy" Caceres squaring off with another UFC newcomer in Mackens "Mack da Menace" Semerzier in what should be an entertaining welterweight bout.
If only because Caceres came bouncing into the cage to something that sounded very much like 70s-era disco and having the time of his life, dancing and slapping hands with any fan who offered a palm.
Dude is at least half a bubble off.
Don't know much about Semerzier, but he's taking a significantly more no-nonsense approach to the evening.
The crowd's reaction to Bruce Leeroy is mixed—raucous boos competing with equally unruly cheers.
And we're off.
Semerzier comes out rifling kicks at Caceres and a few land, which only slathers the grin wider on Bruce Leeroy's face. The fighters clinch and Alex decides to oblige the beginning of a takedown attempt from da Menace by hopping into his arms and pulling guard.
Mackens can't turn the first takedown into an advantage as Bruce Leeroy wiggles his way to his feet, but da Menace quickly gets the scrap back to the mat via a trip. Another up-and-down session results in Caceres in a more vulnerable position so he rolls and gives da Menace his back.
Probably not a good idea.
Mackens' position is a little high and Caceres almost shakes him off from a bent-over stance, but he can't quite finish the maneuver before da Menace flattens him out again. Bruce Leeroy is in real trouble now as da Menace sinks in a body lock in concert with a deep rear-naked choke.
Caceres resists for a few seconds, but the tap is inevitable.
Mackens Semerzier defeats Alex Caceres by submission (rear-naked choke) at 3:18 of the first round.
Even that one-sided affair doesn't wipe the grin off of Bruce Leeroy's face; I'm beginning to find his cheer more than a little endearing.
Especially since I'm not force fed his antics on a weekly basis anymore...
One last appetizer before the main card and it's a big one, featuring two plus-sized models from the heavyweight division.
Mike "Maniac Cop" Russow enters first to a metal remix of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man." Not good.
Jon Madsen follows him, also to some metal. Also not good.
And remember, metal is my music of choice so I'm not a harsh critic when it comes to the genre.
Holy butterball turkey, Batman, these guys aren't what you would call svelte—Madsen, in particular, is threatening to join Roy "Big Country" Nelson with the beer keg of a gut he's got working. Russow's more flabby than bulbous, but I'm guessing neither hombre passes up too many meals.
And, yes, I'm stalling because there has been a whole lot of nothin' so far. Just a lot of striking exchanges that would be best described as slap fights. Still, it's early and these are the kind of bangers who can end a bout instantly.
Jon tries a leg kick and it doesn't have the desired effect.
The Maniac Cop starts scoring with a few short rights, but these two behemoths are simply bouncing off each other for the most part. They clinch against the cage and the crowd's discontent flowers into full-bore boos.
The final horn triggers another round of lusty disapproval from the crowd, but new Octagon Girl Brittany Palmer turns the tide instantaneously.
I have no idea what to make of that round; if left to my own devices, I'd score it 10-10 because neither fighter got much of an advantage. If pressed, I'd give it to Russow, 10-9.
Mike comes out to start the second by pressing the action and throwing almost Nick Diaz-esque pepper shots to harass Madsen while he's coming forward. Of course, once he's come all the way forward, the result is a fruitless clinch so...
More clinching, more pepper shots from Russow, rinse and repeat.
They finally separate and it seems some of those shots had more than pepper on them because Jon's face is ugly under his left eye (or maybe just bruised, but that qualifies in this "fight").
Russow gets a mild takedown as Madsen turns his back and they spend about a minute on the ground sucking wind before the ref (who I don't recognize) slaps them on the back to stand them up.
Those big bellies have taken their toll as we've ground to a standstill. Literally.
They're not even really clinching, but the ref separates them anyway. Granted, Madsen and Russow get right back to the clinch and stay there until the horn.
More boos, but I'd say it was a more decisive round (10-9) for the Maniac Cop.
That's all she wrote, sports fans.
The doctor enters the cage in between rounds to look at Jon Madsen's suddenly grotesque left eye and he calls the fight. The crowd doesn't like it, but Jon's got a purple goose egg directly under the eye. It almost closed as he sat on the stool so it would've gotten much worse had they sent him back out there.
Besides, did you really want to see another five minutes of that? Didn't think so.
Mike Russow defeats Jon Madsen by TKO (doctor's stoppage) at 5:00 of the second round.
This was supposed to be Bad Boy against Nam Phan, but you can't be too upset about another rematch featuring Garcia. Especially since his first bout with Chan Sung "The Korean Zombie" Jung was an epic Fight of the Night back at WEC 48.
So this is a second helping of an original that was an outright burner. In other words, expect both men to pull out all the stops and turn the cage into a frenzy of animosity.
The Korean Zombie comes out to his trademark music, the Cranberries' "Zombie."
Bad Boy responds with some rap that has a little too much personality to be considered generic, but the battle of the bands certainly goes to Jung.
I'm gonna say it again—why did the Seattle Supersonics ever leave this building? I cannot imagine the city was any less supportive of its hoops team than it has been of random fighters.
This place is going bonkers; the decibel level is just shy of painful and I'm not talking about the sound system.
Away we go!
There's a momentary calm before the storm, but it eventually arrives as Garcia fires off several kicks and the Korean Zombie follows them with a salvo of punches. No blood is drawn, but the seal is broken.
Big overhand right from Garcia does some damage, not much though as Jung tries one of his own and misses. Perhaps they're pacing themselves out of respect to the first battle these two fought because the action hasn't really caught fire yet.
As I type that, both men take the center of the Octagon and start throwing leather at each other. The clash doesn't last as the Korean Zombie backs away to find his rhythm.
It doesn't work as a big shot from Garcia lands and seems to wobble the South Korean, but instead, he comes firing back in for a shot and plants Bad Boy on his keister. An awkward moment follows as Leonard's head disappears into Chan Sung's groin by virtue of the north-south position, then Jung transitions into position for an armbar attempt.
Garcia feels the movement and tries to rally a defense, but catches a few bombs for his efforts. Still, he scramble out of trouble momentarily before absorbing a hellacious knees. He looks to be in real trouble before the horn saves him.
Give the round to the South Korean, 10-9.
The second begins by following the footprints of the first—both warriors a bit tentative as they feel each other out and try to time the fury.
Flying knee from Garcia lands, but to the side of Jung's torso and it didn't look to have much on it. Either way, the Korean Zombie barely notices it and keeps on coming. Chan Sung is really working his left jab and using it effectively to keep Bad Boy at bay.
A head kick from the South Korean goes over Leonard's head, but the American can't capitalize. In fact, he's having a rough time, in general, trying to find real estate for his strikes.
The Korean Zombie continues to stalk his prey behind that jab and his persistence is beginning to pay off. However, Garcia's not backing down from anyone and scores with a nice right hand as Jung came leaping in.
Chan Sung doesn't like that at all so he fires back and one of the heavy hitters puts Bad Boy on his can. The South Korean follows him to the ground and lands some solid elbows from Garcia's guard before things start to unravel for the American.
Garcia tries to avoid trouble, but rolls right into some of the dire variety. Jung locks up Garcia's left leg and then goes for the choke. However, due to the awkward position and the locked leg, he ends up with sort of a modified neck crank (actually a twister).
He doesn't want to, but Bad Boy is forced to tap and thus gives Jung the first twister submission in the history of the UFC.
Chan Sung Jung defeats Leonard Garcia by submission (twister) at 4:59.
It's now one win apiece for each gladiator, and the Korean Zombie is obviously stoked to have evened the score. He's on top of the cage right in front of the media screaming to the crowd.
And, yeah, that time is right—if Garcia could've lasted just one second longer, he'd have been saved by the bell. Dude's tough as nails so I'm guessing he just lost track of the time.
We're coming down the home stretch now as it's time for the last battle of fringe contenders between DaMarques Johnson and Amir Sadollah. Both TUF alumni have had their ups and downs since leaving the show, but they haven't quite been able to cobble together a sustained run.
They also haven't knocked off too many apex predators, but that's a story for a different TUF day...
The music each approached the cage to was indescribable and not in a good way; lots of electronic sound effects. I think I last heard something similar coming from one of those Dance Dance Revolution games.
For the record, Sadollah's was worse.
As the first round unfolds, it's becoming apparent that Amir is having an issue with Johnson's size and strength. A slip ends with him underneath DaMarques, desperate for an escape. However, a second takedown is genuine—Johnson catches a Sadollah kick and drives the latter into the ground.
Amir endures some ground 'n' pound for about a minute before slipping out of the dominated position. Once back on their feet, Amir begins to have some better success.
A straight left appears to floor DaMarques at the base of the fence before some clinch work stagnates the proceedings. Johnson gets things moving with a gorgeous hip toss that sticks Amir into the canvas, but not for long.
They're back standing for a nanosecond before Johnson seems to pull guard while snapping on a guillotine that is going nowhere. The horn ends the round with Sadollah in Johnson's guard and a 10-9 advantage to DaMarques.
Sadollah looks upset with his performance thus far and comes out for the second to get the taste out of his mouth. He starts a furious striking exchange that ranges around half the cage and suddenly Amir is getting the better of the festivities.
Though Johnson is landing as well, Amir is really pouring it on and measuring his punches better. DaMarques looks for an outlet and finds one, but a slip against the cage throws off his balance and Amir takes advantage by grabbing his opponent.
Eventually, the struggle goes to the ground and Sadollah keeps the pedal down. He's bombarding Johnson with punches, elbows and gruesome knees to the body. His adversary has had enough of the knees and flees the scene while Amir is loading up for another big one.
DaMarques is gassed, though, so the flight doesn't last long.
Sadollah gets him back under control, cinches Johnson's right arm across the latter's head and tees off with elbow after elbow after elbow that DaMarques can't defend because the arm is neutralized.
After about five to 10 unanswered bludgeoning shots, Johnson taps and Yamasaki bails him out from further slaughter.
Amir Sadollah defeats DaMarques Johnson by submission (strikes) at 3:27 of the second round.
Tough not to root for Amir Sadollah—the first words out of his mouth are in praise of DaMarques Johnson who took the bout on short notice. Funny dude as well and an impressive performance from him.
The favorite for Knockout of the Night has finally arrived.
Make no mistake about it—neither the Outlaw nor Rumble has much interest in pussy-footing around the cage or engaging in a ground war. In fact, if Hardy never sees the ground again after his disappointing turn with UFC Welterweight Champion George "Rush" St-Pierre, it will probably be too soon.
As for Rumble, he was one of the most exciting prospects at 170 before a knee injury sidelined him for almost a year and a half.
So I guess it's possible he's added a plethora of ground game to his arsenal during the hiatus.
But I doubt it.
The layoff has obviously hurt Rumble's physique—my man is shredded to the Nth degree as he steps into the Octagon.
Hardy enters with his signature mohawk, bandanna and the Clash bumping; for whatever reason, the KeyArena is beside itself in support for the Brit. Maybe they're just not familiar enough with Rumble.
OK, the crowd loves Johnson as well; it's like someone drenched the place in Red Bull and cocaine.
After some miscommunication, the duo touches glove and the explosive action is officially underway.
Actually, it takes a few seconds longer when Rumble stuns Hardy with a left head kick and drops him in his tracks. The Outlaw recovers quickly, however (he might've actually blocked the brunt of the force), and turns back Anthony's ground 'n' pound to regain his feet.
Things don't go much better from there, though, as Johnson powers through the Brit and crushes him with a takedown. The crowd responds with chants of "Hard-y, Hard-y." That gets answered by some punishing strikes from Rumble and a "U-S-A, U-S-A" chant from other parts of the crowd.
Rumble continues to try to pound Hardy into dust, but the Outlaw fires up a triangle attempt and gives his antagonist reason for pause. From there, he slaps on a defensive kimura and this does the trick—Rumble is no longer powdering the Brit as he's preoccupied with the sub attempt.
It's off now, but Hardy is still plying the ground trade. He's reaching for Johnson's right leg in search of a Shogun-esque sweep.
Unfortunately, he's not Mauricio Rua and Johnson rides the position out until the horn.
Clear 10-9 round for Rumble.
Hardy comes out for the second shaking out his arms as if to chase the muscle memory of the first round. Good idea.
Maybe I was right (and wrong) about Rumble adding to his ground game because he ducks under a combination of strikes from the Outlaw and secures the takedown. The bigger, stronger warrior is simply too much of a beast for a pure battle of brawn.
Fortunately for the Outlaw, he seems more polished in the submission game and has Rumble's left arm hung up in another mediocre kimura attempt. The threat of danger is enough to stagnate Anthony's assault and spur a fresh round of booing from the arena (the crowd is boisterous, not patient or particularly savvy in the MMA way).
Rumble's still enjoying top position and slams a few right hands into the Outlaw's head to prove it while some jackass behind me yells for referee Josh Rosenthal to stand the competitors up. The calls are a tad premature since there's still an advantage being pressed, but Johnson stops pressing so Josh gives the arena what it wants.
Anthony Johnson clearly has a game plan here and it's the exact opposite of the billing i.e. take Hardy down at all costs. He comes shooting across the cage and grabs a single leg, but he can't complete the takedown as Hardy bounces on one leg from one side of the cage to the other and then back.
Pretty impressive display of balance and strength despite a human freight train driving to hell and gone.
Not impressive enough to get the round, however. Another 10-9 for Rumble.
Johnson wastes no time at the beginning of the third; he scores yet another takedown and the crowd isn't even waiting around this time. The boos start immediately and turn to cheers just as quickly as the Outlaw works yet another kimura attempt to try to neutralize Rumble's strength advantage.
It seems to work as Anthony relents and lets Dan get to his feet before taking his back. Hardy squeezes a glimpse of offense out of the position with a nice elbow before Johnson takes him back to the canvas and takes his back on the ground.
The heretofore MIA athlete is working for the rear-naked choke before a writhing Hardy ends up in position for a side choke. Remember, this is the guy who GSP had dead to rights with that kimura so don't expect a tap.
He may just pass out, of course.
Johnson's really cranking his hold on Hardy, but he's no longer in prime position to finish the bout so he opts to pulverize the Outlaw's noggin until the final horn sounds. That's another clear 10-9 for Rumble and the bout is his by unanimous decision.
Anthony Johnson defeats Dan Hardy by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Well that's kind of a rude welcome back for Rumble—sure, he didn't give the fans the standup war they wanted, but he did deploy an intelligent and effective game plan.
Oh, and he freakin' won.
So what's with all the booing, Seattle?
Time for the main event.
The Man Who Could Beat Jon Jones (according to some) enters the cage first to some hip-hop that I don't recognize, not that I'm an expert on the genre.
As our deputy editor Brian Oswald just pointed out, Little Nog definitely has a ghetto-fabulous strut to him as he approaches to some much harder rap than Mr. Wonderful chose. Minotoro-Don't-Call-Me-Minotauro looks like he's all business (with the aforementioned edge to it) as he circles inside the cage.
It also bears mentioning that Rogerio looks fitter than I remember him.
Uh oh, the KeyArena is turning it up to 11; the crowd is on its collective feet for the introductions.
Their are high stakes here as far as the light heavyweight division is concerned so no surprise that both men come out a little tentatively, testing the water until Mr. Wonderful opens up with a head kick that misses. The whiff almost gets him in trouble, but he's able to spin away from the approaching Minotoro.
Davis lands the first sincere strike of the evening and follows it with a half-hearted shot. He manages to press the Brazilian into the cage, but nothing more comes from it so he retreats and resets the striking affair.
Another high kick misses and Phil eats a straight left this time.
More sparring and water testing as they feel each other out. Mr. Wonderful throws another kick to the body and makes it clear that those will be a staple of the three-rounder (should it go that long).
Little Nog's beginning to find his range as a right clips Davis and throws him off balance, but he catches himself before actually hitting the mat. He responds with a charge that sends Minotoro reeling into the base of the cage.
Rodrigo's twin gets back to his feet with relative ease and scores with some more strikes before the final bell. Close round, tough to score.
I'll give it to Davis, 10-9, since he was the aggressor and neither individual came away with a clear upperhand as far as offense.
Phil Davis goes back to his kicks to start the second and lands a couple. A big right misses from Davis and he narrowly ducks under some cruel Brazilian intentions. Another kick to the body scores for Mr. Wonderful, but he's certainly looking a bit out of sorts as he attacks Noguiera.
What's bizarre is that, for an accomplished wrestler, Little Nog is have VERY little trouble stuffing Davis' shots. As he demonstrates right on cue.
Likewise, Rogerio's straight left appears to be scoring with unusual frequency considering the reach advantage Davis enjoys (a cool five inches).
Mr. Wonderful secures his takedown at last, although it almost seemed like Nogueira cooperated by going to his back. This could be bad for the Brazilian, who's not quite the submission expert his twin heavyweight brother is.
He tries to exit the position, but Davis chases him down and puts him back on the ground. From there, Mr. Wonderful whacks him with sizable right hands before finishing off the round with some hideous knees to Little Nog's midsection.
The Brazilian will definitely feel those in the morning. Maybe even in the third round.
A much clearer 10-9 for Phil Davis.
As the final stanza begins, it could very easily be either gladiator's fight depending on how that first round was scored at cageside.
Davis looks like the fresher of the two athletes as there is still considerable spring in his step. He hops from side to side before delivering a jump kick to Rogerio's body—that's gotta be disheartening if Little Nog is even the slightest bit fatigued.
And it appears he is as Davis gets a takedown with shocking ease as compared to earlier in the bout.
Mr. Wonderful enjoys top position for about 90 seconds without making much progress in the way of damage before he backs off and allows the Brazilian to his feet. A few awkward striking exchanges follow in which nothing of note lands (though Minotoro comes the closest), then Davis takes the matter back to the ground.
It's kind of a surreal scene in the Octagon as Davis is preoccupied with Nogueira's feet, grappling with them as if he were looking for a leg lock or kneebar or some other leg-oriented submission. He makes almost no effort to do further damage, content to ride out the clock and avoid any last-minute submissions.
The horn ends the third round of a fairly disappointing bout. The third goes to Davis by the count of 10-9 and that should give him a pretty safe unanimous decision.
Phil Davis defeats Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Good win for Mr. Wonderful, but there is NO WAY homie is ready for Jon "Bones" Jones. No way.
He just showed his striking isn't even in the same stratosphere so he'd have to be an infinitely better wrestler than Bones. Something tells me he's not, despite the pedigree.
Nevertheless, give Phil Davis loads of credit—he took out a legend, did it convincingly and did the deed on short notice.
That's not too bad for night's work.