LAS VEGAS—Four fights kicked off the action live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena for UFC132. The bouts were streamed on Facebook.com and featured former WEC Bantamweight Champion Brian Bowles earning a hard fought decision versus former title challenger Takeya Mizugaki. Bowles picked up his second UFC win this year.
Bantamweight bout: Brian Bowles def. Takeya Mizugaki via unanimous decision.
After a close first round standing, Bowles was able to get the judges' nod based on back control in rounds two and three versus a game Japanese competitor (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
“I was a little hesitant on my strikes and my takedowns tonight. That was my first decision, so I’m not too happy about that," said Bowles post-fight. "But Mizugaki is tough as hell and I’m proud to have been able to get a win over him. I think I’m next in line for a shot at the belt. If not me, then who?”
Mizugaki commented, “I think I did well in the striking, but he got my back on several occasions. Actually, my game plan was to strike with him early in the first half of the fight and then look for the takedown. I think we ended up with similar game plans, but he was able to execute a little better.”
Middleweight bout: Aaron Simpson def. Brad Tavares via unanimous decision.
Simpson spent the majority of the bout punching his way into the clinch and forcing takedown attempts against the fence that Tavares was all-too ready for. A big slam in the second round by Tavares was the most significant takedown of the fight, but neither man could keep the fight on the mat once it hit. The pressure Simpson put on in addition to takedowns that didn't mount to much offense was enough for him to score the judges decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
“I’m going to be honest. I didn’t think I was at my best tonight. Brad is very talented and he has very flexible hips," said Simpson post-fight. "Some guys at 185 are easy to hold down and maneuver. He felt heavy and was strong and made it a tough fight. This win is something to build off of."
Tavares added, “I’m disappointed I lost the fight. I just spoke with my coaches and know I did some things wrong. I’m not going to hang my head for long. I actually wish my gym was open tomorrow. I’m ready to get back in there and fix some things.”
Lightweight bout: Anthony Njokuani def. Andre Winner via unanimous decision.
A short right uppercut by Njokuani sent Winner reeling late in the first round. The muay Thai specialist from One Kick Gym in Las Vegas unleashed an onslaught of single clinch knees while he held Winner against the fence. With less activity as the fight unfolded, Njokuani continued to employ varied striking to stifle Winner's offense. Anthony Njokuani a decision (30-27-30-26, 30-26).
“I have a newborn son (Kai) now and it’s really opened up my eyes and made me focus harder," said Njokuani post-fight. "I go in the gym every day and try to watch tape and improve on what I’ve done wrong in other fights. I’m trying to do the little things well. I keep my hands up, I move my head more. I think that showed tonight.”
Winner remarked, "It took too long for me to get going tonight. I was too tense and didn’t use my range. He was a good puncher, but I spar with guys like Paul Daley so I’m use to hard shots. Anthony was just better tonight in all aspects. He’s a great technician.”
Bantamweight bout: Jeff Hougland def. Donny Walker via unanimous decision.
Hougland controlled the first half of the opening frame until a guillotine attempt by "Hellbound" found Walker escaping to top position. Walker worked for a choke of his own before losing it and working a knee bar to round one's end.
Hougland bloodied Walker's eye in round two with a clinch knee. Diving for a guillotine, he holds the submission for the last minute of the frame.
Walker came out as the aggressor in the final round, but promptly had to fight off an armbar from top position. He slammed his way out before referee Mario Yamaski restarted the action standing. Houlgand secured top position to end the round. The judges scored it 30-27, 29-28, 29-28 for Jeff "Hellbound" Hougland.
“My game plan was to just come out and scrap. The guillotines were close. He was attacking my hands right away, so props to him for that," said Hougland post-fight. "I think I burned my hands and arms out in the second round trying to finish it. It took until the middle of the third round to get going again. I’m glad I just went in there and got the victory.”
Walker offered, "I took this fight on a week and half notice and I was ready to fight for five rounds. He had good subs and I think I did a good job defending them. As you can see, I came in with good conditioning. Unfortunately, I came up short in there tonight.”