UFC 136 Results: Mike Massenzio Claims Decision over Steve Cantwell
Jobs were likely on the line in this middleweight matchup, which opened the Facebook portion of the UFC 136 preliminary card.
Former WEC light heavyweight champion Steve Cantwell made his 185-pound debut. The 25-year-old looked to erase a three-fight losing streak dating back more than two years.
Mike Massenzio returned to the promotion in June as a late replacement against Krzysztof Soszynski at UFC 131. The New Jersey-based fighter dropped a unanimous decision, leaving him with a 1-3 record inside the Octagon.
The pair started slowly as they looked to find their range. Massenzio landed a kick to the liver, but Cantwell answered with a number of teep kicks. Massenzio delivered to the body, while Cantwell continued to look for his jab. A shot from Massenzio was stuffed by Cantwell. Cantwell connected with a left hook to the body followed by a right hand that landed on Massenzio’s jaw. A huge overhand right from Cantwell buckled the legs of Massenzio with two minutes left in the round. Cantwell began to push the pace. A flying knee from Cantwell missed. Massenzio clipped Cantwell in the groin, forcing a momentary break in action. Near the end of the round, Massenzio looked for another takedown, but Cantwell kept the fight on the feet.
The second round began with Cantwell connecting with a right kick to Massenzio’s head. Massenzio looked for a double-leg takedown against the fence, but Cantwell defended and peppered the New Jersey fighter’s body in the process. Another sprawl from Cantwell as Massenzio desperately tried to take the fight to the ground. Massenzio delivered his best offense of the fight near the midway point of the round, landing a left hand that backed up Cantwell. Massenzio pushed the action and bloodied the nose of Cantwell. The pair traded knees against the cage with a minute left in the round. A flurry at the end of the round may have earned Massenzio the round.
In the final frame, Massenzio started aggressively, backing Cantwell against the fence. Massenzio used his striking to again try for a takedown, but Cantwell kept the fight upright. Massenzio scored the first takedown of the fight with three minutes remaining, but after Cantwell looked for an armbar, the fight returned to the feet. A series of left hands from Massenzio appeared to rock Cantwell, but he was able to attempt a standing guillotine. Cantwell’s nose poured blood as the fight wound to a close. Massenzio took Cantwell’s back, but ended up in a leg lock attempt as the final bell sounded.
The back-and-forth battle was scored for Massenzio on all three scorecards. With both fighters known as grapplers, Massenzio proclaimed that he was prepared no matter where the fight went. The win spoiled Cantwell’s middleweight debut and may have cost the fighter his job.
Official Result: Mike Massenzio def. Steve Cantwell by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
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Rob Tatum is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. You can also find Rob’s work at TheMMACorner.com. For anything related to MMA, you can follow Rob on Twitter @RobTatumMMA.
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