Welcome to the UFC, Francis Carmont.
The big Frenchman, who came into Saturday's bout at UFC 137 with 23 fights under his belt during his mixed martial arts career, earned a victory by unanimous decision against 24-year-old Chris Camozzi in a showcase of up-and-comers in the middleweight division.
Carmont established himself as the aggressor from the get-go in each round, attacking Camozzi's body and dragging him to the mat in the first, striking him up high in the second and catapulting him back with another devastating combination to start the third.
Each time, Camozzi managed to recover to some extent, though not strong enough to stave off the inevitable creaming from Carmont. Camozzi attempted to position himself against Carmont against the cage several times, but didn't seem to have the strength to take down or keep his opponent pinned for long on any occasion.
Carmont firmly took control of the fight in the second round, when he bludgeoned Camozzi with a devastating series of knees, slams and punches. Carmont had a golden opportunity to knock Camozzi out toward the end of the round, after sending Camozzi stumbling back with an uppercut-hook combo, but couldn't quite close the deal right then and there.
Instead, the fight dragged into Round 3 wherein the two fighters, clearly exhausted from the action of the first two rounds, found themselves unproductively entangled partway through. Camozzi got off a couple of last-gasp flurries but still proved to be no match for Carmont, who countered his opponent's aggression with a takedown and waistlock.
In the end, the judges awarded the win to Carmont, their scorecards reading 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27 in favor of Carmont.
The win hardly puts Carmont in the upper echelon of the middleweight division, which is currently ably occupied by the likes of Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort and Michael Bisping. However, at 1-0, Carmont has finally taken that vital first step up the UFC's long and treacherous ladder to the top.
He showed plenty of promise in his domination of Chris Camozzi and, as a result, figures to find steady footing in the UFC from which to establish himself as a rising force to be reckoned with in the years to come.
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