B.J. Penn Vs. Matt Hughes:
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BJ starts out throwing the punches, Hughes falls into his game. All of a sudden, Hughes gets smothered, and it's over in a heartbeat. It's a right hand that drops Hughes, and Penn gets in full mount and just pummels Hughes, who doesn't even put up his hands to block. The ref stops it after just 21 seconds.
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Quinton "Rampage" Jackson Vs. Lyoto Machida
Machida lands the first strike, a leg kick. Rampage seems amped but not ready to trade. Machida lands a couple more hard leg kicks. Machida misses one and Rampage tries to pounce but can't get in range in time. Machida clips him with another leg kick. He lands his next try, but then Rampage explodes. Rampage lands a nice right and repeats the same move on the next leg kick. Machida makes it a grappling match against the cage. Machida gets separation, takes an uppercut in the process, and lands a knee and a couple nice body kicks. The fight ends up back against the fence in the closing minute. Machida retreats and looks for his head kick range. Rampage connects with a flurry. Machida's leg kick gets checked, and Rampage tries to bull back. It's his only move that works, and Machida's got it figured out now as the round ends.
Machida lands a nice knee to the chest early. Rampage catches him up against the cage and starts working Muay Thai knees. Lyoto complains of a low blow. Rampage works for range and timing but can't find either. He bulls in with an awkward left and follows it up with a hard knee to the body. Working up against the cage, Rampage secures a good hold on Machida and takes him down. The fighters work back to their feet, and Machida gets caught with a glancing right backing up. A sloppy exchange from Rampage makes Machida clinch harder. Rampage knees him in the body ttrying to separate. He follows it up with another upercut. Machida goes for a head kick that's blocked and gets caught with another nice uppercut a moment later. Machida gets his distance, dances for a while, and lands a hard leg kick. The fight goes back to the edge of the cage and gets a bit exciting in the last ten seconds as Rampage slips and rolls across the cage at the buzzer and blocks a head kick as he stands.
Jackson throws a leg kick for a change. This fight could be a tie at this point. Rampage is still aggressive but doesn't want to exert to much energy on the chase. He lands another leg kick and keeps stalking Machida. He can't get in the right range. Machida winds up finding his range first and connects with a starching right hand followed up by a quick combo. Rampage can't do much to respond and gets swarmed and taken down. Machida grapples with him, dragging him out from the fence and working for full mount. Finally, he gets there not long after the ref threatens to stand them up. Machida keeps control and goes for an arm bar. Rampage picks him right up inside a minute and rips his arm free. Machida works for a takedown and nearly gets his back. Rampage turns it around. Rampage raises Machida's hand before the judges get a chance to score it. He sits right down in disgust against the cage, his team members telling him to get back up.
DECISION: 29-28, 29-28, 29-28 (2x for Jackson, Once for Machida). Not quite what I expected as I would have given the first to Machida and the second to Jackson. The third round was all Machida.
Joe Lauzon vs. George Sotiropoulos:
Both fighters start off slugging, and Lauzon lands the better shots. George tries to grapple, but Lauzon gets his distance back and goes back to punching. Joe won't let the fight go to the ground. He's connecting with some of his best punches. When he misses he's covering up well and using the whole cage to move. Finally George goes for the ground again and Lauzon punishes him with elbows. Joe grapples his way off the fence and goes back to boxing. He gets clocked by a nice right but keeps wading in to throw punches. He turns a sprawl into a takedown and doesn't fall for a reversal attempt. Rather than mess with a strength of George's, Lauzon works his way back to his feet only to wind up on the bottom of a takedown and then giving up his back to George. It doesn't last long, but George then finishes the round in complete control and working for submissions until he gets into full mount and goes for an armbar without securing it first. Lauzon explodes out of it and unloads on George in the closing seconds.
An early scramble for a takedown goes nowhere. Lauzon is relaxed and holds on against the fence, waiting for the right time to punch. George gets a Muay Thai clinch and throws some knees Lauzon does his best to block. He's slowing down big time. George gets him on the ground again and nearly loses position again going for another armbar. George finally works it into another submission and Lauzon taps after getting sunk deep into a behind-the-back Kimura. The fight is stopped at 2:43 of the second round.
Phil Davis Vs. Tim Boetsch:
Davis lands the first punch about 30 seconds in. Davis follows up with a head kick attempt, some body and leg kicks, and a more sound boxing technique. Boetsch misses a wild right. He later lands a nice hard jab, but the body kicks keep coming from Davis. Both men are keeping their distance when they can. Boetsch gets an opportunity to punch Davis in the head but can't connect with any major impact. Davis uses his legs and gives Boetsch his best body kick of the night. Davis gets Boetsch backing up and then slams him hard with a takedown. Davis works the side control and goes to work on Boetsch's rib cage with right hands. Davis lands a few elbows as Boetsch scrambles to try to recover. Davis is manhandling Boetsch, hitting him with all sorts of punches, maintaining complete dominance. With just 20 seconds in the round Boetsch escapes, but Davis makes him pay with knees and punches.
Davis goes for a wild head kick and misses. Boetsch is landing better this round. Davis decides to make it more of a grappling match and contains his opponent against the cage. The crowd begins a chorus of boos. Davis connects with a few knees to the chest. Davis goes for a double leg takedown and Boetsch does his best to catch him in a guillotine. Davis pops out. Boetsch gives up an arm, and Davis works a Kimura. Boetsch tries to avoid tapping out but gets his arm torqued way behind his back and has no choice. Herb Dean stops it at 2:55 to give Davis the submission win.
Gerald Harris Vs. Maiquel Jose Falcao Goncalves:
Falcao is taller and skinnier, and he observes a perfect boxing stance. Harris tries to stay low. He uses his right to throw sneaky jabs when he sees an opening. Neither fighter seems to want to engage much at first. The crowd lets them know they want more with a steady stream of boos. Falcao finally lands a body kick, but nothing much follows. Harris works a few punches in and gets caught in close a few moments later as Falcao storms in on him, grapples him to the ground, and unloads with both hands. Falcao sinks in a rear naked choke sideways and lets go. Harris lifts him up and slams him. Falcao has him in a rear naked choke into the close of the round and refuses to let go until the ref almost tears him off. Harris takes a while to get up.
Falcao lands a quick, hard right hand that sets the stage for another beat down. He storms the retreating Harris up against the cage. Harris gets overwhelmed and ends up with Falcao on his back. Falcao wants the rear naked choke again but can't secure it. He goes for punches when it slips off. Harris somehow reverses and stands. Harris seems to have nothing left. He shoots for a leg and can't go anywhere with it. They end up in a stalemate against the cage until Harris works the hold into a slam. Falcao stays on the ground for a second or two and is right back up and striking. Harris winds up with his back to the cage and then back in a grappling match on the ground with Falcao. Harris hangs on to a single leg again as Falcao pounds on the sides of his head. Both fighters stand at the end of the round.
Between rounds the fans boo like mad. They want to see a brawl and both guys gave them a technical fight so far and are exhausted now. Harris is leaving the right straight out there early in the round without throwing it. They waste the first minute doing nothing but dancing. Harris goes for the left and lands a glancing blow. The crowd boos as nothing improves. The ref reminds them it's the last round. Harris throws a couple windmill punches that do nothing. Harris can't connect. Falcao goes for the leg kick and Harris nearly catches him with some slugging. They go back to keeping their distance, much to the crowd's dismay. Harris tries to push the action a little, but he can't catch up to Falcao. He goes for a single again and again gets stuffed. Harris might as well be sparring at the end of a long workout. Falcao is ahead on points and coasting. He lands a leg kick and a couple bonus punches as the buzzer sounds. Neither fighter pushes the pace and both get boos as their reward at the end of the fight.
DECISION: (also gets boos) 29-27, 29-28 x 2 ALL FOR FALCAO
Tyson Griffin vs. Nick Lentz:
Split-Decision Win For Lentz: 29-28 Lentz (Sal D'Amato), 30-27 Griffin (Nelson Hamilton) and 29-28 (Jeff Blatnick) for Lentz.
PAUL KELLY VS. T.J. O'BRIEN:
After a slow first round, a severe ground and pound attack ends the fight at 3:16 of the second round. The win comes after Kelly drops O'Brien at the 4:20 mark with pure slugging and then nearly loses the fight moments later. Kelly recovers, reverses, and earns the TKO victory after securing a crucifix and never letting go. The final onslaught lasts about two minutes before the ref decides O'Brien's all done.
Edson Mendes Barbosa vs. Mike Lullo:
Edson Barbosa wins 26 seconds into round-three and after a kicking bonanza from Lullo.
Karo Parisyan vs. Dennis Hallman:
Parisyan starts strong and then gets absolutely pummeled. It only takes 1:27 of the opening period for Parisyan's comeback to bomb with a knockout at the hands of Hallman.
Mark Munoz vs. Aaron Simpson:
This is the first televised preliminary fight, and rightly so. These two are truly taking it to each other. Both fighters are well-rounded with an excellent arsenal of striking weapons. Through the first two rounds there isn't more than a few moments of inactivity. At the end of round three they almost knock each other out at the same time with a slugfest against the cage.
DECISION: 29-28 across the board, unanimous scoring for Mark Munoz.
Brian Foster vs. Matt Brown:
Brown tries to make it all about reach early, keeping his distance until Foster gets close and slams him. After a brief scramble, Brown is back up. A few punches get exchanged with no damage, and Foster goes for the flying knee only to get taken down. Brown works side control and gets reversed trying to improve his position. Before he can get caught in an armbar, Brown gets his own reversal and regains control. Foster stands up and gets out of trouble, working knees and bouncing back out to throw punches. Foster winds up on the ground again on top of Brown. Brown reverses to full mount, but Foster slips out the back door after almost getting his arm ripped off by Brown. Foster is gassed at this point, but he keeps up the punching, raining blows down from stand up while Brown lays on his back.
Brown starts off with leg kicks, and one catches foster in the bread basket. A spinning back kick from Foster connects. Foster keeps working the kicking and mixes in some punching. Brown tries to kick back and gets dropped with a trip move. Foster goes to work trying to tenderize Brown from the top. Foster starts landing crushing head shots, and Brown works to grab Foster's leg and get top position again. Instead he winds up in a guillotine choke. Realizing he can't pop his head out, Brown taps at 2:11 of Round 2.
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