UFC host their twelfth FOX card with a main card packed with title implications. In the main event, welterweight contenders Robbie Lawler and Matt Brown will slug it out for the chance to fight Johny Hendricks for the UFC world title, with Lawler looking to rematch Hendricks after an incredible battle earlier this year, and Brown looking to earn his first title shot.
With Lawler winning four of his last five since returning to the UFC and the welterweight division, he – like Brown – has looked like a different animal of late. Brown, meanwhile, has won an incredible seven straight, including breakthrough TKO wins over the likes of Erick Silva, Mike Pyle and Jordan Mein.
Prior to his winning streak, Brown had lost four in his last five, leaving him on the verge of being cut by the promotion. Lawler had lost five of his last eight before signing with the UFC, where he has gone on to become ranked #1 in the welterweight division and defeat the likes of Josh Koscheck, Rory MacDonald and Jake Ellenberger.
In the co-main event, Anthony Johnson will look to continue where he left off after an impressive return at UFC 172, facing the returning Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Johnson has won his last seven, including a stand-out performance against Phil Davis in a dominant decision win in his last bout, putting him on track for a UFC title shot. Nogueira returns to the Octagon for the first time since a decision win over Rashad Evans at UFC 156 in February 2013, and has eight of his last ten heading into the both with ‘Rumble’.
In the featherweight division, veteran Clay Guida faces Dennis Bermudez in a bout between the 145-pounders ranked #7 and #12 respectively. Guida has won two of his last three since dropping to 145, while Bermudez has compiled a six fight winning streak. Can Bermudez continue climbing the rankings and continue his winning streak, or will the wily veteran Guida find a way to win?
Kicking off the main card is a lightweight bout between top contender Josh Thomson and surprise package Bobby Green, who replaced the injured Michael Johnson on late notice. Thomson lost his last bout, but remains in the hunt for a title shot, while the up-and-comer Green has gone 3-0 since signing with the UFC.
Read the full play-by-play coverage for the card here.
Main Card: FOX
Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown
The big one. Brown looking for his eighth straight victory, while Lawler looking to win his fifth since returning to the UFC (and, incidentally, welterweight division). Both have revived their careers as of late, have been in complete wars, shown their knockout power and great chins, and this fight could be an instant classic. The winner gets a shot at the title. Brown missed weight by 1.5lbs.
Round 1 – Brown takes the centre and eats a big combination. Lawler with a stiff right. Brown shoots in for the clinch but Lawler lands. Brown attempts a high kick. Uppercut by Lawler. Big left by Lawler sends Brown staggering backwards. Big combination from Lawler. Another. All Lawler in the early going. Leg kick from Brown. Body shot by Brown there. Brown with a left then a right and Lawler is wobbly! He’s milling but that hurt! Lawler now with a left staggers Brown! Wow. Big 1-2 by Brown, then a couple of short shots on the inside. Brown tags him but Lawler returns. Brown with a short shot then a takedown! He’s taking over now! He might be working on a d’arce here. Lawler may be in trouble. He lets go. Lawler is back up and has Brown against the cage. Uppercut then a short left by Lawler in the clinch. 2 minutes left. Brown has a small cut. Short knees by Brown to the body. Short elbow lands from Brown. Lawler struggling in the clinch, Brown landing with short elbows. 1 minute left. Another elbow. Huge combination from Lawler and a knee! Brown misses with the right. A couple of uppercuts from Lawler. Brown with the body kick. Right misses for Brown. Body kick by Lawler lands. Spinning back fist misses from Brown and Lawler returns. Right by Brown. 1-2 by Brown and Lawler returns fire. Brown’s kick is avoided. Brown with the body kick and Lawler counters. Lawler catches him with a short uppercut coming in. Tremendous round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Lawler.
Round 2 – Leg kick from Brown. And another. And another. Good head movement by Brown there. Straight to the body from Immortal. Nice short body shot from Lawler. Lawler tries to go up high but it’s checked. Leg kick checked by Lawler. Brown gets countered coming in. Brown with a left and Lawler gets a sneaky right hook in. Brown gets the takedown but Lawler gets right back up. Good job at mixing it up from Brown, however. Front kick from Brown. Lawler catches him with a right hook. A nice shot by Lawler. Lawler with the right but a spinning back kick by Brown. Brown with a big flurry of punches sends Lawler backwards. Lawler with a short right. Nice elbow in the clinch from Brown. He misses with the spinning back fist. Brown goes for the high kick. And again. Neither land. Body kick by Immortal. Brown misses the hook but Lawler unable to counter. Body kick by Lawler. Body kick from Lawler. Brown charges forward and tries a body kick of his own to end the round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Brown (19-19).
Round 3 – Lawler was far less active in that last round, and Brown was more tactical. Brown pushing forward and shoots in for the takedown. Lawler doing a great job defensively against the cage, and landing some short shots on Brown. Brown has a cut now. Big flurry by Lawler. He counters with a left hook. Lawler has Brown backing up now. Left body kick backs Brown up. Brown trying to spin again but it’s telegraphed. Body kick again from Lawler. Lawler tries to go up high. He lands an uppercut as Brown comes in. Straight from Brown. Overhand right by Lawler. Brown with the leg kick. Brown is busted up now. He tries to get a combination in but Lawler recognises it. Nice combination from Lawler. Right by Brown, then a left. Body kick lands for Matt. Lawler with the combination. Front kick goes low on Brown there. Wow it didn’t go low. Similar to Cerrone-Miller there. Brown shoots in and very well defensively, Lawler making him pay on the exit. A couple of straight rights from Brown. Left body kick from Lawler hurts him again. Powerful kick by Brown to the body there, then a body shot. Front kick from Lawler misses. Straight right by Brown. 45 seconds remaining. High left kick from Lawler grazes him. Brown tries to go up high but Lawler recognises it. Straight by Brown at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Lawler (29-28 Lawler).
Round 4 – Lawler catches the high kick and drags Brown to the mat, straight into half guard. Lawler showing more urgency now. Short shots from Robbie. Short elbows are landing. Brown trying to use the cage to his advantage but Lawler staying on top in the half guard, landing short shots. Nothing too significant but they’re all adding up. Brown trying to stay active on the bottom. Brown momentarily tries for a guillotine but lets it go. Brown gives up his back and Lawler lands some big shots. He rag dolls Brown to the ground! He has the side back control. Brown trying to keep control of his arms, and he works his way up. Left by Brown. Uppercut then a left hook from Lawler. Leg kick by Brown, then a question mark kick. Brown shoots in but easily shaken off. Nice short right by Brown. Right hook from Ruthless. Brown trying to keep Lawler at distance. Body kick from Lawler as he pushes forward. Head kick checked by Lawler. Brown attacking the legs even more. Stiff right by Lawler. Brown misses and Lawler tags him. Brown backed up as though he was hurt there. Brown goes for the body kick, he looks exhausted. Lawler with a couple of nice jabs.
Cooper scores round 4 10-9 Lawler (39-37 Lawler).
Round 5 – Brown needs a finish. Brown doubling up on the job. Body kick then a body shot by Brown. Jabs from Lawler. A kick by Brown. They’re exchanging, nice elbows from Brown. Uppercut by Robbie. Left hook lands. Big elbow by Brown! And another! Lawler now pushing forward, and lands a body kick. Getting Brown against the cage now. Jabs by Lawler. Nice 1-2 by Brown. Brown’s connecting here! This is where Brown gets dangerous. Knee to the body. And a teep. Brown is unloading. Body shot by Lawler. Body kick from Brown, and a right hand. High kick from Lawler barely misses. Good body-head by Brown. Right by Lawler and Brown replies. Brown with a big flurry! Half of the round remaining. Brown is going for it. Body kick, and he’s unloading with the hands. Brown’s right hand is hurt. Body kick and a stiff eft by Lawler! Brown is still throwing the right. Lawler with a right. Brown with the elbow, then a body kick. Huge straight right. Lawler might be hurt. Short elbow. Bronw puring it on. Spinning back fist by Lawler. High kick by Lawler. 1-2. Front kick then a spin. Brown tries to spin in return. 50 seconds left. Lawler with the body kick, then a jab. Brown with a knee to the body. Uppercut by Lawler, Brown responds with a spinning back fist. Lawler drops Brown and unloads on him at the end there! Brown gets back to his feet! The round ends. A great fight. Close fifth round but Lawler did enough to get the victory.
Cooper scores round 5 10-9 Lawler (49-46 Lawler).
Result: Lawler via unanimous decision (49-46 x2, 48-47).
Here we go, Lawler vs. Hendricks II. And I cannot wait. Matt Brown showed that he is still a top fighter, and he’ll be back. Great fight, that fifth round was unbelievable.
Anthony Johnson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Johnson put on a striking clinic in his win over Phil Davis, who defeated Lil’ Nog way back when. MMA maths never usually works, but the fact Lil’ Nog is also coming in off a long lay-off (around 18 months), it doesn’t look good for the veteran. Nogueira has won two straight over Evans and Ortiz, but Johnson is a different animal since re-signing with the UFC.
Round 1 – Johnson pressing the action and Lil’ Nog circling away. Johnson with a 1-2 and he tagged Lil’ Nog there. He’s hurt. Big combination, a number of uppercuts as Lil’ Nog is against the cage! Huge uppercut! Herb Dean steps in and just like that, Anthony Johnson gets another victory. Absolutely huge.
Result: Johnson via knockout (punches) at 0:44 in first round.
Just deadly from Johnson, and he is simply one of the scariest fighters in the UFC. His power is like no one else’s at light heavyweight and he’s just finished a well respected guy in Lil’ Nog like it was nothing.
Clay Guida vs. Dennis Bermudez
Bermudez has won six straight, while Guida has lost three of his last five. However the calibre of opponent that Guida has fought is a little more significant, though Bermudez has the opportunity to make it seven straight with the biggest win of his career.
Round 1 – Bermudez with the body kick landing. Nice combination from Bermudez, who lands the teep also. Jab then a leg kick. Guida with a right hook. Nice jab then leg kick. Guida going for the single, Bermudez lands a couple of short shots and defends. Great job. Jab by Bermudez, but Guida gets the clinch and turns him against the cage. Bermudez threatening with a choke, but lands a knee and instead gets the clinch. Another knee from Bermudez lands. Big overhand right. Guida’s overhand right is very telegraphed, as is his takedown attempt. Bermudez with a nice high kick. Guida misses his combination coming forward, then Bermudez lands a nice double jab then leg kick. Double jab again, then a right hook. Uppercut. He has Guida hurt. But Guida somehow gets the back of Bermudez. Bermudez explodes and drops Guida to the ground, getting on top momentarily. Guida wall walks and is greeted with a knee. Guida is bleeding. Jabs from Guida. Nice leg kick then 1-2 by Bermudez. Guida is hurt. Huge knees from the muay-thai clinch. Guida drops down but Bermudez reverses and gets the back. Bermudez looks simply great. Short shots from the back mount, he has one hook in. He’s looking for the RNC. Both hooks now. Guida trying to turn. Just 20 seconds left in the round. This has been pure dominance by Bermudez. Guida showboating to the crowd. The round ends.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Bermudez.
Round 2 – Guida with a nice right as Bermudez pushes forward. They’re in the clinch and Guida turns it around, dropping for a takedown attempt but it’s stuffed easily. Jabs from Bermudez. Nice exchanges here. Good combination again by Bermudez, mixing it up well. The jab of Bermudez is working well now. Guida with a jab then leg kick. Overhand right by Guida. A couple of jabs by Bermudez. He’s backing Guida up now, a nice combination lands. Knee attempted by Bermudez. 1-2 from Menace. Guida with an overhand right. Bermudez with a set of jabs. Nice combination from Bermudez, his hands look great. Guida with a couple of hooks, but Bermudez gets him to the ground and immediately has the mount! Wow! He has the back, one hook in. Both hooks now. He has it! Guida taps! Holy moly, what a performance.
Result: Bermudez via submission (rear naked choke) at 2:57 in second round.
Bermudez has now won seven straight and a big win for him over Guida, putting on an absolute clinic and forcing the tap. He deserves a big name next, that is a real breakthrough performance.
Josh Thomson vs. Bobby Green
This fight will really establish where both guys are in the division. Thomson coming off a loss, Green coming off three straight wins. However, Thomson’s loss was highly controversial and against the former #1 lightweight in the world, and Green is coming in off relatively short notice. A lot of questions should be answered in this fight.
Round 1 – Thomson with a nice outside leg kick, and another. Then to the inside. Green with a leg kick, but misses the jab. Thomson’s kick is countered by a right but Green, Thomson momentarily hits the canvas due to a slip. Teep by Green. Leg kick. Thomson scoring with these leg kicks. He’s smiling a lot. A 1-2 lands for Thomson. The front kick misses for Green. Body kick checked by Thomson. Nice combination by Thomson, Green shrugs it off but he landed there. Green doubles up the left jab. Nice combination from Green, who seems to be stepping it up a gear now. Half of the round remaining. Thomson with the head kick, that grazed Green there. Well disguised by Thomson. Nice combination as Green pressed forward. Body kick from Green but doesn’t land flush. Nice body shot by Thomson, but Green pokes him in the eye as Thomson presses forward. That seems painful. They resume. Leg kick, and another by Thomso. Bobby Green with a sneaky left. Green is talking a lot. Green caught him with that jab. Leg kick lands. Thomson blitzes him. He attempts the trip but unable to land it, then a nice short right lands for the former Strikeforce champ. Thomson avoids Green then lands a short uppercut. Leg kicks by Green, who continues to press forward but not mounting any significant offence. Body kick, then to the leg. Nice jab by Green. Close round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Thomson.
Round 2 – Thomson with a scissor kick missing. Green with the body kick but Thomson catches it and lands a couple of shots. Leg kick from Thomson, and a nice jab. Head kick grazes him. Green goes body then misses to the head. Green with the jab but Thomson counters. Leg kick from King. Nice combination from Green. Great combination by Thomson. And another! The head kick grazed him there. Teep by Green, then a body shot. Leg kick. Body kick from Green. Body shot. He’s doing well at mixing it up. Thomson with a nice jab. Huge overhand right caught Green there. Thomson’s head movement is looking great. Jab by Green. Jab by Green, but Thomson slips and rips. Leg kick then to the body from Green. Jab then uppercut misses from King. Green has landed tons more strikes. Body kick from Thomson. Nice overhand right by Thomson. That technique is working well. Body shot from Green, then he dodges the counter. Thomson rushes him but doesn’t get the clinch. A minute left. Body-head from Green. 1-2 by Thomson. Overhand right and another by Thomson. Takedown by Punk! And he drags him again! But Green right back up and a couple of short shots as he circles away. Body-head by Thomson again. That was a big moment in the fight. Leg kick from Josh, to the calf a lá Benson Henderson. Nice short right by Thomson. Another fun and close round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Thomson (20-18 Thomson).
Round 3 – Green goes body-head, that body shot landed well. Thomson just misses with the spinning back fist. Green pressing the action, and shoots in for the double. Thomson defending well so far. Great job by The Punk. Green has him against the cage now and lands a short right followed by knees to the body. A right on the exit by Green. Green with the flying knee! But Thomson catches it and is now working on a single leg. Great defence by Green, who lands a couple of short blows then an uppercut. Good round for Green so far. A couple of jabs then a body kick from King. Overhand right by Green. Leg kick lands for Thomson, and Green returns. Jab by Green but a nice combination by Thomson. And another. Then a knee to the body. Green tries to get the takedown again but Thomson defending well. Green has it! But Thomson right back up and lands some hammerfists as Green sprawls. They separate. Thomson has a small cut underneath his right eye. Both miss in that exchange. Thomson catches the leg but does nothing with it. Jab by Green, who avoids the reply of Thomson. Less than a minute left in this fight. Uppercut by Green, who avoids the counter of Thomson. Body kick from Thomson. 10 seconds remaining. Green with a nice straight left. Thomson attempts the head kick, then tries a 1-2. Great and close fight.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Green (29-28 Thomson).
Result: Green via split decision (29-28 x2, 28-29).
That is simply huge for Bobby Green. It was razor close and Josh Thomson is a great fighter. Man, I can’t believe it. The blue corner is up 9-0 this event.
Preliminary Card: FOX
Daron Cruickshank vs. Jorge Masvidal
I really like this fight. Masvidal coming off an impressive decision win over Pat Healy, while Cruickshank has finished his last two fights via spectacular TKO.
Round 1 – Masvidal fighting tall. Cruickshank catches the kick and returns one of his own. Cruickshank misses a punch combination, Masvidal taking the centre and pressing forward. Body kick from Masivdal. A huge right hand drops Masvidal! But he’s right back up! Masvidal was hurt bad! Spinning wheel kick misses from Cruickshank. That was absolutely huge there from Cruickshank, out of nowhere. Masvidal seems to have his wits about him. Cruickshank with two body kicks. Cruickshank with a 1-2. Nice jab there. Masvidal eats a leg kick, and a 1-2, then a side kick. Cruickshank looks awesome again. A short left. Masvidal with a quick combination. And an overhand right. Cruickshank’s kick is caught and huge knees by Masvidal! Nice short left by Masvidal, who eats a body shot. Front kick from Cruickshank lands. Body kick. He’s catching Masvidal coming forward. What a combination with a leg kick at the end. Masvidal getting outworked so far. Knee to the body from Masvidal then doubles up to jab. Cruickshank charges forward but doesn’t land. Good combination by Masvidal but he eats a couple of body kicks. Spinning back fist misses from Cruickshank. Masvidal with the knees. Spinning back kick just misses from Cruickshank. He avoids the punch from Masvidal. Big body kick. Masvidal with the takedown at the end of the round. Great round, close to a 10-8.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Cruickshank.
Round 2 – Cruickshank’s left eye is bothering him. He’s struggling to see out of it. Overhand right then a kick by Cruickshank, but avoided by Masvidal. Body kick lands from Masvidal. Cruickshank with the takedown! Masvidal works his way up but Cruickshank has the clinch. Masvidal holding on to the neck and rolls! Excellent job. Into the guard of Cruickshank now. Half guard. Masvidal decides to stand and Cruickshank threatens with the up kicks. Half guard again now, Masvidal dives back in. Short elbows from Gamebred. Masivdal seems to be taking over now. Cruickshank rolls and Masvidal is working on the d’arce now. He might have it! Will he tap? This is Masvidal’s signature move. Cruickshank surviving so far, and he does! But huge elbows from Masvidal. Great resilience from Cruickshank, who regains guard. More huge elbows! Cruickshank seems to be threatening with a kimura now, holding onto that right arm of Gamebred. He lets it go. Masvidal now controlling the left arm of Cruickshank in the handcuff position. He lets it go and lands some short shots. He’s still in guard but landing a lot of shots which will accumulate up. Elbows from the bottom by Cruickshank, but Masvidal hits him even harder from the top. Masvidal gets into half guard and lands some short shots to end another fun round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Masvidal (19-19).
Round 3 – Leg kick from Cruickshank is checked. Nice combination from Cruickshank but a great jab counter from Masvidal buckles him. Cruickshank blitzes and lands a 1-2. Body kick by Cruickshank then a jab. Masvidal drops down and works on the single leg, but Cruickshank defending well thusfar. He’s got the back of Cruickshank in the clinch now. Knees to the thigh. Cruickshank rolls under and Masvidal recognises it, threatens with the d’arce but instead improves his position. Cruickshank trying to hit the switch but unable to. He wall walks but Masvidal has his hands clasped. He lets go and instead lands a couple of shots. Cruickshank tries for the kimura then forces Masvidal to escape. Cruickshank gets the takedown and gets to the back straight away! But he’s too high up and Masvidal wriggles free and is now on top inside the guard. Cruickshank threatening from the bottom but Masvidal lands some short shots. Half guard now. He’s working on an arm triangle but Cruickshank recognises it and defends. He regains guard but Masvidal is hammering away with short strikes. Herb Dean warning that he’ll stand them up. Masvidal gets half guard, Cruickshank once again threatening with a kimura. But he’s turtling up and Masvidal is landing some huge shots! Big knee by Masvidal! He’s going for the takedown at the end of the round, Cruickshank goes for the choke but the round ends.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Masvidal (29-28 Masvidal).
Result: Masvidal via unanimous decision (29-28 x2, 29-27).
A fantastic fight full of technical striking, nice ground exchanges and a lot of action. Cruickshank proved his worth, but Masvidal was great in the last two.
Kyle Kingsbury vs. Patrick Cummins
Kingsbury returns from a brief retirement to meet Cummins, who rebounded from an unsuccessful late notice UFC debut to grab a TKO win in his last bout. Kingsbury, sporting a big beard, gets a huge reception from his home crowd.
Round 1 – Cummins shoots in and has Kingsbury against the cage. He gets the leg and drags him to the mat, getting the back momentarily. Kingsbury works his way up but Cummins lands a big knee in the clinch and has him on the mat again. Kingsbury is up and turns the clinch around. Cummins trips him and lands a couple of elbows, getting into half guard now. Short shots by Cummins, who now tries to work on the neck. Kingsbury gets up but Cummins throws him back to the mat. He’s controlling the head again as Kingsbury gets up. A couple of knees by Kingsbury. They’re up. Uppercut by Kingsbury. Cummins drives him across the cage but unable to get the takedown. Short shots by Cummins land. Short shots by Kingsbury in return. Inside leg kick buckles the leg of Cummins. Kingsbury pushing forward now. Cummins gets the takedown with ease and proceeds into half guard immediately. Short shots again, and looking for a d’arce potentially. He’s got complete control of Kingsbury, and lands to the body. Short elbows land there. Controlling the neck again is Cummins. Huge elbows from Cummins. Kingsbury works his way up but Cummins has him in the clinch again. All ‘Durkin’ in the first.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Cummins.
Round 2 – Cummins with the body kick. Cummins gets the takedown 30 seconds in, and could get into mount here. Kingsbury gets his leg in-between and gets half guard but this is more of the same; short shots peppering away. He has the neck again as Kingsbury is working his way up, but Cummins is the one to separate there. Cummins drives in again and throws him down, right into side control this time. He’s letting Kingsbury up with ease, however. But he’s controlling the neck, keeping hold of Kingsbury and tiring him out. Good left hook by Kingsbury, but Cummins shoots back in and slams Kingsbury down, getting into mount and landing some big shots. This is dangerous now. Cummins is simply overwhelming Kingsbury, and the lay-off is noticeable. 1 minute left in the second. Half guard now for Cummins. Short shots from ‘Durkin’ from the top. Nothing too significant but they’re all adding up. Short elbow. Body-head. Pure dominance.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Cummins (20-18 Cummins).
Round 3 – Cummins got the better of that exchange. He lands a high kick. Uppercut then a left straight, and an easy double leg into half guard. He has Kingsbury against the cage and he’s relentlessly landing the right to the head of Kingsbury. Kyle explodes to his feet but Cummins giving him no space at all. He drags him back down and has control of the head again. A knee. Kingsbury looks deflated. A jab by Cummins then a double leg into half guard. More of the same. Kingsbury back up with half of the round remaining. Kingsbury with a short shot but Cummins returns fire. 116 to 22 in total strikes landed hitherto. Crazy. Cummins taking the centre and dodging most of Kingsbury’s attacks. Easy double leg by Cummins, once again getting half guard. That’s his 10th takedown of the fight. He has a minute left to finish the fight, but he looks like he may opt to coast to a decision. Kingsbury gets to his feet but Cummins has a hold of the neck. He may be too tired to attack though. 10 seconds. Pure dominance and Cummins coasts to a decision. He throws Kingsbury to the ground at the end.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Cummins (30-27 Cummins).
Result: Cummins via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-25, 30-24).
Sheer dominance, and I can’t argue with the 10-8 rounds. It was sheer dominance, but I don’t think he quite did enough damage. Damn impressive nonetheless.
Hernani Perpetuo vs. Tim Means
Means desperately needs a win here, as he has lost his last three UFC appearances. Perpetuo, meanwhile, lost his UFC debut against Jordan Mein.
Round 1 – Huge shots by Perpetuo, and Means replies with a takedown. Perpetuo straight back up against the cage, but Means still has the clinch. Perpetuo really hurt him at the start of the round. Body kick by the Brazilian. Leg kicks by Means. Perpetuo just misses with a big left hook. Perpetuo swinging away and particularly wobbled Means with the left hook. Perpetuo landing some really heavy shots, and defends the takedown of Means. Means trying to push forward and attack but Perpetuo getting the better. Means with a couple of good elbows in the clinch. Perpetuo landing some big shots but he’s leaving himself open. Crazy spinning wheel kick just misses but the Brazilian! Elbow by Mens once again. High kick there too. Perpetuo with the inside leg kick. Means attempts a flying knee. Perpetuo pushing forward but misses most of a wild combination. Eye poke from Means halts the action. They resume. Leg kick from Means. Short right by Perpetuo. He’s complaining about an accidental headbutt. Perpetuo lands a couple of big rights. Means with an uppercut then shoots in for the takedown, but unsuccessful. Straight to the body then a teep by Means. Spinning elbow attempted. The round comes to an end.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Perpetuo.
Round 2 – Leg kicks from Means, then tries a question mark kick but misses. Perpetuo is coming in recklessly, and Means trying to keep him on the outside with the teeps. Body-head by Perpetuo. Leg kick is checked. Nice body kick then spin from Perpetuo. Side kick from Means. High kick then a teep by Means. Perpetuo trying to land that overhand right. Means doing a much better job defensively in this round. A huge left staggers Perpetuo! Then a flying knee. He’s rocked. Means is remaining patient. Unsuccessful takedown attempt by Perpetuo, who then misses a spinning back fist attempt. Leg kick by Perpetuo. The jab of Means is landing with a lot of success now. He’s looking so much more comfortable. Body-head once again by Means. So crisp. He doubles up on the left then avoids Perpetuo. Means with the combination then stuffs the takedown of Perpetuo. Perpetuo with the leg kick. But Means won that second round big.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Means (19-19).
Round 3 – This is a crucial round for both of these fighters. Means eats a leg kick but still pushing forward. Leg kick by Means. 1-2. Perpetuo lands a right, nice combination. High kick from Means, who continues to press the action. A teep again lands for Means. Leg kick by Perpetuo is countered. Another leg kick. Means tries to go high with the kick but unsuccessful. Perpetuo having a hard time landing, and Means is the much fresher of the two. The leg kick of Perpetuo is working well, but it’s not quite enough. Means is now recognising it and countering. Jabs from Means, adding to his total strikes landed. Leg kick by Perpetuo but Means gets the muay-thai clinch and attempts the knees. Another leg kick from the Brazilian. Less than 2 minutes remaining in the third. Means controlling the distance and out landing Perpetuo. The Brazilian getting fired up and taunting Means. He’s got his hands down but he’s mounting little in terms of significant offence. Less than 30 seconds left. Perpetuo may have a broken left hand as Rogan states. Means just misses with the knee. Means trying to get the takedown right at the end of the round but unable to.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Means (29-28 Means).
Result: Means via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
It seems like it’s the left arm of Perpetuo that’s damaged, he has an odd bump in it. Means earns his first UFC win since returning, and Perpetuo has done enough to stick around in the UFC.
Mike De La Torre vs. Brian Ortega
Round 1 – Ortega gets the back in the clinch and drags De La Torre to the mat. He works his way up, then Ortega drags him back down, but De La Torre once again up. Ortega still has the back and has the arm underneath the chin. It’s on the chin but De La Torre’s in a lot of trouble. He taps! Big win for Ortega early on in the first.
Result: Ortega via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:39 in first round.
What a debut for Brian Ortega, defeating De La Torre, who looked great in his debut. He remains undefeated with a quick win.
Preliminary Card: UFC Fight Pass
Akbarh Arreola vs. Tiago Trator
Trator is a -220 favourite, and a former Jungle Fights lightweight champion.
Round 1 – Trator with a leg kick. And another. Left by Trator lands. Arreola’s high kick just misses. Head kick by Trator but Arreola hits a leg kick at the same time and sweeps the leg. Right by Trator. Arreola slipped there. Big inside leg kick by Trator. Arreola trying the hook but having little success. Half of the round left and not too much to report. Nice leg kick before ducking under Trator’s shot. Body kick by Arreola but big overhand right by Trator. High kick from Trator. Body kick by Arreola but a counter lands. Big shot by Trator there, he backed Arreola down. Overhand right lands from Trator. Left by Arreola, but a big left by Trator. High kick by Arreola. Side kick. Good combination by Trator, who seems a lot more confident. Big looping right attempted by Trator, but well ducked under by Arreola. Big trip by Arreola right at the end of the round, and he ends it in side control. I think Trator did enough to win the round regardless.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Trator.
Round 2 – Leg kick by Arreola. High kick again attempted. Body kick caught by Trator but unable to capitalise. Huge leg kick by Trator drops Arreola. That was incredible, he leaped into that and Arreola went flying. Short leg kicks while Arreola is trying to entise Trator the the ground. Elbows to the leg – strange technique. They’re back up. Arreola with the body kick. More leg kicks by Trator, then a kick to the body lands big. Trator slips while attempting a front kick. High kick by Arreola. Right hand from Trator. Overhand right by Trator, then he gets the clinch and lands a low kick on the break. Spinning kick misses by some margin. Arreola with a spinning back kick then head kick, neither landing. Trator with another leg kick. Good right hand then left kick from Trator. Body kick from Arreola. Big right by Trator, and he now has the back in the clinch of Arreola. He lets go though. Trator slips and Arreola capitalises, but they get straight back up. Nice combination by Trator. Body kick lands big by Arreola at the end of the round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Trator (20-18 Trator).
Round 3 – Leg kicks by Arreola. Returned by Trator. Hard body kick from Arreola. They’re swinging away, and both landing big kicks. High kick by Arreola, then a stiff left. Big combination from Trator before getting the muay-thai clinch. Body knees. Uppercut. Kick once again caught by Trator but Arreola shoves him away. Clinch again from the Brazilian. Short shots from Trator, that short elbow was particularly good. 3 minutes left in the third. Big left by Arreola, and Trator unable to counter. Arreola’s head movement is doing well, and Trator expending a lot of energy on the feet. Trator has him in the clinch and lands some short knees. Body kicks from Arreola. Nice 1-2 by Arreola. Trator gets the clinch and lands some big short shots. He has him hurt. Knees to the body now. Body punch. Great muay-thai clinch, knees to the body. He has the back now in the clinch. They end the fight with Trator controlling the clinch and landing short shots.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Trator (30-27 Trator).
Result: Trator via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27 x2).
Rogan and Goldberg kept saying how great the fight was – I’m wondering if I’m on the wrong prelim card? I really didn’t like that fight at all. Neither fighter looked UFC calibre, but the Brazilian wins his Octagon debut.
Andreas Stahl vs. Gilbert Burns
Two more UFC debutants in this welterweight bout.
Round 1 – Nice leg kick by Burns there. Stahl with a big combination, but Burns gets the clinch and has Stahl against the cage now in the over-under. Boos by the crowd. Burns working on a single. Unsuccessful takedown attempt and Stahl reverses the clinch. A lot of energy expenditure by Burns. They exchange knees to the body. Burns reverses. Short elbow from Stahl. Burns once again unsuccessful at taking the fight to the ground and this could have a big effect on his cardio. They separate. A 1-2 from Burns is blocked. Burns with a nice disguised high kick. Stahl gets the clinch, landing a short right. Double underhooks. Lovely knees by Burns in the muay-thai clinch, and he reverses the position, but Stahl lands a couple of short shots of his own. Burns dropping down again, and once again unsuccessful. Burns tries to land a spinning elbow unsuccessfully and they separate. Stahl with a nice right, Burns with an uppercut. Clinch once again, Stahl controlling the position. Burns with a big combination and he hurt Stahl there! That uppercut in particular! But he tries to get a takedown instead. He gets it, but Stahl gets right back up almost immediately. Burns has the clinch and has Stahl against the cage. He really hurt him in that exchange. Stahl with a couple of short shots. The round ends.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Burns.
Round 2 – Nice combination from the Swede, but Burns lands a knee and a straight right. Overhand right by Stahl, then a body kick. Stahl pushing forward but Burns landing a stiff right there, and now he’s backing Stahl up. Stahl is getting caught being a little sloppy when he pushes forward with the combinations, and Burns seems the quicker of the two on the feet. Shot to the body by Burns, and an outside leg kick. Stahl with a short shot then the knee in the clinch. Over-under clinch for Stahl now. Burns creates space and lands a knee, then landing a 1-2. Overhand right is telegraphed by Stahl, and he seems like he may be tired now. Nice job by Burns of landing and avoiding. Knee from Burns, but an uppercut from Stahl. The clinch once again, as half the round remains. Overhand right by Stahl as they separate. Spinning back fist attempt is checked by Burns. Burns with a four shot combo but all seemed to be blocked. Body kick then a jab by Burns. Head kick lands, then a right hand. And he drags Stahl into side control! Very well done there. Short elbows by Burns. Stahl explodes and gets to his feet, 30 seconds left. High kick checked by Stahl. They each land heavy shots there, Stahl landing big but then Burns caught him coming in. Overhand right by Burns. Spinning back kick from Burns, then a double right by Stahl. Close round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Burns (20-18 Burns).
Round 3 – Excellent combination by Gilbert at the start of the round. He’s backing Stahl up. Stahl on the defensive now. Body shots by Burns. And he’s now going in for the takedown. Stahl’s nose is leaking. Body knee by Burns. He seems more urgent now. Burns gets out of the clinch. Nice combination by Stahl, Burns also lands but it is the Swede now working on a takedown in the clinch. Burns circles out. Kick to the body from Stahl, and a flying knee misses. Burns with a combination but great defence. High kick misses for Burns. Good combination once again by Burns, but Stahl closes the distance and gets the clinch. Double underhooks again. Right hand on the break by Burns. Stiff jab by Stahl. 2 minutes left in the third. Stahl with a wild attack and it misses by some margin. This is a pretty sloppy third round so far. Well done by Stahl to slip and rip. Flying knee by Burns before he gets the clinch. Knee to the body. Spinning elbow from Burns as they separate. Flying knee misses. Big leg kick by Stahl. Combination by the Swede as he initates the clinch. Knee and overhand right from Burns. Both are landing nice short shots. Head kick by Burns. The round ends, and it’s a tough one to judge.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Burns (30-27 Burns).
Result: Burns via unanimous decision (29-28 x2).
Not the worst fight you’ll ever see, but neither fighter made a huge statement.
Juliana Lima vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Two UFC debutants in the second ever women’s strawweight division, though Goldberg and Rogan keep stating it is the first fight (whoops). Lima missed weight by 1.5lbs, and is a +240 underdog. Mike Beltran and his beast of a beard is refereeing this contest.
Round 1 – Leg kicks from Lima. She goes in for the takedown but recognised by Jedrzejczyk, but Lima has the muay thai clinch momentarily and lands a couple of knees. She has Jedrzejczyk against the cage and is working on the takedown. Well defended by Joanna, but Lima now switches to a single. Once again unsuccessful. Little action in this position. Jedrzejczyk keeping a nice wide posture and defending well. Lima having a hard time trying to get her to the ground, and Beltran is consistently calling for action. Lima has her hands connected and drags Jedrzejczyk to the ground. Right back up. And now well defended. This is very taxing on Lima, especially considering the fact she missed weight. Beltran finally separates them with half of the round left. Lima already breathing heavy. Big right lands from the Pole. She’s hurting Lima with these combinations. Overhand right. Lima once again unsuccessful with the takedown and Jedrzejczyk makes her pay with some short shots. The Brazilian has the clinch but is merely holding on from this position. The weight cut must have paid its toll on Lima, who is doing little more than short shots and resting in the clinch. Separated once more. This is where Jedrzejczyk shines, and there is 45 seconds remaining. Lima misses her combination. Nice 1-2 by Jedrzejczyk, and she’s landing the better combinations. Lima with the leg kick. Big overhand right by Jedrzejczyk. And another. Lima with a couple of knees to the body at the end of the round. I’m going to give that to Jedrzejczyk, simply because Lima did little and her one takedown resulted in hardly any ground work at all.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Jedrzejczyk.
Round 2 – Lima seems tired coming into this second and she’s already on the back foot. Jedrzejczyk with combinations, mixing it up and landing a plethora of shots. Lima is just trying to land one big shot, and struggling to do so. Left hook from Lima lands. Big combination from Jedrzejczyk, but the kick is caught by Lima. Knee to the body from Jedrzejczyk in that exchange, and they separate from the clinch. Straight left to the body. Body work from Jedrzejczyk. Left straight lands. Nice combination, but Lima lands a counter. The body shots of Jedrzejczyk are working really well. That seems to be her go-to move in the second. Lima unsuccessful with the leg kick and pays for it with another combination in return. Lima trying for the takedown and easily stuffed by Jedrzejczyk, but Lima now has the clinch and is trying to stall the action again. She doesn’t like them body shots from Jedrzejczyk. Nothing more than knees to the thigh from Lima, who is really struggling to take Jedrzejczyk to the mat. Nice knees from Jedrzejczyk, who then turns it around and lands an elbow. Lima turns it around once again. They separate and Jedrzejczyk has a big grin. Less than a minute remaining in the second. Jedrzejczyk avoiding Lima’s strikes and landing plenty of her own. Lima once again unsuccessful, her takedown attempts are very laboured. Jedrzejczyk lands a knee in the clinch, then an elbow. Front kick lands! Big strikes by the Pole at the end of the round, and she celebrates at the horn!
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Jedrzejczyk (20-18 Jedrzejczyk).
Round 3 – The first round could have gone to Lima, but in my books she needs a finish. She needs to win this round at the very least, but she seems too tired to do so and is really struggling on the feet. Jedrzejczyk is looking great. Some lovely combinations and she’s just too fast for Lima. Lima is backing up throughout and Jedrzejczyk taking the more patient approach. Overhand right from Jedrzejczyk. Head kick from Lima is checked. Beautiful combinations from Jedrzejczyk. Nice right as Lima closes the distance. Lima seems very frustrating and she really offers nothing on the feet. She needs to disguise her takedown attempts better. She’s going for it! And she gets it! Right into side control! Much, much better from Lima. But half guard regained. 1:40 left in this third round and Lima needs to make this position count. Lima trying to work on a guillotine now. She’s trying to work her way into the mount. Jedrzejczyk is working her way to the feet now, and she does so. A knee to the body now. Lima has her against the cage now and is trying to work on another takedown. Well defended and Jedrzejczyk lands a couple of shots and defends the takedown as the horn blows.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Jedrzejczyk (30-27 Jedrzejczyk).
Result: Jedrzejczyk via unanimous decision (30-27 x2, 29-28).
Lima seemed disappointed about that decision, but there was no doubting that. A great first impression by Jedrzejczyk in the new division, and a well earned win.
Steven Siler vs. Noad Lahat
Siler is a -250 favourite and looking to bounce back from two losses in a row, while Lahat lost his UFC debut.
Round 1 – Siler with the leg kick, caught by Lahat who gets the clinch and lands a knee. Stiff leg kick by Lahat, who then lands a double jab. Once again the kick of Siler is caught, and Lahat gets him to the mat. Siler momentarily threatens the arm of Lahat, and he still has it trapped here. Very active on the bottom. Lahat trying to slam Siler in order to loosen his grip, but Siler is really trying to work on the arm of the Israeli. Rubber guard for Siler now. Short shots by Lahat but Siler is doing all of the work on the mat thusfar. Siler with a high guard, and the referee is warning for inactivity here. Herzog stands them up. Half of the first round left now. Lahat with a couple of big shots, he hurt Siler there. Another right lands. Siler seemed to tag him there with a left. But Siler’s defence is really worrying. Another big left from Lahat at the end of that combination. Left by Siler lands but Lahat trying work on the takedown in the exchange, he has Siler against the cage in the clinch. A lovely judo throw from Lahat, straight into half guard. Siler wall walks to his feet but Lahat sticking to him like glue. Lahat’s judo throw is stuffed this time. Lahat really trying to work on the trip but they separate, with Siler landing a body knee on the exit. Jabs of Siler are landing, catching Lahat as he comes in. Big uppercut from Siler as Lahat closes the distance! That hurt him. Body shot by Siler but Lahat once again gets the clinch, and drags Siler to the mat once again. Full guard this time, as the round ends. Fun round.
Cooper scores round 1 10-9 Lahat.
Round 2 – Lahat seemed pretty gassed at the end of the first round. Winging right from Lahat misses. Siler trying to utilise a more technical approach, using the jab. Big left then a right uppercut lands by Siler! He hurt him there. Uppercut by Siler, but Lahat with a big knee. Body kick from Lahat. Both fighters are landing heavy. Lovely combination from Siler, with a big leg kick at the end that buckled the knee. Body-head by Lahat. These are some fun exchanges. Right kick catches Siler flush, and causes him to miss his counter. Inside leg kick from Lahat, Siler failing with the counter. Nice right by Siler. The pace has slowed a little, and Siler trying to jab Lahat to the outside. Right lands. Siler with the higher frequency of the two. 1-2 lands by Siler and catches Lahat clean. Stuffed takedown, and Siler is taking over now. Another sloppy clinch attempt by Lahat, and a very telegraphed spinning wheel kick misses. Leg kick from Siler lands, and Lahat seems to be slowing now. Very laboured attacks from Noad, while Siler is staying technical. But a big takedown from Lahat, Siler trying to attack the arm but uses it to get on top. But Lahat gets the back in the exchange! He has the choke momentarily but Siler works his way out, and now a triangle by Lahat! Crazy exchange! Siler with the thumbs up but he’s in a sticky situation. Lahat with the elbows, and now working on the right arm of Siler while in the triangle. Mounted triangle now from Lahat. Short elbows. Siler survives as the horn goes. What an end to that round.
Cooper scores round 2 10-9 Lahat (20-18 Lahat).
Round 3 – Siler needs a finish here, or he may be cut. Right by Siler, but he’s not putting fight ending power to it. Siler lands a couple of nice shots. Lahat goes for a sloppy takedown and Siler works his way on top and spins to the back! Both hooks and a body triangle. It’s early in the round and Siler has all the time in the world to work on a choke from this position. Lahat defending thusfar, but he’s visibly tired and in a tough spot. Little action from this position, with nearly half of the round left. Just some short shots being accumulated by Siler. Lahat tries to explode but Siler adjusts and keeps the body triangle in. This is taxing on Lahat, and the time is now for Siler. But Siler gets tired and lets go of the position. Lahat wall walks and they separate. 1:30 left for Siler to do something big. A nice 1-2 from Siler. Jabs from Siler are finding the mark. Siler missing Lahat, but the counter takedown is very laboured and unsuccessful. Big combination by Siler, that hurt Lahat there! He needs more of that. Lahat catches the cup of Siler with the knee. They resume. Nice combination by Siler. Lahat looking for the takedown but unsuccessful. Siler with some big shots and forces Lahat to the mat. He’s working on the choke! He has him flattened out! A big finish for Siler, but maybe too little, too late.
Cooper scores round 3 10-9 Siler (29-28 Lahat).
Result: Lahat via unanimous decision (29-28 x3).
A fun first fight to kick off the evening, and a good first couple of rounds for Lahat. Siler put in a good effort, especially in the third, but he may be cut after losing his third straight.
Lahat explains about the situation in Gaza, with an emotional message. That was moving.