by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
Coming in off of two straight losses, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, needed a statement fight, and he accomplished just that with a unanimous decision win over fellow “Ultimate Fighter” winner Nate Diaz on Saturday night at the current season’s finale.
Picking up and moving to New Mexico for six weeks to work with MMA guru Greg Jackson paid off for Stevenson, who was able to go back to his roots and outwrestle, and out power a very game opponent.
With both fighters having long standing ties in the jiu-jitsu world, submission attempts came fast and furiously during the fight, and Stevenson actually locked on his patented guillotine choke early in the bout and it appeared he could get the finish. Diaz was able to battle out, and after the fight, Stevenson said he wasn’t surprised at all that his opponent persevered in that tough moment.
“That guy’s a stud. He makes his opponent’s tired by going for the kill and then takes advantage. At the beginning of the second round my arms were definitely fatigued and I could feel the difference.”
The remainder of the fight saw several scrambles on the ground between the two competitors, but Stevenson was able to do a better job of using his power and wrestling to control the action.
The third round saw the fighters engage in a battle of words as well, as microphones picked up a little in-cage trash talking, but after the fight, Diaz and Stevenson hugged and seemed to leave it all in the Octagon.
When it was all over, Stevenson got back in the win column and he paid a major compliment to his coaches at Jackson’s Fight Team for the work they did to get him ready for the fight.
“It’s like having Chuck Norris in your corner. It’s just unfair,” Stevenson commented about Greg Jackson. “With your back to the wall with two losses, I was afraid to get that third. That’s not what I came in here scared about. I was scared about Nate Diaz, he’s an awesome fighter.”
Stevenson appears to have found a new permanent training camp with Jackson and his team, and he will now look to climb back up the ranks of the lightweight division.
For as smart as Chris Lytle actually is, he apparently does not understand the meaning of the word “boring,” as he once again put on a show for the fans in Las Vegas, picking up a unanimous decision win over Kevin Burns in a welterweight slugfest.
Early on it looked like Burns might get the best of Lytle as he landed a big right uppercut that put the Indiana native on wobbly legs, scrambling for a recovery plan. As always with Lytle, though, he is next to impossible to put away, and he kept close to Burns as the round came to a close.
“I didn’t see it. I ducked my head down like my coaches tell me not to, and he caught me with one,” Lytle commented about the punch in the first round. “I was like whoa I’m almost on the ground, I’ve got to stand back up. I’m an experienced fighter. I knew the onslaught was coming, that’s why I was trying to weather the storm. I was able to do that and I cleared my head between the first and second rounds.”
The second and third rounds told a different story as Lytle’s striking and superior conditioning took over, as he continued to move forward on his opponent, landing punches to the body and head of Burns.
The body punches could have played a major part in the fight as Burns started to fade later in the bout, gasping for air and slowing down as time ran down.
Lytle stalked Burns around the cage throwing big punch after big punch trying to put him away, and even opened a huge cut in the third round that resulted in his opponent being covered in blood for the last few minutes of the bout.
“Me and Kevin really came out and that’s exactly why I wanted this fight, he was going to try to take me out. I want somebody who’s going to try to take me out, and I feel like I’m going to get them in the end,” Lytle said after the victory.
It appeared after the match-up that Lytle and Burns were all but sealed as the selection for “Fight of the Night” after a three-round crowd pleaser.