by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
With a new season of “The Ultimate Fighter” starting, the UFC again presented an edition of their UFC Fight Night series, this time being headlined by two of the organizations top lightweight prospects, Joe Stevenson and Melvin Guillard.
For such a hyped fight featuring two very talented lightweight competitors, the actual event did not live up to the billing after only a 27-second fight. Both fighters rushed to the center of the Octagon to start the bout and began swinging right away. Guillard was touted as the better striker, but it was Stevenson who landed a big left that put his opponent on the mat. Stevenson attacked and went for a leg-lock that was blocked effectively. Soon after, Guillard ducked his head to move for a takedown and was caught dead in a guillotine choke. Stevenson quickly transitioned to guard where he wrenched back on Guillard’s neck forcing the tap, giving the former Ultimate Fighter winner another victory at 155 pounds, this time putting him at the top of the list for potential title contenders.
Kenny Florian returned to action after a disappointing loss to new lightweight champion Sean Sherk, by dominating veteran fighter Dokonjonosuke Mishima. Florian came out strong in the first round showing his stand-up skills, but was taken down early in the bout. The takedown on Florian was the last that Mishima would land for the evening as the Boston native reversed and put himself in dominant position and remained there for the majority of the fight.
Florian obviously worked at great length improving his stand-up game since the Sherk fight as he displayed a variety of kicks to Mishima’s legs and body. The Japanese fighter had no answer for Florian’s attacks, eventually throwing out unorthodox strikes and flips that didn’t even come close to landing. In the third round, Mishima did manage to lock on a very strong knee bar that put Florian on the verge of tapping out, but through shear perseverance and strength, he was able to get out of the hold and take Mishima’s back. Soon after, Florian locked on a rear naked choke forcing a submission giving him another big win in the UFC while Dokonjonosuke Mishima now moves to 0-2 in the UFC.
The third fight shown live on UFC Fight Night was a heavyweight showdown between Team Punishment member Justin McCully and Dutch striker Antoni Hardonk. This fight could have easily been skipped over had it not been on the live card as both fighters put on lackluster performances. McCully controlled the fight, taking Hardonk down at will and working a ground and pound game. Hardonk did manage an armbar in the first round, but his novice skill on the ground was clear as he couldn’t finish the hold. McCully controlled the action for the better part of all three rounds and gained a unanimous decision victory in a very uninspired fight.
Overall this show has to be seen as a disappointing lead in to the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” due to an ultra quick finish in the main event and a painfully boring heavyweight fight that seemed to lull the crowd at the Palms to sleep. Much credit goes out to Joe Stevenson for dominating and finishing Melvin Guillard the way he did in such short fashion, but Fighter of the Night goes to Kenny Florian after a dominating three-round performance over Dokonjonosuke Mishima, where he displayed very good Muay Thai and ground skills. Fight of the Night also goes to Florian and Mishima who put on the best show in their bout.
UFC FIGHT NIGHT RESULTS
-Joe Stevenson def. Melvin Guillard by Guillotine Choke at 0:27, Round 1
-Justin McCully def. Antoni Hardonk by Unanimous Decision
-Kenny Florian def. Dokonjonosuke Mishima by Rear Naked Choke at 3:57, Round 3
-Wilson Gouveia def. Seth Petruzelli by Guillotine Choke at 0:39, Round 2
-Drew Fickett def. Keita Nakamura by Unanimous Decision
-Kurt Pellegrino def. Nate Mohr by Ankle Lock at 2:58, Round 1
-Kuniyoshi Hironaka def. Forrest Petz by Unanimous Decision
-Roan Carneiro def. Rich Clementi by Unanimous Decision
-Thiago Tavares def. Naoyuki Kotani by Unanimous Decision