Former NFL’ers turned UFC employees Matt Mitrione and Brendan Schaub met in the cage at UFC 165 Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Unlike their previous occupations, this one allows powerful blows to the head of their opponents. In fact, it’s encouraged.
However, for the first 30 seconds of their showdown on Saturday, nobody told these two heavyweight sluggers, as there was not a single strike thrown.
The former training partners and castmates on The Ultimate Fighter 10 met in the center of the Octagon without touching gloves. The pre-fight trash talk was hot and heavy between the former friends, and after the first 30 seconds had ticked away, the two big men started exchanging with reckless abandon.
The action began with a straight left from Mitrione that backed Schaub away. In the next exchange, Schaub ducked under a wild flurry from Mitrione and tagged the Hoosier with a sweeping right hook to the side of the head.
More of these exchanges followed as Mitrione and Schaub jumped in and out with power flurries that easily could have seen either fighter being left unconscious. After the first few minutes elapsed, the damage for both fighters began to show; Schaub was cut on his head above his left eye, and Mitrione on the side of his head.
With the blood flowing, and the exchanges fairly regular, we had a heavyweight fight on our hands.
As the final minute ticked away on the opening frame, Schaub lunged in with a flurry of powerful hooks that sent “Meathead” retreating. As Mitrione covered up, Schaub followed his combination with a thudding scoop slam that ended with the 35-year-old former NFL journeyman flat on his back, Schaub in total control.
With Mitrione most likely feeling the pressure of the dwindling round, he made a quick attempt to his feet. As he rose, Mitrione left his neck wide open and Schaub latched on with a timely d’arce choke.
In obvious trouble and with the referee looking on, a seemingly calm Mitrione gave the “thumbs up” to the referee, signaling that he was okay.
Unfortunately for Mitrione, he was not okay.
Rather than tap out and succumb to Schaub’s submission attempt, Mitrione quietly faded into unconsciousness as the referee pulled the men apart.
The end came at 4:06, and a visibly elated Brendan Schaub grinned from ear to ear as he earned his second consecutive win inside the Octagon after suffering back-to-back losses to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Ben Rothwell.
“This is the happiest I’ve ever been! I love you guys! I love Toronto,” yelled the 30-year-old.
He continued thanking his family, friends and coaches who prepared him for the fight, and then talked about the submission that ended the night for Mitrione.
“Man, I’ve caught a lot of top caliber jiu-jitsu guys in that move,” he exclaimed after securing his first career submission (also Mitrione’s first submission defeat). “I’m very confident in it. I train so hard for it; I’m so happy right now.”
(Follow @RyanMcKinnell on Twitter)