BROOMFIELD, Colo. – Before 6,742 rabid fans, Kenny Florian proved once again why he is considered one of the leading contenders to the throne that B.J. Penn and Sean Sherk will battle over in May.
Joe Lauzon seemed to be the stronger fighter through most of the first round, powering Florian to the mat on several occasions. But somehow, Florian consistently did what he wanted to do coming into this fight, and that was to dig deep and be resilient.
It was a tough back and forth first round, but in the second, Florian brought out the tanks, the guns, the fighter planes, and maybe even the nuclear sub, as he unleashed an onslaught. Scoring a takedown of his own, he secured the mount and didn’t look back. Try as he might, and he tried with everything he had, Lauzon couldn’t get out from under his fellow Bostonian. Florian kept up a barrage of punches, forearms and elbows, and didn’t relent until he was told to stop at 3:28 of the round.
“Whether it was a 5-second match or a 15-minute match, I knew we were going to be fighting for everything. We were going to be scrapping for every little thing,” commented Florian after the fight. “It was a tough match. It was what I wanted. That’s what I wanted to do, is take someone’s heart.”
Both were undefeated going in, but it can’t be that way going out, as Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar battled it out over all three rounds of their bout to determine a winner.
The swing bout of the telecast, there was a lot of striking in this bout for two fighters better known for their wrestling prowess. But in the end, it was Maynard’s takedowns and apparent edge in strength and size that won out. The Xtreme Couture fighter earned a unanimous decision victory to move to 5-0-1, while Edgar slipped a rung down the championship ladder to 8-1.
Maynard acknowledged his size advantage after the fight. “I’m bigger. He’s a tough kid, but he’s a little small.” He also acknowledged his place in the pecking order for a shot at the UFC lightweight championship. “There’s so many guys, I’m not even close yet.”
Karo Parisyan always seems to be on the cusp of a title shot. That’s exactly where he was coming into this fight with Thiago Alves. Karo Parisyan also seems to get derailed every time he is on that cusp. That is exactly what happened in this fight with Thiago Alves.
Although Parisyan seemed to edge ahead with his boxing through the first round, Alves came out with a sense of urgency in round two. He immediately went after Parisyan, landed a left knee to the chin and followed up with several punches to the head of the downed Parisyan to score a TKO stoppage.
In derailing Parisyan, Alves likely put himself into title contention with a definitive finish over a Top 10 fighter.
The way the fight started off, it looked as if Matt Hamill was going to try and just outlast Tim Boetsch, taking him down and controlling position, but not mounting much by way of offense. They were stood up and the fight seemed to sway in Boetsch’s favor, but it wouldn’t last.
Although he started the second round strong, Boetsch decided to go for a takedown and that was his undoing. Hamill trapped him on all fours, up against the cage, and rained down punches until the fight was stopped.
Kurt Pellegrino took immediate control of his fight with Nate Diaz, brutalizing the youngster throughout the opening round, opening a cut over his right eye.
Round two started off much the same, but during a scramble on the mat, Pellegrino picked Diaz up to slam his way out of a loose guillotine attempt. As they hit the mat, Diaz locked on a triangle choke and started celebrating, knowing he had the choke locked in tight. Moments later, Pellegrino was left with no choice, but to tap out.
Opening the telecast on Spike TV, James “Sandman” Irvin, depending on whom you ask, put Houston Alexander to sleep as fast as anyone ever has in UFC history. In just eight seconds, he put Alexander on his back – tying Don Frye’s knockout of Thomas Ramirez at UFC 8 – with a right cross and followed up with a couple of punches for good measure before referee Steve Mazzagatti waved the bout off.
Josh Neer moved down from welterweight to face Din Thomas in a lightweight battle, and it appears it was a good choice. The two battled back and forth through all three rounds, but it was Neer that used his power to overcome the crisp boxing technique of Thomas, opening a deep gash under the American Top Team fighter’s eye. In the end, Neer walked away with a unanimous decision victory.
Though he felt a little sluggish, Neer said of his new weight class after the fight, “I think this is where I’m going to stay in the future.”
Marcus Aurelio got off to a bad start when he entered the UFC last August, but now has two wins in a row to his credit. He dropped late substitute Ryan Roberts with a straight right punch, then immediately followed him down to finish the fight with an armbar… all in a mere 16 seconds.
Following a bit of a clinch game along the cage, Manvel Gamburyan executed a perfect Judo throw, then immediately submitted Jeff Cox with a guillotine choke as their fight barely got underway.
After the quick finish, Gamburyan said he would fight whoever UFC matchmaker Joe Silva and president Dana White wanted him to, but added, “I want to wish good luck to Nate Diaz tonight to beat his boy so I can whoop his ass.” Gamburyan lost to Diaz in the finals of The Ultimate Fighter due to a shoulder injury.
Clay Guida received a hero’s welcome in Colorado and he delivered for his fans. It took him the better part of the first round, but with about a minute-and-a-half left in the opening stanza, he took Samy Schiavo down and never looked back. He patiently worked into the full mount and started putting heavy left hands to the side of his French opponent’s head until referee Tim Mills stopped the fight.
“We just stuck with the game plan,” Guida said when it was all over. “2008 is the season of dominance.”
Despite his reputation for ground fighting, Roman Mitichyan left no doubt that he wanted to keep the fight on the feet with George Sotiropoulos. It wasn’t to be, however, as Sotiropoulos kept the fight on the ground, dominating with both his positioning and numerous submission attempts.
Sotiropoulos’ persistence paid off midway through the second round as he secured the mount and dropped down punches until referee Adam Martinez called a halt to the bout.
Anthony Johnson kicked off the event in stunning fashion, never relenting as he knocked out Ultimate Fighter season six finalist Tommy Speer with a right cross at 51 seconds of the first round.
“I want to fight as many times as I can, but it’s up to the UFC,” said Johnson following the opener. “I want to make the UFC my home.”
– Kenny Florian def. Joe Lauzon by TKO (Strikes) at 3:28, R2
– Gray Maynard def. Frankie Edgar by Unanimous Decision, R3
– Thiago Alves def. Karo Parisyan by TKO (Strikes) at 0:34, R2
– Matt Hamill def. Tim Boetsch by TKO (Strikes) at 1:25, R2
– Nate Diaz def. Kurt Pellegrino by Submission (Triangle Choke) at 3:06, R2
– James Irvin def. Houston Alexander by KO at 0:08, R1
– Josh Neer def. Din Thomas by Unanimous Decision, R3
– Marcus Aurelio def. Ryan Roberts by Submission (Armbar) at 0:16, R1
– Manny Gamburyan def. Jeff Cox by Submission (Choke) at 1:21, R1
– Clay Guida def. Samy Schiavo by TKO (Strikes) at 4:15, R1
– George Sotiropoulos def. Roman Mitichyan by TKO (Strikes) at 2:24, R2
– Anthony Johnson def. Tommy Speer by KO at 0:51, R1