The early fights for the UFC on Fox prelims resulted in one nasty knockout, a dominant submission and a new fighter to watch in the bantamweight division.
Cub Swanson vs. Ricardo Lamas
Ricardo Lamas is 2 for 2 at featherweight after submitting veteran fighter Cub Swanson with an arm triangle choke in the second round.
Swanson almost got a finish of his own in the first round after snatching a guillotine choke that was sunk in deep, causing Lamas all kinds of problems. To his credit, Lamas stayed calm and patient and eventually Swanson let go.
It was actually Swanson’s repeated attempts to grab the guillotine that finished the fight. As he was reaching for the hold again in the second round, Lamas recognized the position and moved for an arm triangle choke of his own to counter the hold. Once he clasped down on the submission, Swanson struggled to wiggle free, but couldn’t and had to tap out.
After losing his grandmother just a week earlier, Lamas dedicated his win to her, while celebrating his second win in a row in the Octagon.
DaMarques Johnson vs. Clay Harvison
After taking a fight on short notice for his last bout in the UFC, DaMarques Johnson got plenty of time for his match-up with Clay Harvison and made the most of it with a nasty knockout early in the first round.
Johnson was ready to box and showed off his hands, especially after cracking Harvison with a jaw rattling left uppercut. Harvison crashed to the mat, and Johnson picked up his hands in celebration. It took a moment for referee Herb Dean to get in for the stoppage, so Johnson had time to throw one more punch but the fight was clearly over.
Johnson picks up an impressive first round knockout, and Harvison might have to win a few outside the Octagon before another chance inside the UFC after back-to-back losses.
Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto vs. Darren Uyenoyama
When Darren Uyenoyama took his first fight in MMA it was because he needed money to help pay for his wedding. Fast forward to almost a decade later and he makes his UFC debut picking up a dominant win over former top ranked fighter Norifumi ‘Kid’ Yamamoto.
From the opening bell, Uyenoyama didn’t make his game plan a secret because he wanted Yamamoto on the ground. Once Uyenoyama got the fight to the mat, it was a quick mismatch as he took Yamamoto’s back in both the first and second rounds, almost finishing the fight.
Yamamoto did crack Uyenoyama with his best punch in the second round, possibly shattering his nose, but it didn’t stop the jiu-jitsu ace from pushing forward and getting the takedown. Even when Yamamoto finally got on top of Uyenoyama he couldn’t generate any offense, stuck early and often in his opponent’s rubber guard.
“I wouldn’t even have imagined being here 10 years ago,” Uyenoyama stated after a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards to get the unanimous decision. “Without the support of so many helping me to get through jiu-jitsu, I would have never made it.”
Mackens Semerzier vs. Robert Peralta
Robert Peralta got his 2nd win in the UFC, but unfortunately it came by way of accidental headbutt, as he swarmed in to get the finish over Mackens Semerzier.
The back and forth fight was keeping a fevered pace through the first two rounds with Semerzier landing a knockdown in the first, and Peralta firing back with a knockdown of his own in the second.
The final round saw much of the same action, but as the fighters swung with heavy punches, a clash of the heads resulted and Semerzier dropped to the mat getting the worst of it. Peralta just reacted seeing his opponent drop to the mat and swooped in to land more punches before referee John McCarthy made the save.
Peralta gets the TKO win, but obviously not the way he surely wanted after the accidental headbutt brought about the finish. Following the fight, Semerzier’s managers at Suckerpunch Entertainment posted on Twitter that they intend to contest the decision with the California State Athletic Commission.
Cole Escovedo vs. Alex Caceres
Lightweight didn’t work out on the ‘Ultimate Fighter’, and featherweight didn’t go much better, but it looks like Alex ‘Bruce Leeroy’ Caceres finally found a home at 135lbs with a dominant win over former WEC champ Cole Escovedo.
Caceres looked better on his feet than he ever has before, peppering Escovedor with quick strikes and a beautiful front kick. When the fight finally hit the ground in the final round, Caceres threw a flurry of submission attempts at Escovedo, who had to use all of his strength and endurance just to keep from getting caught.
Caceres picks up his first win in the UFC with 30-27 scores across the board, while Escovedo drops his third fight in a row and will likely find himself out of the UFC after Saturday night.
Mike Pierce vs. Paul Bradley
For the second time, Mike Pierce got the best of former ‘Ultimate Fighter’ competitor Paul Bardley, with this go round ending in a split decision.
Pierce was the sharper striker in the fight, opening a few cuts and leaving Bradley bloody when the fight was over. It appeared by the end of the 15 minute bout that Bradley was losing steam, and just couldn’t pull the trigger to land the big takedown or strike.
The damage done was enough for Pierce to win a split decision, although the fight isn’t likely to make any highlight reels anytime soon.
Aaron Rosa vs. Matt Lucas
Back at light heavyweight for his second fight in the UFC, Aaron Rosa put on a much better performance winning a majority decision to kick off the UFC on Fox show.
Rosa debuted in the UFC as a heavyweight after taking a fight on short notice, but found a much better home at 205lbs. Rosa hammered away at Lucas with short knees and elbows throughout the fight, while the UFC newcomer could only search for takedowns and try to clinch to avoid damage.
Lucas lost a point in the 2nd round after spitting out his mouthpiece multiple times, but gutted it out to make it the full 15 minutes despite being obviously exhausted after the fight.
Two judges came back with scores of 30-26, while one judge gave a somewhat puzzling 28-28 score, but ultimately Rosa came away with the victory.