The UFC on Versus 4 preliminary bouts on Facebook were a mixed bag for fight fans. The event started with several finishes, but ended in decisions with mixed results for two former lightweight fighters making their featherweight debuts.
Tyson Griffin, in his first trip to 145 pounds, outlasted Top 10 featherweight Manny Gamburyan, winning the fight by unanimous decision.
Both primarily known as grapplers, the majority of their three-round fight took place on the feet, which was all well and good for Griffin. The Xtreme Couture fighter outdid Gamburyan on the feet throughout the fight, landing solid leg kicks that were leaving Gamburyan wobbly by the second round.
Gamburyan was swinging with fury in his punches, but never connected with the big one that would win him the fight. Instead, Griffin was able to use his leg kicks and punches to the body to earn the judges’ favor.
The result was announced as a unanimous decision with scores of 29-28, 29-28, and 29-29. That would make the bout a majority decision. It was later corrected to be a unanimous decision with scores of 29-28 across the board.
Joe “Daddy” Stevenson, the welterweight winner of “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 2, has been on a skid lately. He tried to right the ship by dropping down to the featherweight division on Sunday night.
It didn’t work.
While Stevenson never got started in the fight, Vazquez dictated the pace, displaying an improved stand-up game, and superior timing.
Vazquez tagged Stevenson throughout the night, stinging him with his southpaw jab and straight left. He event took Stevenson down at several points throughout the fight.
In the end, Vazquez earned the judges’ nod with a unanimous decision.
The loss marks Stevenson’s fourth consecutive, so it remains to be seen if his career in the Octagon can survive his lackluster performance.
Coming off of a loss to George Sotiropoulos, Joe Lauzon immediately quieted any doubters with his impressive victory over British fighter Curt Warburton.
Warburton is known as a good striker, but someone forgot to tell Lauzon, who dropped the Brit with a right-left combination. He immediately pounced on Warburton, trying to finish the fight with a brutal brandishing of ground and pound. Warburton, however, left his right arm sticking up in the air, and Lauzon, ever the opportunist, snagged it and locked on the fight-finishing Kimura.
“I’m just happy that something that we worked on in boxing every single day finally worked. That’s one of the combinations that we work on every single day,” said Lauzon.
A winner of seven bonuses in his first nine fights in the UFC, Lauzon was obviously hoping for another. He said of the fight finishing hold, “Gotta get that bonus money.”
Daniel Roberts started out strong out of the gate, but his opponent, Rich Attonito, didn’t waste much time taking over the pace of the fight.
As soon as Attonito started countering Roberts’ striking in the opening round with more powerful shots of his own, Roberts shifted gears and tried to take the fight to the mat. Attonito defended the attempts well, tiring Roberts out over the course of the fight.
Attonito dropped Roberts with a kick to the head in the early moments of round three then ground and pounding him in an attempt to finish. It looked like Roberts was done, but somehow he survived.
That flurry may have taken some of the steam out of Attonito. He kept rocking Roberts until the final bell, but he was unable to get off more than single shots for the remainder of the fight, when a combination may have finished it.
“At 170, I feel great. I feel this is the weight class I belong in,” said Attonito about his welterweight debut, but added, “I’m a little disappointed in my performance because I couldn’t put him away like I wanted to.”
Nik Lentz and Charles Oliveira have both quickly established themselves as fighters to watch out for in the UFC lightweight division, but it was Oliveira that bested Lentz at UFC on Versus 4… well, maybe.
The two fought a fiery opening round, both landing heavy power shots, but Oliveira proved to be the more technically savvy and creative striker, dropping Lentz to the mat twice in the opening round.
The Brazilian kept pouring it on in round two, again out-striking Lentz. But this time Lentz secured an arm-in guillotine. Oliveira escaped to his feet, unleashing a knee to the face of Lentz, then following him to the canvas and securing a fight-ending rear naked choke.
The only problem being that when Oliveira unleashed the knee to the face of Lentz, the Brock Lesnar teammate still had a knee of his own planted on the mat, making the strike from Oliveira illegal. Referee Chip Snider, however, didn’t notice the illegality of the knee during the fight.
The official result was a rear naked choke submission victory for Oliveira, but UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan announced after the fight that the commission already decided it would review the call later in the night.
“I am sorry Nik Lentz, you are a very tough fighter. Tonight I’m here to show everybody my technique. I am sorry this happened,” Oliveira stated, admitting to the mistake. “I train hard for a nice victory, I’m sorry.”
After losing his last fight in the WEC, a lightweight tilt, Ricardo Lamas decided to make the move down to featherweight, and it looks like he made the right choice.
He dominated his 145-pound debut against Matt Grice, outstriking him on the feet, scoring the takedown and putting the wrestler on his back, and finally land the power blows that put him down and out in the first round.
After escaping Lamas’ takedown and returning to the feet, Grice found himself exactly where he didn’t want to be, on the receiving end a high kick that left him stunned, which Lamas followed up with a left kick to the body and right cross that put Grice back on the mat. Lamas then followed with some ground and pound for the finish.
“He’s a wrestler, so I wanted to mix it up,” said Lamas after the fight. “That’s why I got the takedown and just keep him confused the whole time.”
Hawaiian Edward Faaloloto started strong against TUF 12 runner-up Michael Johns, but it was Johnson that showed he had the goods on Sunday night.
Faaloloto opened a cut around the left eye of Johnson early on with some sharp elbows from the Thai clinch, but Johnson showed a much improved striking game and patience in the fight. He waited for Faaloloto to wear down then dropped the Hawaiian with a left-right punch combination and finished him off with a hammerfist fest.
“I was like a pit bull when I saw that red,” Johnson said of the blood dripping down his face in the fight. “I saw him tiring and I had to take advantage of it.”
-Tyson Griffin def. Manny Gamburyan by Majority Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-29), R3
-Javier Vazquez def. Joe Stevenson by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27), R3
-Joe Lauzon def. Curt Warburton by Sumbission (Kimura) at 1:58, R1
-Rich Attonito def. Daniel Roberts by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-27, 30-27), R3
-Charles Oliveira def. Nik Lentz by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:48, R2
-Ricardo Lamas def. Matt Grice by TKO (Strikes) at 4:41, R1
-Michael Johnson def. Edward Faaloloto by TKO (Strikes) at 4:42, R1
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