UFC 125 Prelims: Stephens Lands Comeback KO, Poirier Surprises, and Tavares Crushes Baroni

January 1, 2011

Marcus Davis vs. Jeremy Stephens

Marcus Davis and Jeremy Stephens at UFC 125

Marcus Davis and Jeremy Stephens at UFC 125

For a the better part of 12 minutes, Marcus Davis took the fight to Jeremy Stephens at UFC 125. Twelve minutes proved a few seconds shy of winning the fight, however.

Davis, who has also spent time in the ring as a professional boxer, used his superior footwork, head movement, and boxing timing to go ahead on Stephens over the first two round, and Stephens knew it.

Coming into the third round, Stephens was pressing, trying to create an opening. Just when things seemed to be winding down in Davis’ favor, Stephens found that opening, driving a powerful right hand through Davis’ chin, sending him crashing to the canvas, unconscious.

The win served as a rebound from a loss to Melvin Guillard for Stephens, but will leave Davis teetering on the edge of his UFC career, losing his second straight fight and four of his last five.

Josh Grispi vs. Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier and Josh Grispi at UFC 125

Dustin Poirier and Josh Grispi at UFC 125

Josh Grispi was originally planning on challenging Jose Aldo for the Brazilian’s UFC featherweight championship at UFC 125. An injury to Aldo caused the gears to shift, however, and Grispi ended up fighting Dustin Poirier.

In retrospect, maybe that was a good thing.

Poirier, through all three rounds of the fight, lit Grispi up on the feet, and stymied his ground game. Poirier showed excellent timing in unleashing numerous punching combinations, and brutalized Grispi’s body with knees from the Muay Thai clinch.

Even when Grispi was able to get the fight to the mat, Poirier was savvy enough to grasp top position, other than one time in round three, and nullified any offense that Grispi would usually create from his back.

Poirier, winning a unanimous decision, handed Grispi the second defeat of his career, while moving his own record up to 9-1.

Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares

Phil Baroni and Brad Tavares at UFC 125

Phil Baroni and Brad Tavares at UFC 125

Phil Baroni returned to the middleweight division at UFC 125, but it may have signaled the end of his opportunities in the Octagon. He started strong, but fell short to Brad Tavares late in the fight.

Baroni dropped Tavares early with a left hook, immediately followed him down, and tried to finish in a ground and pound flurry, but Tavares was able to bide his time and recover.

The round wore on, but then Tavares caught Baroni with a left-hand and followed with a right head kick that staggered Baroni backwards. Baroni waved him in and Tavares obliged. He caught Baroni again with a right hook, followed by a knee from the Thai clinch. A few more punches and Baroni crumpled to the mat, where Tavares followed him down and ended his night in an onslaught of punches.

“I noticed he stumbled a little bit. I relaxed a little bit and tried to put him away,” said Tavares of the fight ending series.

Tavares upped his unblemished record to 7-0 with the victory.