Posts tagged: takedown

Mir Focused on Carwin, but Lesnar rematch is Big Picture

It is no secret that UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar and contender Frank Mir have a bitter relationship, to say the least. However, Mir will have to get through heavyweight powerhouse Shane Carwin (11-0) at UFC 111 before he can enact his dream of regaining the undisputed heavyweight title from Lesnar.

Frank Mir

On Saturday, Mir will have the chance to guarantee himself the next shot at Lesnar with a win over Carwin in a bout, scheduled for five rounds, for the interim heavyweight championship. The fight is scheduled as the co-main event of the evening at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Fighting out of Las Vegas, Nev., Mir is a former UFC heavyweight and interim heavyweight champion. Mir, a black belt in kenpo karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, currently trains with Team Sityodtong in Boston, Massa., under owner and head trainer Mark DellaGrotte. He earned his black belt in BJJ under Ricardo Pires after only five years of training.

Currently holding a professional MMA record of 13-4, Mir is an accomplished grappler and renowned submission artist whose standup has drastically improved with each appearance in the octagon. He is the 2007 NAGA absolute division champion. Of his 13 victories, eight have come by way of submission.

After winning the UFC championship in a match with Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 in 2004, at the age of 25, Mir faced a potentially career ending injury. He was left with a broken femur and torn ligaments in his knee after a motorcycle accident, and was told that he may never walk again, let alone fight. Mir was stripped of his title after 14 months.

In 2006, nearly 2 years later, Mir returned to the octagon. In 2008, Mir shocked the world by submitting rising star Brock Lesnar in the first round at UFC 81, in a match in which he was clearly outsized and not favored to win.

Mir vs. Lesnar I - UFC 81

After running through Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim heavyweight championship at UFC 92, Mir faced Lesnar in a rematch for the undisputed heavyweight championship in the main event of UFC 100.

Lesnar, a NCAA national champion wrestler, took Mir down with ease in the first round and smothered him, landing effective ground-and-pound. In the second round Mir landed a left elbow followed by a flying knee that rocked Lesnar, but he gave up the takedown in doing so. Lesnar continued to land brutal ground-and-pound from the top position until the match was stopped at 1:48 into the second round via TKO.

In the co-main event of UFC 107, Mir faced off with muay thai and kickboxing ace Cheick Kongo. Mir beat Kongo at his own game, dropping him with a lead left hook less than a minute into the fight. Mir then locked in a guillotine and choked Kongo unconscious, ending the fight at just 1:12 into the first round.

Carwin, a NCAA division II national champion wrestler and boxer with incredible knockout power, presents a huge challenge to Mir. In Carwin’s 11-fight MMA career, he has earned six victories via knockout or TKO and 11 first round stoppages.

With all of his losses coming by way of TKO, Mir is not known for his ability to take a punch, especially while fighting off of his back. Carwin’s wrestling background and powerful punches could prove dangerous to Mir. However, Mir’s submission game will present a threat to Carwin should the fight go to the ground, and Mir is perhaps the more technically sound striker. Mir recently stated that he believes that Carwin is a more dangerous version of Lesnar.

Carwin showed a good chin in his last fight against Gabriel Gonzaga and was able to get off of his back in a matter of seconds. With his 11 career fights lasting just over 12 minutes, it will be difficult for Mir to study Carwin for weaknesses, so he will likely stick to his normal training regimen.

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Live pay-per-view coverage of UFC 111 will begin at 10 p.m. EST

Frank Mir on ESPN – 3/25

Countdown to UFC 111

Vera To Play The Role of Gatekeeper at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones

Brandon “The Truth” Vera (11-4) broke onto the scene five years ago as a young, up-and-coming heavyweight prospect with intentions of proving himself by beating the best competition that the UFC had to offer.

Vera ran through opponents in the two years that followed, but was denied his title intentions due to defeats from more experience UFC veterans.

Brandon Vera

On Sunday, for the first time, Vera will play the role of “the gatekeeper” when he faces young, up-and-coming light-heavyweight prospect Jon “Bones” Jones (9-1) in the main event of UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colo.

Fighting out of San Diego, Calif., Vera is a former WEC heavyweight champion. Vera, a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, currently trains with both Team Lloyd Irvin and Alliance MMA in San Diego. He has also trained at Linxx Academy and Hybrid Academy.

Vera gained experience wrestling in high school and continued wrestling at Old Dominion University, and then with the United States Air Force. However, he is best known in the MMA world for his effective muay thai skills.

Through the first four years of his MMA career Vera went a perfect 8-0, with seven of his wins coming by way of stoppage and four earned in UFC competition. Arguably his most impressive performance came at UFC 65 when he stopped Frank Mir at just 1:09 into the first round via TKO (punches).

In his next two matches Vera saw a step up in competition, losing a decision to Tim Sylvia and a TKO to Fabricio Werdum. These back-to-back losses, to much larger opponents, prompted Vera’s move to light-heavyweight competition. Vera now holds a 3-2 record as a light-heavyweight. His two losses came via close and controversial decisions.

Vera vs. Fabiano Scherner

MMA veteran, TUF cast-member and UFC newcomer Krzysztof Soszynski (19-9-1) went the distance with Vera at UFC 102. Vera won a unanimous decision by controlling the fight, avoiding the takedown and dominating on the feet with strong kicks and combinations.

Vera saw a step up in competition in his next fight as he went the distance with UFC Hall of Famer and five-time UFC champion Randy “The Natural” Couture in the main event of UFC 105. Couture controlled the fight from the clinch utilizing dirty boxing while Vera dominated the striking from the feet, hurting Couture badly with kicks and combinations in each round.

Vera was caught in Couture’s clinch, fighting off the takedown, for the majority of the competition. However, Vera landed very effective strikes from the feet. He dropped Couture in the second round, but was unable to finish him. After bearing an assault from the clinch Vera landed a series of body kicks that hurt Couture in the third round and followed up by taking him down and transitioning to full mount. The fight ended with an intense exchange.

All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Couture. The ruling surprised Vera and was very controversial.

Jon Jones is a young (22 year old) prospect with impressive striking and wrestling skills. Vera’s muay thai skills will be much more relevant in his upcoming fight than in his last two, which saw him trapped in his opponent’s clinch for the majority of the fight. However, Vera, a BJJ brown belt, will likely have an advantage in the unlikely case that the fight goes to the ground.

Vera has been in Jones’ situation a number of times early in his UFC career. Jones will face the toughest test in his young MMA career at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones. For Vera, a victory will likely put him back in the title-mix.

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The event will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. EST

A Legend is Stopped, Others Rebound at UFC 110

Rising star Cain Velasquez defeated the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in dominating fashion in the main event of UFC 110 on Saturday to secure a spot as a top contender for the UFC heavyweight title.

Velasquez v. Nogueira

The two ground specialists exchanged in a brief standup battle in the Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia.  Velasquez landed a combo, which sent Nogueira to the canvas and he quickly followed up with vicious ground and pound that left Nogueria unconscious.  Referee Herb Dean called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the contest at 2:20 in the first round.

“We’ll see what happens with Mir and Carwin – see who wins that – and if the guys come out unscathed, they’ll fight for the title,” said UFC president Dana White at the post-fight press conference.  ”If not, then Cain Velasquez will get that spot.”

Velasquez’s performance earned him “Knockout of the Night” honors along with a $50,000 bonus.

The co-main event featured another legendary brazilian fighter and Pride FC champion in Wanderlei Silva, who squared off against Michael Bisping.  The contest saw both fighters standing and exchanging for the majority of the fight.

Bisping took Silva down several times in the first and second rounds, but was unable to keep him down once on the ground.  Silva caught him in a tight arm-in guillotine off of a Bisping takedown attempt with about 15 seconds left in the second round, but was unable to force a tap.

Silva v. Bisping

Bisping landed two fouls which briefly stopped the action in the middle of the third round: first a kick to the cup of Silva and then a finger to the eye.  Silva took the offensive, coming out swinging for the fences in the last two minutes of the fight.  Silva rushed Bisping and landed a right hook to drop him just before the final bell.

Silva was awarded a unanimous decision with all three judges scoring the contest 29-28 in his favor.

Bisping disagreed with the official decision. “It’s a close fight, but personally, I thought I won rounds one and two,” he said during the post-fight conference.  He also stated that he would love a rematch with Silva in the future.

Australian native George Sotiropoulos defeated Joe Stevenson by unanimous decision in a thrilling and extremely technical match.  Sotiropoulos controlled the fight on the feet, dropping Stevenson in the second and put him in several dangerous situations on the ground utilizing his superior submission game.

All three judges scored the contest 30-27 in a dominant victory for Sotiropoulos.  The match was named the “Fight of the Night” and earned both fighters a $50,000 bonus.

The Ultimate Fighter season eight winner Ryan Bader took down and controlled Keith Jardine on the ground in the first round of the second main-card fight.  Jardine controlled the second round with strong punches and leg kicks and was able to stuff the takedown attempts of Bader.

Bader landed a right hand that hurt Jardine in the third and quickly followed up with a flying knee to the body and a left hook, which dropped Jardine to the canvas.  Referee Josh Rosenthal called for a knockout stoppage, putting an end to the fight at 2:10 of the third round.

Cro Cop v. Perosh

In the first main card fight Croatian legend and Pride FC champion Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic faced overmatched Australian native Anthony Perosh.  Cro Cop was originally scheduled to face former IFL champion Ben Rothwell who was forced to withdraw just days before the event due to illness.  Perosh took the fight on two days notice.

Cro Cop controlled the fight, landing devastating strikes in the standup and denying Perosh’s numerous takedown attempts.  Perosh continually went for the takedown only to end up in Cro Cops sprawl and to receive brutal ground and pound.

Cro Cop landed a powerful elbow from inside the guard, opening up a cut above Perosh’s eye with about a minute left in the second round.  Cro Cop was awarded a TKO (cut) victory at the end of the second round after a dominant performance.

The “Submission of the Night” along with a $50,000 bonus was awarded to Chris Lytle who countered a takedown from Brian Foster to lock in a kneebar, putting an end to the preliminary card bout at 1:41 of the first round.

UFC 110 marked the organizations first trip to Australia and proved extremely successful for the UFC.  The event saw the second-fastest ticket sell-out in the 16-year history of the UFC.  Dana White announced his intentions to return, to Melbourne, Australia for an event in 2011, during the post-fight press conference.

UFC 110 – FULL

Styles Make Fights: WEC 42 – Mizugaki vs. Curran (Brawling vs. BJJ)

In a bout to determine which fighter would stay relevant in the WEC Bantamweight title picture, former featherweight contender Jeff Curran’s losing streak was extended to four fights as Takeya Mizugaki won his first WEC victory with a split decision win.

Mizugaki can smile more now with his WEC win in his pocket.

Mizugaki can smile more now with his first WEC win in his pocket.

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Curran starts off by catching a low kick, but Mizugaki sprawls and fights off the single-leg attempt while Curran refuses to let it go. Curran has the single-leg for over two minutes, but Mizugaki will not go down, and eventually switches Currans back against the cage before tripping Curran down. Mizugaki throws big punches and elbows, but Curran explodes off an armbar attempt and sweeps Mizugaki. Curran has the back briefly, but Mizugaki turns into Currans guard and throws strikes as the round ends.

Curran stings Mizugaki with a punch to start round two, and Mizugaki responds by throwing hard leg kicks. Curran throws high kicks, but Mizugaki plows forward and clinches. Mizugaki muscles Curran to the ground. Mizugaki postures up to strike while Curran tries to push off Mizugaki’s thighs, but ends up back in guard. Curran cranks Mizugaki in a one-arm guillotine when Mizugaki was pushing them toward the cage. The round ends with Mizugaki waiting out the choke.

Both men throw to start the final round before Mizugaki once again gets the takedown. Curran fishes for guillotines and triangles, but Mizugaki slips them all. Currans constant activity doesn’t give Mizugaki time to tee off with ground-and-pound. In the final 30 seconds, Curran finally hits the sweep and gets his legs up, locking in a tight triangle. Mizugaki desperately pulls, but Curran rolls on top, working both the arm and the triangle. Mizugaki rolls again, and despite the triangle being locked in, somehow is able to survive until the bell. The last flurry by Curran is unable to seal the deal however, as Mizugaki’s dominance in the first two rounds gives him the split decision victory. The crowd unexpectedly voices their approval of the decision.

The bout was another firm example of the scoring standards of the UFC and the WEC. Before the final minute of round three, Mizugaki was clearly winning the fight, but Currans final moves came the closest to producing a finish to the fight. Much like the Uno-Fisher fight at UFC 99, the final-minute explosion by one fighter wasn’t enough to overcome the relative monotony of the first two rounds. While this finish wasn’t nearly as controversial as Uno-Fisher, the importance of takedowns in the eyes of American judges has just been reinforced.

Take 2: Lesnar vs. Mir

At UFC 100,  Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir are scheduled for an encore, hopefully giving fans another great fight. However, very much has changed since their first showdown. When Lesnar and Mir met each other for the first time at UFC 81, Lesnar was just breaking into the UFC. It was only Lesnar’s second fight in the UFC, and only his third MMA fight ever. Lesnar’s “pro wrestling,” career could have hardly gained him any legitimate fighting experience. Mir was a former UFC heavyweight champion and an 8 year UFC veteran.

As many expected, Mir won the fight, but hardly dominated against the rookie. Mir also showed much vulnerability as he was unable to avoid Lesnar’s takedowns. Many felt Mir captured the victory only through capitalizing on some of Lesnar’s rookie mistakes; such as leaving himself vulnerable on the “ground and pound.”

Most UFC fans see their fight at UFC 100 as having a very different outcome. Let’s compare these two athletes on three different important points in an effort to better analyze how their next showdown might play out.

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Brock Lesnar

Who did he fight last, what was the outcome?

Lesnar last fought at UFC 91 against MMA legend Randy Couture for the heavy weight title. Couture is a MMA veteran with 25 fights under his belt and over 12 years of experience. It was only Lesnar’s fourth fight in the UFC, and the biggest challenge of his young career. Lesnar pulled out the TKO win for the heavy weight championship against a very formidable opponent — though some question if Couture was too old and washed up — and is now considered one of the most exciting fighters in the UFC.

What has he done to improve as a fighter since their last meeting?

Many UFC fans believe that Lesnar lost their first match up because of over-eagerness and mistakes due to inexperience. However, since their first meeting, Lesnar has shown a vast improvement in his ability to stay calm and less anxious. Take Lesnar vs. Herring for example. In that fight, Lesnar was flying all across the cage, clearly over-anxious. However, in his fight with Couture, he was calm and much less wild. This vast improvement took place in only a one-fight period. Considering Lesnar is a fast learner, heralded NCAA wrestling champ, and a beast with natural power, this rematch should prove to be very interesting; especially now that Lesnar has “found himself” in the cage.

What are his advantages when fighting Mir?

Lesnar’s biggest advantages are his size and power. He is 6’3 and 265 pounds, making him almost 30 pounds heavier than Mir as well as one of the largest and most powerful men in the UFC. But unlike most big men that tire more quickly and are limited in their agility, Lesnar is not plagued by these problems.

He showed no signs of fatigue during a hard fought three rounds against Heath Herring. He is also very agile, which he clearly demonstrated in his first fight with Mir, taking him down almost immediately, and then dominating, for the most part, on the ground with his superior agility and strength (until Mir’s leg lock, which I don’t think he’ll be lucky enough to pull off this time around).

Frank Mir

Who did he fight last, what was the outcome?

Mir last fought at UFC 92 against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the interim heavyweight title. Nogueira was a huge MMA veteran with 37 total fights. Mir won the fight with a strong TKO victory in the first round.

What has he done to improve as a fighter since their last meeting?

Mir was already very well-rounded when they first met. His superior experience became clear when he turned a ferocious beating, and potentially devastating loss, into a leg lock which ended the fight and earned him the victory. There is always room for improvement, but I don’t know how much Mir has improved other than in his experience. I think he will mostly be the same fighter.

What are his advantages when fighting Lesnar?

His biggest strength in fighting Lesnar for the second time, is his experience from their first fight. He knows about Lesnar’s strong ground game, but also knows what to look for when exploiting Lesnar. Mir knows he is not as good a wrestler as Lesnar, but his upright game is much better. Mir’s clearest advantage will be to force Lesnar to stay on his feet, where he is less experienced. He got lucky on the ground against Lesnar in their first fight. Lesnar will not likely make the same mistakes in their second.

Most people consider Mir to be a big underdog this time around. However, Mir is no stranger to being the underdog and has been for most of his big fights. Fans should be advised not to sleep on Mir during this fight. Mir still has much to offer the UFC, and while Lesnar’s star is rising, Mir’s star has far from gone out.

Coming Out On Top

One of the most anticipated fights of UFC 100 is Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping. Most expect the fight to be won or lost on the ground. This being so, the biggest question is, who will have the overall advantage? Can Bisping out-wrestle a former Olympic wrestler? And does Henderson, who now primarily relies on his fists, still have the wrestling skills to overcome Michael Bisping?

MMA veteran Dan Henderson, is a former olympic wrestler and PRIDE middleweight, and light heavyweight champion. He is also, as of more recently, a largely one -dimensional fighter. One would think that Henderson relies mostly on his strengths in wrestling; in fact, he is criticized for not fighting to his wrestling strengths. He has found most of his success in his cannon right hand.

Michael Bisping is a former kick boxer. He is 18 and 1 in the UFC, his one loss being a close split decision. Bisping is the former Cage Warriors Fighting Championship light heavyweight champ, and former Cage Rage light heavyweight champ. He was also winner of The Ultimate Fighter television series during the show’s third season.

Let’s take a look at both fighters’ wrestling backgrounds.

In high school, Henderson wrestled at both the 1987 and 1988 California State Wrestling Championships, and received medals there for his accomplishments.

The first part of Henderson’s collegiate career took place at Cal Stat Fullerton, and then at Arizona State, where he wrestled at the 1993 NCAA championships.

A year earlier he represented the country in the 1992 Olympics, and then again three years later at the 1996 Olympics.

Since his recent reentry into the UFC in 2007(Henderson participated in the late 90’s, when the UFC was still a single tournament, rather than a “league”) he has fought some of the best strikers and wrestlers. Among the ones he has beaten are Rousimar Palharis at UFC 88 and Rich Franklin at UFC 93.

Henderson made it very difficult for Palharis to get him on the ground, and when he did, Henderson showed superior wrestling skills. In the win against Rich Franklin, Henderson showcased his wrestling abilities by dominating Franklin on the ground for most of round 2, which was the decider in his split decision victoryInflatable Water Slide.

Bisping’s background in wrestling is not nearly as heralded as Henderson’s. Originally, he was a kick boxer who had some success and won a British light heavyweight kickboxing title. It was not until 2004 that Bisping entered the sport of MMA.

Bisping relied heavily on his kick boxing experience to carry him to 10 and 0 record in the Cage Warriors league, and made the transition into the UFC in 2006.

He was featured on The Ultimate Fighter, and received training under legendary fighter Tito Ortiz. Although he went on to win the show, he realized that expanding his ground game was crucial to his success in the UFC.

Bisping faced a three time NCAA D III wrestling champ in Matt Hamill at UFC 75, and came out with the split decision win. He showed good resilience to Hamill’s take downs, and a strong ability to get back to his feet. The Hamill fight proved to be one of his best ground-oriented fights.

Since then he has much improved. Bisping faced Rashad Evans at UFC. He took his only loss in the Evans fight, but demonstrated much-improved ability on the ground, only allowing 5 of 15 attempted takedowns as recorded by MMA Madness.

Bisping is also currently training with renowned wrestling coach Zach Lite of the famed, Wolfslair gym. Lite also trained UFC light heavyweight sensation, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Lite is also going to be a coach on The Ultimate Fighter season 10. He is very confident in Bisping’s refined wrestling skills. “He will take Dan Henderson down more than one time in the fight. He will, that’s how he is going to win the fight. That is how I see it. When they start trading I think Mike will win the scrambles,” Lite said in an interview with Fighters Only Magazine.

We will have to settle for making Comparisons and educated predictions while we wait for them to meet in the octagon on July 11th, at UFC 100. The fight is largely up in the air though, and it is anyone’s guess who will come out on top. This is part of the reason it is such a fan favorite. Will the former wrestling star, get the better of the ground action? Can the kick boxer come out on top with the win? Well, we will just have to wait to find out.

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Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Sanchez vs. Guida (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the main event of the TUF 9 finale, the matchup between Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida turned into a fantastic battle of wills, with Sanchez coming out on top by a hair and moving on to a potential title shot at 155.

Diego Sanchez won a great split over Clay Guida

Diego Sanchez won a great split over Clay Guida

Both men exploded out of the gate with punches, with Sanchez rocking Guida and throwing furious strikes until Guida finally stopped the punishment with a takedown. Sanchez switches to rubber guard and Guida stood up, but Sanchez throws a huge headkick that drops Guida. A flying knee by Sanchez connects but Guida incredibly does not go down. A short clinch leads to Sanchez getting the trip takedown, but Guida amazingly gets up as the round ends.

Guida executes a takedown at the start of round two, and Sanchez responds with elbows from bottom. A kimura attempt from bottom fails, and the crowd chants his name. Sanchez uses elbows from bottom to set up rubber guard again, but then continues to throw big elbows from guard. Guida, however, is relentless and grinds Sanchez into the ground as round two ends.

With all to fight for in round three, Guida continued to push forward and both men land punches on each other. A failed takedown by Guida leads to back control by Sanchez, but he slips off while trying to lock in an arm triangle. Guida lands on top and defends a Sanchez kimura attempt. Sanchez transitions to armbar but loses it as the round ends. At the end of the fight, the score is truly too close to call, but a split decision victory is awarded to Diego Sanchez.

Guida showed once again that he had a chin of steel, but skill-wise, Sanchez just outclassed him on this night, using his reach advantage to club Guida with strikes while delivering as much punishment with elbows from bottom as Guida did to him from top. Guida’s standup never really threatened Sanchez, however, and with Sanchez’s berserker elbows from bottom, that made all the difference.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Burns vs. Lytle (BJJ vs. Freestyle)

Vetern Chris Lytle once again proved to be no pushover, defeating Kevin Burns via an entertaining UD at the TUF 9 Finale.

Despite being a submission specialist who was knocked out by a head kick in his last fight, Burns showed no fear against Lytle and stood right in front of his opponent to strike, with Lytle throwing to KO with every swing. Burns used his size advantage to get the better of Lytle on the feet, and at the end of the round, Burns opened things up with an uppercut which felled Lytle. Burns laid it on with big strikes, but Lytle clinched against his opponent to survive the onslaught as the round ended.

Lytle threw nonstop punches against Burns

Lytle threw nonstop punches against Burns

Lytle sufficiently recovered by the time round two started and rocked Burns with a punch of his own, finally coaxing a takedown out of Burns. Lytle, no BJJ slouch in his own right, stood up again and resumed the stand-up war, forcing Burns to backpedal around the cage with relentless striking. Burns tried to low kick, but caught Lytle with groin shots more than once.

Lytle started round three by cutting Burns open with a punch, but Burns was game and continued to trade strikes with Lytle. Lytle continued to throw punches that would occasionally stagger Burns, but Burns refused to go down, and left Lytle unable to finish the fight by picking up the victory via UD.

Stylistically, Burns seemed to be suffering from “Jorge Gurgel” syndrome, where a BJJ black belt shuns both logic and submissions in favor to strike for the entire fight. Burns never tried to go to his bread-and-butter BJJ, and even though he was able to hang with Lytle, the iron-chinned striker sent Burns to his second consecutive loss.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Winner vs. Pearson (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the TUF 9 lightweight finale, Ross Pearson upset Andre Winner to win the all-UK lightweight final.

The first round was a tentative and somewhat tedious affair, as both fighters pawed at each other before clinching against the cage for most of the round. It seemed that both fighters respected each striking too much, and neither tried to throw until the final minute of the round, where a low blow time-out was followed by a brief flurry from both men, with Winner edging slightly ahead as the round ended.

Ross Pearson bested Andre Winner to capture the TUF 9 lightweight title

Ross Pearson bested Andre Winner to capture the TUF 9 lightweight title

Pearson turned up the aggression in round two, but the match then halted back into the clinch again, with Pearson still trying to push the pace. Winner, however, kept Pearson pinned against the cage until the final minute again, where Pearson was able to separate and throw some good strikes as the round ended.

The fight finally opened up in the third round, where Pearson again was able to break through Winner’s clinch and throw strikes. Winner was able to survive and throw some big hits of his own, but as the round wound down Pearson refused to stop, throwing punches and knees which had Winner on the back foot and taking the UD victory.

Pearson did exactly what he needed to take the fight away from the favorite Winner. He pushed the pace of the striking and shrugged off Winner’s attempts to control the tempo through clinching. Ultimately, Winner’s reluctance to strike with Pearson or go for a takedown led to his downfall, as the all-action Pearson outstruck him at every opportunity.

Styles Make Fights – TUF 9 Finale: Diaz vs. Stevenson (BJJ vs. Submission Wrestling)

In a matchup of former TUF lightweight winners and submission specialists, season two winner Joe Stevenson neutralized the submission threat of season five winner Nate Diaz to take a UD victory at the TUF 9 Finale.

Diaz almost clamped on a guillotine choke without guard right out of the gate, but Stevenson survived and turns the first round into a grappling clinic with Diaz. Stevenson had a tight guillotine of his own in the middle of the round, but Diaz rolled over and survived the choke.

Joe Stevenson avoided a third straight loss by UDing Nate Diaz

Joe Stevenson avoided a third straight loss by UD'ing Nate Diaz

Stevenson shot out of his corner in the second round and started to dominate on the ground, pressing Diaz against the fence and looking to ground-and-pound Diaz. Diaz was left to look for half-opportunities at submissions while Steveson continued to smother Diaz with superior wrestling.

Needing a stoppage of some sort to win the fight, Diaz still could not stop Stevenson’s takedowns in the final round, with Steveson using a rolling fireman’s carry to take Diaz down. Diaz scored a takedown of his own, but Stevenson scrambled quickly and put himself in dominant position again. With a minute left Diaz finally broke free of Stevenson and threw wild punches, but Stevenson latched onto Diaz’s leg and hung on to take the decision victory.

It was the perfect gameplan by Stevenson, who used his strength advantage to bully Diaz around the cage. Diaz, lacking the stand-up game of his older brother Nick, was unable to catch Stevenson in anything dangerous after the first round; like in his previous loss to Clay Guida, Diaz once again found the power advantage of his opponent too much to overcome.

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