Posts tagged: TUF

Gomi continues decline, Nelson proves legitimacy at UFN 21

Once regarded by many as one of the top lightweights in the world, former Pride FC lightweight champion and Japanese MMA legend Takanori Gomi met his match Wednesday night as he squared off with TUF vet Kenny Florian in the main event of UFC Fight Night 21.

Florian vs. Gomi

The event, held at the Bojangles Coliseum, marked the first time that the UFC has visited Charlotte, N.C., since UFC 5 in 1995. The event also marked Gomi’s UFC debut and his first fight in America since 2003.

Gomi and Florian exchanged on the feet for the majority of the main event, and Florian controlled the action. He utilized his four-inch reach advantage throughout the fight, landing stiff jabs from a distance, which took a toll on Gomi. Gomi shot for the takedown on the BJJ black belt in the first round, but was unable to get the fight to the ground or stay close enough to trade blows effectively.

In the last round Florian successfully took the fight to the ground, landed ground-and-pound, and used an arm triangle to pass to full mount. Florian used his BJJ to lock in a rear-naked choke as Gomi turned, forcing the tap at 2:52 into the third round. Florian outstriked Gomi 80-41, according to compustrike.com, and won “Submission of the Night” honors. Florian is expected to face Gray Maynard next in August, when the UFC visits his hometown of Boston, Massa.

In the co-main event, heavyweight Roy Nelson proved that his TUF win was no fluke and that he is ready for the UFC’s toughest competition by running through Stefan Struve in the first round. After a brief power outage the fight commenced, and Nelson didn’t let the reach advantage of the 6-foot-11-inch Struve become a factor in the fight.

Rivera vs. Quarry

Nelson pressed his opponent in the opening exchanges, closed the distance and landed an overhand right, which clipped Struve. He quickly followed up with another overhand right that dropped Struve. Nelson jumped on his opponent, landing ground-and-pound until the fight was stopped at 0:39 into the first round. Nelson outstriked Struve 9-2 in the match and won “Knockout of the Night” honors.

TUF vet and 12-fight UFC vet Jorge Rivera put on an impressive performance in a standup battle with fellow TUF vet and former UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Quarry in the second fight of the night. Rivera dominated the first round, dropping Quarry three times with strong rights, and nearly finished him.

Quarry got rocked with a left at the start of the second round and Rivera followed up with ground-and-pound, putting an end to the fight at 0:29 into the second round. The fight marked Rivera’s third consecutive UFC victory.

The first fight of the night featured an explosive lightweight battle between TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson and 8-fight UFC veteran Dennis Siver. The fighters traded back and forth on the feet for most of the fight. Pearson rocked his opponent several times in the fight and showed good takedown defense.

Pearson vs. Siver

Pearson utilized his superior standup to earn a unanimous decision, with all three judges scoring the contest 30-27. The bout earned “Fight of the Night” honors. All fighters earning bonus honors earned $30,000.

A preliminary bout between Caol Uno and Gleison Tibau was also featured on the broadcast before the co-main event. Tibau overwhelmed Uno with punches in the contest, took his back, and pounded him out. The fight was stopped at 4:13 into the first round.

Overall, the Bojangles Coliseum had an attendance of 7,700 and a total gate of $590,685. The broadcast on Spike TV peaked at two million fans during the main event, according to mmapayout.com. The event was followed by the premier of the eleventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

The next UFC event, UFC 112, will feature a middleweight champion match between Anderson Silva and Demian Maia, and a lightweight championship match between B.J. Penn and Frankie Edgar. The event will mark the UFC’s first trip to Abu Dhabi, UAE. Live pay-per-view coverage of the event will begin at 1 p.m. EST on Saturday, April 10. The event will be re-aired at the UFC’s normal event time of 10 p.m. EST via delay.

UFC Fight Night 21 Full

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Alvan, Preparing Gonzaga for UFC Live

World-class trainer and manager Marco Alvan has helped develop some of the MMA world’s most talented fighters.  Alvan, the head instructor for Team Link BJJ in Ludlow, Massa., is currently training heavyweight Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga (11-4) for his upcoming fight at UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones.

Gonzaga and Alvan

A successful MMA fighter and grappler in his own right, Alvan began training in Judo in 1981 at just eight years old.  At the age of 15, he began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Master Jorge Pina Barbosa.  Barbosa brought Alvan to the original Gracie Barra school in Alvan’s hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Alvan began training under Master Carlos Gracie Jr. at Barra Gracie, where he shared the mat with Renzo, Ryan and Ralph Gracie at the same time as they were developing their BJJ skills.  He ended his training at Gracie Barra, after receiving his blue belt, and joined the Brazilian army at the age of 19.

Master Carlos Augusto, a fourth-degree BJJ black belt under Master Reylson Gracie, soon opened up a gym in the town that Alvan had relocated to.  Alvan began training at the gym and earned his black belt under Augusto. Alvan taught BJJ in the Brazilian army for seven years.

In 2001, Alvan came to America to help Augusto at his affiliate in California, but he soon decided to relocate to Massachusetts, where he had family.  He had trouble finding a job as a BJJ instructor at first due to location and language barriers, but eventually established a large enough student base to found his own academy and fight team, Marco Alvan BJJ.

Alvan at the NY International BJJ Open

The team changed its name to Link BJJ with the addition of Gonzaga in 2006.  Team Link is now host to many notable MMA fighters and grapplers, including Gonzaga, UFC welterweight Ricardo Funch (7-1), former WEC middleweight champion Paulo Filho (19-1), World Fighting League and XCFL light-heavyweight champion Alexandre Moreno (10-2), heavyweight Brian Olsen (9-1) and many other developing fighters.  UFC light-heavyweight Thiago Silva was formerly managed by Alvan and trained at Team Link.

In addition to being a distinguished MMA team, Link BJJ holds many achievements in grappling competition.  Team Link has won the title of North American Grappling Association (NAGA) New England overall team champion for six consecutive years.  Alvan holds many individual accomplishments in grappling as well.

On Feb. 4, 2006, Alvan was named Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor of the year (2005), and inducted into the U.S.A. Martial Arts Hall of Fame.  In 2009, he placed first in the black belt division of the New York International Open Championship hosted by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF).  Alvan also holds a purple belt in Judo.

Alvan was scheduled to meet UFC veteran and TUF season four contestant Jorge Rivera in a 10-minute NAGA no-gi superfight on Feb. 6, but the grappling match was postponed due to Rivera’s upcoming fight with Nate Quarry at UFC Fight Night 21.  Alvan has a background competing in MMA as well, going 3-1 in professional competitions in both Brazil and America before retiring.

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Paulo Filho is expected to meet Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard in a non-title fight at Bellator Fighting Championships 19 on May 20.

Ricardo Funch was scheduled to face Matt Riddle at UFC 111, but was forced out of the fight due to a foot laceration.

Gabriel Gonzaga will meet Junior Dos Santos in the co-main event of UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones Sunday night. The event will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. EST.

Video: Marco Alvan at NY International BJJ Open (2009) and Team Link instructional videos

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

Wolfslair Academy, Growing Roster and Reputation

Quickly established as arguably the top facility and fight team in Europe, Wolfslair MMA Academy is now gaining a strong reputation as one of the leading gyms in the MMA world today.

Michael Bisping training at Wolfslair

Wolfslair Academy is a gym located in Widnes, United Kingdom, which has both produced and recently signed several UFC stars and other elite level fighters.

Co-owners and managers Anthony McGann and Lee Gwynn established the fight team as MMA fans with the goal of creating the top MMA facility in the U.K. They quickly achieved their goal and the facility continues to grow.

The gym gained notoriety primarily due to its signing of U.K. based UFC star Michael Bisping. Bisping’s appearance as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) created recognition for the gym, because several of its staff members were featured as trainers on the show.

With the recent signings of former UFC light-heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and heavyweight Cheick Kongo, the gym added two huge names and talented fighters to its roster. These signings have attracted new fighters to the gym for training purposes, as well as more publicity, and sponsorship and endorsement opportunities.

Rampage and Dave Jackson

The trainers at Wolfslair Academy are not internationally recognized MMA figures like the staff of many top-level gyms in the U.S. However, the team’s trainers are extremely experienced and have many achievements within their fields, making them very effective coaches and gaining them praise from fighters.

Wolfslair’s talented training staff, access to the public, and its appeal to traveling fighters and prospective fighters in Europe are its main strengths. These factors contribute greatly to the gym’s rapid growth and success as a business.

The head coach at Wolfslair is Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo black belt Mario “Sukata” Neto. Neto, the gym”s jiu-jitsu coach, is a one-fight UFC veteran and holds a 10-5 professional MMA record against top-level opponents. Neto has many accomplishments in the world of martial arts, including winning the grand masters in BJJ, winning a Vale Tudo championship in Russia and earning a third-degree black belt in BJJ. He was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Boxing coach Tony Quigley and his son Tony Quigley Jr. are an integral part of the gym”s coaching staff. Rampage was impressed by the instruction of online casino Quigley and his son upon coming to train at Wolfslair, and now spends a substantial amount of his time working with them. Junior Olympic gold medalist Tony Quigley Jr. is a professional boxer with a record of 13-2.

Rampage and Kongo with Tapout members in Wolfslair apparel

Thai boxing coach Dave Jackson is renowned within the muay thai community for his expertise as a coach and his uniquely effective style of muay thai. Jackson has worked extensively with Rampage and Kongo. Kongo was very impressed with Jackson”s style of muay thai and instruction while initially training at Wolfslair, and he has now refined his skills training under him. Jackson was featured as one of Bisping”s coaches on TUF.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt and 3-1 professional MMA fighter Kazeka Muniz is Wolfslair”s wrestling coach. Gwynn is the gym”s strength and conditioning coach in addition to being a co-owner.

The gym currently holds a roster with several UFC veterans, including Michael Bisping, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Cheick Kongo, Paul Kelly, and Mario “Sukata” Neto. Other notable fighters include Alex Cook, Tom Blackledge, Lukasz Les, Henrique Nogueira, Curt Warburton and Abdul Mohamed. Many top-level fighters travel to Wolfslair for training purposes, including Andre Arlovski, Ian Freeman, Dean Lister, Tiki Ghosn and Ricco Rodriguez.

Rampage recently took a leave from the UFC to star in the upcoming film, “The A Team.” A dispute with UFC President Dana White also contributed to his decision. Rampage coached the most recent season of TUF along with Rashad Evans. The two light-heavyweights are scheduled to fight on May 29 at UFC 114 in Las Vegas, Nev.

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Paul Kelly is 1-1 since making the move to the UFC lightweight division. Kelly looks to improve his record when he faces Matt Veach on April 10 at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

After going 9-2 since his UFC debut, Cheick Kongo has lost his last two fights to top heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir. Kongo hopes to avenge his losses and get back in the title picture with a win over Paul Buentello in the upcoming UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones on Mar. 23 in Broomfield, Colorado.

Cheick Kongo Training with Michael Bisping & Teammates @ Wolfslair (2008)

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

Guillotine or Triangle: Who Will be Victorious in UFC 104?

The Ultimate Fighting Championship hosts its 104th event October 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  The main event fight card shows match ups between welterweights Anthony Johnson and Yoshiyuki Yoshida, heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Ben Rothwell, lightweights Gleison Tibau and Josh Neer, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Spencer “The King” Fisher, and light heavyweight championship bout between Lyoto Machida and Mauricio Rua.  Set to air on Pay-Per-View, and just about every solid sports bar in town, UFC 104 will be a match-up worth watching.

Stevenson boasts a 30-10 record and two killer chokes; the Guillotine and Rear Naked Chokes.  He entered the TV reality show The Ultimate Fighter 2 as one of the more experienced welterweight fighters.  Prior to the show, Stevenson held the 155 lb (70 kg). championship at King of the Cage and the 170 lb (77 kg). at Gladiator Challenge.  He won The Ultimate Fighter 2 Welterweight Tournament and went on to drop weight and begin his career as a lightweight fighter.

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He defeated his last opponent, former Ultimate Fighter winner Nate Diaz, by unanimous decision at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale.  Stevenson was the superior wrestler and established control for the majority of the fight.  This fight earned Fight of the Night honors.  Check out the fight below.

Next, Stevenson is set to match up against Fisher, an older but less experienced fighter.

Fisher (23-4) entered the UFC world in Ultimate Fight Night 2 where he won by submission over Thiago Alves in the second round.  He defeated his last opponent, MMA veteran fighter Caol Uno, by unanimous decision in UFC 99: The Comeback.  Fisher boasts an effective triangle choke as well as 11 wins by TKO.

This match-up between two experienced fighters is sounding like a must-see.  While Stevenson has a few good chokes he can throw, he’s also been caught in them before.  Both fighters won their last match by decision.  Both have only been knocked out once in their career.  In this case, Fisher has a stronger recent past, winning his last 3 matches, while Stevenson shows two losses before his last victory.  It may be a grappling match to the end, resulting in a decision dependent upon who gets lucky enough to make their choke first.  Occasionally, there’s a clear winner.  This time, it could be any man in the Octagon.

Styles Make Fights: UFC 101 – Sandollah vs. Hendricks (Muay Thai vs. Wrestling)

In a 32-second shocker, Johny Hendricks ruined the long-awaited debut of TUF 7 winner Amir Sandollah with a controversial TKO victory.

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Sandollah falls short in his brief post-TUF debut

Sandollah falls short in his brief post-TUF debut

Sandollah came out and lit up Hendricks with quick leg kicks, but when Sandollah tried to close the distance, Hendricks counter-hooks Sandollah and drops him with a few uppercuts. Hendricks tries to land bombs without hitting Sandollah in the back of the head, but the referee jumps in and stop the fight as Sandollah tries to stand up.

A closer look at the replay shows that Sandollah was definitely not out, but after getting knocked down, Sandollah tried to stand up without covering his own head or defending himself. This let Hendricks throw undefended punches at Sandollahs head from above, which presumably let to the referee stopping the fight.

It was an anti-climatic finish, but Sandollah’s inexperience forced the ref to make the quick stoppage. He might have been actually fine, but when you don’t defend yourself when someones throwing punches at your head, you’re forcing the ref’s hand. Expect a rematch between these two fighters sooner or later.

TUF 7 Star Jesse Taylor Wins in DREAM Debut

Former TUF bad boy Jesse Taylor, known by most American MMA fans the man who was ejected from the TUF 7 title fight after a drunken incident in Las Vegas, was victorious in his return to the big stage at DREAM 1o, albeit through a freak injury stoppage.

Taylor gets a win at DREAM 10

Taylor gets a "W" at DREAM 10

Paired up against renown judoka and armbar enthusiast Dong Sik Yoon, Taylor exploded out of his corner and immediately took down Yoon, running all over the more experienced Korean on the ground before trying for a rear-naked choke. Amid the scramble, Taylors body weight landed squarely on Yoon’s ankle, an injury severe enough for the referee to stop the middleweight contest.

It was an anti-climatic end to Taylor’s DREAM debut, but he flashed some impressive wrestling during his very brief outing and will most certainly be expected back in DREAM at some point in the future. Since losing his lone UFC fight to CB Dollaway after the fallout from TUF 7, Taylor has won seven straight fights, including tonight’s bout against Yoon.

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: Johnson vs. Wilks (Freestyle vs. Freestyle)

In the welterweight finale for TUF 9, a bad-blood-barnburner turned into a ground clinc as James Wilks ran through Demarques Johnson to capture the welterweight contract and ensure a UK sweep of TUF 9.

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

James Wilks dominated Demarques Johnson and finished the UK sweep

Both men came out swinging early, and Wilks got the best of the early shots with a jab and a knee. Wilks continued to relentlessly pressure Johnson with knees to the body until the fight went to the ground, with Wilks on top. A heelhook attempt by Wilks is foiled by Johnson, who works his way to top position. Wilks, however, kept working on the leg with “leg compression lock” (see Rafael Dos Anjos vs. Tyson Griffin for a visual), but Johnson escaped. Wilks then failed to finish again with a triangle, but continued to throw Johnson around the cage. Wilks tried to finish with a rear nake choke, and after a long struggle, Johnson got one of his arms trapped and tapped with seconds left in the round.

Like Ross Pearson before him, Wilks executed the perfect gameplan, coming out aggressive and getting straight into Johnson’s face. Johnson never found his rhythm and could only react to what Wilks was doing, eventually leading to the submission finish.

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