By Thomas Gerbasi
NEWARK, March 27 –Saturday night at the Prudential Center, Shane Carwin was extended past the two minute, 11 second mark for the first time in his career, but there was no fade, no sudden implosion, only more of the same from the Colorado giant as he earned the interim UFC heavyweight championship with a first round knockout of Frank Mir. Watch post-fight interview
Mir vs. Carwin
“It’s a lifetime of work right here, I’m speechless,” said Carwin, who has ended each of his 12 pro fights by first round knockout or submission. The victory now sets up a bout with current heavyweight boss Brock Lesnar, whose bout with diverticulitis forced the creation of the interim title. Now healthy, Lesnar is looking forward to the showdown with Carwin.
“It’s destiny that we meet,” countered Carwin, who has seen two bouts with Lesnar postponed. It promises to be an explosive matchup, but for right now, the Denver product is going to enjoy this victory, which showcased his explosive power once again.
“This why I like to finish fights,” he said. “I saw him (Mir) start to fade and I just let them go.”
Mir (13-5) made the first move after a brief feeling out process, firing off some strikes until Carwin (12-0) locked him up and looked for a takedown. As the two stood against the fence, Carwin scored with close range punches that reddened Mir’s face, but after a stalemate, referee Dan Miragliotta re-started the action. Mir again pushed forward, only to get pinned against the fence again. This time, Carwin erupted with strikes, quickly knocking Mir to the canvas. As he hit the deck, Mir tried to clear his head, but Carwin wouldn’t allow him to, continuing to pound away until Miragliotta halted the bout at the 3:48 mark.
Pellegrino vs. Camoes
Jersey shore standout Kurt Pellegrino continued his rise up the lightweight ranks as he rebounded from some dicey moments in the first round to submit Brazil’s Fabricio Camoes in the second. Watch post-fight interview
Camoes took the fight to Pellegrino from the opening bell, and in less than a minute he took his foe’s back while the two were standing in order to finish him, and it looked like he was going to as he sunk in a rear naked choke. Miraculously, Pellegrino slammed his way out of trouble and almost finished Camoes off with the same move before the Brazilian cleared his head and got free. Camoes continued to look for submissions from his back as Pellegrino fired off ground strikes from the top, but by the end of the round it appeared that Pellegrino was the fresher of the two.
The bout went back to the mat in round two, and after the two battled back and forth for a bit, Pellegrino started to take control of matters as he controlled the pace and location of the fight, eventually leaping into action with a rear naked choke that forced Camoes to tap out at 4:20 of the second stanza.
With the win, Pellegrino improves to 21-4; Camoes falls to 10-5-1.
Fitch vs. Saunders
When Thiago Alves was forced to withdraw from his welterweight bout against Jon Fitch, his American Top Team teammate Ben Saunders eagerly requested the bout. He may be rethinking that gutsy call after being on the short end of a dominant three round decision win by Fitch. Watch post-fight interview
The unanimous decision read 30-27 across the board for Fitch, who improves to 25-3 with 1 NC; Saunders, who was originally scheduled to face Jake Ellenberger tonight, falls to 8-2-2.
Fitch scored a takedown a minute into the fight, kicking his offensive attack into gear. He proceeded to pin Saunders against the fence and land strikes as the Floridan tried to find some daylight. Fitch wasn’t about to give it to him though, as he controlled the entire first frame on the ground.
There was little change in the gameplan for Fitch in round two, as he slammed Saunders to the mat, put his hard hat on and went back to work. Saunders had little answer for the relentless pressure of Fitch, but after a lull in the action, referee Dan Miragliotta stood the two fighters up. Saunders went right after his opponent in an effort to turn the tide, but Fitch locked him up and kept him pinned to the fence as he landed with knees until the bell sounded.
Fitch kept the pressure on in round three, throwing in more standup strikes as he continued to make Saunders’ life miserable. Even a couple of points scoring kicks were greeted by a Fitch takedown, and the former Purdue University wrestler kept Saunders on the canvas until the final bell tolled.
Miller vs. Bocek
Whippany, New Jersey lightweight Jim Miller was victorious in the main card opener as he eked out a three round unanimous decision win over always tough Mark Bocek. Watch post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Miller, who improves to 17-2; Bocek falls to 8-3.
After Miller scored with some stiff jabs, Bocek shot in for a takedown, eventually getting it after a solid effort by the New Jersey native to keep it standing. The bout didn’t stay on the mat long though, as Miller got up and resumed his striking attack, but Bocek stuck to his gameplan as well as he sought – and got – the takedown. While on the mat, Miller almost got Bocek’s arm locked in a kimura, but the Canadian fought free. Miller kept the pressure on with his ground strikes, finishing the round strong.
Bocek opened up round two with a takedown and tried to lock in two arm triangles. Miller responded by breaking loose and going for Bocek’s leg, and as the round went on, it was clear that this fight was going to turn into a war of attrition. Bocek wanted to end the war though, and with 1:30 left, he got his opponent’s back and fired off strikes in order to catch Miller in a choke. Miller wasn’t having it, and he battled out of trouble just before the bell.
Miller was the aggressor in the final frame, pushing the pace on the feet. Bocek tried to get the fight back to the canvas, but Miller was resistant until he was taken down with under a minute left.