INDIANAPOLIS, September 25 - Heavyweights Matt Mitrione and Joey Beltran delivered on their promise for a standup war in UFC 119 prelim action at Conseco Fieldhouse Saturday night, and after three hard-fought and entertaining rounds, it was Mitrione who kept his unbeaten record intact via a close, but unanimous decision. Both men took home $70,000 bonuses for what was named one of two fights of the night.
Mitrione vs. Beltran
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Mitrione.
There was little surprise when it came to the intentions of both fighters in the early going, as they both swung for the fences looking to end things with their fists, or in Mitrione’s case, a kick to the head. But it was Beltran who stunned the pro-Mitrione crowd by briefly staggering the Ultimate Fighter alum and then slamming him to the canvas. While on the mat, Mitrione tried to lock on a triangle choke, but Beltran’s defense and ground and pound was solid as he finished the round strong.
Round two began just like the first did, with hard shots being trade by both men. Mitrione, still loose, looked to hold the edge, and he soon had Beltran backing up for a spell as he pursued. It wasn’t for long though, as Beltran fired back, but what was crystal clear was that the bigger Mitrione had more on his fastball than his smaller opponent, and he knew it. After a brief pause for Beltran to get his glove re-taped, the two went back to war, with Beltran having his say thanks to some hard flurries down the middle. It was the hometown favorite that drew the loudest cheers though, as he chased Beltran down in the final stages of the round.
The third was pretty much all Mitrione though, as his busier and more damaging standup attack ruled the final five minutes. That’s not to say the bloodied Beltran went away, as ‘The Mexecutioner’ kept throwing until the final bell sounded. But on this night, it was Mitrione’s show, and the judges’ scorecards reflected it.
With the win, Mitrione improves to 3-0; Beltran falls to 12-4.
Dollaway vs. Doerksen
Middleweight prospect CB Dollaway pulled off one of his most impressive UFC wins, as he submitted Joe Doerksen in the first round to earn the win and a $70K Submission of the Night bonus.
A scramble in the opening minute put Dollaway in the lead as he sunk in a guillotine choke, but Doerksen showed his veteran savvy as he fought off the hold. It wasn’t going to be for long though, as Doerksen tried to roll out of danger and escape, which only gave “The Doberman” the opportunity to tighten his grip, and at the 2:13 mark, Doerksen was forced to tap out, giving the patient Dollaway another victory.
With the win, Dollaway upped his record to 12-3; Doerksen falls to 46-13.
Tavares vs. Audinwood
Thiago Tavares was in top-notch form in his first Octagon bout since January, submitting previously unbeaten newcomer Pat Audinwood in the first round.
Starting off his offensive attack in earnest with a slam to the mat with nearly two minutes gone, Tavares then took over, working on his ground strikes until he was able to catch Audinwood in a guillotine choke that forced a tap out at the 3:47 mark of the opening stanza.
The win ups Tavares’ record to 19-3-1; New York’s Audinwood falls to 9-1 with 1 NC.
“I’ve come a long way since my loss to Matt Wiman,” said Tavares. “I feel like I’m a much better fighter now. I went out there and had a great night.”
Lopez vs. Lowe
Indiana native Steve Lopez was unsuccessful in his second bid for a UFC victory, losing a three round split decision to Waylon Lowe in lightweight action.
Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Lowe, who improves to 9-3; Lopez falls to 12-3.
“I’m so happy to get my first UFC win,” said Lowe. “This has been a dream of mine. I wanted to come out and I wanted to impress Joe [Silva] and Dana [White] so badly. I’m very happy with my performance. I was able to get in some good positions and do some damage.”
After more than four minutes of mostly uneventful standup action from Lowe and Lopez, Lowe may have clinched the opening round with a late takedown of his opponent.
Lopez started to tag the shorter Lowe more frequently with his strikes in the second frame, drawing an appreciative response from the crowd. With under two minutes left, Lowe got Lopez back to the mat, and while the local favorite fired off ferocious strikes from the bottom, eventually Lowe’s persistence put him in control by the time the bell sounded.
As round three opened, it was Lowe finally finding the range with some of his haymakers, but after eating some return shots from Lopez, he opted for another takedown. Eventually, his strikes opened up a cut on Lopez’ forehead, and with less than a minute left, referee Herb Dean brought in the Octagonside physician to check Lopez out. After getting the green light to continue, Lopez tried to make something happen to turn the tide, but it was Lowe who ended the fight with another takedown.
Grant vs. Paulino
Canadian prospect TJ Grant shut out Julio Paulino in welterweight action, earning a three round unanimous decision victory.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Grant, who improves to 16-4; Paulino falls to 18-4.
Paulino expended a lot of energy in the early going, switching between southpaw and orthodox stances as he pecked at Grant with his strikes. Grant took his time getting close to his foe, and when he did, he made the most of it as he took Paulino to the mat and went to work. Paulino did his best to make it difficult for Grant as he grabbed a leg and tucked his chin in, but again, Grant remained patient as he looked for an opening. With under two minutes left, Grant took Paulino’s back and tried to lock his arm up as he turned. Paulino was able to fight loose and get into his opponent’s guard briefly before the Canadian took his back a second time. This time, the two got loose rather quickly and traded blows until the bell.
Grant got the fight to the mat quickly in round two, surviving a guillotine choke attempt from Paulino to do so. And after a brief standoff, the two stood, only to have Grant take the Alaskan back to the canvas. Two more armbar attempts went for naught, but Grant kept the pressure on, putting another round in the bank.
Determined to get the submission, Grant kept pressing in the third, but it was not to be, and he had to settle for the shutout victory.
“I rushed a couple of submissions,” said Grant. “I felt like my jiu-jitsu was a lot better but he was good at escaping submissions. I went for a few bread-and-butter ones but he did not get caught.”
Hunt vs. McCorkle
With a raucous crowd in his corner, Indianapolis’ own Sean McCorkle delivered in his UFC debut, submitting former K-1 and PRIDE star Mark Hunt in just 63 seconds.
“I am glad that’s over,” said McCorkle. “He’s a legend and he hits real hard.”
Getting the bout to the mat after eating a shot that immediately marked up his face, McCorkle went to the work from the bottom and seamlessly locked up Hunt’s arm, forcing him to tap out to a kimura / armbar at 1:03 of the first round.
“I felt relaxed in guard and to tell you the truth, I was trying to sweep him with the kimura (arm-lock),” said McCorkle. “But once I got it to that point, I felt he was in pain and I knew I was going to get the tap. I’ve caught black belts with that move.”
With the win, McCorkle ups his record to 10-0; Hunt, who was also making his first Octagon start, falls to 5-7.