LAS VEGAS, May 28 – Rising bantamweight star Demetrious Johnson scored the biggest win of his pro career in UFC 130 prelim action at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night, outpointing former WEC champion Miguel Angel Torres over three rounds. Watch post-fight interview
The close unanimous decision for Johnson, which was booed by fans in attendance, read 29-28 across the board.
Johnson was a dervish at the bell, landing leg kicks with ease before shooting in and getting Torres to the canvas. Torres pulled off a slick reversal though and tried to sink in an arm triangle. Johnson stayed cool under pressure and fought his way loose, Torres kept the heat on though, as he fired off ground strikes and attempted to improve his position. Johnson then pulled off a reversal of his own, with Torres responding by trying to lock up his foe’s leg. A burst of action finished the round as the two 135-pounders battled for position.
The fast pace didn’t let up in round two, with Torres doing nice work on the mat and while standing. Johnson didn’t stop moving in a quest to make something happen, but he was forced to deal with a number of Torres submission attempts in the process.
The bout turned into a war of nerves on the mat in round three, with Johnson’s top game keeping him in control, but Torres’ defense and bottom game keeping “Mighty Mouse” from truly taking over. With two minutes left, Torres made his move as he reversed position, and 90 seconds later he almost sunk in a guillotine choke, but Johnson fought loose and reeled off a series of strikes before another last-second guillotine attempt by Torres came up empty.
With the win, Johnson improves to 14-1; Torres falls to 38-4.
BOETSCH VS. GROVE
Tim Boetsch made a successful jump to the middleweight division, just having too much muscle and wrestling for Kendall Grove, who was outpointed unanimously by “The Barbarian” over three rounds. Watch post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Boetsch, who improves to 13-4; Grove falls to 14-9 with 1 NC.
Boetsch was able to get Grove to the mat within the first minute of the bout, and he proceeded to land some ground strikes before the two scrambled back to their feet. The Maine native muscled his foe to the mat as soon as he got close though, with Grove staying active from his back and earning his liberation from the canvas once again. Proceeding to lock up against the fence, the middleweights scrapped at close range on even terms until the end of the frame.
Still looking to overpower his foe, Boetsch got a roar from the crowd early in round two with a thudding slam of Grove. The Hawaiian, as is his tradition, kept battling back to his feet, but Boetsch refused to let him stay there for long as his takedowns were consistently on target.
The Boetsch gameplan continued working to perfection in the final round, as Grove had no answers for the former Division I wrestler’s attack. Even a flush shot to the face on a shoot by Boetsch didn’t change Grove’s fortunes, as he was sent tumbling again seconds later.
TIBAU VS. OLIVEIRA
Lightweight strongman Gleison Tibau made it two in a row, following up his win over Kurt Pellegrino in March with a second round submission victory over returning Rafaello Oliveira, who was a late replacement for the injured Bart Palaszewski. Tibau was a late sub as well for Palaszewski’s original foe Cody McKenzie. Watch post-fight interview
After some non-conclusive standup to begin the bout, Tibau scored a takedown of Oliveira, but “Tractor” rose quickly and the two resumed their standup match, each having their moments as the round progressed. With 90 seconds left, Tibau landed a hard shot and immediately followed up with a takedown. Oliveira scrambled to his feet, and was able to land a couple solid punches before the bell.
After some good back and forth action to begin round two, Tibau overpowered Oliveira midway through the round with an uppercut and sent him to the canvas. From there, he worked his way into the mount position, and when Oliveira turned, Tibau ended his night with a rear naked choke that forced a tap out at 3:28 of the stanza. The finish earned Tibau a $70,000 Submission of the Night bonus.
With the win, Tibau improves to 33-7; Oliveira falls to 14-4.
MCDONALD VS. CARIASO
Bantamweight phenom Michael McDonald kept his UFC hot streak going, impressively scoring a three round split decision over fellow Californian Chris Cariaso. Watch post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28 twice and 27-30 for McDonald, who improves to 13-1; San Francisco’s Cariaso falls to 11-3.
Cooler than any 20 year old has the right to be in the Octagon, McDonald almost effortlessly pecked away at Cariaso, jarring him on a couple occasions while also doing solid work on the mat when the bout went there. Cariaso did make a late submission attempt as he reached for his foe’s leg, but for the most part, it was a McDonald round.
Opting not to fix what wasn’t broken, McDonald continued to dominate his game foe while standing in round two, with Cariaso unable to make up for the height and reach advantage enjoyed by the Modesto product. And just for emphasis, McDonald closed another impressive round with a takedown before the bell.
Cariaso was able to get top position on the mat early in the final round, but McDonald wasn’t flustered. Instead, he worked for a submission off his back until the two stood. Cariaso did turn the tables when they went back to the mat, but McDonald patiently pulled loose and returned to a standing position, where the two remained for the rest of the bout.
BARAO VS. ESCOVEDO
Brazil’s Renan Barao won a battle of debuting bantamweights over Cole Escovedo, earning a three round unanimous decision. Watch post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Barao, a WEC vet. Escovedo also spent time in the WEC, where he was the organization’s first featherweight champion.
“I’m very happy with this performance,” Barao said. “It’s been a dream come true to be here in the UFC and tonight, I accomplished a huge goal of fighting in the Octagon.”
After a quick slam by Barao to open up the fight, the first round settled into a more measured pace, with Barao working well from the top while Escovedo stayed active on the bottom and landed some good shots when the two stood.
Barao appeared to take a hard shot that put him to a knee early in round two, but he quickly responded with a takedown. Following a quick stay on the mat, there was some crisp standup by both men before another Barao takedown. A stalemate resulted in referee Steve Mazzagatti’s second restart of the bout, but like clockwork, the fight strayed back to the canvas for the rest of the round.
The Brazilian varied his attack in round three, landing a flying knee, spinning back fist and back kick, as well as a front kick to the head. Escovedo was unbothered by the shots and he kept firing back, but the points were piling up for Barao, who finally seemed to hurt his foe in the final two minutes with a punch to the head followed by another takedown. Escovedo cleared his head and landed some decent shots in return when he stood, but a final slam by Barao put an exclamation point on the win.
With the win, Barao improves to 28-1, 1 NC. Escovedo falls to 17-7.
UFC 130 Prelim Results - Mighty Mouse upsets Torres
Click below for UFC 130 prelim results....