DENVER, August 11 - While the UFC 150 main event between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar raised more questions than it answered, there was closure in Saturday’s co-main event between Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard at Pepsi Center.
The most deafening, hair-raising ovation of the night was when Cerrone stood in the center of the Octagon and yelled, “What’s up Denver?”
As it so happens, it was a victory speech to the packed house at Pepsi Center, which had just witnessed 76 seconds of fireworks between close friends. 76 seconds that started with Guillard – probably the most explosive puncher in the entire 155-pound division, a fighter who boasted he could knock out heavyweight fighters and is probably right – dropped former teammate Cerrone with a sizzling left hook. A notoriously slow starter, Cerrone ate a few more punches and an elbow but managed to clear the cobwebs, just as he had valiantly recovered in earlier fights.
One of the most durable fighters in the game, Cerrone turned the tables with a beautiful left high kick to Guillard’s head that rocked the native Louisianan’s equilibrium. As Guillard (47-12-3, 1 NC) stumbled to stay afoot, Cerrone capitalized with a crisp right hand that put Guillard on the deck, curling up and making it clear that the fight was over.
Cerrone has now won 9 of his past 10 fights.
JAKE SHIELDS VS. ED HERMAN
There is seldom any mystery in Jake Shields’ blueprint for victory: Take ‘em down, grind ‘em out or submit ‘em. In this sense, Shields, a takedown machine and world-class grappler, is one of the most prolific fighters in the sport. Sure, his suffocating style is not always fun to watch, but there is no denying how difficult Shields can be to stop.
Ask Ed Herman, who showed impressive submission defense in their contest but could not stop Shields’ vintage takedowns and dominating top control. Each round played out like a re-run of the previous one. Herman (20-8) was able to land some shots standing, but his own wrestling background and fondness for the clinch meant he spent a lot of time clinching with Shields – not something a lot of fighters would dare to do.
Judges scored it 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28 for Shields, who improved to 28-6-1 and won in his return to the 185-pound category. When Bruce Buffer announced the judges’ verdict, fans at Pepsi Center heavily booed Shields – either because he beat their “guy” (Herman lives and trains in Fort Collins, Colo.) or because the fight was devoid of suspense and intrigue.
Shields said afterward that the high “altitude definitely slowed me down a little bit … I underestimated it.”
Hear from Shields following his victory
YUSHIN OKAMI VS. BUDDY ROBERTS
Former No. 1 middleweight contender Yushin Okami snapped a two-fight losing streak, pounding newcomer Buddy Roberts with punches on the ground until referee Herb Dean halted the action at 3:05 of round two.
While the standup action between the two men was topsy-turvy, Okami stole the momentum after scoring a takedown midway in round one – mounting the Texan, flattening him on his stomach and scoring with some heavy, unanswered ground and pound shots that had referee Herb Dean watching closely to see if a stoppage was merited. The horn signaling the round’s end likely saved Roberts, who probably wasn’t getting up. The bad news for Roberts (12-3) is that Okami (28-7) again took him down and flattened him in round two, with time aplenty on the clock. This time Herb Dean had seen enough unanswered punches and called the fight at 3:05 of the stanza.
MAX HOLLOWAY VS. JUSTIN LAWRENCE
Their combined age – 42 years old –has to be among the youngest ever for two fighters squaring off inside the Octagon. And it was 20-year-old Max Holloway, the youngest fighter currently on the UFC roster, who dramatically turned the tide of the contest by ravaging the unbeaten prospect with vicious body shots late in round two for a stunning TKO stoppage.
It was the first-ever professional defeat for Lawrence (4-1), the TUF 15 alum who appeared to be significantly outlanding Holloway in their standup battle. A heavily decorated amateur kickboxer and two-time St. Louis Golden Gloves winner, Lawrence continually landed hard 1-2 combinations. Yet Holloway never seemed fazed by the shots and kept charging forward, gradually landing more and more shots of his own and bloodying Lawrence’s face. If you were judging only by body language and aggression, by whose demeanor and actions seemed to scream out “I want it more,” it was definitely Holloway who fought like the man who was in control of the contest – despite being outstruck.
Lawrence tried his patented double legs but was rebuffed. He landed crisp 1-2s on Holloway’s head but was not prepared for a hard knee to the body late in the second stanza. As Holloway (6-1) backed up on the cage, Holloway unleashed a blistering 1-2 to the body that sucked the life out of Lawrence and sent him to the canvas, eventually forcing him to cover up under a hail of punches until the ref called it at 4:49 of round two.
Watch post-fight interviews with Okami and Holloway
Cowboy Finishes Wild First Round with KO - UFC 150 Main Card Results
By Frank Curreri August 11, 2012