FAIRFAX, VA, May 15 – Leading up to their UFC on FUEL TV fight at the Patriot Center, Jeremy Stephens vowed to “break” Donald Cerrone, perceiving that Nate Diaz had done the same last December.
But the “old” Cerrone emerged Tuesday night, the one who had annihilated six straight foes before Diaz. And that was bad news for Stephens, who received probably the worst beating of his seven-year career in losing a shutout 30-27 decision in the lightweight scrap.
Stephens went the distance, but walked away with a sizable welt under a bloody left eye, and a left leg (his lead leg) that is sure to be plenty sore Wednesday morning following the dozens of Cerrone kicks that assaulted it.
At times mocking and toying with Stephens, Cerrone seemed to do whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted, and he walked away relatively unscathed. He punished Stephens (20-8) with body kicks, knees and combinations to the head. And made somehow made it look easy.
“Coming off my last loss, it feels good,” said Cerrone (18-4, 1 NC). “He came and brought it, that’s what I thought he would do.”
As for his next move, Cerrone, a native Coloradan, is eyeing UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar (scheduled for August in Denver.) Said Cerrone: “I really want to get on that Denver card, man.”
JORGE LOPEZ VS. AMIR SADOLLAH
Amir Sadollah eked out a split decision win over Jorge Lopez in a slow-moving fight that left fans clamoring for the main event. The 23-year-old Lopez impressed early, clearly controlling the first round with a takedown, superior aggression and scoring with a bevy of punches and kicks.
Lopez could have rightfully been awarded the second round as well, notching two more takedowns and controlling on top. Yet Sadollah (7-3) may have swayed judges by landing the better blows standing – particularly kicks to the ribs, stomach and shoulder that certainly didn’t produce devastation, but perhaps persuasion.
If you prefer Octagon control, then perhaps a tiring Lopez deserved the third because of a pair of takedowns. There wasn’t much effective striking, but what little there was saw Lopez (11-3) looking reticent and Sadollah looking busier.
Two judges deemed it 29-28 for Sadollah; the other gave the nod to Lopez by 29-28.
YVES JABOUIN VS. JEFF HOUGLAND
Perhaps the best summary of Jeff Hougland’s toughness comes from the mouth of Yves Jabouin.
After punishing Hougland over three-rounds of total, one-sided domination, Jabouin expressed admiration for a fighter who never quit despite absorbing furious assaults that had the referee on high alert for intervention on several occasions.
“Once that back kick sinks in, not a lot of guys can withstand it,” said Jabouin, who dropped Hougland with a vicious spinning kick in the first round. “He took it like a man. My hat’s off to him.”
The Montreal-based bantamweight tormented Hougland early and often with a wide array of potent kicks, and further mashed him with an avalanche of ground and pound. At every turn, Houghland (10-5) fought on, showing no signs of quit despite never getting the desperation takedown he hoped might turn the tide in his favor.
Judges awarded Jabouin the win by scores of 30-27 (twice) and 30-26. Jabouin, 18-7, has now prevailed in three straight.
FABIO MALDONADO VS. IGOR POKRAJAC
Fabio Maldonado loves nothing more than to bury his head in your chest, and dig away to the body. Nobody’s gonna confuse the Brazilian’s power with say, Joe Frazier, but it’s proved highly effective for the ultra-aggressive 205-pounder. While Maldonado generally relies on volume to wear opponents down, Igor Pokrajac specializes in power and knockouts. The collision of the two styles produced a back-and-forth war of attrition that ended with Pokrajac being awarded a unanimous decision by scores of 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27.
The bout was much closer than the scores indicated, as evidenced by a parade of fans who booed the decision.
Pokrajac (25-8) scored a bear hug takedown early and controlled the first half of the round with top position and ground and pound. But the second half of the round belonged to Maldonado (18-5), who roared back on the strength of left hooks that stunned the Croatian. Maldonado followed up with nice flurry of punches against a covered up Pokrajac, and then went strong to body as Pokrajac seemed a tad winded.
But as in the first, Pokrajac owned the early part of the second round, landing crisp 1-2 combinations to Maldonado’s grill. Down the stretch, however, the Brazilian ferociously attacked the body.
Round three saw more toe-to-toe exchanges, with Pokrajac landing some of his best punches of the night, causing bruising and swelling under Maldonado’s right eye. Despite the damage, Maldonado tenaciously stalked and attacked until the final horn.
JASON MACDONALD VS. TOM LAWLOR
Well, that was quick.
A straight jab, a power right hand to the head – and Jason MacDonald was free-falling to the canvas. At 50 seconds, Tom Lawlor was running around the Octagon in celebration of his victory and his 29th birthday.
The verbose Rhode Islander dazzled the local crowd with gems such as “Virginia is for lovers” and “(Fairfax) is definitely one of the top 50 best cities to fight in.”
Lawlor improved to 8-4 (4-3 UFC). MacDonald (26-16) has now lost three of his past four.
Cowboy's Back in The Saddle - UFC on FUEL TV Main Card Results
Read on for UFC on FUEL TV 3 main card results...