SYDNEY, February 27 - UFC 127 kicked off in style at Acer Arena with fantastic fights and spectacular wins by local favorites Mark Hunt and Anthony Perosh, with Ross Pearson, Curt Warburton, Tiequan Zhang and Nick Ring also getting the nod in their respective fights.
PEARSON VS. FISHER
TUF 9 winner Ross Pearson and longtime contender Spencer Fisher fought three exciting rounds before the Brit won a unanimous decision via 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28 scores. See post-fight interview
The first round was mainly contested on the feet, with crisp punches and kicks from both fighters. Fisher did get a takedown into the closed guard but Pearson attempted an armbar from the bottom which Fisher pulled out of.
In the second frame, both fighters kept scoring on their feet, Fisher with counter rights and lefts and a low-high combination, Pearson with single shots that found their mark.
Pearson found his grappling timing in the third round, getting two takedowns, including one right before the end of the fight. Fisher had good success striking, changing levels a lot and at one point hitting Pearson with a left that snapped his head back on impact, but it was not enough to pull off the victory.
Pearson improves to 14-4 with the win, while Fisher drops to 25-7.
GUSTAFSSON VS. TE HUNA
Swedish fighter Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson put an end to Australia's hopes of a clean sweep at UFC 127 as he submitted local hero James Te Huna with a rear-naked choke in the first round. See post-fight interview
The fight was all action from the get-go as the Aussie got a body lock takedown and landed in side control quickly. He scored with punches and elbows to the head before Gustafsson managed to bring the action back to their feet. The Swede scored with an impressive slam of his own and tried to follow up with a kimura but Te Huna used it to get back to his feet. A further takedown attempt by the Australian got him into trouble as he gave up his back, was flattened out and put in a rear-naked choke. While Te Huna managed to roll out of it the first time, Gustafsson ended up in full mount, did some more damage from the top, got another back mount and choked out Te Huna with the rear naked choke at the 4:27 mark.
With the win, Gustafsson improves to 11-1 while Te Huna drops to 14-5.
RING VS. FUKUDA
Former Ultimate Fighter contestant Nick Ring won an unpopular three round unanimous decision over Japanese fighter Riki Fukuda, winning 29-28 on all three scorecards. See post-fight interview
The fighters traded leg kicks at the beginning of round one. Fukuda kept going for takedowns, but even on the two instances he got them, he couldn't do anything on the ground, with Ring attempting a triangle choke. Back on their feet, Ring kept landing leg kicks before Fukuda took him back down with ten seconds remaining.
The second frame saw Ring (11-1) landing his leg kicks even more regularly. In response, Fukuda (17-5) tagged Ring with a left hook, attempted a takedown which got stuffed, and was hit with a few shots on the exit. The Japanese veteran did manage to get a second takedown later in the round, however it didn't lead to anything. Ring got back up, yet found himself in the plum clinch, getting hit with knees, and Fukuda ended the round counterpunching and landing combinations.
In the final frame, Fukuda kept scoring at close range and took Ring down repeatedly. On the final takedown, Ring worked for a kimura, but time expired.
PEROSH VS. BLACKLEDGE
Anthony Perosh kept the good news coming for the Aussies when he submitted English prospect Tom Blackledge with a rear-naked choke in light heavyweight action. See post-fight interview
Perosh tried a takedown right at the start which Blackledge had no trouble sprawling out of. A short time later, Perosh got a takedown against the cage and he tried to ground-and-pound his way to victory but got caught in an armbar from the bottom briefly. Perosh slipped out, got full mount and when Blackledge gave up his back, he got flattened out and was submitted by
a rear naked choke at the 2:45 minute mark of round one.
The win brings Perosh's record up to 11-6, while Blackledge falls to 10-7.
ZHANG VS. REINHARDT
Chinese star Tiequan "The Wolf" Zhang made short work of Jason Reinhardt, submitting him with a guillotine choke after only 48 seconds. See post-fight interview
Reinhardt went after Zhang right away, attacking with punches but getting tagged himself. Shortly after the first exchange, Reinhardt ducked down and Zhang exploited this opportunity by grabbing Reinhardt's neck in a guillotine choke, leaving the American with no other choice but to tap.
With the win, Zhang's record increases to 18-1 while Reinhardt's falls to 20-2.
HUNT VS TUCHSCHERER
In a battle of true heavyweights, hometown hero Mark Hunt finally won his first fight in the Octagon by knocking out Chris Tuchscherer. See post-fight interview
The former K-1 kickboxer lit up Tuchscherer in the first round, managing to prevent several takedown attempts by the wrestler. Hunt cut Tuchscherer with his shots, but the ringside physician decided to let the fight go on. Tuchscherer eventually scored a takedown, yet unsuccessfully worked for a kimura on Hunt's left arm until the end of the round.
The second round began with two thwarted takedown attempts and ended at the 1:41 mark with a right uppercut by Hunt that knocked Tuchscherer out.
With the win, Hunt improves his MMA record to 6-7 while Tuchscherer's drops to 18-4 with one no contest.
JEWTUSZKO VS. WARBURTON
In lightweight action, England's own Curt Warburton bested Poland's Maciej Jewtuszko by unanimous decision, with all three judges giving the Brit the nod, 29-28. See post-fight interview
After a tactical start to the first round, Jewtuszko slipped, and Warburton used the opportunity to take his opponent down and land in his guard. While Jewtuszko maintained good hand control for the most part, Warburton hit him with a lot of elbows from the guard and even managed to move to side control and challenge with an arm triangle.
In the second frame, Warburton challenged Jewtuszko standing before clinching against the Octagon and taking down his opponent with a leg trip into half guard. Jewtuszko managed to get a leg lock from underneath, but Warburton managed to roll out of it. After a further takedown into half guard, Warburton scores with elbows from the guard position. Jewtuszko retained good hand control and even landed an elbow from underneath.
The final round went just as the second one after a brief flurry on the contestants' feet. Warburton managed to get the fight back down to the ground and landed in side control. Jewtuszko gave up his back before rolling back into full guard, where he stayed until the end of the fight.
Warburton's record moves to 7-2, while Jewtuszko's record drops to 8-1.
UFC 127 Prelims: Pearson Outlasts Fisher; Hunt, Perosh Win
Click below for UFC 127 prelim results...