Seven fights on the UFC on FOX undercard showcased all manner of MMA, as fans inside Chicago's United Center saw submissions, close decisions, three-round blowouts and even the illustrious hellbow KO.
TJ Grant vs. Matt Wiman
TJ Grant, a BJJ brown belt from Canada, made a big impression with his Muay Thai in the night’s featured prelim, a lightweight matchup against the equally dynamic Matt Wiman that ended inside the first round.
Wiman seemed to control the first couple of minutes, coming forward with kicks, overhand rights, Superman punches and a particularly big right hand. But when Grant would initiate a clinch, he showed his danger with knees and hard lefts. One such exchange wobbed Wiman, and as he staggered backward, Grant came forward. Wiman dove for a single leg and wound up in turtle. Grant made some submission attempts; Wiman responded in kind.
After a short scramble, Grant backed off and the let the referee stand Wiman up with less than a minute left in the round. There, Grant charged Wiman onto the fence and unleashed a series of knees from the clinch, then threw two short elbows, the second of which dropped Wiman and ended the fight at 4:51.
Now undefeated at lightweight, Grant’s record rises to 20-5; Wiman’s two-fight streak is halted an his record moves to 15-7. "I feel at home here at lightweight, I’m not giving up 20 pounds on fight night like I did [at welterweight]," said Grant. "I feel I have the speed and the power to go against anyone at 155 pounds. I am ready for anyone and everyone in the division."
Clay Guida vs. Hatsu Hioki
Chicago fans finally got a win inside their United Center as fan favorite and Round Lake, Ill. local Clay Guida earned a split decision victory over jiu-jitsu black belt Hatsu Hioki in Guida’s first foray into featherweight.
Guida started out with his usual frenetic stick-and-move dance to the chants of “Gui-da! Gui-da!” from the crowd, but Hioki was neither fazed nor baited. Hioki patiently meted out body shots, body kicks and jabs until Guida scored a big takedown with two minutes left. Hioki quickly threw up a triangle attempt, but Guida powered his way out. Hoiki tried for an armbar from behind as the two worked back to their feet, but was unsuccessful and the round ended back on the feet.
Guida stayed in motion in the second, eating an uppercut from Hioki before carrying him to the center of the mat for a dramatic, crowd-pleasing slam. With Guida in his guard, Hioki worked deftly for a series of armbars but again Guida powered out. Hioki kept a close guard and save for a few shots that Guida got through, the lack of action on the ground triggered a referee standup with thirty seconds left. Hioki tried to earn back points with a high kick.
Guida came forward more on the feet in the third, but only as a precursor to another takedown. Hioki made another triangle-armbar attempt, but Guida slammed out. Hioki then tried to tie up Guida’s arms as Guida worked to half-guard. Hioki dragged himself to the cage and struggled at length to stand before the referee again did the work for them with thirty seconds left. Guida tried for a round-sealing takedown, but was turned away by Hioki.
Scores for Guida were 30-27, 29-28 and 28-29, as he takes home his 30th career win and first at featherweight (to 10 losses). The decision knocks Hioki to 26-6-2, who was a good sport in defeat. “With takedowns being so important, he won a contest, fairly, but I won a fight,” he said. “I am not unhappy with the decision, it was split because it was so close.”
Guida agreed with Hioki’s assessment of the deciding factor: “I think the takedowns won it for me. He was like a rubber band, he was so hard to keep in one space so I could get anything going. He got me with some nice body shots.”
Watch Guida's post-fight interview
Mike Stumpf vs. Pascal Krauss
German-born, Duke-Roufus-trained Pascal Krauss put on a kickboxing clinic against local boy Mike Stumpf, shutting out his opponent with three 30-27 scores.
Although the 170-pounders are nearly identical in height and weight, the difference in striking styles was obvious right away, with Stumpf throwing short hooks and Krauss leading with long jabs. After a feeling-out period, one of Krauss’ kicks got him taken down, but he was able to return to the feet. Both men threw vicious low leg kicks, but Krauss mixed his up with front kicks to the body and prefaced them with uppercuts. Stumpf did damage with elbows during a tie-up on the cage, but otherwise seemed unable to find his range on the feet.
The “Panzer” showed his full arsenal in the second, with body kicks, superman uppercuts and unpredictable combinations finished with resounding low kicks. Stumpf was game, but his one-inch reach disadvantage seemed much greater due to his tight stance. Stumpf got Krauss to the ground against the fence, but Panzer neutralized until he could get back on his feet, where he did work with short elbows until they broke. Back on feet the two traded, then Stumpf charged for a takedown that got him promptly tied up on the fence again.
The third was more of the same, with Krauss backing up Stumpf with a wide range of strikes, then backing off before Stumpf could tie him up, as Stumpf’s best shots seemed to come from inside the telephone booth range. As the minutes ticked on, Stumpf dove more desperately for takedowns, but only wound up with Krauss in his guard working for elbows.
Krauss’s return to the W column is the 11th of his career with only one loss. : “I’ve been in the UFC since 2010 and I’ve had three fights, but I want three more this year,” said Krauss. “All I really wish for is to keep healthy and keep active.” Crystal Lake, Ill.’s Stumpf, who returned from a 16-month layoff, slides to 11-4.
Ryan Bader vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
It was a short night in the first light heavyweight bout of the night as Ryan Bader needed only 50 seconds to tap out Vladimir Matyushenko.
Bader dropped Matyushenko early, clipping him with a left then rushing in capitalize. He secured a D’Arce hold from the front, and when squeezing didn’t finish “The Janitor,” he dropped and hooked his legs, earning the win and the record for fastest submission in the 205-pound division.
Bader’s first UFC submission win is his 8th Octagon victory and his 16th overall (his three losses are all to current or former UFC champions). The 42-year-old Matyushenko falls to 26-7 in his first fight since UFC 141 in December of 2011.
“I work so hard on my BJJ in the gym, I’m happy to show it off in the Octagon,” said Bader. “I’ve worked my way to being very close to a title shot before, then I got KOd by Lyoto [Machida]. Everyone gets beat in the UFC -- not everyone bounces back. I was determined to bounce back.”
Watch Bader's post-fight interview
Mike Russow vs. Shawn Jordan
Chicago police officer Mike Russow was denied a hometown victory as fellow heavyweight Shawn Jordan waited him out and then finished things in the second round.
Russow’s height and size helped him own the opening round, as he tied Jordan up on the fence and teed off early, rocking Jordan. “Savage” Shawn was moving backward for most of the round, shaking off Russow’s punches only to be again tagged by uppercuts and straights. Russow chased him and tied things up, using his heavyweight mass to pressure the shorter fighter as he tried to get Jordan to the mat .
The cardio difference was evident five minutes in, as Russow put his hands on his knees to catch his breath at the end of the first; Jordan, a former LSU football player, used that to his advantage. After a brief break due to an eye poke to Russow, Jordan bobbed and weaved, using footwork to keep things in the center of the cage. He picked his shots and damaged with combinations, then pushed things to the cage and got a takedown of his own. From mount, he threw elbows and strikes before Russow gave up his back. Russow reversed and got back to his feet mid-way through the round, but soon things moved back to the mat where Jordan threw merciless fists from mount and back mount until Herb Dean waved things off 3:48 in.
The win, which Jordan celebrated with his signature back flip, improves his record to 14-4. “That first round wasn’t fun at all,” said Jordan. “He hurt me a couple of times but I saw after each big attack his arms would go down, which made me think he was getting tired. In the second, I felt myself getting stronger.”
Russow drops his second in a row and departs 15-3. ““I thought I had it. I’m disappointed but it’s MMA. You have to finish when you get your guy hurt.”
Watch Jordan's post-fight interview
Rafael Natal vs. Sean Spencer
In a middleweight battle between “Black Magik” and a BJJ black belt, the gentle art that reigned supreme as UFC veteran Rafael Natal tapped out Octagon newcomer Sean Spencer in the third round.
The fight opened with an accidental eye poke from Natal, but once the doctor cleared things to continue, one-time Golden Gloves champ Spencer did most of the work, following Natal with range-finding fists and dropping him once with a left. Natal tried to keep his distance, missing with a spinning back fist that Spencer met with a counter. In the last thirty seconds, though, Natal landed his spinning back fist, which stunned Spencer enough to allow Natal to swam for a takedown. He hopped into mount and finished the round working for a guillotine.
Natal came out more aggressively in the second, landing punches and scoring with kicks to Spencer’s leg and body. Two takedowns later, Natal was in Spencer’s full guard with two minutes left. “Black Magik” worked hard to control his opponent, but Natal gradually wore him down. Natal then took Spencer’s back with 40 seconds to go and nearly got the tap from a rear-naked attempt, but Spencer gutted it out and was saved by the bell. “I didn’t want to [exhaust] my arms by trying to get a choke so close to the end of the round," said Natal post-fight. "If I had 10 seconds more I would have really gone for the finish. Instead, I used it to tire him out and in the last round I knew I would get him.”
Spencer avoided Natal’s first takedown of the third round but the second was successful. Natal quickly pinned Spencer into crucifix position and punished him with elbows. As Spencer squirmed, he was subject to a nasty Americana and somehow survived that as well. But Natal wound up in mount and the arm-triangle choke was simply too much, causing Spencer to finally submit at 2:13.
The submission is Natal’s first tapout win in the UFC, bringing his UFC record to 3-2-1 and 14-4-1 overall. The loss sends Spencer, who took the bout on less than two weeks’ notice, to a record of 9-2.
Watch Natal's post-fight interview
Simeon Thoresen vs David Mitchell
David Mitchell (now 12-2) snapped his two-fight losing streak and earned his first UFC victory with a three-round win at welterweight over Norway’s Simeon “The Grin” Thoresen to open the UFC on FOX card in Chicago.
Round one reeked of “sudden ending” with both men standing and striking the entire time. Mitchell started out moving forward, and did better throughout the round, beginning with long jabs and then working in body shots and long-range uppercuts. Thoresen had more trouble finding his range, but was the only one to send his opponent to the mat, knocking “Daudi’s” leg out from underneath him. Thoresen picked up the pace after that and landed a few crisp shots of his own, particularly his left hook, and one close-quarters exchange between the two sent a loud crack throughout the United Center. Though both men were bloodied at the end of the round, Mitchell appeared to have done more damage.
The second round was a ground affair, with Mitchell clearly dominating. An early assault from Mitchell sent things to the ground, and from there he stayed busy with a nasty assortment of ground-and-pound, upkicks and submission attempts, including one convincing stint in gogoplata. Thoresen, who has finished 15 career opponents by submission, was unable to secure a finish and instead was subject to Mitchell’s brand of fist-infused grappling.
After a lengthy break between rounds so doctors could check on Thoresen’s swollen eye, the third stanza moved more slowly, starting with two tie-ups on the cage before another scramble on the ground. A left hook and another leg kick from Thoresen dropped Mitchell again, but he still had enough energy to to bounce up and shoot for a takedown. Thoresen sprawled but again returned to the world of Mitchell’s ground game. Mitchell was dominant throughout the final scramble, punching his wounded opponent throughout another series of submission attempts.
Judges gave the bout to Mitchell 30-27 three times over. "This is the greatest night of my life," said Mitchell. "I’ve been chasing this UFC win a long time. When Bruce Buffer said my name, all this emotion hit me -- I kissed the canvas!" The loss is Thoresen’s second in a row, dropping his record to 17-4-1.
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