The Ultimate Fighter
MORE: Frankie Edgar Backstage Interview | Edson Barboza Backstage Interview and Octagon Interview | Joseph Benavidez and Chico Camus Backstage Interviews | Johny Hendricks Backstage Interview | Paige VanZant Backstage Interview | Alexey Oliynyk and Matt Wiman Backstage Interviews | Post Fight Press Conference Highlights
Former UFC lightweight champion Frankie "The Answer" Edgar put a momentary halt to Cub Swanson’s plans for a featherweight title shot Saturday night at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas, dominating Swanson for nearly five rounds before finishing the bout via submission with four seconds left in the bout.
The loss snapped Swanson’s six-fight winning streak. A win in Saturday’s bout was expected to set up a rematch for him against 145-pound champion Jose Aldo, but now it’s Edgar who made his case for a second fight against the Brazilian star, sending a message to UFC President Dana White during his post-fight interview.
“Dana, you said you’d be watching, I hope you like what you see,” Edgar said. “I’m coming for that belt.”
Swanson’s takedown defense was solid early in the first round, a development that brought a smile to the California native’s face and led to him aggressively go after Edgar with his strikes. Of course, that aggressiveness led to Edgar nailing his first takedown with under two minutes left. The two rose and both fighters had their moments standing before another late takedown by Edgar.
Some fierce exchanges took place in round two, with each fighter shaking off the bombs of the other. In the second minute of the round, Edgar took the bloodied Swanson to the mat a third time, and he worked his ground strikes from the top position, opening the cut over Swanson’s left eye even more. Swanson tried to hold on to force a referee restart, but Edgar’s level of activity kept that from becoming a reality, capping off a one-sided round for “The Answer.”
Edgar dumped Swanson on the canvas yet again in round three, keeping him there and mauling him with strikes throughout to put another round in the bank.
In round four, Swanson came out throwing hard punches and kicks in an effort to turn things around, but the result was Edgar’s fifth and sixth takedowns, leaving the Californian with little daylight to work with. With three minutes remaining, Edgar moved into the mount position briefly, but even when Swanson was able to escape, the New Jersey native’s work rate was relentless and punishing, and it remained so until Swanson got back to his feet with under 30 seconds left.
With five minutes left in the fight, Swanson stalked Edgar, but he wasn’t able to land the fight-altering shot. Instead, he wound up on his back again. Edgar almost sunk in an arm triangle in between throwing ground strikes, but the gutsy Swanson wasn’t going to give in. Unfortunately for him, Edgar wasn’t about to stop either, and he just kept pushing until sinking in the rear naked choke that forced the tap out at the 4:56 mark, a result that hit the record books as the latest finish in UFC history.
“Cub was a tough dude,” Edgar said. “I know it wasn’t going to be easy to get him out of there, but I want to finish fights.”
With the win, Edgar, who has now won three straight, improves to 17-4-1; Swanson falls to 21-6.
BARBOZA vs. GREEN
Edson Barboza likely made a move into the lightweight top ten in the co-main event, snapping Bobby Green’s eight-fight winning streak with a shutout three-round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Barboza, now 15-2; Green falls to 23-6.
Green did plenty of taunting in the first half of the opening round, but not enough punching or kicking, leaving that to Barboza, who stayed busy while not getting rattled by his foe’s unorthodox approach to the bout. Green got a little busier toward the end of the round, but not enough to get the nod on the scorecards.
Green chased after Barboza to begin round two, but the sharpshooting Brazilian was unfazed, rocking Green with a punch before knocking him down with a head kick. When Green rose, he made a more concerted effort to start delivering some offense, but he wasn’t able to do it on a consistent basis.
The third was more of the same, and despite dealing with a nasty cut over his right eye, Barboza stuck to the game plan, using slick lateral movement punctuated by thudding punches and kicks. Green was game as his cast-iron chin held up, but he wasn’t able to cut off the cage and put together the kind of combinations that would turn the fight around, allowing Barboza to coast in the closing moments en route to an impressive victory.
CAMUS vs. PICKETT
Chico Camus made a statement in his first flyweight bout, winning a close split decision over veteran Brad Pickett.
The judges saw it 29-28 twice and 27-30 for Camus, now 14-5 with 1 NC; Pickett falls to 25-10.
With fast footwork, a varied attack and some solid defense, Camus made an immediate impression in his new division, leading Pickett to put the bout on the mat in the second minute. In his time in the top position, Pickett was able to open a couple cuts on Camus’ forehead, but once the two rose, the Milwaukee native returned the favor, cutting Pickett as he landed several flush shots.
The pace stayed high in the second, Camus keeping to his stick and move strategy, and the always busy Pickett timing Camus’ rushes well with his strikes while throwing in a takedown as well in the pivotal middle session.
The third was another razor-thin frame, with each fighter having his moments of success, and while Pickett’s forward motion won over the fans that booed the final decision, Camus’ ability to control matters from the outside proved to be the decisive factor.
OLIYNYK vs. ROSHOLT
Russia’s Alexey Oliynyk took bomb after bomb from Arlington’s Jared Rosholt in their heavyweight bout before roaring back with a missile of his own, dropping and stopping “The Big Show” in the first round.
A brawl broke out early, with Rosholt thrilling his home state fans as he rocked Oliynyk with several shots before the two locked up. When the two broke just before the midway point of the round, Rosholt again opened up with punches to the body and head, nearly finishing the fight a second time. But after taking Rosholt’s best, Oliynyk threw his best, with a left to the jaw sending the Texan to the deck. A follow-up shot was just window dressing, as referee Kerry Hatley moved in to stop the fight at 3:21 of the first.
With the win, Oliynyk improves to 50-9-1; Rosholt falls to 11-2.
BENAVIDEZ vs. ORTIZ
Dustin Ortiz proved that he could hang with the elite at 125 pounds in his bout against top contender Joseph Benavidez, but he didn’t have enough to beat him on this night, as the Team Alpha Male rep sailed to a three-round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 30-27 across the board.
After a quick start by Ortiz, the first round was all Benavidez, who mixed up punches and kicks to the head and body with ease, baffling the Tennessee product before ending the round with a takedown.
Benavidez (21-4) didn’t let up in round two, rocking Ortiz with a kick to the head in the second minute. Ortiz was able to clear his head and get a brief takedown, By the midway point, both fighters were bleeding, and while Benavidez was in control, Ortiz wasn’t backing down, and by the end of the stanza, the bout was getting closer.
Ortiz (14-4) continued to hang with Benavidez in the final round, but he was never able to put together a consistent offensive attack, leaving the two-time title challenger in the lead from horn to horn.
WIMAN vs. VALLIE-FLAGG
In his first bout since January of 2013, longtime lightweight standout Matt Wiman returned to the win column with a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision over Isaac Vallie-Flagg in the main card opener.
Scores were 30-27 twice and 29-28 for Wiman, now 16-7; Vallie-Flagg falls to 14-6-1.
Wiman had some success in the first four minutes of the bout when he had some space to operate, but unfortunately the physically stronger Vallie-Flagg didn’t give him that space, as he smothered him against the fence, firing off short shots all the while. In the final minute though, Wiman got the bout to the mat and nearly sunk in a rear naked choke and then an armbar before the end of the frame.
The grueling inside action continued into round two with both fighters taking their share of short hooks, uppercuts and elbows at close range. With under two minutes left, a takedown attempt by the bloodied Vallie-Flagg led to a reversal by Wiman, who again looked for the rear naked choke. Vallie-Flagg escaped with little trouble, and it was back to the trenches for the veteran 155-pounders.
There was no let-up to the punishing pace in round three, but Wiman was able to use an extended period on the mat in the final stanza to take the lead, and though he didn’t finish the fight, it was enough to win the fight on the scorecards.