The Ultimate Fighter
Read on for UFC on FUEL TV 4 main card results...
SAN JOSE, July 11 – Chris Weidman’s meteoric rise in the UFC continued Wednesday at the HP Pavilion, as the New Yorker thoroughly dismantled and stopped top contender Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC on FUEL TV 4 – announcing afterward that he wants to be next in line for a crack at UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva.
“I want Anderson Silva,” the 28-year-old wunderkind told UFC announcer Jon Anik inside the Octagon. “Give me a full training camp and I’d love a shot at ‘The Man,’ Anderson Silva. I really think I’d do very good against him.”
Before tonight’s bout, Weidman’s “calling out” the best fighter in MMA history might have sounded like hyperbole, especially since he has only been fighting professionally for three years. Heck, the former assistant wrestling coach at Hofstra University only started fighting in the UFC in March 2011. But he has quietly fashioned a perfect 5-0 in the world’s premier MMA league, including back-to-back wins over stalwarts Demian Maia and Munoz, feats that are certain to raise eyebrows and elevate his name power.
In fact, the Weidman (9-0) who showed up tonight left a lot of people with the impression that the sky might be the limit for him, mainly because he tornadoed through Munoz and somehow made it look easy. While both fighters were top wrestlers during their college days, Munoz won an NCAA national title; Weidman was a two-time All-American. Yet during their clash Weidman dominated the wrestling with two speedy takedowns, then owned Munoz on the mat, threatening with chokes and knees from the front headlock position.
The end came early in round two when Munoz (12-3) lunged forward to punch and Weidman countered with a perfectly placed elbow that sliced and gashed Munoz’s forehead. “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” fell to the canvas, bleeding considerably, and Weidman unleashed a hail of punches on his face-first foe until referee Josh Rosenthal halted the action at 1:37 of round two.
“I’ve just been playing around with some elbows. I got the long reach for it. Jon Jones pretty much gave the blueprint for how to use ‘em and thank God it landed,” said Weidman, who got emotional as he spoke of his wife and the recent birth of their second child.
Munoz, meanwhile, was humble and gracious in defeat.
“He caught me with that elbow coming in. He’s a great competitor. Props go to him,” said Munoz, who also thanked his fans and promised them “I’ll be back.”
Whenever Joey Beltran steps into the cage, non-stop action is a given and a Fight of the Night honor is highly probable. The Mexicutioner’s granite chin and penchant for toe-to-toe wars once again produced a barnburner against James Te Huna, who repeatedly cracked the southern Californian with hard shots for much of the bout, even dropping Beltran in the first frame and punishing him with vicious ground and pound, only to watch a blooded and battered Beltran remarkably recover and survive until the final horn.
The bout marked Beltran’s first foray into the light heavyweight division, with the slimmed down version of him tough as ever but still lacking the well-roundedness and potent punching power that might have sparked a come-from-behind victory. Beltran (14-8) wobbled Te Huna (17-5) late in round two and had his moments with combinations, but there was no doubt about the victor as judges awarded the Australian the verdict by scores of 30-26, 30-27 and 30-27.
A back-and-forth slugfest erupted in round one between Aaron Simpson and Kenny Robertson, but the bout soon morphed into a one-sided grind over the final 10 minutes as Simpson’s wrestling prowess and ground and pound arsenal wore down Robertson, giving “A-Train” a unanimous decision win in his welterweight debut.
Making his first drop to 171 pounds in over 15 years, Simpson’s gas tank held up rather well. The Arizona State University graduate imposed his will in the clinch, scored takedowns and maintained top control to tame a very crafty Robertson (11-2), another former Division I wrestler. The 37-year-old pounded on Robertson with punches down the stretch but had to settle for a decision.
Simpson, 11-3, noted plenty of room for improvement in his game.
“It’s my first cut to 171 pounds,” Simpson said. “I‘ve got to get used to it. I’m not used to this speed. I’ve got to finish the way I start, that’s what this business is built on. I want to be one of those kinds of athletes and that’s what I want to work on. I want to be a little better out there.”
Both fighters were cut during fistic exchanges in the first round. Robertson, in particular, seemed to enjoy the damage. When the horn signaled the end of round one he grinned at Simpson and stuck his tongue out, not to taunt but as if to say, ‘Are you enjoying this as much as I am?’
With UFC champ Georges St-Pierre barking instructions to him in French, Montreal’s Francis Carmont turned a nip-and-tuck affair into victory by choking out Karlos Vemola at 1:39 of round two.
Carmont (19-7) landed a kick to the face early in the second, following it up with a knee to the face. He then threatened the Czech Republic fighter with a guillotine choke, prompting a scramble that culminated with Carmont trapping Vemola in a crucifix of sorts on the mat, then transitioning to a modified rear naked choke for the tap out.
Vemola (10-3), a six-time national wrestling champ in his homeland, locked Carmont in two guillotine chokes but could not seal the deal.
T.J. DILLASHAW VS. VAUGHAN LEE
T.J. Dillashaw, a finalist on season 14 of The Ultimate Fighter, notched his second straight win inside the Octagon with a speedy choke out of England’s Vaughan Lee. The 26-year-old Dillashaw (a former Division I college wrestler) put his takedown skills to good use early, beautifully countering a Lee high kick with a hard slam to the canvas. Noticeably poised and loose, the Team Alpha Male bantamweight smoothly transitioned to Lee’s back and clamped on a wicked tight rear naked choke, earning the tap at 2:33 of the opening round.
Dillashaw, now 7-1 as a pro, credited his victory to an emphasis on staying calmer and waiting for the right opportunity.
Each fighter’s resume suggested that this would be the classic striker versus grappler matchup, with Rafael Dos Anjos (a BJJ black belt) preferring the mat and Anthony Njokuani (a Muay Thai specialist) favoring a standup affair. As it turned out, the lightweights split time in each realm, but the difference proved to be Dos Anjos’ ability to hold his own and avoid harm on the feet while scoring six takedowns and smothering Njokuani at every chance. Add it all up and Dos Anjos (17-6) walked away with the unanimous decision nod by score of 30-27, 30-27 and 29-28. The triumph marked the Brazilian’s sixth win in his past eight fights.
Njokuani, meanwhile, was active with punches and kicks but was never able to fully capitalize on his superior speed and reach advantage while upright. The Las Vegas transplant was seen shaking his hand or arm afterward, suggesting he may have injured his hand or wrist at some point during the scrap. On a positive note, the Nigerian-born fighter showed much-improved takedown defense at times, as well as progress at popping back to his feet and preventing submissions. Ultimately, however, Njokuani (17-6) failed to consistently keep Dos Anjos off his hips; the ensuing slams were the difference on the night.