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Danzig's Back with A Win; Davis Impressive in Debut

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - When the heat was on, Mac Danzig delivered, as The Ultimate Fighter season six winner broke a three fight losing streak Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center with an impressive unanimous decision win over Justin Buchholz in lightweight action on the UFC 109 card.

By Thomas Gerbasi

LAS VEGAS, February 6 – When the heat was on, Mac Danzig delivered, as The Ultimate Fighter season six winner broke a three fight losing streak Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center with an impressive unanimous decision win over Justin Buchholz in lightweight action on the UFC 109 card. Watch replay

Scores were 29-28 across the board for Danzig, who improves to 20-7-1; Buchholz falls to 9-5.

The standup pace was fast from the start, with Danzig sharp and methodical and Buchholz aggressive and varied with his attack. Regardless of their methods, both found success at various times, immediately getting the crowd into things.

With 2:10 left Buchholz scored a brief knockdown with a shot to the top of the head, but Danzig got right back up to resume his attack. Yet for every shot Danzig was throwing, Buchholz was coming with three or four more, and his combinations were keeping Danzig from a sustained offensive.

Both fighters got right back into things in round two, with Danzig trying to mix things up with a takedown attempt that Buchholz was able to foil. Danzig’s second attempt hit the mark though, and he put Buchholz on his back with a little over three minutes left. Buchholz fought well from his back though, working Danzig’s arm for a kimura. Danzig hung tough and was able to get out of danger, and he eventually got into the mount position with a little over a minute left, Again, Buchholz fought his way out of trouble, and he found his way into Danzig’s guard, where the two traded ground strikes until Danzig reversed position and ended the round with a flurry of shots.

Understandably, the pace dipped a bit in the third, as Danzig and Buchholz tried to find the finishing formula. This stalemate brought a re-start of the action by referee Herb Dean with two minutes left, and Danzig went to work, scoring with hard strikes to the head and body. A takedown attempt by Buchholz went unanswered, with Danzig then taking control on the mat with strikes until the final bell.

Guillard vs. Torres
Melvin Guillard’s debut with the Greg Jackson camp was a successful one, as ‘The Young Assassin’ scored a close, but unanimous decision win over debuting Brazilian Ronys Torres. Watch fight

“I’m sorry to all my fans that I didn’t get a spectacular knockout,” said Guillard. “I wanted a highlight reel tonight. This starts my new career. All my other fights I don’t care about. They don’t matter.”

Scores were 29-28 across the board for Guillard, who ups his record to 42-9-3, with 1 NC; Torres falls to 18-2.

Torres got the takedown within the first 20 seconds of the bout, quickly moving Guillard to the fence. The Brazilian looked to open up with ground strikes, but when he did, it gave ‘The Young Assassin’ the opportunity to stand. He didn’t stay upright long though, as Torres took him back down. This time, Guillard reversed position and then rose , throwing kicks to keep his foe off guard. Torres continued to stand in the pocket throughout the rest of the round, firing back at Guillard and showing little respect for his punching power.

The pace remained high in round two, with both fighters pulling out all the stops to get a spectacular finish. Guillard was able to land with some sharp counters, including a knee to the head as Torres shot in, but he wasn’t moving ‘The Jungle Boy’, who was showing how he put together wins in 18 of 19 bouts. Yet as the round progressed, it was Guillard’s sharper punching and takedown defense that was allowing him to pull ahead. And even when the bout hit the mat, Guillard was able to stay out of trouble against the jiu-jitsu black belt while getting in some licks of his own at the same time.

Guillard’s confidence was growing by the minute, and as the third round commenced, he was in a rhythm Torres was having a hard time breaking. With a little over three minutes left, Torres was able to get Guillard to the mat, but after an unsuccessful stay there for Torres, the New Orleans native got back to his feet, scoring with a quick right hand before Torres took him down twice more, the second time with a slam that Guillard wound up reversing in order to end the bout with ground strikes.

Nover vs. Emerson
Veteran lightweight Rob Emerson kept The Ultimate Fighter season eight finalist Phillipe Nover winless in the Octagon as he scored a steady but unspectacular unanimous decision victory. Watch fight

All three judges saw it 29-28 for Emerson, who ups his record to 11-8 with 1 NC; Nover drops to 6-3-1.

A missed kick by Nover followed by a slip to the canvas gave Emerson his chance to kick his offense into gear in the first round, and he did an effective job of bulling Nover into the fence and keeping him there in the opening half of the round. But Nover wouldn’t budge under the pressure, eventually turning things around with two guillotine choke attempts before Emerson regained control late.

Emerson stalked Nover early in the second, rocking the Brooklynite with a right hand before going to the mat and opening up briefly with ground strikes. With under two minutes left, Nover was able to get back to his feet, but Emerson kept him locked up, eventually forcing a re-start by referee Herb Dean. Nover tried to push the action. But he got caught with a hard punch on the inside before getting taken down by Emerson just before the end of the frame.

An inadvertent low kick by Nover brought a halt to the action in the opening stages of round three, and after the bout resumed the two engaged in a brief exchange – won by Nover – before Emerson tied ‘The Filipino Assassin’ up and drove him into the fence. Nover broke loose, landed with some strikes and seemed to be getting into a rhythm standing, but Emerson broke that with a takedown. As the two began to rise to their feet, Nover struck, first with a guillotine choke attempt and then with punches and a knee. Emerson shook off the blows, but it was Nover who finished the fight strongest.

Stann vs. Davis
Former NCAA Division I National champion wrestler Phil Davis didn’t look like a UFC debutant with only four previous fights to his name as he made quite an impression with a dominant three round unanimous decision win over Brian Stann. Watch Davis post-fight interview

Scores were 30-26 twice, and 30-27 for Davis, who improves to 5-0; Stann falls to 8-3.

There was little significant scoring in the first three minutes of the bout, and it was Davis who drew first blood with a quick takedown. With Stann unable to get back to his feet, Davis sunk his hooks in and fired off strikes, capping off a big final minute for the former Penn State wrestling standout.

Buoyed by his strong first round finish, Davis kept the heat on in round two, using his strikes to set up another lightning-fast takedown. This time, Davis worked for a kimura on Stann before getting back into the mount position for a ground assault that included punches to the head and knees to the body.

Down in a 2-0 hole, Stann tried to be more aggressive to start the third, but by doing so, he walked right into a Davis takedown. Davis’ positioning again proved to be the key factor, as he kept Stann pinned and unable to escape while he put in enough offensive work – including a last second arm bar attempt - to pile the points up and secure his first Octagon win.

Hague vs. Tuchscherer
North Dakota’s Chris Tuchscherer nabbed his first UFC win in heavyweight action, surviving a late surge from Tim Hague to take a three round majority decision. Watch fight

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-28 for Tuchscherer, who improves to 18-2 with 1 NC; Hague falls to 10-3.

Tuchscherer pushed the pace early, controlling the action until a low knee by Hague brought a momentary halt to the action with under three minutes left. When the bout resumed, Hague picked up his work rate, but Tuchscherer was still the more accurate and effective striker. With a minute left, Hague tried to finish things with a guillotine choke, but Tuchscherer broke loose and continued to outwork the Canadian against the fence until the bell.

Taking the fight to the mat early in the second, Tuchscherer kept the pressure on Hague with a smothering ground attack. With less than four minutes remaining, Hague battled his way back to his feet, but he was winded and having trouble getting into an offensive rhythm. Tuchscherer was slowing down as well, not a good omen with more than a round to go in the fight, but despite a brief late surge by ‘The Thrashing Machine’, it still looked to be a Tuchscherer round.

Finally coming to life, Hague attacked Tuchscherer with both hands to start the final round, landing with hard shots before getting the fight to the mat. There, Hague dominated the action, not allowing Tuchscherer to get any breathing room, and though he wasn’t able to finish ‘The Crowbar,’ it was a clear round for Hague.

Gracie vs. Beltran
Unheralded and unknown, Joey Beltran entered the Octagon after only a week’s notice to replace Mostapha Al-Turk against highly-touted Rolles Gracie in the heavyweight opener, but by the time the bout ended, fight fans found out who the California power hitter was, as he stopped Gracie in the second round to spoil the debut of the first Gracie to compete in the UFC since Hall of Famer Royce. Watch Beltran post-fight interview

Beltran loaded up with his punches as the bout began, allowing Gracie to close the gap and tie him up as he searched for the takedown. A minute in, the jiu-jitsu black belt got his foe to the mat and quickly got into the mount position. Beltran kept his cool and was able to reverse position, getting into Gracie’s guard before standing up and putting the ball back in his court. Beltran landed a couple hard shots, but Gracie responded with two straight rights that got the attention of ‘The Mexecutioner.’ With a minute left, the two stood and traded punches, drawing a roar from the crowd, but by the end of the round, Beltran had taken control behind a series of thudding ground strikes to the head.

In round two, Beltran came out fast, picking up where he left off with hard strikes and good takedown defense on Gracie, who looked winded. With under four minutes left, and after another failed takedown attempt, Beltran opened fire, and after another series of unanswered blows, referee Herb Dean had seen enough, halting the bout at the 1:31 mark.

With the win, Beltran improves to 11-3; Gracie falls to 3-1.