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Hammer Time Again - Coleman Decisions Bonnar in UFC 100 Prelim Bout

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - It took 12 years, but Mark ‘The Hammer’ Coleman finally got back in the UFC win column, grounding and pounding out a three round unanimous decision over Stephan Bonnar Saturday night in UFC 100 preliminary action at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, delighting the fans who hoped the 44-year old Hall of Famer would be able to turn back the clock one more time.

By Thomas Gerbasi

LAS VEGAS, July 11 – It took 12 years, but Mark ‘The Hammer’ Coleman finally got back in the UFC win column, grounding and pounding out a three round unanimous decision over Stephan Bonnar Saturday night in UFC 100 preliminary action at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, delighting the fans who hoped the 44-year old Hall of Famer would be able to turn back the clock one more time.  Watch Coleman vs. Bonnar.

He did, and while the fight was not spectacular, it did allow Coleman to win his first UFC bout since he submitted Dan Severn at UFC 12 in 1997. Between then and now, Coleman went on to build a successful career in Japan’s PRIDE organization before coming home to the UFC earlier this year.

Scores were 29-28 across the board for Coleman, who improves to 16-9; Bonnar falls to 14-6.

After some tense early moments, Coleman saw his opening and hit a single leg takedown on Bonnar. While on the mat, Bonnar looked to lock up a limb, and while Coleman broke loose, ‘The Hammer’ soon found himself on the business end of Bonnar’s elbows at close range. The pace dipped throughout the rest of the round, as Bonnar worked on an arm and Coleman tried to find some daylight, but with no luck.

Bonnar’s confidence was visibly growing in round two, but Coleman put a stop to that with a takedown and a subsequent ground attack that bloodied Bonnar. The first Ultimate Fighter finalist wasn’t ready to give in though, and he continued to look for a submission on Coleman, who had no intention of letting Bonnar get back to his feet.

Bonnar showed strong takedown defense for the first 90 seconds of the final round until Coleman finally put him on his back. With the crowd chanting his name, Coleman smothered Bonnar on the mat, not allowing the Las Vegan to get any daylight. With under two minutes left, Coleman stood and looked to improve his ground position, and surprisingly, Bonnar didn’t try to scramble to his feet until there was under a minute to go, and by then Coleman nearly got his foe’s back as he looked for a choke as the final bell sounded.

With lightweights Jim Miller and Mac Danzig both coming off losses (and Danzig coming off two straight defeats), the stakes were understandably high in their three rounder and they fought like it, with Miller emerging victorious via an exciting unanimous decision.

The verdict read 30-27 across the board for Miller in a fight that was a closer fight than those scores would indicate.

Miller’s standup was crisp to start the bout, and it allowed him to open Danzig (19-7-1) up for a takedown 45 seconds in. On the mat, Miller (14-2) continued his assault, this time with ground strikes. Danzig responded with elbows from his back, but it was Miller who did the most damage as he opened a cut on Danzig’s forehead. After a brief scramble back to their feet, the fight went back to the mat, with Danzig almost sinking in a choke. Miller fought free though, and the two proceeded to battle it out with each other on the canvas until the bell sounded.

Opening the second with a thudding kick to the midsection, Miller stuck to his gameplan of using strikes to set up the takedown, and once he got Danzig to the mat, he made the Las Vegan’s life miserable with a relentless attack of ground and pound. But if Danzig was thinking of turning in for the night, it didn’t show, as he continued to fight back with elbows from the bottom position. With one minute left, referee Steve Mazzagatti re-started the action, which was surprising since both fighters were still working, and Danzig almost made the most of it, locking in a deep guillotine that was only interrupted by the bell.

Energized by the crowd, Miller and Danzig both came out fast for the final round, with both landing hard shots before locking up against the fence. After a brief stalemate, they separated and picked at each other with strikes in an effort to end the bout with one shot. Danzig landed the heavier blows, briefly jarring Miller with a punch to the head and a knee as the New Jersey native shot in for the takedown. With under two minutes left, Miller got Danzig’s back and looked to finish, but the game Danzig fought out of a rear naked choke and fired away with ground strikes as the crowd erupted until the bell.

In submitting Jake O’Brien tonight, rising light heavyweight star Jonny “Bones” Jones upped his pro record to 9-0 with a disciplined attack followed by his trademark flash, once again impressing his growing legion of fans with the maturation of his MMA game.

The action was fast-paced from the start, with O’Brien (11-3) trying to make something happen with haymakers followed by takedown attempts and Jones doing the same with counters and effective use of the Octagon real estate. And while Jones was revealing some of his flashy strikes, none were really hitting the mark.

That wasn’t the case early in round two though, as the 21-year old Jones attacked O’Brien with a jumping knee to start the frame. But as O’Brien showed his resilience, Jones settled into a more conservative and steady groove, choosing to wait for O’Brien to overcommit. With under three minutes left, a spinning back elbow appeared to rock O’Brien and force him to shoot for a takedown. Jones stuffed the takedown and locked in a guillotine choke, ending the bout via tapout at 2:43.

Korean star Dong Hyun Kim remained unbeaten in welterweight action, improving to 12-0-1, 1 NC with a workmanlike three round decision win over TJ Grant.

“I knew I could dominate on the ground, so I wasn’t afraid,” said Kim. “A lot of people don’t know that I’m good at grappling.”

Grant (14-3) kicked the action off with a takedown, only to see Kim reverse his position moments later, eventually ending up in Grant’s guard. From the top, Kim used strikes to score points, while Grant looked for a submission from the bottom. With two minutes left the fighters stood, but Kim brought it back to the mat with a thudding throw. Grant again scrambled to his feet, but when the bout returned to the canvas, it was Kim in control.

Grant closed the distance quickly to begin round two, but Kim stood cool under pressure, nearly catching Grant in a guillotine choke. On the mat, Kim continued to control matters with strikes from inside his opponent’s guard. Grant kept looking for openings for his submissions, but Kim was crafty as he eluded danger. The bout was halted momentarily as Grant was penalized for an illegal upkick, but even a last minute treturn to the feet didn’t help Grant’s cause.

The third round was more of the same from both men – with Kim scoring the major blows thanks to a throw and his ground and pound, and Grant trying to make something happen from his back, but to no avail. When the final bell rang, the three judges’ scores of 30-26 for Kim were academic.

After an entertaining walk to the Octagon that included Ultimate Fighter alum Seth Petruzelli on a leash as the song ‘Who Let The Dogs Out’ played, Tom Lawlor delivered when the bell rang as well, submitting CB Dollaway in less than a minute.

In the battle of former college wrestlers, Dollaway (9-3) drew first blood with a takedown 30 seconds into the fight. But Lawlor – who was fighting at middleweight for the first time - responded like a pro, immediately sinking in a guillotine choke. Moments later, at the 55 second mark, Dollaway was out and Lawlor (6-1, 1 NC) had the biggest win of his pro career.

“His head was out there and I just kinda fell into it,” said Lawlor of the finisher. “My cornerman said don’t go for the guillotine unless you know I have it. I guess I knew I had it.”

In the opener, California’s Shannon Gugerty kicked off the evening’s festivities with a first round submission win over Matt Grice in lightweight action.

Once the bout began and Grice took Gugerty (12-3) to the mat, the intentions of his foe were evident, as he tried to lock in a guillotine choke. The second time around, Gugerty nailed it, putting Grice (10-3) out at the 2:36 mark of the opening round.