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Jersey Boys Win Big in UFC Fight Night Prelims

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - The Garden State of New Jersey was well-represented at the Omaha Civic Auditorium tonight, with UFC debutants Mike Massenzio and Dan Miller both scoring big first round submission wins in UFC Fight Night action.

By Thomas Gerbasi

OMAHA, NE, September 17 – The Garden State of New Jersey was well-represented at the Omaha Civic Auditorium tonight, with UFC debutants Mike Massenzio and Dan Miller both scoring big first round submission wins in UFC Fight Night action.

Paterson’s Massenzio made an immediate impact in his Octagon debut, scoring a first round submission win over vet Drew McFedries in their middleweight contest.

Massenzio (11-2) went right for his bread and butter at the bell, taking McFedries (7-4) to the mat. The Iowa knockout artist responded well initially as he seemed to be looking for a triangle choke, but eventually, it was Massenzio who scored the submission, locking in and cranking a kimura that forced McFedries to tap out at the 1:28 mark.

Debuting lightweight Miller was impressive in his initial Octagon appearance as well, making it two for two for New Jersey by submitting Rob Kimmons in the first round of the night’s opening prelim bout.

After a brief exchange to start the fight, Miller scrambled and got Kimmons’ back. Kimmons was able to hold the Sparta native off for a bit, but eventually the former IFL standout hit paydirt, sinking in a rear naked choke that produced a tap out at 1:27 of the opening stanza.

“Once I got his back, I just took my time and was able to get the choke,” said Miller, now 9-1 with 1 no contest. Kimmons falls to 21-4.

Known primarily for his boxing, middleweight Alessio Sakara showed that his kicks are pretty deadly too, as he knocked out UFC newcomer Joe Vedepo in just 87 seconds.

As expected, Sakara was the more active striker, but Vedepo walked through all of the Italian’s power shots, even jarring his opponent early on. Sakara was undeterred from his fight plan though, and when he threw a right kick to the head, it landed flush, dropping Vedepo hard to the canvas. Referee Yves Lavigne immediately moved in, halting the bout at 1:27 of the opening round.

With the win, Sakara improves to 17-7 with 1 NC; Vedepo falls to 9-2.

Surviving a spirited effort from Omaha native Ryan Jensen, Wilson Gouveia made his UFC middleweight debut a successful one with a second round submission win.

Gouveia (11-5) and Jensen (13-5) traded kicks for much of the early going, with Jensen eventually taking his foe to the mat at the 3:22 mark. While on the ground, Jensen effectively used his ground and pound while making sure to keep himself out of the Brazilian’s submissions. Eventually, Gouveia broke loose and then took Jensen down, only to get reversed and drilled by power shots until the bell rang.

Jensen continued to push the pace in round two, landing some hard strikes before getting Gouveia back to the mat. This time around though, Gouveia broke through Jensen’s submission defense, quickly locking in an armbar that forced the local fighter to tap out at 2:04 of the round.

Rising lightweight star Joe Lauzon bounced back from his April loss to Kenny Florian in impressive fashion, halting Kyle Bradley in the second round to improve to 16-4.

The action was fast-paced at the start, with Lauzon almost pulling off a flying leglock in the early stages of the bout. After Bradley (13-6, 1 NC) broke free and the fight resumed on the feet, the Louisiana native began to settle in, even jarring Lauzon briefly with a left to the head midway through the frame. Lauzon got some payback in the final minute, but Bradley shook off the blows and was firing back by round’s end.

The second round saw Lauzon go for the kill with a takedown in the second minute. He immediately transitioned to the mount position and then turned Bradley over. The end was academic from there, with a series of hard ground strikes forcing referee Josh Arney to stop the bout at 1:34 of the round.

Omaha’s own Jason Brilz made the local fans happy in his UFC debut against Brad Morris, dominating from the opening bell until the fight was stopped in the second frame of their light heavyweight match.

Starting things off with a slam that brought roars from the crowd, the hometown favorite landed some ground strikes and then took Morris’ back. The Australian was game, and he eventually fought his way to his back, but Brilz (16-1-1) wouldn’t let him go any further as he opened up with strikes from the side control position and finished off the dominant frame by going for an armbar at the bell.

Morris (10-4) began the second round striking in an attempt to turn the tide, but Brilz’ wrestling was too strong and he quickly turned the tables and put his foe back on the mat. From there, Brilz’ offensive assault continued, and at 2:54 of the round, referee Mark Powell had seen enough, and he responded by halting the bout.