Read on for results of the UFC 164 preliminary card...
On a night headlined by the rematch of one of the greatest WEC bouts in history, it was only fitting that the lighter weight divisions shone, as bantamweight Chico Camus and flyweight Tim Elliott stole the show with their electrifying prelim performances inside Milwaukee's BMO Harris Bradley Center.
Jamie Varner vs. Gleison Tibau
It was volume vs. mass in the featured bout of UFC 164’s televised prelims, with Gleison Tibau’s power and control helped him narrowly edge out Jamie Varner’s attempts to flurry in a lightweight three-rounder.
The exchanges in the first were relatively few, as Varner circled wide, coming in with whipping low kicks and leaping lefts, while Tibau stood southpaw and waited with counters. Both connected flush at points, but there was little memorable action. Tibau earned a big takedown with a minute left, then dragged Varner to the fence and kept back control as Varner stood.
An energized Varner charged forward with a combination and set up a guillotine as Tibua shot, but the massive Tibau slipped out and positioned himself heavy in half-guard. Slowly the BJJ black belt passed to mount and stayed in back mount as Varner attempted to roll away for the rest of the round. Varner held Tibau’s arms to neutralize him from the bottom but was unable to escape while the Brazilian was either too tired, trapped or content to damage from top.
Again Varner surged forward and again Tibau got a takedown early in the third, but the men were back on their feet shortly. Varner teed off with right hands to the body and head – working at one point for a takedown of his own – Tibau kept his distance and balance enough to render the efforts null. But Varner kept coming, clipping Tibau with an uppercut, then getting his own takedown and ground-and-pounding with overhands against the fence. Varner had far more luck escaping Tibau’s attempts to tie him up from bottom than Tibau had in the second – Varner got multiple overhands through and postured up to land heavy leather.
Scores for Tibau (37-9) were 29-28 twice and 27-29; the win made the 29-year-old the youngest fighter in UFC history to fight 20 times in the Octagon. “Jamie Varner is a very strong guy and today he had strong pressure," said Tibau, who told one reporter post-fight that he weighed 180 inside the Octagon. "I had good training and diet for this fight, but I was a little tired in the third round." Varner's record moves to 21-8-1.
Louis Gaudinot vs. Tim Elliott
Tim Elliott’s 5’7” frame may not seem imposing in his hometown of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, but inside the Octagon he was all limbs against a game but undersized Louis Gaudinot.
In typical flyweight fashion, the bout went all over at all speeds, but the early standup boiled down to a battle between Gaudinot’s left hand and Elliott’s long legs. Elliott scored two big takedowns in the first after some knees against the fence that put him in top position on the ground, where he unloaded with body shots and elbows as Gaudinot covered, upkicked and worked for triangles. Elliott also picked up style points with moves like an axe kick to Gaudinot from the top and a faked toe-pick that he turned into a cartwheel.
Bleeding from the nose, Gaudinot wanted no part of the ground with Elliott in the second, and he threw long punches and full-force spinning kicks in the hopes of keeping his bearings. But Elliott stalked ever forward, landing his own high kick and more knees against to Gaudinot, particularly when he got the green-haired Hoboken fighter against the links. With two minutes left, Elliott got his takedown, and from there he passed to half guard and elbowed and hammerfisted away.
Elliott got his takedown off a Gaudinot kick seconds into the third, and elbowed away before Gaudinot used the fence to stand. Gaudinot landed a high kick; Elliott responded with a spinning back fist, and though Gaudinot tried for a guillotine as they went to the ground again, he didn’t have the strength or friction to keep it. Elliott made it to mount and did more devastating elbow work with two minutes left.
Elliott, who had been ranked tenth in the 125-pound division, won by scores of 30-27, 30-26 and 39-26, improving his record to 10-3-1; he no doubt will see his ranking rise in the convincing win over the seventh-ranked Gaudinot (6-3). “My
gameplan was to stay on him, move him around a little, pin him against
the cage and just grind away, but he was a lot stronger than I thought
he was going to be," said Elliott, whose 270 total strikes landed were the 4th-most ever landed in a UFC fight and the 2nd most landed in a three-round affair.
Pascal Krauss vs. Hyun Gyu Lim
UFC 164’s two-fight series between Milwaukee fighters and South Koreans ended at 1-1 after welterweight Hyun Gyu Lim TKOd German-born, Duke Roufus-trained Pascal Krauss in one.
The tall welterweights squared off and traded one-twos and front kicks for much of the fight, with Lim’s seven-inch reach advantage serving him well. He caught a Krauss kick and tossed him back on the mat, then threw a shot from above and let Krauss stand. After one exchange, a right hand took Krauss’ legs out from under him, and Lim swarmed, chasing Krauss and cornering him several more times before finally dropping him with a knee and ending the bout at 3:58.
Lim improves to 12-3-1, with both of his UFC wins coming by TKO. “I’ve fought in other opponent’s hometowns before, but this place was loud and I definitely heard the boos the whole time," said Lim. "When I landed that knee, I knew I hurt him, but that I needed to get the finish." Krauss has alternated wins and losses in his Octagon career, and now stands at 2-2 in the UFC, 11-2 overall.
Chico Camus vs. Kyung Ho Kang
Milwaukee’s own Chico Camus had the hometown crowd on his side as he used power shots and defensive grappling to secure a unanimous decision against South Korean bantamweight Kyung Ho Kang (11-8, 1 NC).
Bouncing athletically on the outside, Kang zipped in and out with body kicks while Camus went straight in with right hands. Soon the Korean dopped low for an easy takedown and threw body shots from half-guard; posturing up after Camus scored with an elbow from the bottom. He worked diligently standing and on the ground to pass Camus’ tricky guard, but in the end Camus used an armbar attempt to reverse and hop to his feet as the horn sounded.
It took 12 seconds for the bout to hit the mat in the second, and again Kang tried all manner of passes while dotting Camus’ body with fists and his face with elbows. With the hometown crowd chanting “Chi-co,” Kang made it to side control and briefly held an arm triangle choke, but Camus survived and turned an armbar attempt into a sweep that he used to wind up in top position. From Kang’s busy guard Camus threw elbows until taking Kang’s back. A lively scramble saw both men roll through dominant positions and submission attempts, but it was Camus who did more damage with the ground and pound he was able to deliver.
It was Camus who dove for the single leg on Kang, then let him back up and honed in with a few right hands. Kang, who’d bloodied Camus’ temple with a series of high kicks, closed the distance and went back to half guard. He got one big shot in from up top, and once Camus got back to his feet, Kang lured him into taking his back and then rolled back into guard. Camus scored with a devastating upkick and finished the round throwing frantic fists from top position as the hometown crowd roared.
Scores were 29-28, 29-28 and 30-27 for Duke Roufus-trained Camus (13-4), who delivered a post-fight interview in the night’s first FOX Sports 1 prelim that was as energetic as his in-fight performance. "It was incredible in there," he said after. "Hearing them cheer my name made me feel like I had a second guy in the cage with me. Milwaukee was great today. Six years ago I fell into a martial arts gym and it has changed my life. Without my coaches, teammates and my family, I wouldn’t be where I was today.”
Soa Palelei vs. Nikita Krylov
With a 100% finishing rate in their combined 33 wins, the heavyweight bout between Australia’s Soa Palelei and Ukranian Nikita Krylov was never destined for the scorecards. In the end it was Palelei, making his second Octagon appearance since his lone fight at UFC 79, who pulled off the third-round TKO after a sloppy, entertaining first two rounds that made up the final UFC 164 web prelim.
Palelei turned a kick into a high-altitude takedown right off, and the Ukrainan responded with a series of submission attempts: armbar, triangle, the rarely-seen-and-rarer-at-heavyweight omoplata. Palelei postured up and punched his way through most, ending at one point in mount and back mount. But Krylov just kneeled and tipped Palelei over on the front, then trapped him against the wall and teed off. But Palelei wasn’t so easy to put away, answering with a soaring right counter and another takedown before the end of the round.
Both big men threw kicks in the second before Palelei took things down into side control and mount. Krylov rolled through another triangle attempt but Palelei held back control as the two stood. A tieup on the fence drew crowd boos and a restart, and from there Krylov came forward wildly with kicks, trapping Palelei against the fence with a series of knees from the clinch and body shots. This reversed the crowd’s stance on the fight; especially as each time the Aussie seemed on the brink of being stopped on his feet, he fired back with a single – and massive -- right hand. By the end, both men seemed to be moving underwater, tying up on the fence in exhaustion with Palelei making no effort to block his face from Krylov’s combinations.
A right hand from Palelei put him in charge and the tieup was almost immediate in the third, as Krylov labored on the inside for a single leg. Palelei responded with hammerfists and Krylov, who’d never been past the first round of a fight, seemed to crumple. He dropped lower and lower with effort and exhaustion, going through the motions of a single-leg until kneeling on the ground. He offered no protest as Palelei mounted him and ground-and-pounded to the body and head until the referee stopped it at 1:34.
Krylov, the youngest fighter in the UFC, slips to 15-3 with a second round under the belt, while the 36-year-old Palelei – who revealed after the bout that he was fighting with a broken rib -- improves to 19-3. “That kid was tough, but I wasn’t going to let that early shot to the rib slow me down and ruin my return to the UFC,” said Palelei. “Winning makes all the pain go away anyway.”
Ryan Couture vs. Al Iaquinta
Injury hampered “Raging” Al Iaquinta’s UFC debut and cancelled his original sophomore effort, but he finally delivered at UFC 164, outclassing UFC royalty Ryan Couture (6-3) over three lightweight rounds.
Couture’s best weapons were his kicks – high, low, and in between, but Iaquinta was the one who pressed forward with long hard jabs and some nasty body-head combos. After eating a particularly ill-intentioned right hand, Couture clinched to get things to the fence, but Iaquinta easily spun out and returned the action to the center. Iaquinta caught a kick and tipped Couture backward, then teed off when Couture stood. Couture rallied with a flying knee, but Iaquinta retaliated with hard body shots and wild head strikes. Iaquinta ended the round with an easy takedown and two hard shots from top position before standing and raising his arms to the screaming crowd.
Couture was on his bicycle for most of the second, while Iaquinta picked his shots, punching fearlessly through Couture’s guard. One right-left-right-high kick combination drew extras cheers from the crowd, and he again ended the round with a takedown.
Couture opened with big kicks in the third, of the high and spinning-wheel variety, then struggled mightily for a takedown, but Iaquinta tentpoled with his hands and eventually worked back to the feet. From then it was more of the same until Iaquinta grabbed a headlock with one arm, hammerfisted with the other hand, and unloaded body shots against the Octagon. As the final minute ticked down, Iaquinta again caught a kick and tipped Couture backward, then teed off from top position in front of his cornermen Matt Serra and Ray Longo.
Judges all had the bout 30-27 for the TUF Live finalist, now 6-2-1. “I couldn’t be any happier with this win,” said the Long Island prospect. “It’s definitely the best win of my career. Ryan’s a tough guy and a few of those shots definitely hurt me, but you’ve got to push through.”
Jared Hamman vs. Magnus Cedenblad
A loud crowd was already in place for the night’s first bout, as Sweden’s Magnus Cedenblad tapped out Jared Hamman in under a minute.
After some long, loose kicks and counters from both 6’3” middleweights, Hamman closed the distance for a single-leg. The Swede defended with a guillotine and hit the mat with enough force to roll completely over into mount. Hamman kicked in vain, his hands trapped under Cedenblad’s body, until tapping at 57 seconds.
The win is Cedenblad’s eighth first-round finish in his 11-4 career. “Finishing a guy that quickly is always exciting and something I’m always looking for,” said Cedenblad. “My last UFC fight didn’t go the way I wanted [Cedenblad was submitted by Francis Carmont in his UFC debut], but I think this one makes up for it and shows that I belong in the UFC with the best.” Hamman now stands at 13-6 (0-2 against Swedes; he was hoping to avenge his loss to current light heavyweight challenger Alexander Gustafsson with this bout).