Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Light heavyweight Brandon “The Truth” Vera put together his best performance (and first stoppage) since he beat Frank Mir in 2006, halting Michael Patt in the second round with a brutal assault of leg kicks in their UFC 96 prelim bout at the Nationwide Arena Saturday night.
By Thomas Gerbasi
COLUMBUS, OH, March 7 – Light heavyweight Brandon “The Truth” Vera put together his best performance (and first stoppage) since he beat Frank Mir in 2006, halting Michael Patt in the second round with a brutal assault of leg kicks in their UFC 96 prelim bout at the Nationwide Arena Saturday night.
“I was taking for granted that I could get by without training hard,” said Vera, now 10-3. “But now I’m back. I’m going back to old school Muay Thai.”
As promised, Vera got right in Patt’s face at the opening bell and started firing off punches and kicks, with the kicks doing the most damage. Every Patt (15-4) retort was met with something unpleasant from the focused Vera, who seemed intent on ending the fight early, but not in a reckless fashion. With 2:45 left, Vera clearly hurt Patt’s lead left leg with a kick, and moment’s later he kicked Patt’s right leg out from under him. A minute later, Patt finally scored with a good kick to the head, but Vera shook it off and kept attacking the legs until the bell.
The leg assault continued in the second, with Patt finally going down from the pain in his left leg. He rose gamely, but after being sent down again from another leg kick, referee Yves Lavigne intervened and halted the fight at 1:27 of the round.
Welterweight prospect Tamdan McCrory bounced back from a November loss to Dustin Hazelett, handing newcomer Ryan Madigan his first pro loss via a first round TKO.
“After that last loss to Dustin (Hazelett), I hit the gym hard, did the right things,” said the 22-year old McCrory. “I had everything go wrong during training camp, but I rode in here on my thunder horse and handled business”
McCrory (12-2) started the bout with a takedown of the Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio product and worked his way into side control, eventually posturing out and up to land hard ground strikes. Midway through the round, McCrory briefly got the mount position, where he fired off more strikes. Madigan (5-1) hung tough and looked for a submission, but McCrory kept him grounded, eventually getting back into the mount, where he fired away with strikes until referee Yves Lavigne halted the bout at the 3:35 mark.
Out of action since his win over Evan Tanner last June, Kendall Grove took little time to add another win to his record as he stopped Jason Day in the first round of their middleweight bout.
Day (17-7) chased Grove around the Octagon to start the fight, hoping to catch the Hawaiian cold. Grove (12-5) withstood the pressure and looked to get his own offense going. Day kept moving forward, but in his eagerness to finish Grove caught him with a beautiful right hand down the middle. Day fell hard to the canvas and Grove finished him off, bringing in referee Rick Fike to stop the bout at the 1:32 mark.
In 205-pound action, Jason Brilz improved to 17-1-1 with a three round unanimous decision victory over Tim Boetsch.
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Brilz.
Boetsch (8-3) went on the attack immediately and put Brilz on the ropes early. The Nebraskan, bleeding from the nose, weathered the storm though, and he looked to even the score with a quick takedown with 1:30 gone in the round. Boetsch got back to his feet with little effort and got back to the business of looking for the finisher while standing. Brilz’ defense was solid though, and while his striking was crude, he wasn’t shying away from exchanges with Boetsch.
Brilz got a takedown to kick off the second, and he transitioned into side control almost immediately. Boetsch tried to tie his foe up, and when that didn’t work, he tried to scramble his way out of trouble, but Brilz was effective in keeping him on the mat and in a precarious spot as he pounded away with strikes. Finally, with a minute left, Boetsch made it to his feet, but Brilz kept a tight grip on him as he drove him into the fence and let loose with knees to the leg.
After an early third round stalemate, Brilz broke through with a takedown, but after some solid ground strikes, Boetsch was able to get back up with close to two minutes left. Moments later, Brilz put him back down, and his smothering attack was exhausting Boetsch. Soon, Brilz was in the full mount position, and with Boetsch bloodied over the left eye from a shot to the head, ‘The Hitman’ was able to finish strong and secure the victory.
In the opener, veteran Aaron Riley was on the wrong end of a horrendous call by referee Rick Fike, causing him to lose his lightweight bout to Shane Nelson via a first round TKO.
After the two traded low kicks to open the bout, Nelson scored with a flush right hand that dropped Riley. Nelson moved in for the finish as Riley plotted his next move. Unfortunately, after some glancing strikes by Nelson, Riley wouldn’t get his next move, as Fike halted the bout at the 44 second mark.
“It wasn’t my call,” said Nelson, 13-3. “It was out of my hands if the ref stopped it. We can do it again.”
“It was definitely an early stoppage,” said Riley, 27-11-1. “Everybody saw me take a whole lot worse than that. I had all my faculties about me then, and I still do.”