Middleweight prospect Josh Samman made it three for three in the Octagon Sunday, celebrating his new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt by submitting Caio Magalhaes in the first round of their Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale prelim bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Samman’s kicks came early and often as the fight began, keeping Magalhaes from getting close. When the Brazilian did close the distance though, his punches made an impression on the Floridian, who nonetheless bloodied his foe’s nose with a stiff jab. Soon the bout strayed to the mat and Samman took over, taking Magalhaes’ back. “Hellboy” rose with Samman on his back, but there wasn’t going to be any escape, as the Ultimate Fighter alum sunk in a rear naked choke, and after the two fell back to the mat, Samman tightened his grip and forced a tap out at 2:52 of the opening round.
With the win, Samman ups his record to 12-3; Magalhaes falls to 9-2.
SANDERS vs. DOANE
It took three tries, but Jerrod Sanders got his first UFC victory against Hawaii’s Russell Doane, winning a three-round unanimous decision.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice.
The first three minutes of the opening round belonged to Sanders (15-3), as he used the wrestling acumen that served him well at Oklahoma State University before Doane came back and showed off his own game in the latter stages of the frame, taking his foe’s back for much of that time.
Sanders started the second stanza off well, but Doane (14-5) found daylight early and reversed position and took his opponent’s back. Sanders rose with Doane on his back, and when separated, the Hawaiian let his hands go, forcing Sanders to look for a takedown. He got it, soon taking Doane’s back and nearly getting a rear naked choke late in the round.
The final round started fast with a flurry of blows from Sanders, but the Oklahoma City product wound up on his back with Doane in control. In the third minute, Sanders got into the top position, but Doane scrambled and got free. Sanders was able to take over on the mat once more though, and he remained there for the rest of the bout.
SMITH vs. MILLER
Back in the Octagon for the first time since March of 2013, New Jersey’s Dan Miller fell victim to Trevor Smith and fatigue in their middleweight bout, Smith taking a shutout three-round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 30-25 twice and 30-26.
Miller’s first round back was a solid one, as he controlled the stand-up action and even did well while pinned against the fence for a spell. Late in the frame though, Smith surged, using a takedown and some ground-and-pound to give the judges scoring the fight a dilemma.
There were no such issues in rounds two and three, as Smith got the bout to the mat and dominated there, controlling position while landing enough shots to avoid any referee stand-ups.
Smith moves to 13-6 with the win; Miller falls to 12-7.
“I was coming off of a two year layoff and I wanted to perform to the best of my abilities tonight,” Miller said. “Unfortunately, it turned out to be a tough one for me. He caught me with a good shot in the first round that hurt me and I was fighting in quicksand from there on out just trying to hang on and recover. I got hit with a shot in the back of the head that dinged me as well. As far as the 30-25 rounds go, I didn’t think it was that dominant of a showing, but he’s a really tough guy and he was able to capitalize. Hats off to him, I hope he goes far.”
SULLIVAN vs. WATERS
Late replacement Dominic Waters put in a gutsy effort against George Sullivan, but the New Jersey native was too much for the Ultimate Fighter 16 alum, as he earned a hard-fought three-round unanimous decision.
Scores were 29-27, 30-25, 29-28 for Sullivan, now 17-4 with 1 NC; Santa Rosa’s Waters falls to 9-3.
Waters had some early success against Sullivan, who was busy but not too sharp as the bout began. But with each passing minute, “The Silencer” found his range and rhythm, and by the end of the round, Waters was cut over the left eye and on the receiving end of several hard shots.
Beginning the round with a takedown, Waters did his best to slow the attack of Sullivan, but he was unable to do anything on the mat. After rising, Sullivan landed in the top position when Waters pulled guard, and the punishment began again, Sullivan nearly locking up three submissions in between hard strikes to the head.
Still game, Waters took Sullivan to the mat as soon as the third round opened, and he immediately put his foe in trouble by taking his back. After a long spell there, the now bloodied Sullivan was able to turn and get into the top position, where he stayed until the final horn.
GATES vs. MONTAGUE
Fontana, California’s Willie Gates said in a pre-fight interview that he wanted to bring excitement to the flyweight division and he did a great job of it in the opener, halting former training partner Darrell Montague in just 96 seconds.
“Getting my first UFC win feels wonderful, that’s exactly what I expected. Fighting a former training partner was tough, but I’m exactly what the flyweight division needs. I’m fast, I’m powerful and I’m coming for you guys. You’re looking at the future champ – 2016, that belt will be mine.”
Looking relaxed in his second Octagon bout, Gates set up his strikes well and after landing a hard right hand, Montague wobbled and went down. Gates patiently followed up with punches to the head and knees to the body, with referee Kim Winslow halting the bout at the 1:36 mark.
With the win, Gates improves to 12-5; Montague falls to 13-5.