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Simpson Spoils Herman Homecoming; Duffee Scores Record KO

Thomas Gerbasi, UFC - Rising middleweight prospect Aaron Simpson continued to impress at the Rose Garden Arena Saturday night, as he spoiled the homecoming of Ed Herman via second round TKO in UFC 102 preliminary action. It was the second straight stoppage win for the 35-year old former All-American wrestler, who halted Tim McKenzie in April.

By Thomas Gerbasi

PORTLAND, OR, AUGUST 29 – Rising middleweight prospect Aaron Simpson continued to impress at the Rose Garden Arena Saturday night, as he spoiled the homecoming of Ed Herman via second round TKO in UFC 102 preliminary action. It was the second straight stoppage win for the 35-year old former All-American wrestler, who halted Tim McKenzie in April.

“I’m a little older now, so my days are numbered, but it’s one fight at a time,” said Simpson, when asked what’s next for him.

Despite a rousing ovation from his hometown fans, Herman seemed loose as the bout began and he countered well when Simpson shot in with quick shots to the head. For his part, Simpson kept working, lifting and then dropping Herman with a thud that gave him the upper hand. Herman fought well off his back, eventually getting to his feet, but the heavy handed Simpson kept coming, and he dropped Herman with under two minutes left. Herman quickly regained his senses and made it to his feet, but Simpson again attacked with a takedown followed by ground strikes, putting an exclamation mark on a big round as Herman limped back to his corner, apparently hurting his left knee.

Herman came out for round two, but after throwing a right kick that Simpson caught, the “A-Train” followed with a right hand down the middle that missed as Herman fell to the mat. As Simpson moved in for the finish, referee Yves Lavigne had seen enough, halting the bout at 17 seconds of the second round as Herman grasped his knee in pain.

Simpson ups his record to 6-0 with the win; Herman falls to 17-7.

Heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga ruined the UFC debut of Brock Lesnar training partner Chris Tuchscherer, stopping “The Crowbar” less than three minutes into the first round.

The bout almost ended as soon as it started when a flush low kick forced referee Dave Hagen to call a stop to the action. Tuchscherer, in excruciating pain, took the full allotted five minutes to recover, and when the bout resumed, Gonzaga pounced, dropping Tuchscherer with a left kick to the head before proceeding to pound away at his foe on the mat. “The Crowbar”, bloodied and battered, refused to give in, but eventually Hagen had seen enough, halting the bout at 2:27 of the opening round.

“It affected the fight a lot, but this happens,” said Gonzaga of the low blow. “I didn’t look to hurt him in a bad way. I’m getting more strength and I want to get another title shot again. I’m just waiting for my next fight.”

Gonzaga improves to 11-4 with the victory; Tuchscherer falls to 17-2, with 1 NC.

Chicago police officer Mike Russow laid down the law in his UFC debut, winning a three round unanimous decision over Justin McCully in heavyweight action.

Scores for Russow were 29-28, 30-26, and 30-27.

Russow (12-1, 1 NC) took the fight to McCully from the start, putting the Washington DC native on his back while working his ground and pound attack. McCully (9-5-2) had few answers for his much bigger opponent, and though he was able to survive and even attempt a couple of submissions, including a rolling kimura, he was unable to break the UFC first timer, and even got a visit from the Octagonside physician between rounds.

McCully was allowed out for the second round though, and though he charged right at Russow, the Octagon rookie put him right back on the canvas and again dominated the action. After a stoppage by referee Herb Dean for a shot to the back of the head by Duffee, the action was re-started with McCully sporting a nasty mouse under his left eye. And though Russow almost finished things with a kimura in the final seconds, the bell intervened.

There was more of the same in the third round, with McCully game, but unable to put together any sort of sustained offensive attack against the swarming Russow.

It didn’t take long for highly-touted heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee to make an impact in his UFC debut, as the American Top Team product scored with a straight left to the jaw of Tim Hague and followed up with a ferocious ground assault, forcing Mario Yamasaki to halt the fight just seven seconds into the first round, giving Duffee the fastest knockout in UFC history.

“I came out aggressive and he came out aggressive,” said Duffee. “He made the first move, I countered with a jab and he went down.”

With the win, Duffee improves to 6-0; Hague falls to 10-2. The previous record holders for fastest KO were James Irvin (over Houston Alexander) and Don Frye (over Thomas Ramirez), who won their bouts in eight seconds.

In an exciting three round war, Mark Munoz rebounded from his March loss to Matt Hamill with a razor-thin split decision win over Nick Catone in the Californian’s middleweight debut.

Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Munoz, who improves to 6-1; Catone falls to 7-2.

The two former college wrestlers locked up immediately, with Munoz landing with knees on the inside and Catone answering back with hard punches upstairs. Having tasted Catone’s power, Munoz shot in for two takedowns, but was rebuffed. After a brief break following a low kick by Munoz, it was Catone who got the first takedown, and he went to work with knees to the body from side control. Munoz battled his way out and back to his feet though, and scored points with a brief slam to the mat. After a couple of heated exchanges, the two locked up against the fence, trading knees until a Catone takedown ended the round.

Catone got on the board first in round two with a takedown, but Munoz was able to get back to his feet as the New Jersey native tried to take his back. Munoz attempted to even the score, but Catone’s defense was solid, and his striking was even better, as his fast 1-2’s hit the mark. The fast-paced action continued throughout the round, as both men battled for position. It was Catone’s speed that was making the difference though.

Still firing off clean combinations, Catone came out of the gate fast in the final round, but just as it looked like he was about to take over, Munoz would fire back. Midway through the round, Munoz went for a guillotine choke, but Catone broke out and looked for a heel hook. Munoz escaped and fired off some ground strikes before the two stood and traded. Again though, the fight went to the mat, with Catone looking to submit his foe. “The Filipino Wrecking Machine” powered out of trouble and got into side control and then to Catone’s back, firing away the entire time as he looked to finish, and though the finish didn’t come, the two middleweights got a well-deserved ovation at the final bell.

“My corner told me it was one round apiece heading into the third, so I knew I needed to go get it and win the third round,” said Munoz.

Unbeaten Eugene, Oregon native Evan Dunham got the evening off to a good start for the local boys, pounding out a three round split decision over Marcus Aurelio in an entertaining lightweight bout.

Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Dunham.

“I knew he’s never been finished, so I knew the fight would go on,” said Dunham. “ I love fighting in Portland. The fans were great.”

Amped up by fighting in front of his home state fans, Dunham came out fast, peppering Aurelio with quick 1-2s from long range and following up with shorter power shots at close range. Midway through the round, Dunham dropped Aurelio with a left hand, but the Brazilian grappling ace was able to weather the follow-up assault. Once standing, Aurelio tried to even the score, but the faster Dunham made sure he was gone before anything got close, and his takedown defense kept Aurelio at bay as well for the rest of the round.

Dunham’s strategy remained unchanged in round two, but early on Aurelio was able to get the hometown favorite to the canvas, where he looked to turn the tide. Dunham got back to his feet a short time later, and though he caught a couple wide shots from Aurelio, he was unfazed by the haymakers, and Aurelio was looking weary in the final two minutes as Dunham mixed kicks into his attack.

Trying to turn things around, Aurelio got the fight to the mat in the third, and though Dunham’s ground defense was solid, “Maximus” kept pushing for the submission, eventually locking in a guillotine choke. After some tense moments for the Oregon fans, Dunham escaped and the two exchanged takedowns. With a minute left, Aurelio again looked for the takedown, but Dunham fought it off and ended the bout with some crisp strikes until the final bell sounded.

With the win, Dunham improves to 9-0; Aurelio falls to 18-8.