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UFC 116 Prelims: Schaub, Romero Shine

Brendan Schaub made it two quick knockouts in a row on the UFC 116 undercard; Romero walked through fire to best the Silverback.

LAS VEGAS, July 3 – All that training with Shane Carwin must be
rubbing off on heavyweight prospect Brendan Schaub, as the former
Ultimate Fighter competitor made it two quick knockouts in a row on the
UFC 116 undercard at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday night, halting
Chris Tuchscherer in just 67 seconds. See post-fight interviews with all of the night's winners at Order unaired prelims for $1.99 each at

Schaub vs Tuchscherer

– who knocked out Chase Gormley in 47 seconds in March, kept
Tuchscherer at bay with his strikes early, waiting for the one opening
he needed. Soon enough, it came, and an overhand right landed flush and
put Tuchscherer on the deck. A follow-up barrage kept ‘The Crowbar’
from shaking off the cobwebs, and forced referee Herb Dean to halt the
bout at the 1:07 mark.

With the win, Schaub improves to 7-1; Tuchscherer falls to 18-3 with 1 NC.

Petruzelli vs. Romero

Jersey’s latest hot prospect, Ricardo Romero, walked through fire to
get his first UFC win, shaking off hard shots and submission attempts
from Seth Petruzelli to submit the returning Octagon vet in the second
round of an exciting light heavyweight scrap.

As promised, Petruzelli came out firing, and in addition to landing
some initial bombs, he showed off his takedown defense as well as he
kept the former Rutgers University wrestler at bay. As the round
progressed, Romero was able to get some of his own shots in, and he was
able to use a spinning back kick from Petruzelli to get his first
takedown. ‘The Silverback’ recovered quickly though and got on top,
freeing himself to land with strikes. Moments later, it was Romero on
top and in control, and when he wasn’t looking for a submission, he was
firing off strikes. With less than a minute left, Romero almost got an
armbar, but Petruzelli escaped, got to his feet, and dropped his foe
with a left uppercut. It was Romero in control at the end though as he
looked to finish with a choke just before the bell.

After a well-deserved 60 second respite, Petruzelli and Romero
resumed their battle, with Petruzelli rocking his opponent with his
strikes again, prompting a takedown attempt from Romero. Petruzelli
responded with an armbar attempt, but Romero escaped and began firing
off ground strikes. Once more, Petruzelli tried for a submission from
the bottom, but Romero hung tough, punched his way out of trouble and
secured an armbar that forced Petruzelli to tap out at the 3:05 mark.

With the win, Romero improves to 11-1; Petruzelli falls to 14-6.

Grove vs. Reljic

Grove pulled one out of the well yet again, bouncing back from an April
loss to Mark Munoz with a three round split decision victory over Goran
Reljic in a back-and-forth middleweight battle.

“It was a big win,” said Grove. “I’m like a cockroach. I’m hard to get rid of.”

Scores were 30-27, 29-28, and 28-29 for Grove, who improves to 14-7; Reljic falls to 8-2.

The two engaged in a fast-paced kickboxing match for much of the
opening round, with both fighters having their moments of success.
Reljic shot for the first takedown of the bout with less than two
minutes left and got it, but it was Grove who got the best of the
exchange as he dropped Reljic moments later with an upkick from his
back, without question the biggest shot of the round.

Reljic got even early in the second with a big left hand, prompting
a takedown from Grove. Reljic worked for a submission from the bottom,
but Grove escaped and tried to land with his upkicks again until Reljic
found his way into his opponent’s guard. Grove did a lot of damage from
his back with short forearms and elbows, and with a minute left, the
bout was re-started by referee Mario Yamasaki, with a hard shot to the
head by Reljic being the only significant scoring being done in the
final 60 seconds.

Grove came out confidently for the final round, stuffing Reljic’s
takedown attempts while landing with punches, kicks, and knees.
Finally, with 1:14 left, Reljic got his takedown and tried to secure an
arm triangle. Grove resisted the attempt, eventually making it to his
feet just before the final bell.

Harris vs. Branch

Gerald “Hurricane” Harris made it 3-0 in the UFC this year with his
third straight knockout – this time taking out previously unbeaten
newcomer David Branch in the third round.

After 45 seconds of eyeing each other in the pocket, Harris (16-2)
fired off a looping left that produced an ‘ooh’ from the crowd and a
smile from Branch (6-1). After another period of inactivity, both
fighters began firing off strikes, and a right hand from Harris knocked
an off-balance Branch into the fence. With 90 seconds left, Harris
finally closed the gap and locked up with Branch. The Brooklynite fired
off elbows in response, but was then sent flying to the canvas by a
Harris takedown right before the bell.

Branch began the second more aggressively, leading Harris to take
the fight to the mat and unleash ground strikes. Branch stayed active
from the bottom and worked his way back to his feet, and this time he
took control against the fence until Harris secured the takedown with
1:30 left. After a brief spell on the canvas, the fighters rose, with
Harris landing a thudding uppercut on the way up. Branch took it well,
but was unable to retaliate.

Harris’ first takedown of the final round almost got him in trouble,
as Branch, a Renzo Gracie black belt, almost caught him in a
submission. Harris slammed his way out, and the two rose to their feet
shortly after. Branch tried to get his strikes off, but Harris was able
to smother them and get inside. Branch tried to pull guard to get a
spectacular finish, but it was Harris who ended up finishing things
with a thudding slam that knocked his opponent out at the 2:35 mark.

Roberts vs. Petz

prospect Daniel ‘Ninja’ Roberts used his takedowns and ground game to
earn his first UFC victory, as he scored a three round split decision
over returning vet Forrest Petz.

Scores were 29-28 twice and 28-29 for Roberts, who improves to 10-1; Petz falls to 24-8.

The action in a slow first round picked up late when Roberts got
Petz’ back on the ground and almost secured a rear naked choke, but
‘The Meat Cleaver’ was able to survive to the bell.

Petz got on the board early in the second thanks to a series of leg
kicks, only to get taken back down by Roberts, who got his back again.
This time, Petz was able to turn the tables and get back to his feet,
landing with hard shots every step of the way. Roberts appeared to be
rocked momentarily, but he did manage to get Petz to the canvas in the
final minute. Petz made it back standing, scored with a takedown of his
own, and fought off a guillotine choke attempt just before the end of
the round.

The striking of Petz continued to pay dividends in the first half of
the final round, as he scored with leg kicks, quick jabs, and a left
hook that rocked Roberts midway through. In response, Roberts shot for,
and got, the takedown, and fired off ground strikes, eventually getting
into the mount position in the final seconds of a close bout.

Madsen vs. Vemola

Jon Madsen spoiled the UFC debut and the perfect record of London’s
Karlos Vemola in the opener, but didn’t win any new fans with his
methodical three round unanimous decision win.

Scores were 30-27 across the board.

After a frantic start, the first two rounds of the bout were
characterized by Madsen controlling matters on the mat and against the
fence in less than scintillating fashion. Vemola was able to land some
hard shots early in round three, but Madsen responded by taking the
bout back to the mat, where he spent much of the final stanza, wrapping
up a clear but unimpressive win.

With the victory, Madsen improves to 6-0; Vemola falls to 8-1.