Click below for the UFC 135 main card report....
DENVER, September 24 –Before the end came, with one second left in the first round, UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes looked sharp and ready for anything Josh Koscheck had to throw at him in the UFC 135 co-main event Saturday night at Pepsi Center. But eventually, the younger and faster welterweight contender caught up the 37-year old Hughes, stopping him with a series of thudding strikes that gave the Illinois native his second consecutive KO defeat. See Koscheck post-fight interview
“I’m not retiring,” said Hughes. “I’m gonna tell the UFC to put me up on the shelf and we’ll see what happens after that.” See Hughes post-fight interview
“I just want to thank Matt Hughes for taking this fight this late in his career,” said Koscheck, who took the bout on short notice after an injury forced Diego Sanchez out. “He’s a legend and I’m really glad that I got the opportunity to fight a legend like him.”
The two welterweights got acquainted with each other on the feet in the first round, with Koscheck scoring with a blazing fast combination, and Hughes getting in a few jabs and a solid lead left hook. As the round progressed, it was clear that Koscheck wanted to finish things with his right uppercut, but Hughes eluded the punch on a number of occasions as the crowd chanted his name. A takedown attempt by Koscheck later in the frame was turned back, but in the final minute, Koscheck began scoring with his right hand, rocking the former two-time welterweight champion. Eventually, the barrage of shots forced Hughes to the mat, where Koscheck continued throwing and landing right hands on his downed foe. Eventually, referee Mario Yamasaki had seen enough, calling a halt to the bout at the 4:59 mark.
With the win, Koscheck, in his first fight since a December 2010 loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, improves to 18-5; Hughes falls to 46-9.
ROTHWELL vs. HUNT
Former K-1 kickboxing superstar Mark Hunt showed off some groundwork in his big three round win over Ben Rothwell, unanimously decisioning his foe in a grueling heavyweight scrap. See post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28, 29-27, and 30-27 for “The Super Samoan,” who evens his MMA record at 7-7; Rothwell falls to 31-8.
After having his difficulties closing the distance on the hard-punching Hunt, Rothwell got the takedown two minutes in and appeared to be close to finishing things as he got the full mount position. Hunt showed off some solid defense though, as he got out of trouble and got to his feet. In the final 90 seconds, the action got sloppy, but Rothwell emerged with a cut over his right eye before finishing strong with another takedown and some ground strikes.
Hunt was breathing heavy after the first five minutes, but he began firing off hard leg kicks and punches to the head to keep Rothwell at bay, and with 3:20 left, he even scored a takedown of his own, with the ensuing ground strikes reopening the cut over Rothwell’s eye. Unable to escape, Rothwell took a pounding for the rest of the round, with Hunt even getting amazingly close to pulling off an armbar before the bell rang.
Rothwell, game, but exhausted, had to be helped to his corner after round two, and after taking some shots from Hunt, he was on wobbly legs again. Hunt again found a positive place to work on the canvas, and he piled up the points with his ground strikes. After the second re-start of the round by referee Adam Martinez, both fighters were out of gas, and though Hunt tried to land a finishing haymaker, Rothwell was able to elude danger and make it to the bell.
BROWNE vs. BROUGHTON
All three judges scored it 30-27 for Browne.
After a fast start by Browne (12-0-1), the opening round settled into a slow moving pattern where neither fighter did much to take control, but in the final stages of the stanza, Browne landed some solid strikes and then ended the round with a sequence of ground and pound that put him in good stead heading into the second.
Another slow start epitomized round two, with a flurry of hard shots by Browne two minutes in breaking up the boos from the crowd. The tough Liverpool product wouldn’t go down though, which earned him the respect of his opponent. But Broughton (15-6-1) was doing precious little offensively, and when he fell backwards to the mat after attempting to grab Browne’s head, “Hapa” got in a dominant position on the canvas, and he finished the round with another series of ground strikes.
There was little of note to recommend in the third round, as Browne dominated the majority of the frame on the mat. Broughton had a brief moment of light when he grabbed his opponent’s arm for a kimura attempt, but Browne was never in any serious danger as he rode out the rest of the bout.
DIAZ vs. GOMI
Nate Diaz was brilliant in his return to lightweight after a four fight run at welterweight, as he put on a precision striking and jiu-jitsu clinic against former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi before finishing off “The Fireball Kid” via submission in the first round. See post-fight interview
After working his jab effectively to open the bout, Diaz dropped Gomi briefly with the first hard left he landed. Gomi rose quickly, missing a couple wide haymakers as Diaz picked away at him. The Stockton standout was extremely confident, and Gomi was rapidly getting outclassed, and when the fight went to the mat, it was game over, as Diaz went from triangle choke to the finishing armbar that brought the tap out at 4:27 of the round.
With the win, Diaz improves to 14-7; Gomi falls to 32-8 with 1 NC. Diaz’ older brother Nick fought Gomi in a 2007 PRIDE bout, submitting him in the second round before the bout was later ruled a no contest.