Click below for the UFC 137 prelim card report....
LAS VEGAS, October 29 – Lightweight contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone continued to impress in UFC 137 preliminary action at the Mandalay Bay Events Center Saturday, as he tore into Dennis Siver early and often before submitting his opponent in the first round to win his sixth consecutive bout. See post-fight interview
Cerrone raced out of his corner at the bell and nailed Siver with a kick to the midsection, setting the tone of the bout immediately. Siver responded with his own strikes, but 45 seconds in, a left kick to the head staggered the Germany native. Cerrone ran in to finish, even cracking Siver with a hard left hook, but Siver was able to survive. It wasn’t for long though, as Cerrone again rocked his foe, and in a scramble to the mat, he took Siver’s back and sunk in a rear naked choke, forcing a tap out at 2:22 of the opening frame.
With the win, Cerrone improves to 17-3 with 1 NC, and picks up yet another bonus check - $75,000 for Submission of the Night. It's the third bonus for Cerrone in his four UFC fights this year - he earned Fight of the Night in February at UFC 126 and Knockout of the Night at UFC on Versus 6 in August. Siver, who saw a four fight winning streak snapped, falls to 19-8.
PALASZEWSKI vs. GRIFFIN
Veteran Bart Palaszewski made a successful UFC and featherweight debut, impressively stopping Tyson Griffin in the first round of a bout contested at 148 pounds following Griffin’s failure to make weight on Friday. See post-fight interview
A WEC standout, Palaszewski (35-14) was the busier of the two from the start, allowing him to keep Griffin (15-6) off balance until he caught him with two lefts to the head, staggering the Las Vegan. Palaszewski pounced on his hurt opponent, ripping off a volley of unanswered blows until a left-right sent Griffin to the canvas, prompting referee Steve Mazzagatti to halt the bout at the 2:45 mark. The finish scored "Bartimus" a $75,000 bonus for Knockout of the Night.
VERA vs. MARSHALL
Brandon Vera survived a late fight surge from Eliot Marshall in their light heavyweight bout, going on to win a close, but unanimous, decision to snap a three fight winless streak. See post-fight interview
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Vera.
Appearing confident and focused, Vera’s striking looked sharper than it has in several fights, and with the exception of some solid punches landed by Marshall with a little over two minutes remaining, he clearly controlled the opening round.
The action slowed considerably in the second, but Vera remained on top, scoring much of his points with his control of Marshall on the ground.
In the opening minute of the final round, Marshall rocked Vera with a right hand and pounced, looking to finish. Vera weathered the assault and got back to his feet, but ate another hard shot before closing the distance and tying the Coloradan up against the fence. With a little over two minutes left, the two broke, and after a sloppy exchange, the bout went back to the mat, this time with Marshall taking Vera’s back. After a spell of inactivity, Marshall sprang into action with a tight armbar attempt, but Vera got loose and made it to the final bell for a much needed victory.
With the win, Vera improves to 12-5 with 1 NC; Marshall falls to 11-5.
NIJEM vs. DOWNES
The unanimous decision for Nijem read 30-25, 30-26, and 30-27.
Nijem (6-2) didn’t disguise his gameplan leading up to the bout, and he executed it as soon as the bell sounded, using his striking to get Downes (8-3) to the mat. Downes didn’t stay there long, but he didn’t stay upright long either, as Nijem scored a second takedown. As the round entered its second half, Nijem took Downes’ back and got the hooks in, eventually sinking in a rear naked choke. Downes found some daylight though, escaping and getting back to his feet. Regardless, Nijem kept the pressure on and ended the stanza in the same dominant position.
The fighters took matters to the mat almost immediately in round two, with Downes’ submission attempts met by attempts from Nijem that, while not successful, kept him in a dominant position where he could rip off ground strikes and put another round in the bank.
The third round was the most lopsided of the bout, with Nijem completely dominating the entire five minutes, but he was unable to finish the gutsy Downes on the ground.
CARMONT vs. CAMOZZI
Debuting Canadian middleweight Francis Carmont did his training partner, welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre proud, scoring a shutout three round unanimous decision win over Chris Camozzi. See post-fight interview
Scores were 30-26 and 30-27 twice.
Carmont (17-7) fought well in his first UFC round, edging a competitive first five minutes with a takedown and some busy striking when Camozzi (15-5) wasn’t pinning him to the fence and getting his own strikes off.
The first half of the second was a grueling one, as Camozzi and Carmont battled it out at close range along the fence, but in the second half, Carmont pulled away once he got loose, slamming Camozzi and later dropping him with a hard left hand in the final minute.
Striding forward confidently, Carmont ripped off some hard punches early in the third and generally controlled matters, only finding some trouble when Camozzi almost locked in a fight-ending kimura in the closing moments of the bout.
STARKS vs. JACOBY
Coming in on short notice to replace the injured Brad Tavares was no problem for Arizona’s Clifford Starks, who won a methodical, but clear-cut three round unanimous decision over Dustin Jacoby in a clash of unbeaten middleweight prospects. See post-fight interview
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Starks, who improves to 7-0; Jacoby falls to 7-1.
A slow first round favored late replacement Starks, as he was able to fight at a measured pace, scoring with a sporadic, but stiff, jab on a number of occasions before ending the round with a takedown. When Jacoby got busier in the second frame, Arizona State vet Starks went back to his D-I wrestling game, putting his foe on his back with relative ease and finishing up with some solid ground strikes. After landing two jarring shots in the early stages of the final round, Starks again got the bout to the mat, with his ground and pound attack cementing his victory.