Click below for the UFC 138 prelim card report....
WELTERWEIGHT - JOHN MAGUIRE VS. JUSTIN EDWARDS
John Maguire’s UFC debut got off to a shaky start as he took a groin shot not long into the first round and had to have a timeout. But from the restart it was all action. Justin Edwards came forward, timed Maguire’s jab and landed a huge spinning back-kick underneath it, square on the liver. He followed that with a right hand to the jaw that dropped Maguire hard. See post-fight interview
Maguire’s fans got a scare but all it did was light a fire under him.
From that point on he was all over Edwards with clinches, takedowns and jiu-jitsu. Maguire classes himself a wrestler and wants to prove that the British can grapple as well as anyone. Smooth single-leg efforts and transitions between submission efforts suggest he can back his point up.
The third round was superb, featuring two spinning heel kicks from Edwards (one to the liver, one to the head) and a leglock fight on the floor that had the crowd on their edge of their seats. Ultimately though, Maguire’s wrestling and jiu-jitsu was too much and he was able to spend much of the final round on Edwards’ back with a body triangle locked in. The submission finish eluded him but Maguire’s conditioning was excellent and at the end of the fight he looked as if he could have gone one or even two more rounds at the same pace.
Maguire wins a unanimous decision 30-27
HEAVYWEIGHT - ROB BROUGHTON VS. PHIL DEFRIES
Phil DeFries looked to be a bundle of nerves before his UFC debut against the more experienced Rob Broughton, while Broughton was unusually placid. Perhaps that explains why it took three minutes for anything of consequence to happen. DeFries had been searching for a takedown, finally scored it, and briefly had Broughton on his back. See post-fight interview
Broughton managed to roll through to his knees and at that point he could have attacked DeFries’ legs - he wasn’t sprawling out - but instead he stayed put as DeFries casually wandered around him to take his back. That prompted Broughton to roll back into bottom side control, DeFries to return to top-side control. Broughton would then roll back to his knees and DeFries would wander round to take his back again before the pattern repeated itself.
That was essentially the story of the fight as a whole - this happened multiple times in each round, and for protracted periods - apart from a period in the second round where Broughton had top position and was able to spend half a round looking for a straight armlock while in top-crucifix. Other than that it was not a good performance from Broughton and DeFries’ win owed as much to Broughton’s passivity as to his own efforts.
Coming off a highly controversial loss in his last outing against Darren Elkins, Michihiro Omigawa was probably by no means sure of a win as he waited for the judge’s decision following three rounds against Jason Young, despite having solidly dominated almost the entire 15 minutes. See post-fight interview
His first punch of the fight was a massive left hook with extremely bad intentions, but Young met that force with force of his own. The striking was a decoy though - Omigawa wanted to be in the clinch and had no intention of standing with Young any longer than absolutely necessary. When they did strike it out, Young had some success - particularly with head kicks and jump knees - but Omigawa was straight into the clinch every time an opportunity presented itself.
As soon as that happened, it was mere moments before Young was off-balance and on his way to the floor. Omigawa calls it ‘new judo’ and Young had no answer for it. Tiny effortless foot-sweeps robbed him of equilibrium, which was followed by Omigawa’s fluid top game, resembling a bag of water in the way it flows from position to position and defies attempts to be caught hold of.
Omigawa was on the receiving end of boos as he worked methodically from the top, and while he was not hitting a lot from there, he did enough to put a mouse over Young’s eye that caused the doctor to take a look at it. At the start of round three, Young knew he needed the knockout and he launched a barrage at Omigawa again, with his right uppercut finding a home several times.
But Omigawa was canny enough to sit off and bide his time for the right opening - which again came by way of a footsweep into a trip. A heel-hook effort came close but did not succeed, so Omigawa had to content himself with riding out the rest of the round in top position before earning a 29-28 unanimous decision win and snapping a two-fight losing streak. Young is now 0-2 in the Octagon, but looked good standing; the UFC should give him a stand-up war with someone next. He could be a featherweight Pat Barry.
Che Mills has waited a long time to debut for the UFC. He tried out for season nine of The Ultimate Fighter and was expected to breeze into the house with no problems - only to lose the tryout match and return to the regional leagues. See post-fight interview
But all things happen for a reason, some say, and Mills will surely be wondering about that now after dispatching Chris Cope in just 40 seconds. Cope tried to play the striking game with Mills to start with but his aggression was matched and returned with interest. Mills’ precision striking sailed past Cope’s loose defence and a left hook / right hand combination staggered him.
That was followed by a thunderous knee to the jaw that dropped Cope flat. Referee Marc Goddard was taking a close look but he allowed the action to continue as Cope was struggling to his feet. He had not shifted Mills’ hand from the back of his head though and he took another huge knee to the jaw as he rose up, causing him to fall face-first to the canvas, unconscious at the 40 second mark. He drops to 6-2 while Mills rises to 14-4. Mills also received a $70,000 bonus after the event for Knockout of the Night.
BANTAMWEIGHT - CHRIS CARIASO VS. VAUGHAN LEE
Chris Cariaso took a round to warm up in the opening fight of the evening. He spent most of the first round pressed against the cage or on his back as hometown hero Vaughan Lee got busy with his clinch game. Lee used a ‘trapdoor’ takedown twice in the first to put Cariaso on his back, but was unable to capitalise or do much with the position. See post-fight interview
Carisao looked frustrated at the end of the round, but he had been given some cause for optimism by Lee’s lack of head movement. He started the second round aggressively and was not finding Lee hard to hit. After tagging him repeatedly he was able to get a takedown, pass to mount and secure the position for the remainder of the round.
Even on the scorecards at this point, round three was everything to play for. Again, Lee’s double-cover, straight line movement and lack of head movement meant that Cariaso was able to dig big uppercuts in with little resistance. Lee countered with a single-leg effort but was reversed and ended up being single-legged himself. Cariaso spent the rest of the round alternately landing elbows and looking for the RNC when Lee would briefly give up his back.
He finished the round in the RNC position and was literally sinking in the choke as the fight ended. The judges gave him a split-decision win, 29-28 on two cards. The other judge had it 29-28 for Lee, which was unusual in light of the preceding two rounds.