The Ultimate Fighter
Read on for the UFC on FX 1 main card report...
NASHVILLE, January 20 – Jim Miller weathered an early storm Friday night at Bridgestone Arena that saw him eat some heavy knees from Melvin Guillard, but he turned the tables with a textbook rear naked choke that earned him the victory in the UFC on FX main event, vaulting him right back into title contention at 155 pounds.
“I don’t get knocked down often and he knocked me down, so he hits hard,” Miller said of Guillard, who dropped his second straight after the choke at 2:04 of round one. “I don’t think there a bunch of people in this weight class or the one above that probably want to fight that kid.”
Miller didn’t lobby for a title shot, but did make it clear he’s ready for any challenge out there.
“I’m confident that I am the most dangerous lightweight in the world and I’m willing to make you guys believe that,” Miller said, before adding, “Everybody, you probably know that my nephew is going through some hard times and I want to thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your generosity.” Watch Miller's post-fight interview
LUDWIG VS. NEER
Welterweight Josh Neer notched his second straight UFC win, choking out veteran Duane Ludwig at 3:04 of the opening round in the UFC on FX co-main event. Ludwig, known for his Muay Thai prowess, got the better of the exchanges early, particularly finding a home for his knees in the clinch. But the Kryptonite to Ludwig has always been Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so Neer – one of the sport’s most durable fighters – chose not to press his luck any further and opted to take the fight to the ground.
“I wanted to stand and trade. He was getting the better of me so I wanted to take it to the ground and finish it,” said Neer, who improved to 33-10-1. Hear what "The Dentist" had to say backstage
Ludwig, meanwhile, fell to 29-12.
EASTON VS. PAPAZIAN
Overlooked. Underrated. Overmatched.
You could say all of those things about Jared Papazian heading into his matchup with Mike Easton. The little-known California bantamweight admirably stepped in as a late replacement opponent for Mike Easton, a formidable fighter and frequent training partner of UFC champ Dominick Cruz. Instead of being easy prey, Papazian gave Easton all he could handle from start to finish in a back-and-forth affair packed with toe-to-toe exchanges.
Takedowns, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling were largely non-existent in this Fight of the Night caliber bout. Easton, a BJJ black belt under Lloyd Irvin, scored one takedown but did little with it. The remainder of the bout saw them upright. Their fight seemed to follow a distinct pattern: One man would land combos and/or leg kicks, and the other would answer. Almost every time. Clearly a close contest, it did seem that Easton (12-1) packed more power on his shots, particularly the leg kicks that continually battered Papazian’s lead leg. And, for the first two rounds at least, it was Easton who straightforwardly stalked while Papazian opted to circle and move.
In the third round, with both fighters slowing, fans were treated to sustained phonebook exchanges, with Papazian (14-7) seemingly getting the better of it.
It was perhaps the evening’s most entertaining scrap and it was Easton who inched by via majority decision (scores of 29-28, 30-27, and 29-29).
“Man, he’s a tough dude,” said Easton. “I knew he was going to come and show up. Man, we fought tonight. We the 35ers baby, it’s nothing but nonstop action. We love to fight.” Watch Easton's emotional post-fight interview
MORECRAFT VS. BARRY
He fought off his back. He fought off an armbar. He shook a 260-pounder off his back.
Heavyweight prospect Pat Barry’s vulnerabilities on the mat are well documented, and Christian Morecraft did everything in his power to exploit them. But Barry’s defense earned him more opportunities on his feet and – after loosening up his adversary with several thumping kicks to his lead leg – Barry went upstairs and dropped Morecraft with a wide left hook. With Morecraft dazed, Barry dove in with a right hand and landed a couple more hard shots before referee Herb Dean halted the action at 3:38 of round one. Watch Barry's post-fight interview