The Ultimate Fighter
Kingsbury Outlasts Hamman in Light Heavy War
AUSTIN, September 15 – If you want an example of leaving it all in the Octagon, look no further than the light heavyweight bout between Kyle Kingsbury and Jared Hamman at the Frank Erwin Center, as both fighters went for broke in a punishing 15 minute battle won by Kingsbury via unanimous decision on the preliminary portion of Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night card.
“I knew he had great wind and a good chin,” said Kingsbury. “There were a few times I rocked him, but he kept coming.”
Scores were 29-28 across the board for Kingsbury, who held off a late surge from Hamman to improve to 9-2 with 1 NC. Hamman falls to 12-3.
After a brief takedown by Kingsbury to kick off the bout, the two fighters stood and let the leather fly, with each taking some solid shots. Soon after, Kingsbury pinned Hamman against the fence for a spell, and when they broke, it was the former Arizona State football player landing with more hard blows, forcing Hamman – who was now bleeding from above the left eye to seek a brief break on the mat. After getting back up, Kingsbury scored with another takedown, but got back up almost immediately, tagging Hamman and then tying him up, a strategy that kept the El Segundo product off balance. Hamman did score with some good shots just before the bell though, bloodying his foe’s nose in the process.
Kingsbury continued to score well in the second, with his straighter shots hitting the mark more often than Hamman’s looping punches. As the round progressed, Hamman was getting rocked regularly and the cut was beginning to visibly bother him. “The Messenger” kept firing back though, knowing that one punch could change the course of the fight, but Kingsbury wasn’t having it, and with less than two minutes left, he took his foe down twice, adding more points to his tally. But with a minute remaining, a slip to the mat by Kingsbury allowed Hamman to put together a late rally and let his opponent know that he wasn’t done yet.
Rejuvenated by his late second round surge, Hamman came out blasting, momentarily silencing the pro-Kingsbury contingent. Kingsbury rejoined the fray, knocking Hamman’s mouthpiece loose. Fatigue was rapidly starting to become a factor, and each punch thrown had the potential to end the fight. Wisely, Kingsbury put some points on the board with a takedown, but Hamman got up quickly and began teeing off again, ending the bout with a flurry that had the crowd on its feet for both combatants.
“The victory doesn't put me anywhere in the division, just gives me another fight in the UFC,” said Kingsbury. “I hope the fans continue to enjoy my fights.”
Veteran Yves Edwards returned to the Octagon for the first time since 2006 and in front of his hometown fans in Austin, he delivered a strong performance as he won a three round unanimous decision over John Gunderson.
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Edwards, whose last UFC appearance was in a loss to Joe Stevenson at UFC 61 in 2006. His last UFC win came in 2004 as he knocked out Josh Thomson at UFC 49. Since the Stevenson bout, Edwards has posted an 8-5 record that includes tonight’s win.
Edwards came out of his corner with an evident intensity as he fought in his adopted hometown, and he landed effectively with his strikes in the early going and fought off a Gunderson takedown attempt. Gunderson didn’t stop working as Edwards tried to take his back, and he locked up his foe’s arm in response. Eventually Edwards broke free and began working his own offensive attack, ending up in the mount position. With the time in the round winding down, Gunderson gave up his back, but Edwards didn’t have enough ticks on the clock to finish.
Striking out of a southpaw stance, Edwards’ striking was still sharp in the second round, leading Gunderson to seek a takedown. Edwards sprawled out of trouble, landed a couple shots on the inside, and got back to landing a variety of punches and kicks on his foe until the bell ended the round.
With Gunderson still unable to get on track in the third round, Edwards took advantage, now delivering the hurt with ground strikes. Gunderson, never stopped as a pro, showed resilience under the attack in order to keep that streak intact, but it was clear that there would be no miracle comeback either, as Edwards sealed the victory.
With the win, Edwards improves to 39-16-1; Gunderson falls to 23-8.
It wasn’t pretty, but New York middleweight David Branch got his first UFC win, outpointing Poland’s Tomasz Drwal over three rounds.
The unanimous verdict read 30-27 across the board for Branch, who improves to 7-1; Drwal falls to 17-4.
Branch controlled the majority of the first round on the mat, not particularly thrilling the crowd, but doing enough with his ground strikes to keep Drwal from mounting any consistent offense.
There was little change in rounds two and three when it came to action – or the lack thereof – with Drwal unable to land anything of consequence while standing and Branch unable to do anything with dominant positions on the mat or against the cage, leading to a bout that was painful to watch, with the fans unable to hide their displeasure during or after the contest.
“I burned out a lot of energy working ground and pound to work in a submission,” said Branch. “I wanted to finish. I apologize to the fans.”
The Ultimate Fighter 11’s Rich Attonito made it two in a row in the Octagon as he spoiled the UFC debut of Rafael Natal with a workmanlike three round unanimous decision win.
Scores were 30-27 and 29-28 twice for Attonito, who ups his record to 9-3; Natal falls to 12-3.
Natal’s height and reach advantage, along with a busy and varied striking attack, gave Attonito fits for the first half of the opening round, but a right hand by “The Raging Bull” evened things up as he dropped the Brazilian to the mat. A follow-up flurry of punches bloodied Natal, but didn’t finish him, and “Sapo” was able to make it back to his feet. After clearing his head, Natal got back to business, taking Attonito down in the final minute.
The busy striking of Natal started the second round off strong for him, and after a couple failed attempts, he was able to take Attonito back to the mat. And when it was clear that his best chance of controlling his foe was while standing, he got back to his feet and did that for the remainder of the second stanza.
Showing more urgency, Attonito came out fast for the final round, only to get a thudding kick to the side for his trouble. He kept pressing though, refusing to let Natal get him to the canvas. Instead, it was Attonito taking control with ground strikes on the mat, and this late comeback proved to be the deciding factor in the bout for the American Top Team product.
UFC newcomers TJ Waldburger and David Mitchell put on an exciting three round groundfighting clinic in their welterweight bout, but when it was over, it was Belton, Texas’ Waldburger who issued Mitchell his first pro loss via unanimous decision.
“I just kept pushing it,” said Waldburger. “It is just three five minute rounds. Don't hold anything back.”
Scores were 30-27 across the board for Waldburger, who improves to 13-5; Mitchell falls to 11-1.
The bout went to the mat almost immediately, with Waldburger and Mitchell both searching for submissions. After those early attempts failed, the two continued to battle, with Waldburger firing off ground strikes between an armbar attempt and an eventual, but brief, return to the feet. Once on the ground again, Mitchell and Waldburger traded submission attempts again, thrilling the crowd in their attempt to finish the night early, but it was Waldburger who finished the round stronger thanks to some thudding shots to the head.
There was no let up to the fast pace in round two, with strikes and slick ground work alternating throughout. With a little over two minutes gone, Mitchell looked for a guillotine choke, but Waldburger broke loose, got in the mount position, and almost caught his foe in an armbar. This time it was Mitchell’s turn to escape, and just as in the early stages of the first round, leg locks were the order of the day until a break and some late ground strikes from Waldburger.
Waldburger took control early in the final round, bloodying his foe and taking his back. A rear naked choke followed seconds later, but the game Mitchell fought his way free. But Waldburger was not going to let up, especially in front of his homestate fans, and he continued to pound away with strikes until taking Mitchell’s back again. This time Mitchell had an easier time getting free, but the punches kept coming. The Californian kept firing back from the bottom position, but there was little weight behind the punches, and with a late surge of energy from Waldburger, the 22-year old’s victory was sealed.
Welterweight prospect Brian Foster got the night off to a quick start – literally – stopping Forrest Petz in just 67 seconds.
Foster’s striking was sharp from the start, particularly his left jab. But it was an overhand right that spelled the beginning of the end for Petz, who was dropped hard to the mat. The Cleveland native tried to recover, but Foster’s relentless follow-up attack kept that from happening, forcing referee Herb Dean to call a halt to the bout at the 1:07 mark.
“I tried to stay away from his power,” said Foster. “He has a habit of standing flat footed.... I hit him right on the button and he went down.”
With the win, Foster improves to 16-5; Petz falls to 24-9.