UFC bantamweight title: Renan Barao vs. Urijah Faber
Barao has one of MMA's most impressive unbeaten streaks, going 31-0 with 1 no contest since losing his MMA debut. He trains with Jose Aldo and sports a very well rounded game with very good striking and a high level ground game. He was crowned UFC interim bantamweight champion with a win over Faber in 2012 and was made full fledged champion when Dominick Cruz suffered another injury preparing to fight Barao on this card and was forced to pull out. Faber is one of the lighter weight divisions' most popular fighters, a charismatic and well rounded star with a particular strong ground game. He has won four straight fights to earn this shot and has been chasing the gold since losing his WEC featherweight title to Mike Brown in 2008.
Round 1. Faber catches a Barao low kick and lands a couple of punches to the head before releasing. Barao catches a Faber kick and lands a few punches to the side of the head before Faber can turn himself around. As Faber moves in, he is caught with some hard Barao punches from close range. Barao drops Faber with a hard straight punch and looks to finish with big punches on the ground. He pummels Faber with shots but Faber covers up and survives. As Faber gets up, he eats a big knee and Barao attacks with vigor again, looking to finish. He lands a bunch of big punches but Faber survives. Faber is able to continue but Barao drops him again with a punch and fires a series of punches on the ground. This time, referee Herb Dean stops the contest. Faber protests but he had been clocked a number of separate times all in a very short period of time.
Winner: Renan Barao, TKO, round 1.
UFC featherweight title: Jose Aldo vs. Ricardo Lamas
Aldo has won 16 straight fights and never lost in the WEC or UFC. He wins almost all of his fights with his striking but possesses an excellent ground game as well. If he has a weakness, it is that he has slowed down late in five round fights. Lamas is a wrestler with power and four straight wins. However, few believe he will pose a significant obstacle to Aldo and he is the prohibitive betting underdog.
Round 1. During an extended feeling out period, Lamas circles around the outside of the cage while Aldo pursues on the inside. Lamas throws leg kicks to establish range, which are mostly checked by Aldo. Aldo throws little early, occasionally letting go a few power punches. Aldo catches a leg kick and swarms with punches that back Lamas up against the cage. However, none get through well enough to cause significant damage and Aldo backs up. Lamas throws a few spinning kicks that don't come within a few feet of Aldo's head. Aldo runs in with a few punches at the close of the round. Uneventful round. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 2. Lamas throws a couple of his leg kicks and Aldo answers back with a leg kick at seemingly three times the power. Aldo punishes Lamas with some hard punches to the body. He then throws a few punches to the head. Aldo is getting much more comfortable, a bad sign for Lamas. Lamas connects with a nice jab. Aldo lands three straight hard leg kicks to Lamas. Lamas continues to use his leg kicks, but they're so much less impactful. Aldo throws a few more leg kicks and the round ends. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 3. Aldo goes back to work with leg kicks. He moves in, kicking one leg and then the other, while mixing in some punches to the head. Lamas continues to throw his kicks, but the low kicks are so weak and the high kicks never come close to connecting. Aldo lands a couple punches to the head. This feels like a sparring session. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 4. Lamas finally goes for a takedown. He lifts Aldo off the ground, with Aldo balancing his feet on the cage. Lamas holds onto the single leg and keeps working but finally has to give it up and Aldo reverses him against the cage. They go down to the ground with Aldo on top. Aldo works his way into mount and Lamas gives Aldo his back. Aldo attempts a rear naked choke but Lamas escapes and looks to take Aldo down. Aldo drops some elbows to the side of the head like Travis Browne. 10-9 Aldo.
Round 5. Lamas approaches Aldo with a hard punch attempt. Aldo avoids it and takes Lamas down. He lands a few punches from top position. Lamas gets up and takes top position on Aldo. He throws down some punches from the top with two minutes left in the contest. Lamas drops a hard elbow and punches as Aldo just holds on. But Aldo isn't in any real danger. The fight concludes with Lamas on top landing punches. 10-9 Lamas, 49-46 Aldo.
Winner: Jose Aldo, unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
Frank Mir vs. Alistair Overeem
Mir and Overeem are two of the better heavyweights in MMA history. Mir is a former UFC heavyweight champion. He came into the MMA game heavily reliant on his exemplary jiu jitsu but overtime developed a dangerous striking game as well. The problem throughout his career is that he tends to fade when hit hard. Overeem is one of the most feared strikers in MMA history, with dangerous punches, kicks and knees. Overeem's shortcoming is that he doesn't have great cardio and can be finished with strikes or submissions. Given that Mir has lost three straight and Overeem has lost two straight, it's do or die for both guys.
Round 1. Mir lands a nice left/right punch combination. They clinch briefly by the cage and separate. Overeem's hands are low. They clinch and Overeem lands a couple knees to the body. Mir goes down and Overeem looks to finish with punches on the ground. Overeem holds Mir's arm behind his head and drops elbows with his other arm. Overeem lands a couple knees to the body but Mir stands back up. Overeem backs up and they return to the standup. They clinch and Mir pulls guard. Overeem is in Mir's half guard, a position where Mir can't threaten as much as in others. 10-9 Overeem.
Round 2. Overeem lands a jab early. Mir scores with a couple leg kicks. Mir tries to pull guard but Overeem throws him down. Mir comes in and clinches. Overeem presses him against the cage and throws a knee. Overeem stuns Mir with three punches. Mir charges forward and gets a takedown. Mir looks for a guillotine choke but Overeem gets out of trouble. Mir grabs another guillotine that looks tight and the crowd explodes, but Overeem is able to pop his head out and take top position. Overeem lands some punches while Mir throws up his legs and looks for an armbar. They are returned to the feet and the round ends. 10-9 Overeem.
Round 3. Mir pulls guard. Overeem looks for a keylock from the top but then just stands up. Mir shoots for a takedown. He doesn't get it but Overem lands a punch and drops down into top position. Overeem lands some punches and elbows from the top while Mir mostly just hangs on. Overeem stands up with 70 seconds left. Overeem connects with a hard straight right punch. And the fight comes to an end. 10-9 Overeem, 30-27 Overeem.
Winner: Alistair Overeem, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
John Lineker vs. Ali Bagautinov
The winner of this fight could be in line for a shot at the UFC flyweight title. Lineker is a wild finisher with three straight knockouts in the UFC. He has had repeated trouble making weight but did make weight for this fight on his second attempt. Bagautinov is a Russian dynamo with great striking, sambo, wrestling and jiu jitsu. He has won both of his UFC fights.
Round 1. Lineker methodically moves in but as he goes to throw a punch, Bagautinov ducks down and takes him to the mat. Bagautinov postures up and throws punches from high up to gain more power. When Lineker looks to stand, Bagautinov quickly moves lower to prevent that. As Bagautinov stands up, Lineker attempts a heel hook. Bagautinov then looks for a leg lock of his own the other way. They separate and stand back up. Lineker again slowly sizes up Bagautinov and closes range. Then when he goes to throw a high kick, Bagautinov catches it and dumps Lineker back to the ground. 10-9 Bagautinov.
Round 2. As soon as Lineker throws a kick, Bagautinov immediately looks to catch it and take him down again. This time, he isn't able to grab hold. Bagautinov shoots for a takedown but eats a hard knee and backs off. He goes for it again and gets another knee, this time right to the head. He backs off. Lineker presses the action and backs Bagautinov by the cage. They exchange punches, with each man landing telling blows. Bagautinov appears to momentarily stun Bagautinov a little bit, but Bagautinov recovers and goes for a takedown. Lineker again defends well. Lineker continues to land the better punches standing, although Bagautinov mixes in more in the way of kicks. 10-9 Lineker. It seems pretty clear that whoever wins the third round will win this fight.
Round 3. Lineker pursues Bagautinov around the cage. They exchange punches by the fence. Bagautinov takes Lineker down. Lineker gets right back up but then is deposited once more to the canvas. Lineker grabs a kimura from the bottom while Bagautinov lands elbows from half guard. Bagautinov then moves into side control and Lineker has to release the kimura. Lineker stands up but eats a punch to the chin and is taken right back down. Bagautinov lands punches from the top until Lineker finally returns to his feet with 90 seconds left in the fight. Lineker pursues Bagautinov and gets caught with a solid counter left and then taken back down. He drops down some hard punches and defends an attack on his leg while waving to the crowd and posing as the fight ends. 10-9 Bagautinov, 29-28 Bagautinov.
Winner: Ali Bagautinov, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Abel Trujillo vs. Jamie Varner
Trujillo is a slugger who hits hard and has a wrestling background. He's coming off an impressive win over Roger Bowling and his only UFC loss is to dangerous contender Khabib Nurmagomedov. Varner was written off by many a couple years back when he lost a series of fights on his way out of WEC and then lost on smaller shows. But he returned to UFC with a spectacular TKO of then undefeated Edson Barboza. He is 1-2 since but has new life in his career.
Round 1. Varner connects with the best few early punches. Trujillo answers back shortly thereafter by finally connecting with some heavy hooks that he'd been firing in since the beginning. It feels like Trujillo is looking to end the fight with every shot while Varner just wants to make sure he lands solidly. Trujillo goes for a takedown but Varner reverses him and takes Trujillo's back without the hooks in. Varner transitions into a North/South choke attempt. Varner eventually gives up and they return to their feet. They decide to have a firefight from close range, throwing looping power punches from close range with bad intentions. Trujillo appears to land the best of the exchange but Varner lands another nice one of his own as the round closes out. 10-9 Varner.
Round 2. They come out swinging wildly again. Varner staggers Trujillo with a big punch and moves in with more shots. Trujillo responds with a hard counter of his own and Varner instinctively goes for a takedown. Varner comes in with more punches and has Trujillo in big trouble. Trujillo goes for a desperation takedown but Varner keeps landing shots and looks close to finishing. Trujillo gets up and Varner goes to town with additional punches. It looks like Trujillo could be finished any shot but somehow he survives. Varner backs up and Trujillo comes forward. Trujillo lands a hook right to the chin and Varner drops face first unconscious. That was one of the most incredible rounds you're ever going to see.
Winner: Abel Trujillo, KO, round 2.
John Makdessi vs. Alan Patrick
Makdessi is an excellent kickboxer who trains out of the famed Tristar Gym in Montreal. He has won three straight fights in the UFC and is looking to become a lightweight contender. Patrick is a wild, undefeated Brazilian who made an impressive UFC debut and is looking to go 2-0 inside the Octagon.
Round 1. Patrick, who looks much bigger and thicker, immediately goes for a takedown. Makdessi stops it. Patrick goes for another takedown and it's blocked again. Patrick charges in with some wild punches and an attempt at a Capoeira kick. Makdessi to this point has mostly been feeling Patrick out and not throwing a lot. Patrick gets a takedown with a minute left but Makdessi stands back up immediately. Patrick wasn't able to accomplish much of anything but Makdessi didn't even attempt much in the way of offense. 10-9 Patrick.
Round 2. Patrick comes in with a kick and tries for a takedown but doesn't come close to setting it up. Patrick briefly gets Makdessi down but Makdessi stands right back up. Patrick does land a good knee to the body on the break. Makdessi continues to throw one shot at a time, mostly what seem to be range establishing low kicks. Makdessi gets a little more active with his low kicks and occasional jab. The crowd boos at the close of the round as it has been quite the run of awful action. 10-9 Patrick.
Round 3. The fight continues with neither man landing much. Patrick connects with a solid high kick. Makdessi uses a decent leg kick. Time passes. Makdessi catches Patrick off balance and throws him down. Finally, it's over. The crowd boos loudly. At least they didn't throw anything. 10-9 Makdessi, 29-28 Patrick.
Winner: Alan Patrick, unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28).
Neil Magny vs. Gasan Umalatov
Magny is an Ultimate Fighter veteran with a 1-2 record inside the Octagon. Having lost his last two fights, he likely needs a win here to remain in the UFC. Umalatov has accumulated a 14-2-1 record in the Russian MMA ranks and makes his American debut here. He is not considered an elite prospect in spite of the glossy record. He recently fought for the uniquely titled Dictator Fighting Championship in Moscow.
Round 1. Magny is the more active fighter early, throwing out jabs and straight punches up the middle. Magny catches a leg kick and nails Umalatov with some punches from close range. Umalatov scores a takedown a little less than two minutes into the round. Umalatov quickly moves to gain side control but can't get it. He moves up to a standing position but eats a hard upkick and backs up. Magny stands up and goes for a takedown of his own. Umalatov blocks it without difficulty. Magny continues to walk down Umalatov. Umalatov looks for a takedown but can't get it. Magny then looks for a takedown of his own. Umalatov uses a trip and they both tumble to the mat, but neither man is able to get top position. In a scramble, Magny pulls Umalatov down and nicely sinks in his hooks. He looks for the rear naked choke and lands a few punches as the round comes to a close. 10-9 Magny.
Round 2. Magny comes out aggressively again, mixing in some jabs and low kicks. He doesn't land with much power and is often deflected but he has a clear advantage in activity. Umalatov catches Magny with a hard hook and they clinch against the cage. They separate and Magny immediately goes back to firing at a fast pace. Umalatov's corner is very animated, loudly barking out instructions in Russian. Umalatov moves in with a few punches and looks to get a takedown. He can't get it. Umalatov connects with a hard overhand that is one of the best blows of the round. Magny looks to take him down. He can't get it but does land a few knees to the body. Umalatov lands a pair of hooks near the cage and goes for a takedown on Magny. Magny takes his back and flattens him out at the close of the round. He lands a few punches from that dominant position and the round concludes. 10-9 Magny.
Round 3. Magny, like in the previous two rounds, sets a more active pace at the beginning of the round. He bounces on the balls of his feet and throws some jabs and leg kicks. Umalatov will load up and look for the big shot but he isn't connecting much either. He does land a nice left hook. Even more than in the first two rounds, he seems to recognize he needs one big shot. Umalatov grabs Magny and looks to take him down. He can't get it. Umalatov is becoming more aggressive, backing Magny up some and looking to connect with a big shot. Magny goes for a knee but is taken down with a minute left in the round. Umalatov stands back up but then strangely goes for another takedown in the final minute of the fight. Magny blocks that and then charges across the cage after Umalatov looking for a takedown of his own. He doesn't get it and the round ends. 10-9 Umalatov, 29-28 Magny.
Winner: Neil Magny, unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Both these lightweight fighters are making their UFC debuts. Martin sports an undefeated record and relies on a ground oriented attack. Magomedov is 15-1 with more of a propensity for knockouts. Martin has a decided height advantage but Magomedov has competed extensively in the heavier welterweight division.
Round 1. After a feeling out period, they clinch and grapple for a takedown. Martin gets it and looks for advantageous side control position. Magomedov pulls him into full guard but Martin moves back into half guard and then looks to secure a kimura for the submission. Magomedov tries to roll out but Martin just keeps cranking. Martin then transitions into an armbar and has it fully extended. Magomedov looks in serious pain but rolls out of it, pulls his arm out, and returns to his feet. Just a beautiful sequence. Back on the feet, they trade kicks and the round comes to an end. 10-9 Martin.
Round 2. Martin looks for a takedown early in the round. He grabs a single leg against the cage and then a body lock but Magomedov defends well. Magomedov nicely reverses the momentum and gets Martin down. He immediately drops down a pair of heavy punches and then a few elbows from close range. Martin gets back up to his feet. His eye is swelled up badly thanks to the shots on the ground. It's puffy enough already that he's likely to have trouble seeing out of that eye as the fight progresses. Magomedov hits him with a good hook and a series of body kicks. Martin mostly just circles away at the end of the round and the crowd boos. 10-9 Magomedov.
Round 3. Magomedov lands a few leg kicks and Martin shoots for a takedown. Martin really works for the takedown but Magomedov has outstanding balance against the cage. Magomedov hits a knee to the body and grabs a deep guillotine choke. He can't get the submission but he does get top position with three minutes left in the fight. Martin stands up but eats a big head kick and hook right as he does, two of the best standing blows of the entire fight. Martin looks to take Magomedov back down but may need something big to win this fight now. They clinch against the cage until they are finally separated. Martin shoots for a takedown but has it blocked without much difficulty. Martin's face is a mess and the referee calls in a doctor to look at it. The doctor lets the fight continue. Martin comes in for a takedown and eats a few knees in the process. A takedown isn't going to do him any good at this stage and he doesn't get it anyway. 10-9 Magomedov, 29-28 Magomedov. Impressive debut for both fighters.
Winner: Rashid Magomedov, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Clint Hester vs. Andy Enz
Hester was UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones' first pick in the Jones vs. Chael Sonnen season of the Ultimate Fighter. He showed promise but was upset in the second round of the tournament. Since then, he has won two straight UFC fights via TKO/KO. Enz was also a candidate for that season of Ultimate Fighter, but he lost in a qualifying fight. He has no official MMA losses and hails from Alaska.
Round 1. The fight starts slow but then explodes with action. Hester drops Enz with a huge hook. Enz gets up and Hester drops him with another massive hook. Enz is in big trouble and shoots for a desperation takedown. The referee appears close to stopping it but Enz regains his faculties. They return to the feet and Hester hits Enz with yet another power hook. Enz is able to take that one but Hester has some serious power. Enz has his best activity of the fight, landing a few power punches and a kick that appear to momentarily stun Hester. He lands a pair of straight punches moments later but then walks into another of those big hooks. 10-9 Hester.
Round 2. They start off aggressively trading punches from close range. Hester then takes Enz down, where Hester lands a few hard punches before Enz gets back up. Hester has slowed down somewhat and Enz is becoming the more active fighter. However, Hester scores another takedown and then lands a head kick and a hook as Enz gets back up. On the feet, Enz lands a nice straight right punch up the middle. 10-9 Hester.
Round 3. The final round begins in a similar way as the previous two. Enz relies on straight punches up the middle while Hester's weapon of choice is the looping power punch. They both swing for the fences a minute in, but neither man connects flush with a home run shot. Hester throws a heavy overhand that backs up Enz a fair distance about halfway through the round. Enz goes back to work, backing up Hester with a steady output of straight punches up the middle. Hester has really slowed down but still has power, as evidenced by another nice hook with 45 seconds left. Hester goes for a takedown but eats a knee for his efforts. It appeared Hester was a downed opponent when that happened but the referee did not call it. 10-9 Enz, 29-28 Hester.
Winner: Clint Hester, unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Al Iaquinta vs. Kevin Lee
Iaquinta is a highly regarded young fighter who trains out of the Serra-Longo camp and mixes very good striking with a solid wrestling base. He won his last two fights. Lee is undefeated in MMA and makes his UFC debut.
Round 1. Lee moves forward aggressively but gets dropped with a jab. As he gets up, Iaquinta lands a heavy straight right punch and has him in big trouble. Iaquinta looks for the finish but Lee is able to recover. Lee shoots for takedown but Iaquinta beautifully drops back and looks to get a submission with a heel hook. Lee is forced to defend for an extended period until he finally gets out of danger. They return to their feet. Strong round for Iaquinta. 10-9 Iaquinta.
Round 2. Lee moves right forward back into Iaquinta's range. Lee fights with an obvious confidence about him, even when things aren't going well for him. As Iaquinta moves in for a punch, Lee drops down. He gets a takedown, takes the back, and secures what looks to be a tight rear naked choke. Somehow, Iaquinta is able to survive and Lee has to let it go. Moments later, Lee grabs it again but he can't get the arm under Iaquinta's chin. Lee keeps Iaquinta in a tight body triangle to maintain position and continues working for the rear naked choke submission. He throws some elbows to the side of the head and goes for it again. Iaquinta survives the round. Another strong round, this time the other way. 10-9 Lee.
Round 3. Iaquinta lands a pair of solid punches early, getting a big reaction from the crowd. Lee answers back with one of his own. Lee grabs a single leg takedown a minute in. Iaquinta looks for another leg lock but eats a few hard punches and has his nose bloodied in the process. Iaquinta stands up and pushes forward looking to change the course of the round with a big shot. Lee goes for a takedown but has it blocked. They trade punches and Iaquinta blocks another takedown. Iaquinta lands a nice combination with a pair of punches to the body and then one to the head. Iaquinta comes on at the end and is landing a lot more at the bell. That barely wins the round and the fight for Iaquinta on this scorecard. 10-9 Iaquinta, 29-28 Iaquinta.
Winner: Al Iaquinta, unanimous decision (29-28, 28-27, 29-28).
Tom "Kong" Watson vs. Nick Catone
Nick Catone comes from a wrestling background and holds a win over fellow middleweight contender Costas Philippou. However, he has struggled with cardio in the past, lost two straight, and hasn't fought in over a year. Watson is a charismatic British fighter but his momentum has slowed considerably in losing 2 of his last 3 fights.
Round 1. Watson is active with kicks early, while Catone looks to get comfortable with the range against the taller, longer fighter. Catone catches a kick and lands a straight punch. Catone shoots for a takedown a little over halfway through the round. Watson blocks it. Watson moves in with a knee to the body and gets taken down with a minute left. Watson looks to get back up but Catone takes him back down. Watson then immediately stands up. Not a lot of action. Watson landed slightly more. 10-9 Watson.
Round 2.Watson closes distance but then just sort of stands there and doesn't throw much. Catone isn't very active either. Catone does move in with a nice looping punch from close range. Watson continues to walk down Catone but neither man is throwing very much. Watson lands a few nice leg kicks and then a head kick. The crowd begins to boo the slow pace. Catone gets a takedown with two minutes left. Watson gets up but Catone takes him right back down. However, he again can't do anything at all on the ground as Watson just gets right back up. Very tough round to score. Catone got the takedowns but did nothing at all with them. On the feet, neither man did much. But Watson at least landed a few kicks. 10-9 Watson.
Round 3. Watson lands a few leg kicks. He then throws a couple kicks higher. Watson moves forward with a few hooks and additional kicks, while Catone mainly throws jabs. Watson keeps landing kicks while Catone at this point is mostly just circling out. Catone gets a takedown with two minutes left in the round. Watson stands right back up. Catone is bleeding now. Catone gets another takedown with a minute left. This time he gets Watson's backand sinks in his hooks. Watson gets up and back to his feet as the fight mercifully comes to an end. Neither man deserves to win but given Catone did nothing with his takedowns and nothing on his feet, Watson 10-9, Watson 30-27. It wouldn't be surprising at all to see the score go 30-27 the other way.
Winner: Nick Catone, split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27).
Chris Cariaso vs. Danny Martinez
Cariaso and Martinez are veterans of the lighter weight classes. Cariaso has fought in the UFC against the likes of
Round 1. Cariaso lands a head kick. Martinez moves in and looks for a takedown. Cariaso defends it well. Martinez pushes in and Cariaso keeps throwing high kicks. None of them are connecting fully but many are landing decently. Martinez wings in a series of power punches but Cariaso does a good job of avoiding them. Martinez attempts a takedown. Cariaso defends it again. Upon separation, Martinez goes for it again. Martinez gets Cariaso down momentarily but Cariaso gets back up without taking any damage. Martinez slams Cariaso down at the conclusion of the round. 10-9 Martinez.
Round 2. Martinez lands a nice hook early. He lands another but gets caught with a few solid counters in the process. Cariaso avoids some Martinez shots and lands a nice leg kick and counterhook. Cariaso is much more precise with his striking. Martinez goes for another takedown. Cariaso defends successfully. Cariaso lands a nice combination with a couple punches and a kick. Martinez goes for another takedown and this time gets Cariaso down. Cariaso gets right back up. Cariaso continues to defend a takedown attempt for most of the rest of the round. 10-9 Cariaso.
Round 3. Cariaso moves in with punches. He doesn't connect well with anything but is able to easily avoid Martinez's wild looping punches. Martinez finally connects with one of those big hooks and lands another moments later. The first was the best blow of the fight. Martinez gets a takedown two minutes in. Cariaso gets back up. Martinez moves back in winging his heavy looping punches and then goes for another takedown. Cariaso blocks it. Cariaso throws some high kicks but they are blocked. Martinez lands a good hook. Cariaso responds with a nice straight punch. Cariaso blocks another takedown and that's it. Bad fight. 10-9 Martinez, 29-28 Martinez.
Winner: Chris Cariaso, unanimous decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
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