Jared Papazian's all-around attack pays off

COMMERCE — Having built a reputation as a stand-up fighter willing to go to war each and every time, Jared “The Jackhammer” Papazian showed he’s putting his best foot forward in developing as an all-around mixed-martial-arts fighter.

Looking to fight his way back into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Papazian took the first step, using strong striking and six takedowns in an ever-improving ground game to secure a unanimous decision win over Terrion Ware at Friday night’s BAMMA USA “Badbeat 8” at the Commerce Casino.

“Everyone and their mom knows I’m gonna stand and bang,” said Papazian, who trains under Alberto Crane at Gracie Barra Burbank, in his postfight, in-cage interview. “I’m trying to change that.”

Papazian (15-9) also changed his luck as of late, putting an end to a three-fight skid with a one-sided performance over Los Angeles’ Ware (5-2). All three judges scored it 30-27, as did the Burbank Leader.

Using an array of offense that included knees out of the muay Thai clinch and of the flying variety, along with leg kicks, uppercuts and plenty of rights and lefts, Papazian’s added dimension was his wrestling.

“I changed things up in my game plan a bit,” Papazian said. “Terrion was ready to strike with me. I tried to switch it up on him.”

The first round started a bit tentatively with both fighters sporadically throwing punches. But a Ware flurry initiated a clinch and eventually led to the first of two Papazian takedowns in the round. The biggest blow came with a Papazian counter left hook that got enough of Ware’s chin to floor him. Papazian moved in for the kill and went for a guillotine, but Ware was able to work free. Still Papazian easily took the stanza.

Papazian was more dominant in the second, as a right-left combo hurt Ware, who covered up standing. Papazian let loose on a barrage of hooks. He would later notch two more takedowns and was in top position for the last minute of the round.

Papazian came out blazing in the third round, landing well with uppercuts and crisp one-two combos. A flying knee pushed Ware back and opened him up for another Papazian takedown. Papazian hung out in Ware’s half-guard for a while, looking to work, but little happened before Ware worked them back up to their feet. Papazian clinched and pushed Ware up against the cage before they went down and Papazian found himself defending an armbar attempt. He worked loose, though, and gained top position once again, where the fight ended.

Papazian was making his first trip back into the cage since a decision loss in December to Tim Elliott in his final UFC fight. It was a bout in which he earned UFC Fight of the Night honors, but still received his release.

“It took me a little bit to get motivated,” said Papazian of the fight, admitting that his release still loomed large. “Inside me I was still bummed.”

Alas, Papazian took the first important step in getting back under the bright lights and onto the big stage that is the UFC.

“I’m improving, I’m getting better. I’m trying to evolve as a fighter,” said Papazian before thanking the crowd. “This is my road back to the UFC, thanks for a being a part of it.”

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