LAS VEGAS – The build up to the main event tonight was filled with threats, trash talk, and unprecedented hype, but in the end it came down to two critical points in the bout. The first one came quickly as Rashad Evans staggered “Rampage” early in the first round, with a right hand that sent Jackson back peddling across the Octagon.
Jackson clinched with Evans as he closed the distance, regaining his wits, and much of the rest of the initial round consisted of the fighters clinching against the cage as Evans looked for repeated takedowns of Jackson.
The second stanza would be dictated by Evans, as he danced around Jackson, leaping in to land single shots before quickly getting out of range of the counter by “Rampage.” Jackson was unable to launch any type of sustained attack on Evans, as the speed was an obvious advantage for Evans.
In the final round, “Rampage” finally broke through, landing a barrage of punches that dropped Evans, and the bout seemed very close to being stopped just before Evans fought to survive and make his way back to his feet.
Inexplicably, Jackson failed to pursue the wobbly Evans, giving him nearly two minutes to shake off the cobwebs. Evans recovered, then put an exclamation point on the fight by taking Jackson down and serving up some vicious ground and pound shots from the top at the end of the fight.
“The game plan was simple: not have a game plan at all,” Evans said. “At first he was sharp, but he kind of slowed down. I was able to use my speed.”
With the win, Evans (15-1-1 (10-1-1 UFC), is now set to face the very dangerous and revitalized Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, who recently became the UFC light heavyweight champion with his dominating victory over Lyoto Machida.
Bisping defeats Miller via UD
The game plan for each guy coming in was simple. Bisping would stand and bang, while Miller would try to take the fight to the ground and work his ground game.
In reality, the fight turned into a stand up battle as Miller never even attempted a takedown until very late in the bout. While on the feet, Bisping used his advantage in the stand up game to out box the very tough and game Miller, with straight stinging jabs, while also landing power combinations.
Miller held his own in the first half of the fight, landing counter left hooks, and establishing a snapping inside leg kick, but fell behind on the scorecards as Bisping won the battle on the feet.
Miller finally scored a takedown late in the final stanza, but did little with top position, as Bisping effectively used the cage to make his way back to his feet, and continue to get the best of Miller in the stand up game.
In the end, Bisping was awarded a pretty one-sided unanimous decision victory, improving his record to 19-3 overall, 9-3 in the UFC.
Russow stuns Duffee with a one punch KO
Mike Russow was on the wrong end of a brutal beating throughout his bout with Todd Duffee, until he landed a single punch.
Duffee came in looking like a genetic experiment and landed repeated power shots and brutal uppercuts to the jaw and face of Mike Russow. One thing is for sure, Russow can take a punch, and if the airline industry made airplanes out of material from his chin, then nobody would die in plane crashes.
Despite the punishment handed out by Duffee, Russow stayed in the fight, and tried desperately to take the fight to the ground, but was totally stuffed at every attempt.
Duffee visibly slowed in the second round, and it appeared that he may have injured his right hand sometime during the first round, as he switched stances several times, failing to land with the power that was dominating the fight early on.
Then out of nowhere, and after only landing a handful of punches in the first two rounds, Russow uncorked a huge overhand right that KO’d Duffee where he stood, effectively ending the night of Duffee, and in the process, recorded one of the craziest come from behind victories in the history of the UFC.
Nogueira wins controversial decision over Brilz
Jason Brilz stepped up and took this fight with “Little Nog” without hesitation after an injury forced Forrest Griffin to pull out of the bout. Brilz nearly capitalized on an opportunity to knock off one of the UFC’s better 205′ers, by using a relentless attack, repeatedly using a very effective single leg takedown to control the fight, but once the scorecards were in, the victory was awarded to Nogueira by split decision.
Brilz effectively worked Nogueria to the ground throughout the 3 rounds of action, and nearly finished the accomplished jiu jitsu black belt with a tight guillotine, as the referee came very close to stopping the action in the second round.
Nogueira would survive, and used his strong ground game to sweep and reverse Brilz multiple times, as both guys scrambled for top position throughout the bout.
On the feet, Nogueira landed the straighter and cleaner shots, but Brilz was effective as well staying in the pocket and exchanging, scoring with looping power punches during the action.
The 3rd round would prove to be the deciding factor on the scorecards, as Brilz started to fade, and as a result, the single leg takedowns that were his bread and butter in the earlier rounds were easily stuffed by Nogueira. Nogueira would nearly cinch up a submission of his own late in the third, but Brilz would escape as the bell sounded on a very close fight.
Many fans thought that Brilz won the contest, but the judges scored it otherwise, eliciting a chorus of boos from the crowd after Nogueira was announced as the winner.
Hathaway dominates Sanchez
Many fans wondered coming into this fight, just how good Sanchez would look after the beat down he suffered at the hands of B.J. Penn.
The bout also marked the return of “Nightmare” back to the welterweight division, but there would prove to be no welcome back party waiting for him once the door slammed shut in the Octagon.
The 14-0 John Hathaway, used his length to stifle the stand up attack of Sanchez, turning the usually super aggressive Sanchez into a tentative and predictable fighter early in the fight. With Hathaway scoring consistently with straight and crisp punches, Sanchez found himself shooting from way outside, which Hathaway aptly countered with a huge knee to the jaw of “Nightmare” that almost ended the fight early.
Sanchez survived but took repeated punishment from his back, as Hathaway alternated elbows and punches to the body along with big straight punches from the top to end a dominating first round for the up and coming 22 year old.
The rest of the bout looked very similar to the first round, as Hathaway continued to land first with straight punches, leaving Sanchez trying desperately to counter and mount some kind of offense, but it was not to be as Hathaway notched a very impressive victory in his first fight on U.S. soil.