After the results were read from the scorecards, the matter of who would be next to contend for a shot at UFC gold was not any clearer. 15 minutes of action was not enough to establish a clear winner as the fight was scored as a majority draw 29-28 (Fitch), 28-28, and 28-28.
To start the fight, Penn unexpectedly shot immediately on Fitch looking for an early take down. Fitch defended the initial take down attempt and after some battling in the clinch, turned Penn into the cage and dropped for a take down of his own.
Penn used his incredible balance and take down defense to remain on his feet, turned Fitch, and took him to the ground. Penn immediately took the back of Fitch and started working for a rear naked choke, but Fitch was able to turn into Penn and end up in the full guard.
Penn kicked off the hips of Fitch and popped back up to his feet, then fought off a Fitch take down to end a close first round.
In the second, Fitch came out and threw a kick, and Penn immediately flew in with a flying knee that cost him a take down. Penn used the cage to make his way back to his feet, and after fighting off multiple take down attempts from Fitch, Penn was able to secure another take down.
Once again, Penn took the back of Fitch looking for the submission, and once again, Fitch found a way to reverse position. Fitch remained on top, scoring with left hands to the body, and short grinding elbows from the top until just before the bell, when Penn quickly kicked off and got to his feet.
The third round was all Fitch.
Fitch used a big right hand to set up his take down, driving Penn to the mat, then dragged him to the cage. Once there, Fitch worked nonstop from the top, with short, chopping hammerfists and right hands to the body. Fitch punished Penn when he postured, landing big elbows and right hands as Penn desperately tried to find a way back to his feet.
Penn never made it, but survived to the bell. It was a dominating 3rd round for Fitch, but wasn’t enough to clearly award him the victory on the judge’s scorecards.
A disappointed Fitch (23-3-1 MMA, 13-1-1 UFC) thought he did enough to win.
“I thought [I deserved the win],” Fitch said. “I gave some positioning in the first two rounds, but I came back and did enough to at least win a split decision.”
Bisping puts Rivera away after landing illegal knee
The trash talk leading up to this fight got very, very personal between Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera. It spilled over to the weigh ins where Michael Bisping nearly lost his mind, and continued all the way to the stare down just before the fight was to start.
Once the fight started, there was no touch of gloves, and it was apparent that the talk was much more than just ‘hyping a fight.’
Rivera started fast, easily landing big right hands, without so much as a jab to set it up. Bisping then executed a very nice trip take down. Rivera used the cage to get back to his feet, and the started trash talking again just before landing yet another big right hand.
Bisping closed the distance again, losing the stand up battle, and took the fight back to the mat. After a scramble, Rivera was clearly grounded on both knees when Bisping came forward and landed a flush knee to the forehead of Rivera. It was a blatant illegal knee, and it appeared the fight may be over.
The doctor came in to check on Rivera and after a few moments, Rivera declared clearly that he could continue. Once the fight resumed, Rivera was never the same.
Bisping would get another take down after the single point deduction from the illegal knee, and started to punish Rivera with punches as the time closed on the opening round.
Bisping came out firing to start the second, with a snapping inside leg kick, but Rivera countered and landed a staggering right hand that dropped Bisping. Bisping scrambled to his feet, shook off the cobwebs, and peppered Rivera with a huge combination. Rivera retreated to the cage, and Bisping pounced, landing a flurry of unanswered punches. Rivera wilted under the punishment, dropping to his knees, as the referee scrambled in to stop the onslaught.
Bisping (21-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) apologized after the fight for the illegal blow, but then turned around and delivered a ‘go home loser’ toward Rivera.
Siver hands Sotiropoulos his first UFC loss
The vaunted ground game of George Sotiropoulos never materialized against Dennis Siver. Siver stuffed every single take down attempt of Sotiropoulos and made it a stand up battle over a full three rounds.
Siver nearly put the fight away early after hurting Sotiropoulos with a left hook, then dropping him with another. Sotiropoulos survived and made his way back to his feet but was on wobbly legs, and Siver, smelling the blood, dropped him with another big left hand.
Sotiropoulos regained his wits during the break, and came out with better head movement and feinting to start the second round, keeping Siver a bit off balance early. Sotiropoulous still strove to get the fight to the ground at any cost, but his single leg attempts were easily shrugged off by the powerfully built Siver. Despite his inability to get the fight to the mat, Sotiropoulos battled Siver in a very close second round.
The final round was close as well, as both guys scored during the exchanges. Siver turned it on with about 2 minutes to go, and mixed up his kicks with his big punch combos. Siver also landed his patented spinning kick to the body, but in the end, it would go to the cards.
There was no real surprise when the results where read, and Siver (18-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) was announced the winner via unanimous decision. It was the first loss in the UFC for George Sotiropoulos, who falls to 14-3 overall and 7-1 in the UFC.
Ebersole upsets Lytle
Brian Ebersole took this fight with Chris Lytle with only two week’s notice. He also shaved his chest hair into an arrow that pointed toward his head, and started the fight with a very strange looking cartwheel kick.
The other thing he did was impressively beat one of the toughest fighters in the UFC over 3 rounds.
Ebersole took the best punches of Lytle in stride in the first round, eating some serious big overhand rights and body shots, and then implemented his impressive submission defense against multiple guillotine attempts.
Ebersole came out in the second round looking very relaxed and after an exchange and ensuing scramble, he nearly put Lytle’s ‘lights out,’ with a huge knee that landed square on the chin of Lytle, dropping him against the cage. Amazingly, Lytle survived, but quickly found himself on the wrong end of a d’arce choke at the end of a very exciting second stanza.
Ebersole kept the pressure on in the third, coming forward and taking Lytle back to the mat again after defending yet another submission attempt by Lytle. Lytle would make his way to his feet and land a nice combination of uppercuts and body shots, but again found himself on the ground, and once there, Ebersole peppered the face of Lytle with elbows as the seconds wound down on the fight.
The fight would go to the cards, and when the results came back, it was Brian Ebersole (47-14-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) who earned the unanimous decision victory.
Noke submits Camozzi
If you are fighting in your native Australia, AND come out to Men at Work, you better come out and give an impressive performance.
Camozzi was getting the better of the stand up with some crisp leg kicks, but once the fight hit the ground, it was all Kyle Noke. Noke landed in a dominating full mount position off the take down, and as Camozzi tried desperately to create enough space to regain some sort of a guard, Noke easily transitioned to the back and locked up a tight body triangle.
Noke quickly flattened out Camozzi and went to the rear naked choke where the tap came almost immediately, moving Noke to a 19-4-1 overall record, and an impressive 3-0 in the UFC.