Kennedy KO's Natal with huge left
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Live from Fort Campbell in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, the UFC is proud to present UFC Fight for the Troops 3, an event dedicated to the men and women of the United States Armed Services.
Today's 13-fight card features a number of UFC fighters that are currently serving or that have served in the military, including Ultimate Fighter Season 16 winner Colton Smith, who makes his lightweight debut against fellow TUF winner Michael Chiesa, ex-Marine Liz Carmouche, and US Army Green Beret Tim Kennedy, who faces off with surging Brazilian middleweight Rafael "Sapo" Natal in the main event.
We've got you covered from the opening bout of the day through the final horn – this is the UFC Fight for the Troops 3 live blog on FoxSports.com.
Tim Kennedy (16-4) vs. Rafael Natal (17-4-1)
Herb Dean with the main event assignment.
Touch of hands and we're off. Orthodox for both men. Kick from Natal, caught, right hand behind it from Kennedy. Body kick from Natal blocked. Ranger Up! chant in the hangar now. Outside leg kick for Natal. Jab from the Brazilian. High kick offered by Kennedy, one to the body lands. Right hand from Natal, left follows and lands. Right hand lands again as Kennedy ducks in. Left hand lands for Kennedy, uppercut connects for Natal. Two down. Natal with a quick takedown, Kennedy right back up. USA chant now. Natal kicks the back leg out Kennedy out. Trading leg kicks, Kennedy welting up on the lead leg. Big body kick from Kennedy. Two left. Kennedy stalking now, Natal circles to the center. 90 seconds. Trading kicks, Kennedy to the body, Natal to the leg. Spinning attack misses from Natal. One minute. Spin misses for Kennedy. Left hand lands for Natal. Big swinging left hook lands for Kennedy and floors Natal! The crowd goes nuts. Kennedy on the cage shout his adoration to the troops. USA chant again. What a finish!
Official Result: Tim Kennedy defeats Rafael Natal by Knockout (Left Hook) at 4:40 of Round 1.
Analysis: This was exactly the type of performance Kennedy needed, and to get it on this stage is even more fitting. He was the right choice to headline the Fight for the Troops card, and now he's ended it in impressive fashion. He now has two very good wins in the UFC, and should find himself with a Top 10 match-up next time out.
That's it for the live blog – thanks for hanging out; we'll do it again Saturday for the UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson fight card from Brazil.
Liz Carmouche (9-3) vs. Alexis Davis (14-5)
Gary Copeland with the assignment here.
No touch for the ladies. Carmouche with an outside leg kick to start. Another lands. Davis catches a kick up the middle, Carmouche pulls away. Both looking to land, neither lands clean. Outside leg kick again for Carmouche from the southpaw stance. Inside leg kick attempt from Carmouche lands a little low. Outside kick cracks home though. Inside leg kick for Davis. Halfway point. Outside leg kick again for Carmouche. Side kick lands for Carmouche. Two minutes. Inside leg kick for Davis swings Carmouche's leg back. Right hand for Davis. Another inside leg kick for Davis. Outside for Carmouche. One minute. Davis looks for the inside kick again, Carmouche stays out of range. Davis inside, Carmouche with the right over the top glancing. 30 seconds. Outside kick again for Carmouche, right hand over the top as Davis lands an outside leg kick of her own. One more inside at the horn.
10-9 Davis – once she started going to the inside leg kick regularly, Davis started hurting Carmouche. She was also the one pushing the action, controlling the cage in the first.
Carmouche takes the center, Davis comes forward. Outside leg kick for Carmouche. Right hand over the top for Carmouche as Davis comes in. Inside leg kick for Carmouche. Inside leg kick for Davis lands flush. Again. Right hand behind it. Right hand over the top lands hard for Carmouche. Davis cut as a result, and now they're swinging. Clinched along the cage, they break to the center, Davis wearing a bad cut over her eye. Inside leg kick again for Davis forcing Carmouche to switch her stance. 1-2 with authority from Davis. Two down, three to go. Carmouche with a push kick to keep Davis off her. Right for Carmouche and Davis is bleeding heavy. Could be one of those fights where damage plays a big role in the cards as Davis is bloodied, but doing more actual damage. Two minutes. Hands from Davis, and Carmouche spins off the cage. Outside and then inside from Davis with the leg kicks. Another inside leg kick and Carmouche is hurt. Now to the other leg for Davis. Body kick attempt from Carmouche, caught, and Davis takes her down, landing in side control. Shoulder strike from Davis. Knees to the body from the bottom for Carmouche. Return of fire from Davis. Carmouche powers up from the bottom at the horn.
10-9 Davis, 20-18 Davis through Round 2 – she looks worse, but the Canadian was the more effective and efficient striker in that round, and leads after two frames.
Davis with the inside leg kick, takes Carmouche's leg out from under her. Clinched on the cage, Davis in front. Knee to the body from Carmouche. Knees from Davis now. Davis with an elbow as they try to break, Carmouche stays tight, lands a knee, but gets turned back into the cage. Knees to the thigh from Davis. Davis looking for the takedown. Copeland breaks them off the cage. Two minutes gone. Carmouche is keeping her lead leg off the ground to avoid the leg kick. Davis opened back up again. Right from Carmouche lands. Front kick to the body for Carmouche. Inside leg kick twice from Davis. Carmouche fires a right-left. Davis crashing into the clinch. Two minutes left. Knee to the body from Davis. Knee to the thigh from Davis as well. Carmouche looking for the takedown, stuffed by Davis. Right hand lands for Carmouche. Jab lands for Davis. Inside leg kick lands again. One minute. Inside leg kick once more from Davis. Left stiffens Carmouche as she tries to come in. Davis in complete control here. Another leg kick. Clinched. Knee to the head from Davis. Carmouche reverses on the cage, knee from Davis. HORN!
10-9 Davis, 30-27 Davis for me – great showing for the Canadian, pushing the pace, landing the higher volume and more damaging collection of strikes throughout.
Official Result: Alexis Davis defeats Liz Carmouche by Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27, 29-28).
Analysis: Great performance from Davis here, especially after a mediocre showing in her debut. She battered Carmouche's leg throughout, and controlled the cage from start to finish. With two wins and a strong showing here against a former title challenger, Davis could have positioned herself for a title shot in 2014.
Yoel Romero (5-1) vs. Ronny Markes (14-1)
Mario Yamasaki joins the middleweights in the cage.
They touch gloves and we're off. Southpaw for Romero. Inside leg kicks on each side. Another from Romero. Another. Markes responds to the body, blocked. Stepping oblique kick from Romero. Kick attempt, Markes grabs the leg and hits the takedown. Romero right back up. Inside leg kick for Markes. Left hand down the middle lands for Romero. Romero slips, Markes charges in, can't do anything. Two down, three to go. Another kick attempt from Markes. Clinched, Markes takes down Romero, into half guard. Elbow from the bottom for Romero. Left hand over the top for Markes. Markes looking at the kimura, Romero uses it to spin out and up. Left lands for the Cuban as they stand. Inside leg kick, another left hand for Romero. Left hand partially blocked by Markes. One minute. Left hand again for Romero. Body kick for Markes. Spinning backfist misses from Romero. Romero into the hips, stuffed.
10-9 Romero – He's landing the far more effective strikes, and while Markes took him down twice, he was right back up on the first, and Markes did no damage on top on the second.
Romero coming forward behind pawing jabs. Markes pushes back with hands, nothing lands. Left from Romero. Body kick for Romero. Short elbow inside from Romero, knee follows. Left again for Romero. Big swing for Markes, misses, slips. Romero keeps space well, avoids most of Markes' punches. Left hand again for Romero. Left again. Knee to the body from Romero, who rag-dolls Markes to the ground. Romero lets him up. Three minutes left. Left hand once more for Romero. Right hand for Markes. Left down the pipe again for Romero, stuffs a takedown behind it. Two minutes. Body kick from Romero, left hand follows. Markes on his back, Romero patiently wading in. Backs out, Markes stands. 90 seconds. Romero looks for a front leg reverse hook kick. 60 seconds. Jumping knee for Markes, kick to the body follows. Left hand lands again for Romero. Markes coming forward hard, Romero slipping as Markes swings. Body kick for Markes. Left hand down the pipe again for Romero. Again. Right hand for Markes lands flush. Really entertaining contest here, final round should be fun.
10-9 Romero, 20-18 Romero through Round 2 – this one was more definitive, as the left landed repeatedly and Markes only started battling back late in the frame. Can see the judges having this one round each though.
Touch gloves and meet in the center. Markes throwing heavy out the gate, ducks in for the takedown. Not there. High kick from Markes. Body kick from Markes. Poke stops the fight. Restarted. Left hook lands for Markes, right hand on the ear counters for Romero and that hurt Markes. Left down the pipe again for Romero. Left to the body from Romero now. Inside leg kick from Markes. Left hand with power over the top drops Markes like a shot along the cage and it's over!
Official Result: Yoel Romero defeats Ronny Markes by Knockout (Punch) at 1:39 of Round 3.
Analysis: Romero is a legit prospect in the middleweight division. He's won all his fights by knockout and has tremendous wrestling, as well as very good conditioning because he knows how to pace himself through each round. The Olympic silver medalist may have started MMA late, but he's making up for lost time so far through two wins in the UFC. Give that man a step up in competition next time out.
Jorge Masvidal (25-7) vs. Rustam Khabilov (16-1)
John McCarthy with the assignment for this lightweight battle.
No touch for these two. Big overhand right snaps Masvidal's chin. Outside leg kick lands for Masvidal. Overhand right lands again for Khabilov. Uppercut lands for Khabilov. Jab connects, maybe a little poke there. Masvidsal looking for the right hand. 90 seconds in. Outside leg kick for Masvidal, but he can't put anything together. Overhand right glances for Khabilov. One to the body. Swing and a miss for the Russian, good right for Masvidal. Fake takedown, back elbow attempt from Khabilov. Halfway point. Four-punch combo for Khabilov, blocked, but still sting. Masvidal still coming forward. Khabilov deep on a single. Great defence, Masvidal with a kick on the break. 90 seconds left. Good body kick for Masvidal. Flying knee attempt from Masvidal, Khabilov uses it for a takedown. Masvidal back up, knees to the body in tight. Masvidal catches a kick, tries the flying knee again, avoids the takedown this time too. 30 seconds. Right misses for Masvidal, short inside counter glances for Khabilov. Elbow in short on the cage from the Russian. Knee to the body for Masvidal right before the horn.
10-9 Khabilov – the big shot early was the best of the round and gets Khabilov the nod for me, but Masvidal turned the tides late and has momentum going into the second.
Big swinging right misses for Khabilov. Masvidal still tight and compact, like always. Left hand lands for Khabilov. Kick for Masvidal, right hand counter from Khabilov. Body kick for Masvidal. Jab lands. Another leg kick. Punch to the thigh from Khabilov, who follows upstairs. Overhand right blocked. Masvidal steps into a jab. Leg kick lands. Knee to the body from Masvidal. Khabilov can't hang onto Masvidal at all. Two down. Left hook lands for Masvidal. Body kick from Masvidal as well. Halfway point. Left lands hard for Khabilov. Clinched, Masvidal turns Khabilov into the cage. Two minutes left. Knee to the body from Masvidal. Break, Khabilov swinging heavy, connects with the right. Masvidal with the takedown with 90 seconds left. Ground and pound from Masvidal, Khabilov controls his posture, stands. Knee to the body from Khabilov. One minute. Khabilov drives for the takedown, pulls Masvidal's leg out, takes his back. Masvidal fighting the hands, taken down briefly. Masvidal switches, and gets back up. Right lands for Masvidal before the horn.
10-9 Masvidal, 19-19 overall through Round 2 – "Gamebred" landed the better strikes and dictated the pace, placement throughout the round. All knotted up heading into the final frame.
Touch gloves to start the final round. Khabilov looks for a high kick. Left hook blocked. Lunging left uppercut splits the uprights. Jab lands as Masvidal throws the leg kick. Right hand for Masvidal. Spinning back kick right on the jaw and Masvidal drops. Khabilov pounces, takes his back, looking for the choke. Masvidal stands, Khabilov drags him back down. Masvidal back to his feet coming forward. Khabilov takes his back, Masvidal sits. Masvidal swims around to top position, hip escape for Khabilov. Halfway home. Masvidal coming forward. Khabilov tries the takedown, stuffed. Masvidal in on a single now. Denied. Two minutes. Knee to the body from Masvidal, but he needs to do more after that kick. Masvidal tosses Khabilov to the ground, but he's right back up. Khabilov is gassed, Masvidal needs to attack. Masvidal tries a spinning back kick, Khabilov takes him down off it. Takes his back. 60 seconds. Masvidal rolls forward and through, takes Khabilov's back. Takedown stuffed. Clinched on the cage, 30 seconds. Khabilov kicks out the feet. Digging shots to the body from Khabilov. Grappling to the bell, ending with both standing in the center. How Masvidal survived that kick is beyond me.
10-9 Khabilov, 29-28 Khabilov overall – that kick clearly won Khabilov the round, and the fight on my scorecard.
Official Result: Rustam Khabilov defeats Jorge Masvidal by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27).
Analysis: Good win for Khabilov, who needed to show more than his suplex skills, and did, landing some clean hooks and that nasty kick. There are times where Masvidal's tight, technical style cost him, and I think this was one of those times. He lands clean and hard, but just doesn't throw enough, and when the other guy is coming forward behind demonstrative shots, he's the one that gets noticed more.
Colton Smith (3-2) vs. Michael Chiesa (9-1)
Gary Copeland with the assignment.
Touch of gloves and we're off. Southpaw for Chiesa. Kick from Smith misses to start. Second one glances. Inside low kick for Smith. Upstairs follow up. Chiesa in behind a left hand, Smith clinches, looking for the takedown. Smith takes Chiesa's back, dumps him on the canvas. Chiesa with a hip-bump sweep, takes Smith's back. Locks in the body triangle, looking for the rear naked choke. Smith defending two-on-one, but Chiesa has plenty of time to work. Chiesa switches the body triangle. Smith breaks free, takes Chiesa's back as he was trying to transition to mount. Two minutes left. Smith drags Chiesa to the ground. Short shots from his back. Smith looking for the choke now, backpacked on Chiesa. 90 seconds. He's under the chin, Chiesa flips through, slamming Smith on the ground, breaking the hold. One minute. Smith still on Chiesa's back, hooks in. Chiesa peels on hook out. Smith climbing on his back again as Chiesa stands. Break free with 15 seconds left. Great start!
10-9 Smith – terrific exchanges from both, but Smith was closer with his choke.
Smith coming forward, initiates the clinch. Puts Chiesa on the cage. Knees to the thigh. Chiesa looking for the trip, can't get it. Short left hook touching Smith as he paws in with jabs for Chiesa. Nothing on them, but noteworthy. Right-left for Chiesa, and Smith clinches on the cage. Chiesa with a judo toss takedown using the whizzer, right to Smith's back, and right to the rear naked choke. Quick, precise finish from the TUF 15 winner.
Official Result: Michael Chiesa defeats Colton Smith by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 1:41 of Round 2.
Analysis: Great exchanges in the first, and Chiesa did a great job to capitalize on the opening created by his throw in the second. It's rarely pretty, but he finds a way to get the submission more often than naught, and remains an intriguing long-range prospect in the lightweight division.
James Krause (20-4) vs. Bobby Green (20-5)
The lightweights are joined by Big John McCarthy.
Touch and stand in the center for these two, both looking for jabs and kicks early. Green lands… on the cup of Krause. Time is called. Back to the action. Krause looking for the front kick up the middle. Green to the body. Long jab from Krause, Green getting out of the way. Krause catches the kick, can't do anything with it. Green slips out of the punches. Kick up the middle again for Krause. Jump knee from Krause. Green with a kick to the body, caught. Overhand right for Krause. 1-2 for Krause, Green ducks the shots, rolling away.Two down. Jab lands for Krause. Body kick, caught by Green, returns with one of his own. Outside leg kick for Krause. Jab lands stiff for Green. Inside leg kick for Green. Body shot. Green looks far more relaxed and fluid. Inside leg kick lands low, and Krause drops as time is called. Big John deducts a point. That's huge. Touch gloves, back at it. 90 seconds. Green looking to land with kicks and punches. Another kick blasts Krause and he drops. Big John says the fight is over. Green thinks he lost, Big John says he's the winner. Krause protesting. Now the troops are chanting "Let them fight!" and both men in the cage seem to echo their sentiments.
Official Result: Bobby Green defeats James Krause by TKO (Body Kick) at 3:50 of Round 1.
Analysis: So, you think you can be an MMA referee? Tough call for McCarthy, but you have to love that he sticks to his call with conviction. The replay shows that the kick was on the top of Krause's shorts, but also glanced low as well, and considering he'd already been kicked in the pills twice, it surely hurt… a lot. McCarthy (discussing it with the commission) said Krause gave up the win by falling to the canvas and "showing no interest in looking to continue."
George Roop (14-9-1) vs. Francisco Rivera (9-2)
Mario Yamasaki right back in the cage.
No touch for these two. Roop has a huge reach advantage. Headkick from Roop. Again. Right hand lands heavy over the top for Rivera, left hook follows. Into the clinch. Short shots inside from both. Break free, uppercut from Rivera. Roop for the takedown, Rivera grabs a guillotine, but lets go. Roop to side control, controlling the legs, trying to climb to mount with Rivera up against the Corn Nuts banner in the corner. Roop trying to climb around to Rivera's back, one hook in. Rivera trying to stand. Halfway point. Roop over to the other side now, drags Rivera off the fence, climbs over the legs. Two minutes left. Side control, Rivera kicks free for space and stands. Roop turns him into the cage. Knees inside for both. 90 seconds. Broken off the fence by the ref. Roop looking for the clinch. Knee from Roop, right hand from Rivera. 60 seconds. Left hook for Rivera lands. 1-2-kick for Roop, none land hard though. Uppercut from Rivera. Headkick offered by Roop, catches the gloves. Dives for a takedown, stuffed, uppercut lands for Rivera. HORN!
10-9 Rivera – Yes, Roop had the takedown, and controlled on the ground for 90 seconds or so, but he didn't do anything with it. Rivera landed the cleaner strikes throughout IMO, so he gets the round on my card.
Left hand lands for Rivera as Roop lunges in. Flying knee from Roop misses. Right hand with power from Cisco. Leg kick for Roop. Looks for it inside now. Swinging right hand misses for Roop. Right to the body, then upstairs lands clean for Rivera. Inside leg kick lands on the cup – time is called. The replay gets a groan from the soldiers. Rivera ready to go. Back at it. Long front kick misses for Roop. Right hook lands for Rivera as Roop ducks in. Uppercut stops Roop's takedown attempt. Rivera launching bombs along the cage, Roop trying to find room. Another right lands heavy. Roop up, Rivera swarming. Punches in bunches, and Roop drops. More punches and Mario Yamasaki steps in.
Official Result: Francisco Rivera defeats George Roop by TKO (Punches) at 2:20 of Round 2.
Analysis: This fight went textbook to their styles – Rivera landing big, heavy punches, and Roop not fighting as tall as he should given his size. Rivera timed his entry, blasted him with the uppercut, and then didn't back off until he got the finish. He's fun to watch and is unbeaten in four since returning to the UFC.
Steven Siler (23-10) vs. Dennis Bermudez (11-3)
Mario Yamasaki makes his first appearance in the Octagon today with these TUF 14 featherweights.
They touch gloves, and we're off. Both fighting orthodox. Double jab from Bermudez, second one lands. Again. Hooks from Siler miss, Bermudez ducks under for the takedown. Initially defended, but Bermudez stays after it and completes along the cage. Full guard. Silver up to a knee, eats two punches. Up to his feet, pressed into the cage. Bermudez knee inside, lands low, and time is called. And we're back. Touch of gloves again. Siler using his length with the jab. Inside leg kick lands for Bermudez. Ducks in with a hook that lands. Leg kick for Bermudez, who shoots. Siler grabs a guillotine, Bermudez rolls out, scrambles up, and takes Siler back down. Siler looking for the triangle, Bermudez stands, and slams him to the ground, breaking the hold. Elbows from the top for Bermudez. Two minutes. Elbow over the top from Bermudez. Right hand lands, Silver slips out, stands, and now Bermudez looking for the guillotine. Arm is in, but Siler has space to breathe still. One minute. Bermudez lets go, slips to full mount, and clasps his hands again, but Siler slips out. Back up with 30 seconds to go. Bermudez in for a lazy takedown attempt, Siler again looking for the guillotine, eats a shot, and the horn goes. Fun round!
10-9 Bermudez – his wrestling and strength are the difference in this one. Siler is aggressive with his sub attempts, and Bermudez gives him chances, but he's ahead through the first on my card.
Leg kick from Bermudez. Slips as he looks high, Siler can't capitalize. Right hand for Siler lands. Left hook lands for Bermudez, and he follows in for a takedown. Siler looks for the choke again, Bermudez shakes him off, and lands in guard. Siler lifts him off with butterflies, gets up to his feet, turns Bermudez into the cage. Bermudez drives out and score with the takedown. Two minutes down. Bermudez stands, trying to drive through the legs. Siler hanging on tight from bottom. Halfway point of the fight. Right hands from Bermudez, who is covering the mouth of Siler. Short punches from Bermudez, Yamasaki warning about action. Siler slips around, looking to get Bermudez' back, but can't. Bermudez to half guard. 90 seconds. Siler trying to shrimp out, leaves his neck open. Bermudez with a modified crucifix neck crank. One minute. Siler says he's fine. 30 seconds. Bermudez lets it go, back into guard. Bullying shots on the cage as Siler stands to end the round.
10-9 Bermudez, 20-18 overall through Round 2 – dominating with his wrestling, Siler needs a finish.
Final round. Big right hook lands for Bermudez. Dives in on a single, Siler looking for the guillotine. Bermudez spins out, ducks a right hand, and they stand. Right hand lands for Siler, but he can't follow up. Bermudez with a right of his own. Another right glances for Siler as Bermudez looks for the takedown. Can't complete and they break off the fence. Two down, three to go. Left hand lands for Siler in tight. Inside leg kick from Bermudez. Looks high with the kick, right hand connects. Another right hand counter turns Siler a little. Bermudez eats two short shots to land a heavy right of his own. Siler defends the takedown, back into the center. Jab lands on Siler's face. 90 seconds. Bermudez times the takedown perfectly, puts Siler on the Bud Light logo in the center. Trying to step over, denied by Siler. One minute. Lefts over the top, not much on them. Butterfly pushes Bermudez up, standing guillotine attempt from Bermudez. Siler slips out. 20 seconds. Left lands for Siler. They're swinging through to the horn. Really entertaining fight.
10-9 Bermudez, 30-27 overall – early takedowns put Siler on his heels a little, and that allowed Bermudez to dictate the pace, land the cleaner blows throughout.
Official Result: Dennis Bermudez defeats Steven Siler by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Analysis: That's five consecutive victories for Bermudez coming off The Ultimate Fighter, and arguably his most complete and dominant performance to date. He's compact and powerful, makes the most of his talents, and doesn't tire, which makes him a tough out. Featherweight is ultra-deep, but he has to be knocking on the door of the Top 15 at this point, and looking at a step up in competition next time out.
Germaine de Randamie (4-2) vs. Amanda Nunes (8-3)
Herb Dean joins the women's bantamweight fighters in the Octagon for this one.
Touch of gloves and we're underway. GDR keeping distance, looking to use her kicks. Nunes misses with a spinning wheel kick, and the low outside leg kick. Nothing landed through the first minute. Nunes aiming at the lead leg, but misses. GDR lands an outside leg kick, Nunes catches, clinches, and looks for the takedown. GDR defending, good balance. Nunes drops and drags her legs out from underneath her. Nunes climbs over the legs, looking for mount. Full mount, Nunes on top at the halfway point. GDR looks to push off the cage, Nunes notices, and moves her closer to the center. Elbow over the top from Nunes. Two minutes left. Elbows in bunches for Nunes, GDR blocking a lot of the elbows with her forearms. 90 seconds. Nunes throwing tons of elbows, but few are landing. Herb Dean taking a closer look. The elbows keep coming, a few more start landing, more follow, and the referee stops it.
Official Result: Amanda Nunes defeats Germaine de Randemie by TKO (Elbows) at 3:56 of Round 1.
Analysis: Strong performance from Nunes, who did exactly what she was looking to do in this one. Great job moving to mount, pulling de Randemie away from the cage, and opening up with elbows. She's ferocious from top, and even if they weren't landing flush, the volume was tremendous, which makes it hard to defend. Once considered a potential contender at 145 pounds, two wins in the UFC now has her in the title chase at 135 pounds.
Lorenz Larkin (13-1) vs. Chris Camozzi (19-6)
Herb Dean with his first appearance in the Octagon this evening.
Touch of gloves and here we go. Outside leg kick from Larkin to start. Push kick, headkick attempt. Jabs from Camozzi. Outside leg kick from Camozzi. Larkin coming forward, looking for various kicks. Larkin lands a left hook retreating. Drops Camozzi with a straight right hand. Lets him back up. Looks for the high kick. Tremendous speed for Larkin – everything is quick and clean, no wide-up. Inside leg kicks for Camozzi, who appears to have recovered. Two down. Front kick to the body from Larkin, Camozzi counters with a thudding kick of his own that makes Larkin smile in respect. 1-2 lands for Camozzi. Right for Larkin follows. Inside leg kicks from Camozzi. Outside leg kick from Camozzi. Under two minutes. Camozzi comes forward, finishing with a knee. Body kick lands hard for Larkin, and he uses it to clinch up with Camozzi. Larkin breaks to the center. 60 seconds. Larkin slips on a kick attempt, right back up. Uppercut just misses from Larkin. Outside kick from Larkin. Thud to the body with the kick from Larkin. 30 seconds. Soldiers count us down from 10, and the horn goes.
10-9 Larkin – dropped Camozzi early with the right, which was the biggest blow of the round. Landed a couple heavy kicks to the body as well.
Outside leg kick for Camozzi. Again. Outside once more. Left hand paws through for Larkin. Front kick from Larkin, countered to the outside by Camozzi. Trading outside leg kicks. Camozzi looks high. Straight right lands flush for Larkin. Flying knee from Camozzi behind three jabs. Into the clinch, elbow of the top lands. Larkin turns off the fence, and breaks to the center. Two down, three to go. 1-2-kick combo from Camozzi. Right hand to the body for Larkin. Camozzi responding with the 1-2-kick. Outside leg kick again. Both land rights. Inside leg kick from Camozzi. Two minutes. Camozzi walking Larkin down. Left hand lands for Camozzi. Knee to the body. Jab sticks for Camozzi. 90 seconds. Right blasts Camozzi, and he's bloody. Clinched, knee from Camozzi. 60 seconds. Camozzi with underhooks, Larkin spins off. Trading knees. 30 seconds. Elbow inside from Larkin. Again. Camozzi smiles, shakes it off. High kick lands. Camozzi is bloodied. Camozzi coming forward, Larkin sticking counters as he does. Great ending to the round.
10-9 Larkin, 20-18 Larkin through Round 2 – Camozzi is hanging tough and having his moments, but Larkin is landing with more power, doing more damage overall.
Trading kicks again to start the third and final round. Spinning kick to the thigh from Larkin. Camozzi kicks, Larkin looks to sweep the leg. Right hand lands for Larkin. One to the body. Outside leg kick for Camozzi. Again. Left hand snaps Camozzi's head back. Inside leg kicks from Camozzi. Body kick from Larkin lands heavy. Jump knee from Camozzi misses. 1-2-kick combo buys him some space. Larkin with the right down the middle. He's just so sudden with his hands. Camozzi pressing in behind the jab, but nothing there. Halfway through the final round. Larkin circling, the pace has slowed considerably. Two minutes. Camozzi looks to tie up. Knee to the body from Larkin, who works Camozzi back to the cage. Elbow over the top from Larkin that hurt Camozzi. Knee to the body off the fence from Larkin. One minute. Larkin looking to create space. Calls for noise from the crowd. Short elbows inside from Larkin, who is playing to the crowd now. 30 seconds. Trading elbows along the wall. Knee upstairs from Larkin. 10 seconds. The soldiers count it down. Spinning back elbow right before the horn. The troops loving it!
10-9 Larkin, 30-27 overall – just far too quick and powerful for Camozzi here, and did the most damage in the third too.
Official Result: Lorenz Larkin defeats Chris Camozzi by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Analysis: This was by far the best Larkin has looked thus far. He seems comfortable at middleweight now, and is so sudden with his striking – there is no set-up, just power and speed every time. Larkin had a lot of promise coming out of Strikeforce, and remains an intriguing fighter to watch going forward in the middleweight division.
Yves Edwards (42-20-1) vs. Yancy Medeiros (9-1)
John McCarthy with back-to-back assignments, joining these lightweights in the cage.
Touch of gloves and we're off. Edwards southpaw, Medeiros orthodox. Exchanging kicks early, Medeiros coming forward. Edwards counters with a hard right. Left hook lands for Medeiros. Medeiros finding range, front kicks to the body, lots of jabs. Edwards backs him up momentarily with a left of his own. Left hook lands, counter from Edwards connects too. Edwards circles to the center, lands a kick to the body. Inside leg kick from Edwards, answereed by Medeiros. Over the top right from Edwards lands clean. Knee from the Thai clinch for Edwards, and Medeiros calls him in. These two just throwing plenty of shots. Right hand counter lands as Medeiros comes in. Again. Again. Left uppercut from Medeiros drops Edwards dead in his tracks. Two thunderous follow ups and it's over.
Official Result: Yancy Medeiros defeats Yves Edwards by Knockout (Uppercut) at 2:47 of Round 1.
Analysis: Very good showing for Medeiros, who had a nice 9-0 start to his career as a middleweight. His striking looked crisp and varied tonight – mixing in lots of kicks, a bunch of nice counter hooks, and plenty of power. A great performance to get his first UFC win over such an accomplished, respected veteran.
Neil Magny (8-2) vs. Seth Baczynski (18-10)
"Big" John McCarthy joins the welterweights in the Octagon.
No touch for these two. Jabs from both, and then inside leg kicks. Right hand down the pipe lands clean for Baczynski, backing up Magny. Clinched along the cage, Baczynski turns Magny into the cage. Knees to the body off the fence for Magny, who reverses with double underhooks. Baczynski turns, takes a knee to the body. Broken off the fence by McCarthy. Right hand over the top lands behind the jab for Baczynski. Right to the body lands, left glances, and Magny in around the waist to clinch. Along the cage, Baczynski tries to get off the fence, and does. Halfway point. Hand fighting, trading short knees to the thighs. Knee to the body from Magny, who reverses off the cage. Uppercut lands for Magny. Big John breaks them again. Baczynski in on a takedown, lifting Magny into the air before putting him on his back. 90 seconds. Magny looking for room from the bottom, working wrist control. One minute. Baczynski stands, looks to land over the top, but Magny avoids, and stays active from bottom. Baczynski turns the corner, lands the right, and jumps to mount. 20 seconds. Elbow for Baczynski. Back to guard, Baczynski stands, lands a couple to the body as the troops count down the final three seconds.
10-9 Baczynski – landed the clean right hands, and the takedown and control on the ground for the final 90 seconds earns him the nod.
Both still look fresh. Front kick for Magny, avoiding the big overhand right from Baczynski. Magny in on the legs, stuffed, and turned into the cage. They twist off, but end up in the same position on the other side of the Octagon. Magny works his way off the fence, but Baczynski puts him right back. Baczynski looking for the takedown, but not there. Big John splits them off the cage. Jab for Magny lands, followed by a outside leg kick, but Baczynski drives a right hand down the middle that lands flush. Takedown attempt from Baczynski, but Magny defends, and looks for his own takedown. Clinched on the cage, Baczynski turns Magny into the fence. Magny reverses, and now Baczynski returns the favor. Halfway home. Magny circles off the fence, inside knee from Magny as well. Baczynski puts him back onto the fence. Magny with a right hand, and Big John splits them. Right hand for Magny scores. Baczynski looking for the takedown, Magny hits the switch. Baczynski looks tired. On the fence again, Baczynski out front, but Magny landing knees inside, with a right on the break. One minute. Time called – tape lose on Magny's gloves. Back in. Magny with a kick attempt, Baczynski catches and dumps him. Stands out of guard, stacks, and comes back in. Magny active on bottom, looking for openings. Elbow from Baczynski. Passes into side control, elbows in close as the soldiers count it down.
10-9 Baczynski, 20-18 through Round 2 – he was the aggressor, landed the cleanest, biggest punch of the frame, and hit that late takedown, moving into a dominant position.
Magny looks far more energetic here. Jabs landing for Magny, comes in behind a right hand, Baczynski clinches, drives him into the cage. Baczynski looking for a trip takedown, Magny defends. Short inside shots from Magny on the cage, knees inside from Baczynski. They break off the cage. Baczynski coming forward, drives in on the hips again, looking for the takedown. Around to Magny's back, but Magny defends. Knee inside from Magny, who has Baczynski on the fence. Baczynski turns out, reversing Magny into the cage. Big John splits them again. Halfway home. Right lands for Baczynski, who follows with the takedown. Stacking the legs, butterflies for Magny, with right hand wrist control. Baczynski stands, drops back into guard, lands a left elbow. Baczynski stands again, Magny kicks Baczynski off. Back up along the cage, Baczynski clinches up again. Inside knee from Baczynski lands. Magny hits a trip takedown. 60 seconds. Magny with another takedown, and he's looking to open up with the hands. Baczynski climbs his body for a guillotine, can't get it. 30 seconds. Baczynski looking for his own takedown, but Magny defends. 10 seconds. Magny flurrying, but it might be too late.
10-9 Magny, 29-28 Baczynski overall – Magny was the fresher, more active fighter in the final round, but was down two rounds on my card. We'll see what the judges say.
Official Result: Seth Baczynski defeats Neil Magny by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Analysis: The judges got it right, as Baczynski did enough through the opening two frames to earn the nod. He appeared to tire midway through the second frame, but hung on well down the stretch to get back into the win column.
Derek Brunson (10-2) vs. Brian Houston (4-0)
"Baby Brock" Gary Copeland is your referee for this middleweight contest.
Touch of gloves and we're underway. Houston orthodox, Brunson southpaw. Headkick from Brunson right out of the chute and Houston is dropped. Brunson pounces, climbs on his back, and sinks in a deep rear naked choke. Houston fighting it, but Brunson has it deep. Houston taps, and Brunson celebrates. What an awesome start.
Official Result: Derek Brunson defeats Brian Houston by Submission (Rear Naked Choke) at 0:48 of Round 1.
Analysis: Tremendous showing from Brunson, who has now earned consecutive victories in the UFC. He took his fight with Chris Leben on super-short notice, which gets him a bit of a pass for a tepid showing, but this was a more true representation of his skills. He's a dangerous, developing fighter in the middleweight ranks, and one to keep tabs on going forward.
Full fight card:
MAIN CARD (FOX Sports 1, 7 p.m. ET)
Tim Kennedy vs. Rafael Natal
Liz Carmouche vs. Alexis Davis
Ronny Markes vs. Yoel Romero
Rustam Khabilov vs. Jorge Masvidal
Michael Chiesa vs. Colton Smith
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOX Sports 1, 5 p.m. ET)
Bobby Green vs. James Krause
Francisco Rivera vs. George Roop
Dennis Bermudez vs. Steven Siler
Amanda Nunes vs. Germaine de Randamie
PRELIMINARY CARD (FOXSports.com, 3:15 p.m. ET)
Chris Camozzi vs. Lorenz Larkin
Yves Edwards vs. Yancy Medeiros
Seth Baczynski vs. Neil Magny
Derek Brunson vs. Brian Houston