One year less a day since the last time the UFC invaded the Air Canada Centre, the Octagon has returned to the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs for UFC 165: Jones vs. Gustafsson.
Just as he did 364 days ago, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon "Bones" Jones will put his title on the line in tonight’s main event, squaring off with surging Swedish contender Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson in the night’s main event. Should he emerge victorious, the 26-year-old champion will re-write the record books in the 205-pound weight class, as a win would give Jones his sixth consecutive title defense, breaking the record he currently shares with Tito Ortiz.
But a title isn’t just on the line in the main event, as interim bantamweight champion Renan Barao takes on inaugural WEC bantamweight champ Eddie Wineland in the co-main event. Scheduled to meet at UFC 161 in Winnipeg earlier this summer, an injury to Barao delayed the meeting and moved it east to Ontario, but it still remains an electric pairing.
FoxSports.com has got you covered from start to finish on tonight’s 13-fight card.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy the action – it’s Fight Night!
Renan Barao (30-1, 1 NC) vs. Eddie Wineland (20-8-1)
Yves Lavigne with the assignment in the interim bantamweight title fight.
Wineland charges to the center. Inside leg kick from Barao. Wineland looking to find range with his hands. Left hook for the challenger. Barao with a kick, caught, Wineland counters down the pipe with the right. Wineland works body, overhand right. Barao in on a takedown, Wineland stuffs, pushes him back into the cage. Break along the cage from Lavigne. Two down. Barao looks for a high kick, tossed aside by Wineland. Halfway point. Body shot from Wineland. Spinning back kick attempt from Barao misses. 1-2-leg kick combo from Wineland. Digging hook to the body from Barao. Kick from Barao. Body shot from Wineland. Hooks from Barao blocked. Barao dips in without conviction, turned away. Right lands for Barao. High kick blocked by Wineland. Right hand lands for the champ. Right and left land for Barao as they trade. Swinging left hook lands for the champ at the close of the round.
10-9 Barao – found his range, landed the stiffer shots near the end of the frame. Very close though.
Wineland out quickly again. Left lands for Barao, winging right misses. Wineland mixes a combination, body and head. Spinning back kick blasts Wineland on the chin, and he’s dropped. Barao pounces, lands quick follow-ups, and we’re done here.
Official Result: Renan Barao defeats Eddie Wineland by Knockout (Kick and Punches) at 0:35 of Round 2.
Analysis: Great finish from Barao – so dangerous, so talented. That’s a 21-fight winning streak for the Nova Unaio product, who says he’s waiting for Dominick Cruz now. We need to start talking about Barao as one of the very best in the sport. He’s finished each of his two interim bantamweight title fights, and three of his six wins in the UFC. Oh – and he’s only 26, so he’s not going anywhere any time soon.
Brendan Schaub (9-3) vs. Matt Mitrione (6-2)
Dan Miragliotta with the heavyweight assignment.
No touch. Mitrione bouncing on his toes, stalking. Schaub grazes with a right hand. Inside leg kick from Mitrione. Left from Schaub. Pushes in behind a right hand. Right hand from Schaub. Mitrione pressing forward, stuffs the takedown attempt from Schaub. Blood running from the side of Mitrione’s left eye. Halfway. Leg kick from Mitrione, pushes Schaub away as he tries to duck in for a takedown. Schaub swarms forward, mixing lefts and rights, and then dumps Mitrione with a takedown. 90 seconds. Schaub in half guard, Mitrione gets up to a knee, Schaub locks in a D’Arce choke. Mitrione is out.
Official Result: Brendan Schaub defeats Matt Mitrione by Submission (D’Arce Choke) at 4:06 of Round 1.
Analysis: Very good finish for Schaub, who capitalized on the opening Mitrione gave him to secure the choke and the finish. It’s a very interesting new wrinkle to his game, as he’s been a striker up until this point of his career, but now that he’s showing some submission skills, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. And of course, he had to plug The Fighter and The Kid, his podcast here on FoxSports.com with Bryan Callan.
Costa Philippou (12-2) vs. Francis Carmont (21-7)
John McCarthy with the assignment here.
Philippou takes the center, starts working the jab right away. Kick from Carmont. Outsie leg kick from Philippou, response from Carmont. Carmont in on the takedown, clinched on the hips. Costa tries to get up along the cage, Carmont controlling the legs and hips. Carmont trying to move to the back, one hook in. Two under the armpit land from Carmont. Carmont laces his arm under the chin, Philippou gets his back on the canvas. Carmont in half guard. Halfway point. Philippou to full guard. Carmont with an elbow. Philippou looks for an armbar, not there, side control for Carmont. North-South position briefly, back to side control. Philippou back to half. Left from Carmont lands. Philippou slips out, looks for a shoulder lock, missed, and eats hammerfists as a result. Side control again for Carmont. Upkick from Philippou. Armbar attempt late from Philippou, but the horn goes.
10-9 Carmont – maintained control and position on the ground, landed some heavy shots at times.
Outside leg kick from Philippou. Double jabs. Carmont with jabs of his own, times the double, drives through to complete. Elbow over the top. Philippou looking to get his legs up, looking for an arm. Up against the cage, knee to the body from Carmont. Philippou looking for a kimura from the bottom, not there. Left hand from Carmont. Half mount for Carmont, landing sporadic shots over the top. Back to half guard. Halfway point. Big John stands them up. Philippou looking for a way inside, Carmont ducks under again. Philippou grabs an arm, not there. Now Carmont goes after the kimura, gives it up. Elbows from the top for Carmont. Two right hands from the top. Philippou just hanging on, Carmont postures and lands a big left hand. 30 seconds. Into full mount. Left hand lands.
10-9 Carmont, 20-18 through Round 2 – you might even be able to make a case for 10-8 there, as Costa had nothing to offer.
Spinning back kick attempt from Carmont. High kick from Carmont. Again. Outside leg kick from Philippou. Carmont shoots, completes with power, into half guard. Body-body-head from Carmont. Left hands landing for Carmont. Big right from Carmont. "Limitless" looking to open up. Philippou kicks him off, tries to stand, but Carmont is back in before he can rise. Philippou looks for a guillotine, not there, and now he’s stuck on the bottom again. Philippou looks to trap an arm, Carmont pulls out. 90 seconds left. Carmont in complete control on the ground here, throwing punches. 60 seconds left. Every time Philippou tries to kick out, Carmont gets right back in on him. Mount. Looking for the choke, not there. This will go to the cards.
10-9 Carmont, 30-27 overall – his most complete performance to date in the UFC.
Official Result: Francis Carmont defeats Costa Philippou by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26).
Analysis: This was a great showing for Carmont, even if fans booed the fight being on the ground for 12 of 15 minutes. After a pair of shaky wins, this was a clean, dominant performance that gives Carmont six consecutive wins inside the Octagon, a mark that can’t be ignored when you’re trying to arrange contenders in the middleweight division.
Pat Healy (29-16) vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov (20-0)
Yves Lavigne is the referee for this lightweight tilt.
Healy looks a weight class bigger than Nurmagomedov here. Nurmagomedov jumps in with hands, nothing serious lands. Healy coming forward now. Healy ducks a punch, grabs at a leg, but bails. Healy pressing forward, swinging hands. Nurmagomedov looking to counter inside. Step in uppercut lands for Nurmagomedov. Kick from Healy caught. Both guys swinging quick and hard when the come in, but neither really land. Flying knee from Nurmagomedov lands. Tries it again. Left hook lands. Uppercut connects. Nurmagomedov touching up Healy here; he’s the faster of the two. Left hook lands for Healy. Two left. Time called for a lost mouthpiece. Back at it quickly. Lunging uppercut for Nurmagomedov. Right hand to the body from Healy. Uppercut-hook combo connect for Nurmagomedov. Healy hanging in, coming forward. Flying knee again from Nurmagomedov. Left hook lands for Nurmagomedov, but the veteran keeps pressing forward. Nurmagomedov with a takedown, spins around to the back. Healy up quickly. Another takedown for Nurmagomedov. Two good hooks from "The Eagle" as the horn blows.
10-9 Nurmagomedov – landed the much cleaner, much more damaging blows throughout, and the two takedowns seal it.
Left hook from Nurmagomedov, and now they’re trading wild swings. Nurmagomedov with a takedown, and quickly moves to Healy’s back. Veteran back up, Nurmagomedov with lefts to the head as he stands. Back up, back on the press for Healy. Left hook lands for Healy. Left hook lands for Nurmagomedov as Healy comes in, followed with a headick. Undeterred, Healy keeps coming forward. Two down. Right hook for Healy lands, and another. Flying knee not even close from Nurmagomedov. Tide feels like it is turning here. Nurmagomedov into the clinch, Healy throws him off. Trip takedown for Nurmagomedov, around to the back. Healy looks for the takedown, Nurmagomedov defends with the whizzer, lands two to the head. Healy with a good shot to the head. Nurmagomedov clearly slowing down, presses in for the clinch, looking for a takedown. Healy defends, uppercuts from Nurmagomedov as they break, and then he’s right back on the hips. Healy gets free, pressed forward. Nurmagomedov ducks under a swing, hits the takedown. Elbow over the top from guard. Another. And a third.
10-9 Nurmagomedov – he clearly slowed down after a very aggressive first round, but his takedowns and clinch work is what controlled the frame. Healy is resilient, but Nurmagomedov has gotten the better of things so far.
Healy still looks fairly fresh, just misses with a left hook. Right hand lands for Healy. Nurmagomedov dives for a takedown, Healy defends. Left on the chin from Healy. Clinched on the cage, knee to the body from Healy. Healy coming forward behind hands, lands to the body. Nurmagomedov again ducks for the takedown and completes into guard. Shots over the top from Nurmagomedov. Healy trying to turn his hips, but Nurmagomedov keeps him pressed down. Left hands from "The Eagle." Healy tries to stand, Nurmagomedov stays heavy, pulls the legs back out. Healy gets up, Nurmagomedov right back in on the hips, carries him across the cage, and dumps him a la Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg. Lefts from Nurmagomedov. Two minutes left. Healy trying to do something, but Nurmagomedov keeping him pinned down. Nurmagomedov postures up, ground and pound coming heavy. 90 seconds. Healy trying to turn his hips, but nothing happening. Half guard near the cage. Nurmagomedov to side control, and Healy gives up his back. Rolls back, regains half guard, but Nurmagomedov in full control here. Ground and pound from the top at the 10 second clack. Fight finishes with "The Eagle" grappling along the cage.
10-9 Nurmagomedov, 30-27 overall – total control from start to finish; a very strong performance here against a tough veteran.
Official Result: Khabib Nurmagomedov defeats Pat Healy by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Analysis: This was a great showing from Nurmagomedov, who completely out-worked a very game veteran in Healy. While he slowed in the middle stanza, this was a complete showing from the undefeated young lightweight, who is now 21-0, 5-0 in the UFC. He asked for a title shot in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, but he’s not quite there yet. A Top 5 opponent should be next though.
Myles Jury (12-0) vs. Mike Ricci (8-3)
Your referee is John McCarthy.
Lightweights touch gloves, and we’re off. Kick from Ricci parried away. Two more kicks, just finding range. Outside leg kick from Jury, left down the pipe from Ricci. Feeling out process. Trade kicks. Jury with a right hand, blocked. High kick attempt from Ricci, blocked. One from Jury blocked, but gets through a little still. Two down, both tentative, feeling each other out. Right hand lands from Jury. Inside leg kick from Ricci. Head kick from Jury taken on the arms. Jury in on the hips, gets the double. Ricci crawls back to the cage, Jury turns the corner, stepping over his legs. Ricci trying to get up, Jury controlling him on the ground. Ricci to a knee, Jury picks the ankle. Elbows from Ricci to the side of the head as Jury tries to get around to the back. Ricci up to his feet, split with 10 seconds left. Kick lands for Ricci to end it.
10-9 Jury – the takedown and control were key, but he also landed the better strikes as well.
Right hook from Ricci. Body kick from Ricci. Right hand from Jury, looking to counter. Ricci looks to step in with an elbow, Jury slips, and lands a left on the way out. Spinning back fist nowhere close from Ricci. Body kick lands for the Canadian. Right from Jury. Left down the pipe for Ricci. Body kick follows. Left lands for Ricci as Jury swings with the right. Two down. Body kick again for Ricci. Jury lunging in with punches, but nothing there. Body kick again from Ricci. Two minutes left. Both still really cautious, reserved with their offence. Jury misses with the right. Body kick from Jury. Ricci steps in, but doesn’t commit, and spins out. Jury ducks to grab an ankle, nothing there. Spinning back fist misses from Jury. Body kick from Ricci. Jury looks high with a kick. Right hand over the top from Jury. 1-1-2 from Jury, gets in on the hips. Ricci defends.
10-9 Ricci – the body kicks were the best of a very reserved round. Ricci has great defensive instincts, but he needs to be more aggressive. All even through two, so both should be bringing it here.
Left hand lands for Ricci. He’s already more aggressive here, though Jury is the one coming forward. Jury ducks under a punch, drives into the cage, gets the takedown against the fence. Jury climbs over his legs, trying to control. Ricci looks to stand, Jury controlling his hips. Ricci stands, Jury takes his back. Ricci pummels under to break Jury’s hands, but gets dumped back down. Ricci turns it around, putting Jury against the fence. Reversed again, Jury now back on top. Jury takes the back with two minutes left. Fans booing. Ricci not doing a lot to get up either. Ricci tries to stand, Jury denies. Jury looks to fish an arm under the neck, lands some punches. One minute. Ricci spins into Jury’s guard. Ricci stands, re-enters, grabs a front headlock. Jury turns through, Ricci looks kimura, let’s go, elbows to the head. Jury pulls the legs out one more time at the horn.
10-9 Jury, 29-28 Jury overall – Not a ton of action in the final frame, but Jury did what he need to do, controlling things on the mat.
Official Result: Myles Jury defeats Mike Ricci by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Analysis: After a couple of really impressive performances against Michael Johnson and Ramsey Nijem, this one feels like it will stall Jury’s climb a little. He’s still undefeated, and shows all kinds of promise, but this was simply one of those fights that doesn’t sit well with fans, and it makes it hard to move the winner forward too far as a result.
Ivan Menjivar vs. Wilson Reis
Yves Lavigne with the assignment here with the bantamweights.
Kick from Menjivar to open is blocked. Leg kick from Reis. Body kick from Menjivar. Big swing from Reis nowhere close. Right hand lands for Menjivar as Reis throws a kick. Inside leg kick from Menjivar. Returned from Reis. And then back from Menjivar. Body kick from Menjivar. Reis swings the left wildly. Another good body kick from Menjivar. Clinched, left hook to the body from Reis, knee to the chin from Menjivar. Reis pressing forward. Outside leg kick. The same body kick lands for Menjivar. Two minutes left. Outside leg kick from Reis. Reis presses forward behind hands, but nothing lands. Another kick from Menjivar lands. Another big swing from Reis misses. One minute. Reis drives in on a takedown attempt, gets Menjivar down. Full guard. Elbow from Reis, Menjivar throwing tiny shots from underneath. Another elbow over the top for Reis.
10-9 Menjivar for me – landed a little more and with a little more clean technique throughout. That said, the late takedown probably got it for Reis on the scorecards.
Kick up the middle from Menjivar. Reis misses another big swing coming in. Good right from Menjivar as Reis comes in. Inside leg kicks traded. Reis can’t seem to find the distance. Reis catches the kick, takes Menjivar down along the cage. Half guard, but Reis steps out and stands, kicking the thighs. Falls in, Menjivar scrambles up to his feet. Clinched on the cage, Reis in front. Knees from Menjivar to the thigh. Turns. Elbow on the exit. Midway point. Reis still coming forward. Ducks under a punch from Menjivar, takedown into guard. Two minutes. Body-body-head from Reis. Menjivar looking for a sweep; nothing there. Reis moves it to the cage, tries to step over the legs, but Menjivar keeps it in guard. Short elbows from bottom for Menjivar, not much on them. Reis not doing much from top. Menjivar turns himself off the cage from bottom. Reis with a couple punches, opens space, and Menjivar gets up. Knees in the clinch for Menjivar, followed by a front kick.
10-9 Reis – he didn’t do much with the takedowns, but he controlled the fight on the ground with them, giving Menjivar very little opportunity to score. 19-19 heading into the third on my card.
Inside leg kick for Reis, now outside. Front kick up the middle to the body for Menjivar. Reis pressing forward. Inside leg kick from Menjivar. Lots of feints and fakes from both sides, but no one throwing. Inside leg kick from Reis. Reis pawing forward, ducks for the takedown, stuffed, but they clinch alnog the cage. Reis drops his head, Menjivar grabs at a guillotine. Let’s it go. Reis working for a trip, and gets it, into mount. Menjivar hanging on from bottom. Reis looking for the arm triangle, controlling the head and arm, but Menjivar is out. Two minutes. Body-head from Reis. Reis turns out from the cage, keeping Menjivar on the bottom on defence. Heavy mount from Reis, more body-head. Menjivar needs to buck and get out, but he’s just holding on. One minute. Reis steps forward threatening the triangle. Menjivar hip escapes to half guard, and then gets full guard. Nice work from bottom, but he’s still stuck underneath. More body-head from Reis. Elbows from Reis to close.
10-9 Reis, for a 29-28 win on my card. The takedown into mount was the clear deciding factor in this frame, and the takedowns were crucial throughout.
Official Result: Wilson Reis defeats Ivan Menjivar by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28).
Analysis: A solid – albeit somewhat tepid – debut win for Reis, who was once a heralded prospect. Still only 28-years-old, this is a short notice victory over a Top 10-ranked opponent on the biggest stage in the sport, so it’s hard to be disappointed from his side. There wasn’t a lot of action, but Reis clearly has very strong ground skills, keeping the slippery veteran pinned to the mat throughout the pivotal final frame.
Stephen Thompson (7-1) vs. Chris Clements (11-4)
"Big" John McCarthy is the third man in the cage for this welterweight affair.
High kick from Thompson early; misses, but it’s out there. Outside leg kick from Clements. Again. Again. Thompson is very static, looking for kicks. Clements slips underneath and sweeps out Thompson’s legs as he throws a kick. Clinched in a long the cage, Thompson out front. Thompson ducks, eats a knee, but completes the takedown. Clements works back to his feet, Thompson backs into space. Right hand from Wonderboy. Body kick from Clements. Trading kicks. Clements into the clinch, pushes Thompson to the cage. Turned. Little body shots from Thompson. Wonderboy steps out, hands down, Clements misses a big swing with the right. Clements tries a spinning kick, slips, Thompson into his guard. Thompson steps over into half, Clements slips out, back to his feet. Clinched along the cage. Left hand lands for Thompson. Clements misses again on the break. Outside leg kick from Thompson. Left hand lands for Thompson coming in. Takedown for Wonderboy into mount, but Clements gets out at the horn.
10-9 Thompson – he’s landing the cleaner shots, and the new wrinkle of takedowns is helping him dictate the pace and location of the fight as well.
Sideways stance for Thompson to start, looking for kicks. Clements presses forward behind big swings, but nothing lands. Thompson comes in, lands clean in between Clements’ counters, dropping the Canadian. On the ground in half guard, Thompson looks to pass, can’t, and they stand. Crisp right hand on the ear from Thompson stiffens Clements. One more shot slumps the veteran along the cage, and Big John is in to wave it off.
Official Result: Stephen Thompson defeats Chris Clements by Knockout (Strikes) at 1:27 of Round 2.
Analysis: Thompson showed a lot of improvement and development here, using the takedowns judiciously in the first to make his striking more effective. He was ultra-clean with his technique, doing a great job of avoiding and landing crisp counters, including the shot that set up the finish. This was a very good showing against a tough veteran, and seeing the improvements on the ground is a positive sign going forward for Wonderboy.
Mitch Gagnon (9-2) vs. Dustin Kimura (10-0)
Yves Lavinge is your official for this bantamweight contest.
Low inside leg kick from Gagnon the first strike. Kimura presses forward, Gagnon looks for the takedown, but Kimura defends. Kimura with a solid reach advantage, forces Gagnon to come in. Good left from Gagnon. Uppercut from Kimura coming off the cage. Body kick from the Hawaiian. Kimura bleeding from the nose. Body shots from Gagnon digging deep, Kimura returns fire. Leg kick from Gagnon. Body shot from Kimura hurts Gagnon. Follow up knee eaten, and Gagnon drives through the takedown. Kimura looking for a heel hook along the cage, Gagnon climbs his way out. Left hand from top position for the Canadian. And another. Lunging left hook, followed by a hook to the body. Left hook, right straight combo for Gagnon. Two big body shots for Gagnon. Kimura ducks in on a leg, Gagnon grabs the guillotine, rolls through to mount, and Kimura is out cold. Tremendous performance from Mitch Gagnon.
Official Result: Mitch Gagnon defeats Dustin Kimura by Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 4:05 of Round 1.
Analysis: Great showing from Gagnon here – every punch was packed with power, and he finished quickly and efficiently with the choke. He is a big, strong bantamweight, and always entertaining to watch, so he should get a little push going forward. He’ll need to clean up his defences a little, as Kimura landed some solid shots of his own, but the Sudbury, Ontario native took them and kept coming forward. Couldn’t have drawn up a better performance for Gagnon in this one.
John Makdessi (11-2) vs. Renee Forte (8-2)
Todd Ronald Anderson is the third man in the cage.
Lightweights touch gloves and we’re off. High kick attempt from Forte. Right hand from Forte. Inside leg kick. Forte pressing forward behind punches. Forte throwing kicks, Makdessi avoiding. Spinning back kick from Makdessi connects clean. Forte with a kick, caught by Makdessi. Forte still coming forward, missing a hook. Makdessi ducks a hook, connects with a right hand behind the ear, and Forte drops face-first into the canvas. The Brazilian looks to defend, but Makdessi connects with a thunderous right to end it. That’s a second nasty knockout win in Toronto for "The Bull."
Official Result: John Makdessi defeats Renee Forte by Knockout (Punches) at 2:01 of Round 1.
Analysis: Makdessi is a very good striker, and did a great job of avoiding big swings from Forte, landing the cleaner, more compact blows. He clearly has power and very good finishing instincts, putting Forte down with an off-center shot behind the ear, and then finishing quickly on the canvas. His firmly planted in the middle of the lightweight division, but he’ll need to show he’s able to defend the takedown and keep it standing against wrestlers to keep moving forward.
Jesse Ronson (13-2) vs. Michel Prazeres (16-1)
Yves Lavigne is the referee.
Touch of gloves and we’re underway. Kick from Prazeres. Outside leg kick for Prazeres. Ronson looking for the hook. Prazeres in on a leg, Ronson stays upright, clinched along the cage. Prazeres tries to throw him, Ronson fighting it hard. Body lock takedown into side control from Prazeres. Prazeres looking for a choke, Ronson defends, Prazeres tries to take his back. Ronson up, Prazeres scoops him and slams him down, back into side control. Half guard. Arm triangle set-up for Prazeres, now looking for North-South. Flips over to side control on the other side. Ronson in a bad spot here. Prazeres continually looking for submissions. Ronson looks to defend and get up, Prazeres takes his back, flattens him out. Now looking for the rear naked choke, both hooks in. Prazeres still looking, 60 seconds left. Left hands from Prazeres from back mount. Back in for the choke attempt, Ronson defending, but Prazeres keeps control. This has been a dominant grappling frame from Prazeres.
10-8 Prazeres – He controlled nearly ever second of the frame from dominant positions, spending much of the frame on Ronson’s back.
Kick from Ronson. Left hand misses. Lunging uppercut, Prazeres ducks under, takedown, and right to Ronson’s back. Ronson stands and shakes him off, but Prazeres gets right back on his legs, taking him down again. Ronson looking to wall walk, but Prazeres staying tight. Prazeres grabs a front headlock, trying to bring Ronson to the canvas. Ronson splits the hands, knee to the body as he stands. Two down. Kick to the body from Ronson. Prazeres crashes in for another clinch takedown. Halfway point. Ronson back to his feet, but Prazeres still heavy on him, pressing him into the cage. Inside knee to the body from Ronson. 90 seconds. Knee again from Ronson. Prazeres trying to work around the back, Ronson escapes, lands another knee. Prazeres tiring. Ronson lands a headkick. One to the body. Lunging uppercut from Ronson. Prazeres looks for a takedown, Ronson defends. Prazeres pressing into the cage, but nothing there.
10-9 Prazeres, 20-18 through Round 2, but the tide is turning. Prazeres controlled with pressure and takedowns early, but Ronson is the fresher of the two. He needs a finish here in his debut.
Ronson takes the center of the cage and presses forward with strikes. Step jab from Ronson. Uppercut from Ronson. Body kick. Right hand counter from Prazeres. Outside leg kick from Ronson. Looks for a body shot. Head kick from Ronson. Prazeres looks at the clock, misses a big swinging left. 90 seconds gone. Right hands from Prazeres land, but Ronson keeps coming forward. Combo from Ronson lands without much on it. Prazeres ducks under a reaching uppercut, presses into the clinch along the cage. Ronson gets away. Halfway through the round. Ronson landing kicks to Prazeres’ thighs. Prazeres gets up, under two to go. Prazeres comes forward with a right. 90 seconds left. High kick from Ronson glances. Left hand for Ronson, but Prazeres ducks under, gets the takedown along the cage. Two good rights from Prazeres. Ronson looks to get up, but Prazeres stays heavy. Ronson to his feet, scoops a leg, and dumps Prazeres with a big slam, landing in mount, trying to finish as the horn sounds.
10-9 Ronson in Round 3, but 29-27 Prazeres overall for me.
Official Result: Michael Prazeres defeats Jesse Ronson by Split Decision (28-29, 29-28, 29-28).
Analysis: Great ground control early for Prazeres, who threatened chokes throughout the first round. He tired as the fight went on, but did more than enough early to earn the first two frames. As he gets more accustomed to the weight cut, Prazeres could be a tough out in the lightweight division.
Roland Delorme (9-1) vs. Alex Caceres (8-5)
Todd Ronald Anderson is the referee.
Caceres throws the left high kick, comes with a spinning backfist behind it. Delorme looks to initiate the clinch, but Caceres slips out. Caceres pumping the jab. Now looking for the 1-2. Inside leg kick from Caceres, who looks faster and one step ahead of the Canadian. Big left hand from Delorme drops Caceres. Delorme follows him to the ground, lands in a mounted crucifix, dropping elbows. Caceres slips out, takes Delorme’s back, but loses the position. Delorme to Caceres’ back now, looking for the body triangle and the choke. Caceres defending. One hook in for Delorme. Looking for the rear naked choke. Two minutes left. Caceres trying to turn out, Delorme staying tight, digs the hook back in. Big shots for Delorme. Caceres trying to stand, Delorme flattens him out. Caceres looks to slip out, ends up mounted, Delorme back around to the back. Now looking for the arm triangle choke, but Caceres defends. Caceres up to his feet, Delorme sticks with him, rolls with him and stays on his back. To their feet, these two bantamweights swing leather to end the frame.
10-9 Delorme – the left hand and all kinds of control in the grappling. This has been as entertaining as expected already.
Right hand from Delorme to open. Side kick from Caceres. Delorme backs him up with hands, and a body kick. Caceres looks to land hands, coming forward. Now Delorme on the offensive behind the left hand. Neither man landing much here to start. Caceres avoiding most of the shots, lands a jumping knee. Delorme with another left, similar to the first, but not as heavy. Delorme slips to the ground, and Caceres pounces, getting to his back. Delorme up, eats a knee to the thigh, but they split to the center. Two down. Good left from Caceres. Left to the body for Caceres. Delorme in on a single, Caceres rolls through, Delorme flows with him, and ends up defending a takedown. Knee from Caceres up top, and they’re back into space. Caceres has a clear edge int he striking, picking at Delorme with straight rights and lefts. Right hook for Caceres, countered by Delorme. Delorme pressing in behind hands, lands a right. Caceres sprawls out, and they’re clinched on the cage. Caceres reverses out, lands hands. Body kick from Caceres. Left down the middle. Spinning back fist just misses for Caceres.
10-9 Caceres, even at 19-19 through Round 2. Caceres is landing the greater value, and did by a good deal in this frame, but Delorme has more power. Close fight heading into the deciding frame.
Inside leg kick lands for Caceres. Superman punch connects too. Delorme pressing forward, lands a punch, Caceres slips backing up. Caceres slipping and landing well early as Delorme comes in. Caceres ducks under a combo and initiates the clinch. Caceres around to Delorme’s back. The Canadian spins out and they’re in space. Caceres picking iwth his hands, frustrating Delorme. Delorme charges in, and Caceres moves to avoid. Stiff, easy shots from Caceres. Three-punch combo from Caceres ends with an uppercut. Delorme catches a knee attempt, pushes for the takedown, but Caceres gets up and crashes right back in. Caceres throws the knee, Delorme goes for the takedown. Caceres defends, and takes Delorme’s back. High knee from Caceres. 1-2 from Caceres. Uppercut lands from Caceres. 60 seconds. Spinning back kick from Caceres. Tries a low-high kick, slips, and Delorme lands in his guard with 45 seconds to go. Caceres looking for the triangle. Caceres ties him up on the ground to the horn.
10-9 Caceres in Round 3 for a 29-28 victory on my card.
Official Result: Alex Caceres defeats Roland Delorme by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28)
Analysis: This was the best we’ve seen from Caceres, who landed at greater than 60% for the fight. He looked fresh throughout, and while there were some dicey moments in the first, he defended well, and clearly controlled things on the feet. Because he’s been around for so long (since TUF 12), it’s easy to forget that he’s still pretty young and continues to develop. Working at The Lab is a smart change of location, and we could see Caceres start to string together some strong performances going forward.
Daniel Omielanczuk (15-3-1) vs. Nandor Guelmino (11-4-1)
Heavyweights in the first fight of the night. Dan Miragliotta has the assignment.
Front kick from Guelmino early. High kick from Omielanczuk. No hesitation from either man – trading kicks, throwing them heavy. Overhand right from Guelmino lands. Oblique kick from Omielanczuk, and one to the body. Left to the head from Omielanczuk backs Guelmino up. Another head kick from Omielanczuk. These two are going hard early. Body shot from Omielanczuk. Another attempt up high with a left kick. Into the clinch along the cage. Knees to the thigh from Omielanczuk. Guelmino reverses, and then he’s turned by Omielanczuk. Inside knee to the body from Guelmino, and they’re split to the center of the cage. Omielanczuk ducks under, stuffed, and they’re back on the cage in the clinch. High knee from Guelmino, now one inside to the body. Two minutes left. Foot stomp from Omielanczuk. Knee to the thigh from Omielanczuk. Guelmino turns him, but gets reversed immediately. 90 seconds. Miragliotta splits them again. Kicks from Guelmino. Push kick from Guelmino. Superman punch misses. Guelmino winging punches, tries a kick, caught, and he’s taken down. Right back up. Clinched along the cage. 30 seconds. Guelmino goes for a throw, not there, and eats a left to end the round.
10-9 Omielanczuk – pressed the action, landed the heavier strikes of the two.
Kick from Guelmino to open, countered inside by Omielanczuk. Trading kicks again, Omielanczuk lands to the body. Big left hand from Omielanczuk straightens up Guelmino. He’s hurt. Omielanczuk presses in on the hurt man, grabbing a front headlock, landing a knee. Guelmino playing defense here, gets taken down. Omielanczuk on top in half guard, working for a kimura far side. Rolls over, maintaining the hold, but Guelmino now on top. Now Guelmino on top in side control. Omielanczuk trying to get up, Guelmino keeps him grounded, landing a couple heavy punches. Halfway home. Two to the body from Guelmino. Omielanczuk tries to roll, Guelmino to half guard. Omielanczuk grabs for a leg, gets back to base, but Guelmino goes with him, and maintains control. Omielanczuk is tired, and Guelmino is doing a good job of maintaining position and doing a little work. 60 seconds. Right hand to the head from Guelmino. Omielanczuk looking for the kimura again, but nothing there. Elbow from the top to end things for Guelmino.
10-9 Guelmino – he was tagged early, but rebounded to control the majority of the round on the canvas. All even at 19-19 heading into the third round.
Two tired men touch’em up. Kick from Guelmino, answered by Omielanczuk. Low kick takes Guelmino’s legs out momentarily. High kick from Guelmino, low from Omielanczuk. Guelmino swinging hands, Omielanczuk still ducking and dodging well. Both are exhausted. Omielanczuk initiates the clinch. Knees to the thigh. One to the body from Guelmino. Broken by Miragliotta. Front kick from Guelmino. Big left swing from Omielanczuk. Front leg side kick from Guelmino. Omielanczuk pushing forward behind sloppy, tired swings. Back into the clinch at the midway point. Reversed on the cage by Guelmino, and back. Broken again. Two minutes. Guelmino lands a body kick and a right hand, Omielanczuk loses his mouthpiece. Front kicks from Guelmino, Omielanczuk lands a monster overhand left, and this is done. Guelmino is out.
Official Result: Daniel Omielanczuk defeats Nandor Guelmino by Knockout (Punch) at 3:18 of Round 3.
Analysis: As is often the cage with heavyweights, the pace slowed dramatically as the fight went on, but the finishing left from Omielanczuk was all kinds of nasty. Conditioning is an issue, but big boys with power will always get a chance to develop and improve.