St-Pierre defeats Hendricks
What a bizarre end to a historic night.
UFC 167 ended with a controversial decision and then Georges St-Pierre all but announced his retirement after retaining his welterweight title by split decision against Johny Hendricks on Saturday night in Las Vegas.
"I have to step away for a bit," GSP told Joe Rogan afterward. "That's all I can say for now. Later on I'll make a point on that. Right now, I have to go away for a little bit."
"There was a lot of talk about what was going to happen. I have a bunch of stuff in my life happening. I need to hang up my gloves for a little bit.”
That was just moments after he seemed to get his belt taken away from him by Hendricks, who imposed his will throughout the five-round bout. When asked by Rogan about the possibility of not getting a rematch, Hendricks seemed angry.
"I want it," Hendricks said. "I don't care. i want that belt. That's what i just earned, but it was taken away from me. I swear to God that won't happen again."
The crazy finish followed an impressive performance by Rashad Evans, who finished his good friend and Fox Sports television co-worker Chael Sonnen via TKO in the first round. It was a dominant performance by Evans, who took Sonnen down and used ground and pound to defeat "The American Gangster."
The upset of the night came when Robbie Lawler beat Rory MacDonald by decision nearly finishing MacDonald in the third round. All of a sudden, the 31-year-old Lawler has made himself a welterweight title contender.
Speaking of those, Tyron Woodley cemented his spot in the 170-pound top 10 with a vicious knockout of Josh Koscheck.
To open the main card, Ali Bagautinov won a decision over Tim Elliott to make a name for himself in the flyweight division.
Donald Cerrone had the highlight finish of the prelims when he submitted Evan Dunham in the second round with a beautiful triangle choke from the bottom. That was after he lit up Dunham standing up.
Erik Perez and Sergio Pettis both confirmed their presence as top prospects and Jason High and Thales Leites showed off dominant ground games. Rick Story kept himself in the mix at welterweight and Gian Villante opened the show with a thundering knockout.
UFC 167 opened with a bang and closed with a head scratcher.
Georges St-Pierre (24-2) vs. Johny Hendricks (15-1)
Well, this is going to be fun. Can St-Pierre hold onto the belt or is Hendricks the man to end the legend's reign? Can't wait to find out.
Mario Yamasaki is the referee for this welterweight championship fight.
A little difference in the intros from Bruce Buffer. Lights go down and spotlights on the fighters. I like it. Nice touch.
Here we go.
Big left attempt from Hendricks and GSP takes him down. Guillotiine by GSP, but Hendricks slips out. Back up.
They fall into a clinch, throwing knees. Yamasaki breaks it up.
Hendricks throws and GSP goes for another takedown. Stuffed. GSP eating punches.
GSP still holding the takedown, Hendricks is landing elbows. Hendricks is a beast. So physically strong.
Hendricks takes GSP down. Wow.
GSP is up. Clinch again against the cage.
Hendricks throws a big left. Blocked. Round over.
Hendricks 10-9 -- Punches and elbows in a clinch plus a takedown. Hendricks opened up a cut on GSP's left eye. Good round by the challenger. Time for St-Pierre to adjust.
Hendricks is smiling a lot.
GSP is opening up on the feet a bit. Hendricks hurts him with a left. Two, three uppercuts with that left hand.
GSP is hurt bad. The two are in a clinch and Yamasaki stops the action. Hendricks' mouthpiece fell out.
Hendricks is teeing off! No one has done this to GSP in a long time, if ever.
GSP's face is lumped up. Hendricks presses him against the cage.
GSP back to the jab. He's getting more comfortable striking. Good right by GSP.
Hendricks comes back with another left. Head kick by GSP.
They end up in a clinch. Loud "GSP!" chant. Hendricks' round though.
10-9 Hendricks -- The challenger tattooed GSP a couple times with that left hand. GSP looked way more smooth on the feet toward the end of the round and Hendricks slowed down. No idea what will happen from here.
Good leg kick by GSP. Hendricks narrowly misses a knee to the head.
This is purely a boxing match.
Hendricks is a little tired. Nice right by GSP.
Left hook by GSP. Georges has really never had to come back before.
Good left by Hendricks. GSP is controlling the striking right now, though.
Good combo by GSP. And another.
Hendricks shoots in, pushes GSP against the cage. GSP is trying to stuff it, but he does not. Hendricks on top.
That could be enough to win him the round. GSP gets up. They're clinching.
10-9 GSP -- Hendricks might have stole the round late with that takedown, but I don't think so. GSP controlled the action standing, landed more strikes and did more damage.
When was the last time GSP only landed one takedown? Unreal.
GSP slips and Hendricks is in top position. Bad break there.
GSP holding Hendricks in his guard. Elbow from Hendricks. Ground and pound. Good elbows by Hendricks.
Hendricks lets him up. Weird. GSP is busted open badly. Wow.
Hendricks lands a pair of lefts. Not as powerful as earlier, but still.
Hendricks has found a second wind here. GSP doesn't look good at all.
Big right hand by GSP. He shoots in for a takedown. No dice. Hendricks is a bull, man.
Hendricks looking for the takedown now. Didn't get it. A clinch against the cage. Now or never in this round for Georges.
Hendricks pushes him against the cage. The end will round there.
10-9 Hendricks -- Hendricks got top control and landed some nice ground and pound. GSP is busted up. Bad cut under his right eye. This is Johny's fight right now unless something incredible happens.
GSP's face is all marked up. Hendricks doesn't have a bruise on him. Wow.
GSP has to go for broke. Never said that before.
GSP goes for a takedown. Hendricks' balance is uncanny. Cannot take the guy down.
Another clinch. Hendricks going for a takedown. I'm sure he's cool with staying in this clinch against the cage.
GSP hurts Hendricks with a combo and takes him down. Wow. Hendricks got a little cocky.
Hendricks sneaks out. GSP has him in a front headlock. Hendricks is up. Midway through the round now.
More clinching. Time is running out on GSP's title defense.
Yamasaki breaks them up.
Ninety seconds left now. Can GSP turn it on?
GSP going for a takedown against the cage. Nothing doing here. But he got him down briefly.
GSP still going for a takedown. You need a finish, dude. Stop going for a takedown.
GSP grabs for a kimura, but it's too late. That's it. The horn sounds.
Firas Zahabi picks up GSP likes he won. What?
10-9 GSP, 48-47 Hendricks -- We should have a new champion. Hendricks did more damage throughout, couldn't be taken down and pretty much dictated the entire fight. Let's see if the judges agree.
Official Result: Georges St-Pierre defeats Johny Hendricks by Split Decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47)
Analysis: Wow. I think Johny Hendricks just got robbed. Their faces' tell the story -- Hendricks doesn't have a mark on him. Hendricks won three rounds, I thought rather decisively.
After the fight, Georges St-Pierre all but announced his retirement. But didn't fully commit to it.
"I have to step away for a bit," GSP told Joe Rogan. "That's all I can say for now. Later on I'll make a point on that. Right now, I have to go away for a little bit."
Chael Sonnen (29-13-1) vs. Rashad Evans (23-3-1)
This is a must-win for Evans. It doesn't matter as much for Sonnen, who's already facing Wanderlei Silva next year after "TUF: Brazil." Evans is really not that big of a favorite (-190). Somewhat surprising.
Herb Dean is your referee for this light heavyweight fight.
Sonnen comes right out as always and shoots in. Pushes Rashad against the cage. Evans reverses and has Chael and they spin again with Chael in control.
Evans goes for a single leg, Chael shrugs it off. Evans pushes Chael against the fence. A little dirty boxing from both. Evans lands a pair of right hands. Rashad takes down Chael.
Evans in half guard. Some ground and pound. Chael is defending well. Sonnen tries to get up, but can't. Evans lands a hard right. Takes Chael's back.
Hard ground and pound and now full mount. Chael is in trouble. Rashad has his back and flattens him out, raining down punches. It's over TKO.
Rashad Evans made it look easy. Rashad was fantastic. Sonnen had nothing for him. Bad matchup for him.
Official Result: Rashad Evans defeats Chael Sonnen by TKO in Round 1 (4:05)
Analysis: It's time for Sonnen to go back to 185, which he will against Wanderlei Silva next. Evans was in fantastic shape and finished Sonnen in a similar way that Jon Jones did. Sonnen just can't match up with big, strong wrestlers like Rashad and Jon Jones. Evans is on track now at 205. I'm not sure if anyone wants to see him fight Jones again, but he's in the conversation. One or two wins away. This is a win he really needed to have.
Robbie Lawler (21-9, 1 NC) vs. Rory MacDonald (15-1)
Really looking forward to this fight. Not as much as St-Pierre and Hendricks, but probably second. It's just an awesome clash of styles.
Mario Yamasaki gets the assignment for this welterweight bout.
Loud "Rory! chant from the crowd. Didn't see that one coming.
Front kick-right hand combo by Rory. Lawler attacking with leg kicks.
Lawler is doing a nice job with that kick to the front leg. If he keeps on it, that will make a difference later.
Axe kick by Rory misses. MacDonald is making Lawler fight his fight right now, kind of like Ellenberger. Slow pace.
Another "Rory!" chant. He's not doing a whole lot though.
Rory catches a kick, but Lawler hits him with a left in the clinch. Best strike of the fight so far.
10-9 Lawler -- Leg kicks and that one punch at the end made all the difference. MacDonald was super conservative, which isn't a complete surprise.
MacDonald goes for a takedown, doesn't get it. Good balance by Lawler. Rory lands a punch in a scramble.
Lawler has been patient. Perhaps that's smart. MacDonald lands a body kick.
The two exchange punches. Rory lands a head kick.
Lawler pushing forward more now. Lawler lands two lefts.
Good combo by Rory, finishing with a front kick. MacDonald dives for a double leg and gets it.
He's on top. Lawler is using butterfly guard. Lawler scrambles. Rory tries to take his back. No dice. Has him front headlock position.
MacDonald gets into guard. Lawler throwing elbows from the bottom. Rory in half guard. Lands some big elbows. The round ends with Rory in guard.
10-9 MacDonald -- Rory stole the round with the takedown, some top control and those elbows from the top. Other than that, he did very little. Lawler is very much in this fight.
Lawler hurts Rory with a right and then a left! MacDonald goes for a takedown and gets it.
Rory in guard. He was in trouble. Nice elbow from Rory. Rory just laying there. Yamasaki stands them up.
Lawler is throwing big punches and lands another. He's all over Rory! MacDonald pulls him down into guard. Wow.
Rory has taken some shots and he's in a bad way right now. Lawler gets up and tells Rory to get up.
Rory is bleeding from his nose and maybe his mouth.
Lawler lands a combo. Rory got poked in the eye. Ugh! Yamasaki stops the action.
Lawler shrugs off a takedown attempt. He rocks Rory with a huge left hook! He's down.
Lawler on top. Wow. This is incredible. Lawler in side control. Rory gets back to half guard. Now back to side control.
Lawler crushes Rory with ground and pound. MacDonald is really hurt. Butterfly guard. Time is running out on Rory. Armbar attempt! Lawler is out.
MacDonald takes him down and now ground and pound! Elbows to the head. Wow! Time runs out.
10-9 Lawler, 29-28 Lawler -- What a fight. Robbie Lawler is back, ladies and gentleman. There's little doubt he won the first and third rounds. Rory was nearly finished, but showed guts to come back and finish strong. If only he did that earlier!
Official Result: Robbie Lawler defeats Rory MacDonald by Split Decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28).
Analysis: Lawler has been around since UFC 37 in 2002 -- and this might be the best he's ever been at age 31. MacDonald is supposed to be The Chosen One at 170, but he's still only 24. He has a lot to learn. Not sure how the judges scored two rounds for MacDonald. But the important thing is Lawler won the well-deserved decision. There's a brand new contender at welterweight.
Josh Koscheck (19-7) vs. Tyron Woodley (11-2)
Koscheck thinks he might get his walking papers if he doesn't win here. I doubt it, but hard to tell.
Herb Dean is the ref for this welterweight fight.
Woodley lands a big right hand. And then a knee. Koscheck is looking for a takedown. He's in trouble.
Koscheck wouldn't touch gloves and he paid for it. Koscheck pushing Woodley against the cage. Dean breaks it up. Back to the center.
Woodley lands a right, then a hard left kick. Koscheck fires back with a right hand. Woodley might be hurt.
Koscheck throws a wild right. Woodley ducks it. These guys are throwing.
Woodley crushes Koscheck with a right hand, he goes down. He's struggling to survive. He was almost out. Dean doesn't step in. Koscheck is bleeding. He's holding on for dear life. Dean stands them back up. Koscheck is woozy. Wow. Woodley looks tired.
Woodley with a ferocious right hook and Koscheck is out! It's over. Koscheck was out and Woodley still followed up with a combination as he was falling down. Just sick.
Official Result: Tyron Woodley defeats Josh Koscheck by knockout in Round 1 (4:38)
Analysis: Woodley has serious power. The Jay Hieron knockout was no fluke. Anyone who can throw like that and wrestle like Woodley is real. He probably should have won the decision over Jake Shields in his last fight, but he's back on track now and not far from a title shot. And Koscheck? Well, it might be time to hang things up. Two scary knockouts in a row is never good.
Tim Elliott (10-3-1) vs. Ali Bagautinov (11-2)
Kim Winslow again. But, why?
Big opportunity for both of these guys here on the main card of one of the biggest events of the year. Hope they deliver.
Elliott is daring Bagautinov to hit him in the face. That's not usually a smart idea.
Not a whole lot happening here. Feeling out process, I guess?
Bagautinov lands a right hand. Some red on the face of Elliott.
Bagautinov tags Elliott with a knee and a right hand. Hurt him briefly. Elliott is OK now, maybe.
Good jab by Elliott. Bagautinov with a nice sambo throw. Elliott back up. These guys don't look or fight like flyweights.
Elliott is doing a nice job avoiding those slams of the Russian. Bagautinov landing though. And there it is again with a right hand and a left head kick. Wow. Elliott might have gotten saved by the bell.
10-9 Bagautinov -- He might be the most powerful flyweight in the UFC. He's landing punches and Elliott is trying to avoid the clinch -- and those slams -- like the plague.
Bagautinov picks up Elliott for a slam, but Elliot grabs a guillotine. It was tight, but Bagautinov throws him off like a rag doll. Wow. That was insane.
Elliott on top in guard. Ground and pound by Elliott. Bagautinov gets up. Ali lands a big right hand. Elliott eats it. Then a left. Dude doesn't get cheated on those punches. Are we sure he's 125?
Another right hand and another. Elliott is having trouble landing. He has good head movement, though.
Elliott goes for a takedown. Wild scramble. They both end up standing. Time running down in the round.
Another solid right by Bagautinov and the round comes to an end.
10-9 Bagautinov -- The powerful Russian is landing heavy shots and outgrappling Elliott, too. Just a tough matchup for Elliott. Big physical strength advantage.
Elliott is pushing the pace. Bagautinov is still counterpunching. Front kick to the face by Ali. That was sweet.
Elliott's corner told him Bagautinov was tired. He's not as tired as they want to believe.
Bagautinov lands a combination. Elliott is throwing volume, but not connecting and doing no damage.
Ali lands a left, then a right. A combination now. Big right hand by Bagautinov. Elliott lands a three-punch combo to Bagautinov's face. The most significant strikes for him. Can he capitalize?
Just 90 seconds left. Elliott hasn't pressed the issue all that much. Bagautinov lands a combination. Hard right.
Bagautinov lands a head kick. Not flush, but it sounded good.
Another combination by Ali. Elliott takes him down. Nice finish, but what it enough?
10-9 Elliott, Bagautinov 29-28 -- Bagautinov didn't throw as many punches, but he landed more and did more damage. Elliott is a tough kid and came forward the entire fight. I won't be shocked if one of the judges give it to Elliott, but Bagautinov deserves this one.
Official Result: Ali Bagautinov defeats Tim Elliott by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 30-27).
Analysis: Good call by the judges. Fun fight that can be looked at a couple of different ways. Both guys have a chance to do damage in the thin flyweight division. Bagautinov will be a tough matchup for anyone, because he's strong.
Donald Cerrone (20-6, 1 NC) vs. Evan Dunham (14-4)
Mario Yamasaki is the ref in this lightweight fight.
This should be a good one. Thankfully. This crowd could us one.
Cerrone with a flurry. Dunham crashes to the canvas and Cerrone moves in for the kill. A knee started that. Dunham's right eye is bleeding.
Cerrone has top position, but loses it. Dunham on top. Cerrone goes for a triangle, then an omaplata. He uses that to get up. Now he has Dunham in a front headlock position.
Dunham gets up and pins Cerrone against the cage. He's getting some mileage out this position and it seems like he has recovered. Cerrone lands another knee to the head on the exit.
Another knee by Cerrone! Dunham's eye is a disaster. Left hand by Cerrone hurts Dunham. Knee-right hand combo.
Dunham survives the round.
10-9 Cerrone -- Somehow Dunham held on after that first exchange. His eye is bloodied up, but he's still coming forward. Cerrone has a serious advantage standing up though. He's landing everything and hard.
Dunham has heart man. He's getting after it to start the second round. Cerrone looks almost surprised.
Cerrone stuffs a takedown attempt. Cerrone's knees are so smooth. Throws them as well as anyone from all angles and in all situations.
Nice body kick by Cerrone. And a body punch. Dunham hanging in. Lands a nice left hand and goes for a takedown. Cerrone trips him gets side control. Wow. Slick.
Dunham gets Cerrone to half guard. Dunham slips out and gets top position. Cerrone slaps on a triangle and finishes! Wow. Very, very impressive -- standing and grappling.
Official Result: Donald Cerrone defeats Evan Dunham by submission in Round 2 (3:49)
Analysis: Cerrone is still one of the most exciting fighters to watch in the UFC, but always seems to get derailed just before a title shot. At age 30, time is ticking. But "Cowboy" is a guy fans won't mind watching over and over again. He's explosive standing up and finishes guys on the ground. I almost want to say he's a poor-man's Anthony Pettis, but Cerrone isn't a poor-man's anything. He's a stud.
Ed Herman (21-7, 1 NC) vs. Thales Leites (21-4)
Both of these guys are capable of being Fight-of-the-Night exciting as well as watching-paint-dry boring. Let's hope the former prevails.
Kim Winslow is back for this fight. Maybe that's a blessing.
Leities lands early on Herman, sending him to the mat. Leities procures top position. Solid ground and pound. Herman throwing up kicks.
Half guard for Leites. Now side control. Herman scrambles out.
Leites working for another takedown from the clinch. Leities scores a trip and gets the back. Slick transitions. Hooks in. Punches to the head. Leites is working for a submission. Herman turtles. Good punches from Leites. Back to the back for Thales.
Herman explodes and gets back up. But good round by Leites.
10-9 Leites -- Good punch to send the fight to the ground, where we know Leites can be suffocating. Impressive first five minutes by the Brazilian.
Leites presses Herman against the cage. Herman tries to switch.
Leites hits another trip and he's in guard. Herman is a good grappler, too. He's just not Leites.
Leites in half guard and now takes the back. Thales in the seat belt position with his back against the cage. Hooks in.
Herman gets Thales back to guard. Leites in side control. BJJ clinic here. Back to back control. Hard hammer fist to the face. Herman is getting worn down. So is the crowd.
Herman uses an omaplata, but he's on his back again. Leites in half guard. The crowd is booing. This is textbook Thales Leites.
10-9 Leites -- You already know. Leites dominates again in the grappling department. No signs of any changes heading into the third round.
Herman looks tired. Loopy slow punches and Leites comes in for a clinch.
Herman lands some dirty boxing. Fairly hard. Leites hits a combination and pushes Herman against the cage.
Herman is still working some dirty boxing. He's trying, at least. He's also a tremendous ginger. It's impressive.
Leites hits an overhand right. Herman stuffs a takedown attempt. Back against the cage. Cue the crowd. Cue Kim Winslow.
Herman blatantly uses the cage to fend off a takedown and Winslow rips his fingers from the link of chain. Should have been a point taken off, but hey, what's the point? See what I did there.
Leites gets another trip and he's in guard. Now side control. Rinse, repeat.
Leites takes the back. The crowd is unimpressed. Leites back in half guard. Time running down. Mercifully.
Thales gets mount. It's over. No, not a finish. The horn. The crowd boos again.
10-9 Leites, 10-9 Leites overall -- Well, this is an easy one. Leites dragged Herman down every round and completely blew him out on the ground. That's the textbook we all know. Not love, though. Not love.
Official Decision: Thales Leites defeats Ed Herman by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Analysis: And you're telling me the UFC won't sign Ben Askren? Leites is now 2-0 since returning to the UFC, but there won't be anyone clamoring for him to get another title shot. He's difficult to watch.
Brian Ebersole (50-15-1, 1 NC) vs. Rick Story (15-7)
Ebersole's arrow body hair is back. And it's phenomenal. It's a shame this fight will be very dull.
Herb Dean is reffing this welterweight scrap.
Story comes out swinging. Ebersole hits a nice elbow. Joe Rogan refuses to mention World Series of Fighting by name when referring to Jon Fitch.
Story lands a left and Ebersole shrugs it off. Nice combination by Story,mostly blocked. Good body shot. Ebersole says "nah."
Ebersole, a so unorthodox. And he just ate a huge right hook to the jaw. Nice chin. I think Story just punched Ebersole in the knee. Isn't that Ebersole's move?
Story is landing big shots. Ebersole is hanging in.
10-9 Story -- It's a wonder Ebersole is still in there and fighting (sort of) effectively. Story connected with some power throughout the round. Ebersole really has no path to victory in this fight.
Story takes down Ebersole and he's in side control. Ebersole makes it up to his feet.
Nice straight left by Story. Ebersole tries going for a couple of takedowns and doesn't come close at all.
Good elbow by Ebersole. Story lands a right and Ebersole shakes his head again. I don't believe him.
Great body shot by Story. That hurt Ebersole. Left hand to the head by Story. Ebersole looks for a single leg. Yeah, that ain't going to happen.
Wild flurry against the cage at the end of the round. Story rocks Ebersole, but Ebersole comes back and drops Story. Best sequence of the fight there.
10-9 Story -- Story is just way too strong for Ebersole, whose well-roundedness is being completely canceled out. Story keeps landing power shots. It's only a matter of time before one of them ends the fight.
Story with a sweet trip takedown. Ground and pound. Big punches. Ebersole is back up. Story just can't finish the guy.
Story lands a booming right hook. Ebersole just takes it. Amazing. Good body shots and a hard left to the head.
Story with a hard, hard leg kick and it buckles Ebersole. His lead leg is hurting bad. Story prefers throwing those powerful hooks, though. Another kick crushes Ebersole's leg. And another drops him. Wow.
Story in side control. Ebersole survives.
10-9 Story, 30-27 Story overall -- Story probably would have finished the fight if he was kicking Ebersole in the front leg throughout. Even so, he completes dominated. Story's face was bloodied by the end, but make no mistake: Ebersole took a pounding.
Official Result: Rick Story defeats Brian Ebersole by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Analysis: Story looked good. He has his limitations. He isn't the most technical striker in the world. But he hits hard, is physically very strong and is a solid wrestler. Hey, maybe if he mixes in more of those crippling leg kicks he can take his game to the next level. At 29, he remains close to the top 10 at 170.
Erik Perez (13-5) vs. Edwin Figueroa (9-3)
Kim Winslow is back for this fight. Thank goodness.
Perez is the prohibitive favorite here, but this one should be fun. Both of these guys like to throw down.
Perez lands a massive kick -- right to Figueroa's groin. Ouch. That was a bad one. "Sweet baby Jesus," says Joe Rogan. I think Figueora is going to take the full five minutes -- and he deserves every second.
Figueroa is all better now. He's moving forward with wild punches. Perez looking for a single leg and gets it.
Figueroa makes it back up. Perez lands a knee on the exit. Wicked front kick by Perez. Sends Figueroa flying.
Perez's nose is bleeding. Must have been one of those wild punches. Perez with a slick takedown as Figueroa goes a body kick. Perez in half guard. Not doing a whole lot from up there.
Figueroa slips out and up. Perez takes him right back down again. Perez grinding with some elbows and ground and pound. That's how the round ends.
10-9 Perez -- The 23-year-old looks good. More versatile than ever. Landing takedowns. Nice transitions and explosive on the feet.
Perez with a ridiculous combination -- left hook to the body and right hand to the jaw. Figueroa goes down, but he's right back up.
Figueroa is a tough dude. He's coming right back with wild punches. So, Perez picks him up and pulls a Matt Hughes, running and slamming him down. Wow!
Perez on top and he's got Figueroa's back. Figueroa is turtled up. Now he's trying to get up against the cage. Perez hits a knee to the body and looks for another takedown. Elbow by Perez.
Back to stand up. Figueroa lands a big right hand. And another one. Perez shoots for another takedown. Smart kid. Figueroa is game.
Perez in guard. His nose is bleeding again. Throwing some elbows now from the top. Perez into half guard. Winslow stands them up. Joe Rogan freaks out: "What are you doing Kim Winslow?!" Nice.
10-9 Perez -- Sharp striking and some surprisingly good wrestling by Perez. But Figueroa is a tough dude and he's hanging in there. He literally has a puncher's chance.
Perez misses a crazy spinning wheel kick. Figueroa ducks under it. And now Perez ducks under for a takedown. His seventh of the fight.
Perez is in half guard. Perez is going for an arm triangle. Now he's in side control. Nice knee to the body by Perez. Figueroa sneaks out the back though.
Knee by Perez, right hand and back to a takedown. Figueroa looks annoyed.
Perez lands a hard right hand that shakes Figueroa. Guy is tough. No finish here by Perez, but it doesn't matter.
10-9 Perez, 30-27 Perez overall -- Perez with a clinical, technical -- dare I say, Greg Jackson-esque -- win. Very impressive. Technical striking and perfectly timed takedowns were the recipe.
Official Result: Erik Perez defeats Edwin Figueroa by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27).
Analysis: Perez, at age 23, has evolved immensely. Super impressive victory and he's a serious contender at 135 in the UFC. Sharp striking, power and good wrestling? Sounds like a nice combination to me.
Jason High (18-4) vs. Anthony Lapsley (22-5, 2 NC)
Mario Yamasaki gets the assignment for this welterweight bout.
These two are big 170-pounders. High is nearly a 3-to-1 favorite. I expect him to take this one.
Lapsley wades in with a combination and High immediately takes him down. High has side control and now he's in full mount. Lapsley gives up his back. Hooks in.
Lapsley does a nice job defending and gets up. But High takes him right back down. High goes for a guillotine. Didn't work.
High slams Lapsley down from the back. He has the hooks in again. Let's see if he can do more this time.
High looking for a rear naked choke. High slips into mount. Back to the back. Outclassing this dude on the ground. High gives up the back and grabs another guillotine. It looked deep, but Lapsley slips out again somehow.
High back in mount. I don't even know how that time. Slick as hell. That's how the round ends.
10-8 High -- That was a serious rout on the ground. Lapsley came close to getting finished at least twice. But defended well enough to survive. Aside from that, total domination.
Lapsley avoids a takedown and rolls for a leg, but High gets out of it and dives for another guillotine. Doesn't get it and he's back in mount and now the back.
High is like a blanket. Lapsley transitions and actually gets into guard. First time he's had any position. Lapsley isn't really doing anything, but, hey, this is progress.
If Kim Winslow were here, she'd have stood these two up about 90 seconds ago.
Lapsley advances his position slightly into half guard. Hasn't done an iota of damage. Lapsley looking for a kimura. Elbows to the head from Lapsley.
The round ends like that.
10-9 Lapsley -- In a ground battle, Lapsley squeaked that one out. I still think he's losing, though, after High's first round. I have a feeling we're going back to the canvas next round, too.
Lapsley lands a front kick and right hand. The first standup of the fight.
High charges in and gets a takedown. Not. A. Shock.
Now High is looking for ground and pound instead of submissions and position. Side control. Lapsley tries to stand up. High goes for another guillotine. Now possibly an anaconda choke. He's using the threat to control Lapsley.
Back to a guillotine. Lapsley is defending it well. High is going for broke here. Nope. Now High transitions to an omaplata. Lapsley landing some ground and pound. They're all tied up.
Back to the feet with both men trying to take it down once again. High rolls for a heel hook! Doesn't have it. Lapsley gets High's back. Slips off and High gets top position. Just a wild grappling match here. High in guard. Now half guard. Fight over.
10-9 High, 29-27 High overall -- High threatened much more on the ground. And this fight was strictly on the ground. The first round was total domination and High was more effective in all three rounds getting the fight to the floor. This should be his decision.
Official result: Jason High defeats Anthony Lapsley by Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Analysis: High got a little tired in the second round, but looked awesome on the ground in the first and parts of the third. Lapsley is extremely competent on the ground, so if High runs into someone who needs work on his BJJ, he's likely going to beat him. Two in a row now for the Kansas City Bandit.
Will Campuzano (10-4) vs. Sergio Pettis (9-0)
Referee Herb Dean gets the nod for this bantamweight fight.
Let’s see if the umm, easily excitable, Campuzano can derail baby Pettis. This is the toughest fight ever for the 20-year-old Pettis.
Campuzano goes the takedown quickly. Pettis has a guillotine, but Campuzano wriggles free. Back up now. Campuzano catches a kick and takes Pettis down again. Pettis is really active off his back. Kind of like his brother. Pettis is back up, but Campuzano makes a play to take his back. No dice. On the exit, Pettis hits a knee to the body. Kid is super fluid. Pettis destroys Campuzano’s leg with an outside leg kick. Duke Roufus is yelling “He’s hurt!” Pettis working those kicks and mixing in some combinations. He’s nasty. Flying knee! Campuzano catches it and lands another takedown. Third of the round.
The round ends with Campuzano on top.
10-9 Pettis -- There’s no doubt who the better striker is, but if Campuzano can make this one sloppy he still has a shot. Maybe.
Pettis starts off with another outside leg kick to the front leg. Campuzano is still moving forward and landing stuff. Credit to him.
Pettis goes for a D’arce choke on a takedown attempt. Then he takes Campuzano’s back. Campuzano turns it around and he’s in guard. Campuzano lands an elbow. Pettis looking for subs. Campuzano doing a good job, though. He’s got Pettis’ back.
Pettis gets up. Campuzano hanging all over him. Good call. Pettis gets top position, though. Half guard.
Both are back up. Pettis hits a knee as Campuzano went in for a lazy takedown. That hurt.
10-9 Pettis – Campuzano was on top for a decent portion of the round, but Pettis did more damage by a significant amount. Pettis is trying to finish. Campuzano is surviving.
Sweet combinations by Pettis. Spinning back kick to the body by Pettis. He grabs for another choke, but Campuzano slid out.
Campuzano lands a takedown. He's got half guard. Not anymore. Full guard. Pettis has the same issues as his big bro -- going for submissions that won't work instead of getting the hell up.
This is really Campuzano's chance. He might have won the second round. He's working some ground and pound. Pettis still going for triangles. Campuzano is staying composed, staying heavy.
Pettis finally gets up. Nice right hook to the chin. Campuzano's takedowns have nullified Pettis' kicks. Pettis gets the back. Nothing there.
Pettis lands a throw at the end of the round. Probably wasn't enough to win that one, though.
10-9 Campuzano -- Top position was the difference. Campuzano might have stolen this fight by grinding it out. The second round will be the difference. But I have it for Pettis -- he did more damage in the first two rounds and went for finishes.
Official result: Sergio Pettis defeats Will Campuzano by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
Analysis: Campuzano definitely won the third round, but I agree with the judges -- Pettis won the fight. This will be a good learning experience for Pettis. Difficult debut fight. He's a future champ at 135, though. Unreal that he was born the same year the UFC started.
Cody Donovan (8-3) vs. Gian Villante (10-4)
Everyone’s favorite female referee Kim Winslow gets the assignment for our curtain jerker.
Chris Weidman’s BFF is looking for his first UFC win here. Cody Donovan begs the question: If your black belt in BJJ comes from Nate Marquardt, is it really a black belt.
Punches in bunches earely from both men. Both guys want to end this one early, I guess. Nice jab from Donovan. Villante working some leg kicks. Donovan, too. head kick by Donovan and Villante looks hurt! The big Long Islander is going to have to collect himself.
Donovan is finding Villante’s face repeatedly with his fists, which is, you know, a good thing for him. The two clinch and Winslow doesn’t actually separate them immediately.
Villante seems to be back in this fight. Donovan is the more technical striker, though. Pretty obvious. Might be time to use some of that wrestling that helped get you here, bro.
All striking so far until Villante catches a body kick and takes Donovan down. He gets into half guard. By the way, I think our own Damon Martin is the only one at the MGM Grand right now for this fight. Looks empty.
Donovan gets back up and Villante does very little about it. Villante’s taking a lot of big swings at the air. Donovan gets another few punches in. Solid round for him.
10-9 Donovan – He’s just a way better striker. Villante doesn’t defend well. He needs to mix things up. Change levels, fella.
Villante opens up a cut under Donovan’s right eye. Cody doesn’t seem to like it, because he goes right for the takedown. Doesn’t get it.
Villante with a right hook from the effin’ Hamptons knocks Donovan the hell out. My goodness. Donovan went for a head kick and Villante landed first. He’s your winner. Nice start.
Official result: Gian Villante defeats Cody Donovan by knockout (right hook) at 1:22 of Round 2.
Analysis: Big win for Villante. He might have gotten his walking papers if he hadn’t done it. Both guys were throwing huge punches and it was only a matter of time before one of them connected flush. Villante just had more power and a better chin. Tough dude.