UFC 123: Round-by-round blog
FOXSports.com's Ariel Shnerer was ringside at the Palace of Auburn Hills blogging results from UFC 123 as they happened. Follow all the action below.
Lyoto Machida (16-1) vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (30-8)
Still buzzing from Penn's knockout, the crowd is pumped for this light heavyweight clash. The fans are solidly behind "Rampage," who makes his ring entrance to the old Pride Fighting Championships theme song. Machida circles early on as Jackson looks for a big right hand. Machida connects with several inside leg kicks. Jackson finally lets his hands go, but Machida avoids any danger and keeps circling. "Rampage" lands a nice left hook and they clinch up. Jackson stomps the foot and punches the body of the Brazilian. As they separate, Jackson connects with an uppercut. Machida is still circling and landing kicks, but Jackson has connected with several solid punches. They clinch again and "Rampage" goes back to stomping the foot. Machida separates and keeps circling the octagon looking for openings. Jackson is becoming more aggressive and lands another hook. "Rampage" misses with two wild hooks as Machida continues to target the legs. Machida lands a clean punch as time expires. FOXSports.com scores the round 10-9 Jackson.
Machida catches Jackson with a knee coming in, but the American powerhouse charges forward and initiates the clinch. Jackson lands an accidental low blow and they briefly separate. Referee Herb Dean restarts the action. Jackson initiates another clinch, but Machida flips him around. "Rampage" uses the position to land a takedown, but Machida returns to his feet. They separate and Machida is backpeddling. Jackson catches him with a vicious looping hook and they clinch up again. Nice knee and body shots inside the clinch from Jackson. Machida connects with a nice kick and knee to the body, but Jackson answers back with a right hook. Jackson misses completely with a left hook and Machida continues to circle and target leg kicks. Another clinch and Machida unsuccessfully tries to trip Jackson to the mat. The leg kicks are apparently taking their toll as Jackson is starting to limp. Machida shocks Jackson with a punch in the last 10 seconds, but it's not enough to steal the round. Another 10-9 round for Jackson, who scored a takedown and landed the best punch of the round.
Jackson is chasing Machida, who avoids his first big flurry. Jackson lands with his own leg kick. Machida unloads with a vicious combination on Jackson and charges forward with wild punches and knees. Jackson lands a strong punch of his own before Machida secures a takedown and lands in the half-guard. On the mat, Machida is softening Jackson up with elbows to the thigh as he looks for a kimura. Machida beautifully passes to full-mount, but Jackson does well to keep him from posturing up. Machida transitions to an armbar and Jackson lifts him up looking for a big slam. Machida lands on his feet and they are both standing. Machida initiates a clinch and Jackson ends the fight on top. FOXSports.com scores the final stanza 10-9 Machida, but sees the fight 29-28 for Jackson. The judges agree and "Rampage" earns the impressive split decision win. After the fight, Jackson respectfully congratulated Machida for a spirited performance and promised him a future rematch.
Quinton Jackson def. Lyoto Machida via Split Decision (29-28 Machida, 29-28 Jackson, 29-28 Jackson)
B.J. Penn (16-7-1) vs. Matt Hughes (45-8)
A third chapter is about to be written in the Penn-Hughes trilogy as this historic welterweight showdown is finally coming to fruition. Both legends get rousing ovations. Referee Dan Miragliotta is overseeing the bout. Penn lands a quick combination to stun Hughes. He catches a Hughes kick and drops him with a crisp right hook. "The Prodigy" follows up with a barrage of punches to knock Hughes out at the 21-second mark of the opening round. Penn immediately runs up to help Hughes get back to his feet. The crowd erupts. Spectacular performance for Penn. Post-fight, the elated Hawaiian calls Hughes his idol. When interviewed by Joe Rogan, Hughes credited Penn for the win and said he doesn't know what the future has in store for him. Tremendous ovation for the Hall of Famer Hughes as he exits the octagon.
B.J. Penn def. Matt Hughes via KO (Punches) at 0:21, Round 1
Gerald Harris (17-3) vs. Maiquel Falcao (26-3)
Middleweight action is up next as the fast-rising powerhouse Harris takes on the ripped Brazilian newcomer Falcao. The Chute Boxe product is in no hurry to let his hands go. One minute expires and the crowd is getting restless. Harris is keeping a low stance to prepare for the eventual takedown, but neither fighter is engaging. Three minutes has passed and there has been virtually no action thus far. Falcao finally throws a body kick, but doesn't follow it up. They finally engage and Falcao unleashes a series of blows and a knee that drops Harris. He immediately pounces with a barrage of punches, but Harris weathers the storm off his back. Falcao nearly sinks in a rear-naked choke, but Harris lifts him up and slams him with authority. Falcao again goes for the choke and sinks it in this time. Harris survives as time expires and Falcao appears to hold on to the choke a second or two after the bell.
Considerably more aggressive in this round, Falcao charges forward and drops Harris with a series of strikes. He charges in to put the nail in the coffin and again tries to sink in a fight-ending rear-naked choke. Harris valiantly fights it off and gets back to his feet. A bloodied and battered Harris shoots in for a desperate takedown, but Falcao drops to his knees and showcases tremendous takedown defense. Harris holds on in the clinch and finally puts him down, but Falcao gets right back up. Falcao is letting his strikes go as he connects with a head kick and stuffs another takedown attempt from Harris. Falcao is in the full sprawl and the crowd boos the stalemate. The fighters separate as the round ends. Another 10-9 round for Falcao, according to the FOXSports.com card.
Surprisingly, there is no sense of urgency on Harris' part as the third round sees very little action. Few strikes are being thrown and the fans are voicing their displeasure. Harris misses with a few looping punches and a wild uppercut. He fails on a takedown attempt and Falcao misses a head kick. Falcao finally tries to amount some kind of offense as time expires. FOXSports.com sees the round 10-10 and the fight 30-28 for the Brazilian, although he probably didn't make many fans with his performance tonight.
Maiquel Falcao def. Gerald Harris via Unanimous Decision (29-27, 29-28, 29-28)
Phil Davis (8-0) vs. Tim Boetsch (12-4)
Light heavyweight wrestlers are on tap as "Mr. Wonderful" Davis battles "The Barbarian" Boetsch. The chiseled NCAA standout Davis throws a high kick. He is moving well and finds his range, continually landing with a plethora of kicks. Boetsch connects with a punch to the back of the head, but Davis keeps stalking his opponent and landing kicks. Davis finally shoots in and lands an emphatic takedown. From the half-huard, Davis tries to sink in an arm-triangle choke to no avail. Davis tees off with punches to the face and body. Boetsch covers up and Davis is now landing elbows. Boetsch finally scrambles back to his feet, but Davis gets him in a Muay Thai clinch and connects with several knees to cap off the one-sided round. FOXSports.com scores it 10-9 Davis.
Davis pursues a takedown early in this round, pressing Boetsch against the cage. This time, however, "The Barbarian" defends it well. With a stalemate in the clinch, the crowd showers the fighters with boos. Davis drops levels and takes Boetsch down, but Boetsch briefly threatens with a guillotine choke off his back. From the half-guard, Davis targets Boetsch's arm and traps it behind his head. Boetsch holds on for as long as possible, but he is eventually forced to submit to the modified kimura 2:55 into the period. Post-fight, Davis names the unique submission "Mr. Wonderful."
Phil Davis def. Tim Boetsch via Submission (Modified Kimura) at 2:55, Round 2
George Sotiropoulos (14-2) vs. Joe Lauzon (19-6)
After a highly entertaining undercard, we are set to kick off the main card on pay-per-view and there are a number of celebrities in attendance, including YouTube sensation Antoine Dodson, NBA power-forward Charlie Villanueva and NHL goalie Jimmy Howard. The crowd is definitely behind the American Lauzon for his lightweight matchup against the well-rounded Australian Sotiropoulos. They trade punches to kick us off. Sotiropoulos unsuccessfully shoots in for a takedown and Lauzon tags him several times with some wild hooks and a knee in the clinch. Lauzon appears to be the sharper boxer early on, but Sotiropoulos begins to find his rhythm as the round progresses. Sotiropoulos desperately tries to take him down, but Lauzon defends and unleashes a series of elbows to the head. Lauzon gets a takedown and the two fighters engage in a beautiful transition, reversing each other on the ground. But Lauzon ends up on top, forcing Sotiropoulos to work his way back up to his feet where he finally lands a takedown. The 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu pupil takes the north-south position and then mounts Lauzon briefly before getting reversed. Lauzon is on top dropping bombs as time expires. Great round, which FOXSports.com scores 10-9 Lauzon.
Sotiropoulos is letting his hands go and connects with a sharp combination early on. Lauzon answers back with a combo of his own, but Sotiropoulos gets a hold of his body and works for the takedown, which is stuffed. Another nice combination from Sotiropoulos, who begins targeting the body. Sotiropoulos gets the Thai plumb and lands a series of knees before scoring with a takedown. The Australian traps Lauzon's left arm and works over his right arm, trying to sink in a kimura. Lauzon escapes, but Sotiropoulos assumes the north-south position and continues to target the kimura. He finally locks it in and Lauzon is forced to tap. After the submission, the two fighters embrace on their knees, clearing up any apparent bad blood. Sotiropoulos remains unbeaten in his pro UFC career and pleads his case for a lightweight title shot after the victory.
George Sotiropoulos def. Joe Lauzon via Submission (Kimura) at 2:43, Round 2
Preliminary bouts (Spike TV):
Brian Foster (15-5) vs. Matt Brown (11-10)
Always the aggressor, Brown moves forward and connects with a few kicks before Foster gets a predictable takedown. He can't keep him down, though, and Brown gets a takedown of his own moments later. Brown moves between side control and the north-south position before attempting to mount, which Foster blocks and reverses. Foster takes Brown's back and unleashes a series of punches before rolling him over. Another reversal as Brown takes Foster's back, but the H.I.Q. Squad member is able to return to his feet. Foster tags Brown with three clean punches to the jaw before taking him down. Foster works from the half-guard, but Brown reverses again and takes his back. Excellent series of transitions. Brown tries to sink in a triangle armbar, but Foster escapes to the delight of the live crowd. Back on top, Foster postures up and delivers more accurate punches. Brown uses his feet to push Foster away as time expires. FOXSports.com sees a very technical round 10-9 Foster.
Brown moves forward and lands an unintentional kick to the groin. Foster tries to shake it off, but he is clearly in pain and the referee breaks the action. Another kick to the groin lands moments later, causing another brief break. Foster comes out swinging and lands a hard takedown. Brown uses the butterfly guard and later the guard to control Foster off his back. Foster keeps posturing up and unloading with bombs, but the resilient Brown recovers and trips him to the mat. Brown's neck is instantly trapped and he succumbs to a guillotine choke at the 2:11 mark. Another great fight.
Brian Foster def. Matt Brown via Submission (Guillotine Choke) at 2:11, Round 2
Mark Munoz (9-2) vs. Aaron Simpson (7-2)
Two middleweights with extensive wrestling pedigrees kick off the prelims on Spike TV. Simpson lands a nice punch to the body and a leg kick before shooting in for a takedown. As expected, Munoz stuffs it well and they separate. Munoz lands several clean hooks and shoots in for his own takedown. Simpson pancakes and takes Munoz's back momentarily before they return to a vertical base. Simpson becomes the aggressor and lands a takedown, but Munoz wastes little time getting back to his feet. They exchange wildly against the cage with both men eating some heavy leather. Simpson appears to be the more effective fighter in the clinch. They separate again and Munoz misses with a wild head kick. Simpson lands an uppercut and a knee as time expires. FOXSports.com scores a competitive opening stanza 10-9 Simpson.
Munoz presses forward and Simpson trips him to the canvas, but he gets back up. Once again, the two fighters are trading heavy shots. This time, however, Munoz is getting the better of the exchanges. The frenzied crowd responds as they wing punches back and fourth before Munoz gets a takedown. Simpson gets back up and hits Munoz with an inadvertent kick to the groin, causing a brief pause in the action. The action is restarted and a bloodied Munoz lands a devastating head kick. Simpson keeps coming with heavy hooks, but Munoz hits him with another vicious head kick that echoes through the arena. Munoz turns his back briefly and Simpson charges forward for a takedown. Back on their feet, Munoz hits Simpson with a knee to the groin in the clinch, causing another short break. The clock is restarted and Munoz throws a kick, only to get taken down for his efforts. But he won't stay down and he starts landing clean bombs on the Arizona-based wrestler and they clinch up again. FOXSports.com sees another competitive round 10-9 Munoz.
Munoz is taken down after throwing a leg kick, but he escapes and unloads with violent punches. Simpson complains about an eye poke and they break briefly. Munoz gets a second wind as he clinches up with Simpson and delivers a series of knees against the cage. Nice display of dirty boxing from Munoz, who is landing with a cavalcade of punches in close quarters. They separate and Simpson lands some punches of his own before clinching up. Simpson grabs a hold of Munoz's leg and throws him to the mat, but the "Filipino Wrecking Machine" won't stay down. The two warriors swing wildly again with 30 seconds left in the fight and the crowd is in hysterics. Excellent fight, which FOXSports.com scores 29-28 Simpson. The judges disagree and Munoz earns the unanimous decision in a great back and fourth battle.
Mark Munoz def. Aaron Simpson via Unanimous Decision (29-28, 29-28, 29-28)
Preliminary bouts (non-televised):
Karo Parisyan (19-6) vs. Dennis Hallman (46-13-2)
The Armenian judoka Parisyan receives a mixed reception from the Michigan crowd for his UFC return. They trade punches early on before Parisyan grips Hallman's body, looking for one of his trademark judo tosses. Hallman defends well with his back against the cage and referee Dan Mirogliatta breaks them up. Back in the center of the octagon, Parisyan gets dropped by a glancing blow and Hallman capitalizes as Parisyan turtles up, unloading with a barrage of hammerfists for the TKO victory. Post-fight, Parisyan immediately contests the stoppage.
Dennis Hallman def. Karo Parisyan via TKO (Hammerfists) at 1:47, Round 1
Mike Lullo (8-2) vs. Edson Barboza (7-0)
The third lightweight bout of the evening features two UFC newcomers as the American XFO veteran Lullo meets the Brazilian banger Barboza. Stalking his opponent in a traditional Muay Thai stance, Barboza lands a few kicks and stuffs Lullo's takedown attempt. Barboza proceeds to emphatically slam Lullo to the canvas before letting him back up. Barboza easily blocks another takedown attempt and lands in Lullo's guard. The crafty submission wizard Lullo traps the Brazilian's arm and begins working for a gogoplata. Barboza exhibits great patience and eventually powers his way out of the position. After returning to their feet, Barboza continues to punish Lullo's legs with devastating kicks, one of which drops the American to the mat. With 10 seconds left in the round, Barboza momentarily floors Lullo with a looping hook. FOXSports.com sees it 10-9 Barboza.
Lullo is more aggressive on his feet in this round, but he is countered with powerful strikes before desperately shooting in for a takedown, which is easily blocked. Barboza connects with a head kick and a brutal body kick, but Lullo shoots in for another unsuccessful takedown. Barboza lands in Lullo's guard. Lullo starts to apply the rubber guard and once again works for a gogoplata. Barboza escapes and lets the exhausted American back to his feet. The Brazilian casually blocks another takedown attempt and circles the octagon, landing his leg kicks seemingly at will. Lullo keeps moving forward and eats an uppercut before pulling guard. Lullo is showcasing great flexibility and BJJ skills as he fishes for submissions off his back, but the Brazilian is able to escape yet again. Barboza drops Lullo with another leg kick and the American is now limping around the octagon. Another kick floors Lullo and he barely gets back to his feet. Lullo limps to the wrong corner and it looks like it's only a matter of time. Another 10-9 round for the Brazilian.
Barboza continues with a barrage of vicious leg kicks, targeting Lullo's injury. Surprisingly, the referee keeps giving Lullo opportunities to get back to his feet before finally stopping the contest at the 26-second mark. Scintillating showcase of Muay Thai from Barboza, who remains unbeaten following a successful UFC debut.
Edson Barboza def. Mike Lullo via TKO (Leg Kicks) at 0:26, Round 3
Paul Kelly (11-3) vs. T.J. O'Brien (16-4)
The second bout of the night pits Liverpool's Kelly against the promotional newcomer O'Brien in a 155-pound tilt. Kelly appears to be the more comfortable fighter on his feet, pressing the action with powerful punches. O'Brien lands several nice kicks, but the Brit answers back with some heavy leather. After eating a powerful punch from O'Brien, Kelly drops him with a looping shot of his own, but he lets the UFC first-timer get back up. Kelly stays aggressive and controls the center of the octagon, but O'Brien is finding openings for his leg kicks. Kelly begins to mix up his offense with some kicks of his own as O'Brien attempts a flying attack and gets taken down. Kelly wisely avoids the ground game and gets back to his feet. FOXSports.com scores the first round 10-9 Kelly.
O'Brien lands a few kicks, but he is dropped with a punishing hook from the British fighter, who instinctively tries to capitalize on his fallen foe. O'Brien recovers quickly, however, and tries to throw up his hips for a submission. Kelly escapes and lands several more punches before being taken down. O'Brien gets right into the full mount, but Kelly escapes, allowing O'Brien to take his back. The Brit reverses the position and traps O'Brien in a crucifix, shades of B.J. Penn's second bout with Matt Hughes. Kelly unloads with punches and short elbows from the crucifix position. O'Brien is completely trapped and he sustains significant unanswered punishment, which eventually prompts referee Dan Miragliotta to halt the contest.
Paul Kelly def. T.J. O'Brien via TKO (Strikes) at 3:16, Round 2
Nik Lentz (20-3-2) vs. Tyson Griffin (14-5)
We are kicking things off with lightweight action as Minnesota Martial Arts' Lentz meets Xtreme Couture's Griffin. The fighters touch gloves and we are underway. Griffin throws a low kick and immediately gets taken down by the standout wrestler. Griffin works his way back up to a vertical base and gets a takedown of his own. Lentz attempts a guillotine choke, but Griffin stays on him and slams him down with authority. Once again, Lentz manages to return to his feet, but Griffin aggressively pushes him against the chain-linked fence. Lentz does well to stay on his feet, but his offensive output is minimal. With less than a minute remaining, Griffin slams him back down, but Lentz instantly gets back up. Finally, the two fighters engage on their feet and trade some looping punches to close the round. FOXSports.com sees it 10-9 Griffin.
They begin the second stanza trading strikes with neither fighter landing anything significant. Griffin connects with a looping punch as Lentz charges in for a takedown. Griffin defends it well, but eats some punches in close quarters before reversing the position and pushing Lentz against the octagon. Griffin manages to put him down, but Lentz goes for a guillotine choke and they both scramble back to their feet. Lentz is throwing a nice assortment of kicks, but Griffin is landing heavier punches. Griffin takes him down, but he is unable to improve his position and the restless crowd begins to boo the action. Griffin postures up and unloads with a few punches before Lentz works his way back up. Griffin sticks to him like glue, however, and lands yet another takedown as time expires. FOXSports.com scores another round 10-9 Griffin.
The two fighters trade wildly and Griffin drops him twice with looping shots. The resilient wrestler Lentz returns to his feet, but Griffin secures a takedown and starts to work him over with short punches from top position. Lentz finally gets back up and lands a powerful slam of his own. Griffin catches his neck and starts to work for a guillotine choke, but Lentz wisely moves to half-huard and escapes the grip. Finally working from the top, Lentz starts dropping elbows on the Xtreme Couture product. In a spectacular transition, Griffin works his way back up as Lentz traps his arm behind his back, which causes Griffin to flip over to escape the dangerous predicament. Back on their feet, Lentz charges forward and lands a takedown to seal the round. FoxSports.com scores the final frame 10-9 Lentz and the fight 29-28 for Griffin. But the judges disagree and the crowd loudly boos the split verdict in favor of Lentz.
Nik Lentz def. Tyson Griffin via Split Decision (29-28 Lentz, 30-27 Griffin, 29-28 Lentz)