Josh Neer v.s. Drew Fickett
In the opening fight of the evening, Drew Fickett was able to make quick work of UFC newcomer Josh Neer by way of rear naked choke at only 1:35 of the first round. Neer was able to scramble back to his feet after a quick takedown by Fickett only to find his back taken by the Arizona wrestler, where he was able to secure a standing rear naked choke. Neer refused to tap, and as a result he was put to sleep early in an impressive fight by the 26 year old Fickett.
Alex Karalexis v.s Kenny Florian
Next up, Kenny Forian and Alex Karalexis, two veterans of season 1 of the Ultimate Fighter, looked to put on a good show for the fans in attendance, as they were both willing to leave caution to the wind as both fighters came out swinging. Florian landed a nice kick to the body of Karalexis, which had the Irish fighter in trouble. However, Karalexis was able to weather the storm and make a comeback of his own by landing several unanswered blows to end the first round.
In the second, Florian, wanting nothing more of Karalexis stand up, took the fight to the ground immediately, looking to pass. Karalexis was able to stand back up and looked to unload on Florian. Florian to his credit was able to hang in there and trade with Karalexis, and similar to his fight in season 1, Florian was able to land the same elbow that cut Chris Leben open to cut open Karalexis, putting a halt to the bout at 2:52 of the second round. The crowd was very disappointed, but I feel there is a rematch in the works.
Gideon Ray v.s Mike Swick
In the quickest fight of the night, Mike Quick Swick, was able to land a beautiful 3 punch combination to the face of Gideon Ray, getting the win by knockout at only 22 seconds of the first round. Along with his fight against Alex Schoenaur, this makes Swicks last two fights over in only 42 seconds. Look for a PPV appearance by Swick in the near future. As for Ray, perhaps this is the last time he should step up n very short notice to fight.
Pete Spratt vs. Josh Koscheck
In the opening fight of the main card, it seemed as if Pete Spratt and Josh Koscheck were secretly moved into the ring and not given a proper intro, as they were already in the ring set to go before their intros were shown. After the awkward start, it was a quick victory for Koscheck as he as able to take Spratt to the ground and sink his hooks within the first minute of the fight. Spratt was able to fight off the choke for a little while, but eventually was forced to tap, giving Josh Koscheck his second win in a row at only 1:53 of the first round.
Pete Sell vs. Nate Quarry
In what seemed to be a premature stoppage, Nathan Quarry was able to drop Pete Sell to the canvass and follow up with a few perfectly placed shots to put a halt the bout by TKO early in the first round. Upon review of the replay, it appeared as if Pete Sell was out as he did not cover up on the second punch, however, he was able to pull guard. Perhaps this one was stopped a little too soon, however, it did not seem as if the result would have been any different. Regardless, Nathan Quarry is rewarded the victory by TKO.
Sam Hoger vs. Stephan Bonnar
Crowd favorite and season one runner up Stephan Bonnar was looking for redemption after losing a decision in one of the best fights of all time vs. Forrest Griffin at the finale back in April. His opponent was a very game Sam Hoger, who is perhaps most well known for being the bad guy on the TV show.
In the first, Bonnar got the quick takedown into the guard of Hoger. Bonnar narrowly and dramatically escaped Hoger showed a very impressive guard as he was able to set up a few submissions, even coming close to securing a side choke which Bonnar narrowly and dramatically escaped. From then on, it was all Bonnar till the end of the round as he was able to use effective ground and pound techniques. Towards the end of the first, Bonnar nearly had Hoger KOd standing, landing several unanswered blows which left Hoger stunned but saved by the bell, as the crowd was brought to their feet.
The second round was just as exciting as Bonnar once again looked to tee off on Hoger. This round had crowd on its feet the entire time as both fighters traded submissions, reverses, punches, and kicks from all different positions. Bonnar again looked to have Hoger in trouble as he was landing shots in the mount, only to have Hoger saved by the bell once more. Again, the crowd was brought to their feet.
In the third, both fighters seemed fatigued as they both started off slow. Bonnar was the first to engage by securing a takedown to which Hoger attempted a kimura, which was once again escaped by Bonnar. The rest of the round seemed to play out the same, with Hoger attempting submissions and Bonnar using ground and pound techniques and the fight went to the judges for the first decision of the night.
All there judges scored this bout 30-27 in favor of Stephan Bonnar, for the unanimous decision. Enough cannot be said about Bonnar, as he seems to always put everything on the line for the crowd, and on this night, he was the better fighter against a very game Sam Hoger
Patrick Cote vs. Chris Leben
In a recent SpikeTV poll, the Chris Leben vs. Patrick Cote fight was voted on most as the fight fans wanted to see most. Both fighters started out slow with a long feeling out process from the clinch, as both fighters looked to land knees and overhands. In the later half of the round, Leben was able to find his range as he landed some nice combinations on Cote, pushing him to the fence for the remainder of the round.
The second round started out with both fighters flurrying on each other with Leben pushing the action and landing in the clinch. Both fighters were able to secure takedowns, but most of the round took place from the clinch. Cote scored points late in the round by connecting with a few punches on a slip by Leben, which came at the end of the round.
In the third and final round, both fighters seemed content to fight from the clinch, with Leben looking for foot stomps and body shots and Cote looking for knees. Cote felt the urge to try a standing kneebar, which Leben saw right through and landed in top position, where he rode out the remainder of the fight using ground and pound. The fight was now in the judges hands, and everyone knew it would be close. The score cards read 29-28, 27-29, 30-27 for the winner by split decision, Chris Leben. The fight could have gone either way and no one would have complained. It was a good hard-fought decision for Leben, but unfortunately for Cote, he now falls to 0-3 in the Octagon.
Nathan Marquardt vs. Ivan Salaverry
Alas, it was time for the main event between Ivan Salaverry and Nathan Marquardt. On paper, both these fighters looked very evenly matched, making it very tough for even the most hardcore MMA fans to predict a winner.
Round one started off with a long feeling out process involving lots of leg kicks, testing each others range. At the 2 minute mark, Marquardt was able to catch a kick from Salaverry and take him down into his guard. Salaverry was able to get to his feet after a failed leg lock attempt by Marquardt, where the remainder of the round was spent feeling each other out again.
Round two saw Marquardt press the action by throwing a few more combinations and taking Salaverry to the ground again by catching the kick. Marquardt wasnt able to score that well from the top, which forced Big John McCarthy to call for a stand up. Both fighters seemed to have too much respect for one anothers game as neither fighter was willing to engage or throw multiple combinations drawing many boos from the crowd. The third round saw more of the same as Marquardt once again caught a kick from Salaverry to take the fight to the ground. Both fighters picked it up a notch, with Marquardt attempting two guillotine chokes and some flying knees from the clinch. The action did not last long as both fighters went back to the same strategy that drew boos from the crowd as they both circled each other for the remainder of the fight.
To no ones surprise, Nathan Marquardt won on all three judges scorecard for the unanimous decision victory in a very lacklustre fight.
In the end, it was a pretty good show for live TV with lots of knockouts, wars, and submissions. The only disappointment in the night was the main event, which was unfortunate since it was on live TV. The cast of the Ultimate Fighter season one dominated against the UFC veterans by going 4-0 in their bouts. The fight of the night had to go to Stephan Bonnar and Sam Hoger as they had the crowd on their feet the entire time. The next UFC takes place on August 20th at the MGM Grand live on PPV, where Chuck Liddell looks to avenge his first MMA loss against challenger Jeremy Horn.