UFC 95 Diego Sanchez vs. Joe Stevenson
Diego Sanchez (156) vs Joe Stevenson (155)
Mr. Intense Diego Sanchez was victorious in his lightweight debut taking a unanimous decision over Joe Daddy Stevenson at the O2 Arena in London, England. In a fairly close fight that was spent entirely on the feet, Sanchez used a more varied attack using knees, punches, and kicks to mix up the attack while Stevenson relied only on his boxing and his one-dimensional game plan would cost him.
Niether fighter was close to finishing the fight at any point but Sanchez appeared to land the stiffer blows mixing in hard combinations with his hands with high kicks and knees, in the end it was enough to secure the decision in the eyes of the judges who gave him the fight 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 after three rounds.
The weight drop to the 155 lbs. weight class didn't appear to affect his conditioning in the third round and his trademark cardio was there when it counted. I made the weight cut fine, he said following the fight, and while he wasnt able to dominate he appears ready to make a run in an already deep lightweight division.
Rory Markham (170) vs Dan Hardy (170)
Dan Hardy out-slugged Rory Markham with a punch that will go a long way to quell critics who believe he lacks power in his hands. No punching power? What do you think about that, yelled Hardy following a first round knockout of the durable Miletich fighter. And with tha, one of the most anticipated fights on the card was over early when Hardy landed a counter left hook on the temple that sent Markham to the mat in a heap. A follow up right hand onto the prone face of Markham landed flush before the referee stepped in to save him at 1:09 of the first round.
Wilson Gouveia (185) vs Nate Marquardt (185)
Nate Marquardt was impressive stopping American Top Team fighter Wilson Gouveia behind the strength of a flying knee, body kick, head kick, spinning back fist combination that stopped Gouveia at 3:10 of the third round.
The first round was competitive with Marquardt taking a slight edge on the strength of punches to the body and a number of leg kicks, but from about half way through the second it was all Marquardt who used elbows from the top position, knees to the face from the clinch, and punches to rack up the points en route the the third round that saw what might be Marquardt's best finish to date. With another impressive victory under his belt Marquardt may be well on his way to another shot against Silva who will soon face Thales Leites, the last man to defeat Marquardt.
Chael Sonnen (185) vs Demian Maia (184)
In the first of two marquee middleweight matchups, Demian Maia continued to dominate keeping his winning-streak alive with an impressive victory over Chael Sonnen midway through the first round. Sonnen looked to keep the fight standing in the early goings and looked solid in his delivery but in mixed martial arts it only takes one mistake, and that proved true again for Sonnen. Maia secured the double overhooks against the cage after tying up and surprisingly flipped Sonnen his head flowing right to triangle mount.
It was the beginning of the end for the Team Quest fighter who would not escape, soon afterwards he was tapping out from a beautifully applied triangle choke that put Maia along with Marquardt right in the middleweight title mix. A bout with Marquardt might make sense with the winner earning a shot against Silva, but one of these two fighters may very well be the next one to step into the Octagon with the 185 lbs champion in his next defense.
Paulo Thiago over Josh Koscheck knockout
A big upset kicked off the fights on Spike as Paulo Thiago knocked out Josh Koscheck with a lead uppercut flush on the chin that stiffened him out before the referee came in to stop the fight. Koscheck looked like the more fluid striker finding his range and landing the more significant punches before the exchange that would ultimately finish the bout.
It started out quite poorly for Thiago who looked stiff on his feet but surprisingly he didnt attempt a single takedown against the wrestling standout and appeared determined to keep the fight on the feet. He was even forced to dodge a couple of big right hands and looked to be out of his element before catching the former TUF veteran with a the right uppercut and a left hook to the temple that polished him off. This is quite an impressive victory for Thiago who moves to 11-0 in his UFC debut.
Brian Cobb (155) vs Terry Etim (156)
Etim showed some impressive stand up over two rounds landing some very effective leg kicks, and an even more effective left kick to the chin that dropped his opponent Brian Cobb to the mat. Etim followed up with a right hand to the face on the ground that was all the referee needed to see before stepping in to stop the bout at 10 seconds of the second round.
Stefan Struve (240) vs Junior Dos Santos (237)
Junior Dos Santos didnt waste any time finishing off Stefan Struve firing off a flurry that put Struve against the cage, another big right hand that dropped his opponent to one knee, and a final one that put Struve down for good at 54 seconds of the first round.
Mike Ciesnolevicz (235) vs Neil Grove (263)
Sometime light-heavyweight Mike Ciesnolevicz made short work of Neil Grove working his way out from the bottom of some ground and pound, and locking in an inverted heelhook at 1:03 of the first round to secure a win in his UFC debut.
Evan Dunham (154) vs Per Eklund (155)
Evan Dunham knocked out Per Eklund in impressive fashion landing a straight left flush on the chin that froze Eklund and sent him crashing to the canvas head first. It almost appeared that the impact of his head hitting the mat woke him back up but it didn't help as Dunhan pounced on him and landed three very hard punches to the chin for good measue that had him out completely and forced the referee to step in and stop the bout at 2:14 of the first round.
Troy Mandaloniz (168) vs Paul Kelly (169)
Paul Kelly defeated Troy Mandaloniz by unanimous decision after three rounds.