DIN THOMAS VS. KENNY FLORIAN
September 19, 2007 at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, NevadaWith Spencer Fisher unable to fight due to injuries, the Ultimate Fighter (TUF 1) middleweight runner up, Kenny Florian steps up to take his place. Florian, coming off two straight victories, looks to make a short night for TUF 4 cast-member Din Thomas. Thomas has won his last three fights since losing to Chris Lytle in the TUF 4 welterweight semi-finals. Both drop down to a more natural 155 lbs for this lightweight bout.
Florian capped the first round by kicking Thomas right in the twig and berries, sending him to the canvas in agonizing pain. Im always amazed at how fast these guys recover. I would probably spend the full five crying in the fetal position. When the fight resumed it was an interesting display of shoot-ins and takedowns. With 1:42 left, Din shoots in and misses, injuring his left leg. Florian jumps on his back and starts pounding away at Dins head from the side position with his right fist. This one-sided assault on the prone Thomas goes on for about fifty seconds before Florian decides to jump on his back and secure a rear naked choke hold. Din taps out with 30 seconds left on the clock. An impressive performance by Kenny Florian.
The Finisher gets a first round submission and improves his Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) record to 10-3. It puts him high on the list for another shot at the lightweight title. Florian lost a close 5 round decision to Sean Sherk in his first title shot at UFC 64 last October 2006. An unfortunate injury cost Din the fight and he drops to 23-8.
CHRIS LEBEN VS. TERRY MARTIN
Fans favorite bad boy, Chris Leben, is coming off a disappointing loss to Kalib Starnes four months ago in UFC 71. He has lost three of his last four fights and is looking to redeem himself in the eyes of MMA fight fans and the UFC brass. He takes on heavy-handed Terry Martin, who has been on a tear since dropping down to the middleweight division. He took out respected veterans Jorge Rivera and Ivan Salaverry in a little over two minutes combined.
The first round fulfilled the promise both fighter made to stand and bang it out with Terry landing some scary blows on Lebens granite chin. Leben was penalized a point by referee Herb Dean for holding onto the fence when Martin had picked him up and was poised to painfully slam him to the ground. Therefore, an otherwise close round went to Martin.
If Martin was surprised he didnt dispatch Leben in the first round like his other fights, it didnt stop him from stalking Leben around the octagon, just missing with several wild punches designed to end the fight early. Martin With two minutes left, Martin gets another takedown but gets caught in a triangle choke hold. Leben tries to cinch it in while Terry tries to squirm out of it. With precious seconds going by, Leben finally cinches the hold with his knee locked firmly over his ankle. Terry vainly tries to jerk free. Leben pulls down the head to cut off Terrys air just as the horn sounds ending the round.
Both fighters came out swinging in the third, landing sluggish, brain-bouncing shots. With 1:12 left, Tarry landed a big right hand that rocked Leben backwards. Confident, Martin landed another big right when Leben staggered forward. Now smelling blood, Martin threw two bruising lefts with reckless abandon. Unfortunately, he didnt see Leben counter with a left hook that knocked Martin straight onto his back and put him to sleep.
Leben came back from the brink of mediocrity to knock out the man who was bullying the middleweight division and perhaps save his career. Leben improves to 17-4. This is only the third time Martin smells the bitter stink of defeat, he falls to 18-3.
NATHAN DIAZ VS. JUNIOR ASSUNCAO
One of the more anticipated fights features young Nate Diaz is his first UFC fight since winning the TUF 5 television show back in June 2007. Nate is the younger brother of MMA veteran, Nick Diaz, who has been vocal about his treatment by the UFC. Diaz faces Brazilian, Junior Assuncao, coming off a submission win over David Lee in UFC 70. Junior is looking to improve his standing in the UFC by derailing the TUF 5winner.
Assuncao opened the fight by landing two inside leg kicks that almost severed Diazs leg at the knee. Diaz quickly tangled him up against the fence. The rest of the round was spent grappling with Diaz trying for a couple of Kimuras. Coming of the clinch against the fence, Diaz landed a bevy of blows that stunned Assuncao and down he went. Assuncao got up but stood right into a guillotine choke hold. Down they went. Assuncao tried every which way to roll out of it but Diaz had it clamped on tight. Diaz finally got a leg around Assuncao to cinch in the hold and Assuncao had to tap out. Very nice ground game by the 22-year old Diaz.
With the submission win, Diaz wins his second UFC fight and improves his MMA record to 7-2 while Assuncao drops to 6-3.
NATE QUARRY VS. PETE SELL
Coming off of back surgery, TUF 1 member Nate Quarry hasnt fought in the UFC since November 2005 when he lost his shot at the middleweight title by getting knocked out by Rich Franklin in UFC 56. He goes up against TUF 4 contestant, Pete Sell, who lost his last two UFC fights to Scott Smith and Thales Leites. Curiously, these two already fought on UFCs Ultimate Fight Night in August 2005. The fight lasted all of fourteen seconds and Quarry emerged with a TKO victory. Sell is looking to settle the score. Quarry is out to begin the long journey to another title shot.
When the action began, both fighters were content to stand and trade blows. Both fighters landed some beauties. Sell seemed to connect more often and eventually Quarry bled from the nose. Sell finished the round strong landing multiple punches and keeping Quarry at bay.
A minute into the second round, Sell rocked Quarry with a hard right hook that landed flush on the jaw and Quarry dropped neatly to the canvas. Sell pounced to finish him off but Quarry managed to get to his feet without taking a follow-up pounding. The fight remained standing and Sell continued to connect with the big right hand. Quarry landed an occasional punch or leg kick but Sell appeared unfazed.
Quarry stepped it up for round three and landed some left jabs while Sell tried to end it with haymakers. A minute and a half into the round, Quarry catches Sell right on the chin and lays him on his back. This time Quarry pounces to finish him off and taking his time, lands one bomb that put Sells lights out for good. End of fight.
With an incredibly come-from-behind victory, in his comeback attempt, Quarry improves his MMA record to 15-2. Much like his fight against Scott Smith, Sell was winning up until he got knocked out. With his third straight loss, his record drops to 7-5.