The UFC had a stellar Fox Sports 1 debut, with a night of exciting fights and decisive finishes. Be sure to check out our live blog for full play-by-play action from the evening.
Joe Lauzon v. Michael Johnson
The main card kicked off with two former TUF standouts, as Michael Johnson took on nine-time “of the night” bonus winner Joe Lauzon in his hometown. Johnson was on fire from the opening bell, connecting with flush striking combinations that dropped his opponent several times in the opening round. He got a stern warning from referee Yves Lavigne, who felt Johnson had pushed him during a break in the action, but the incident didn’t phase him one bit. He got the best of Lauzon on the feet in all three rounds, unleashing a tremendous amount of punishment on his opponent. Lauzon showed heart in making it to the final bell, but that was the only positive thing that can be said about his performance.
Winner: Johnson, 3rd Round Unanimous Decision
Uriah Hall v. John Howard
After a disappointing finish to his spectacular run through the ultimate fighter, Uriah Hall looked to make a statement against veteran John Howard, who was returning to the octagon for the first time since 2011 as a late injury replacement. Hall came out in the opening round and immediately secured his first of several takedowns, but was unable to cause any significant damage from the position. Howard was the aggressor throughout the fight, and landed strong left hooks and leg kicks in between seeking the clinch. It was the strangest fight of the night, as the two competitors frequently embraced and touched gloves mid round. It was a strange fight to score due to the spastic action, but Howard was ultimately successful in his return to the octagon, winning a split decision with scores of 30-27, 28-29, and 29-28. Hall still hasn’t been able to show any of the flair that he possessed on TUF.
Winner: Howard, 3rd Round Split Decision
Matt Brown v. Mike Pyle
Two gritty veteran welterweights squared off, as Matt Brown and Mike Pyle looked to continue their impressive runs through the welterweight division. Pyle has been actively competing since 1999, but with four straight victories heading into this contest his career was experiencing a second wind. Consider that moment stopped. Brown needed less than thirty seconds to knock his opponent out with a barrage of powerful punches against the cage. Brown now has six straight victories in the welterweight division, and is more than deserving of a step up in competition against a top contender in his next bout. Another stunning victory for the “Immortal.”
Winner: Brown, 1st Round Knockout
Urijah Faber v. Yuri Alcantara
The “California Kid” Urijah Faber has been stuck in the awkward spot of being a top-contender killer who just can’t seem to win a title fight. Since losing his featherweight title to Mike Brown in 2008, he’s gone 7-0 in non-title fights, and 0-5 in title bouts. In Boston he faced a hungry, athletic Brazilian in Alcantara, who has been explosive since making the move down to bantamweight. Urijah looked for a takedown at the opening bell, but Alcantara was able to make a slick transition to roll his opponent over into full mount. Urijah escaped briefly, but Alcantara took his back and delivered powerful hammerfists while looking for a rear naked choke. Half way through the first round Faber finally was able to pick up and slam his opponent, and spent a few minutes on top landing solid shots of his own. Urijah continued his ground dominance in the second and third rounds, securing takedowns and raining down hammerfists between attacking with guillotine attempts. Alcantara showed heart in going the distance, but Urijah skills and conditioning were on another level. The unanimous decision keeps him right at the top of the bantamweight division.
Winner: Faber, 3rd Round Unanimous Decision
Alistair Overeem v. Travis Browne
Overeem entered the contest looking to bounce back from an embarrassing knockout loss to Antonio Silva, facing a tough test in the agile heavyweight Travis Browne. Overeem started the fight with solid knees to the midsection against the cage, before transitioning to a barrage of punches that nearly stopped the fight. Browne survived, and both fighters looked fatigued. With less than a minute left Browne caught Overeem flush on the chin with a front kick. The Dutchmen dropped, and it took just two hammerfists for the referee to step in and stop the fight. It was an incredible comeback for Browne, who moves one step closer to contention.
Winner: Browne, 1st Round Knockout
Chael Sonnen v. Mauricio Rua
Both men entered the fight looking to stay relevant. Chael has lost each of the three title fights he’s received in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions, and he can’t keep receiving top billing without an impressive win somewhere along the way. Shogun has been involved in his fair share of battles, but at only 31 years old the damage sustained has taken its toll on his performances of late. Sonnen immediately earned a takedown in the opening seconds and began working short strikes from on top. Mauricio was able to get on top in a quick scramble, but Chael quickly was able to retain top position. He locked up a guillotine as they stood, and after pulling guard he forced Shogun to tap, only the third submission loss of his career. Post-fight, Chael made it clear that he has his sights set on Wanderlei Silva. Bring on the axe murderer.
Winner: Sonnen, 1st Round Submission