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A night full of all the dramatics; Albuquerque, New Mexico fondly welcomed back the UFC to the Tingley Coliseum. The main card was full of rear naked choke finishes, with a splash of highlight real technical knockouts to be displayed for the month. The local Greg Jackson’s camp had many representing the team on the card, along with local standouts Donald Cerrone, and Carlos Condit sitting in attendance. Finishes were in abundance, with a dash of drama from the judges, which led to quite the card hosted by the “Land of Enchantment.”
Benson Henderson defeated Rustam Khabilov via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) What an incredible performance by the former lightweight champion, Benson “Smooth” Henderson. “Smooth” had not finished an opponent in ten straight contests, and had not finished an opponent in any match within the UFC. Henderson finally got that monkey off his back when he landed a powerful left jab, right straight combination, that sent his game opponent, Khabilov, to the mat. Ben rapidly jumped his opponent’s back, and sunk in the rear naked choke to end the fight in the fourth round. Khabilov had success of his own earlier in the fight with strong wrestling and ground control, but the number one contender in the lightweight division was just too much for the 11th ranked Khabilov. That decisive finish may grant Henderson a title shot if the champion, Anthony Pettis, can stay healthy and defend his belt against Gilbert Melendez. If Pettis cannot, Smooth might have to take another fight beforehand.
Diego Sanchez defeated Ross Pearson via Split Decision This be may be one of the most scrutinized fights in the UFC for years to come. Diego Sanchez is a native of New Mexico, and may have taken advantage of a hometown discount given to him by the judges. Pearson was the sharpest of the two fighters, finding a home for each heavy shot to the “Nightmare’s” body, while also dropping Sanchez with a short right-hand in the second round. Pearson played the calm, cool and collected tactic, as he frequently sat just outside of Diego’s range and picked him apart. The two lightweights exchanged in flurries at the end of two rounds, which is were Sanchez found most of his success throughout the fight. The British UFC fighter was astounded when the judge’s scorecards revealed that he was defeated, and the social media outraged valiantly. The home crowd did not sway though, Diego Sanchez received quite the pleasantries from the New Mexico audience as he left the cage.
John Dodson defeated John Moraga via TKO (Doctor’s advice) These flyweight’s showed there is no lack of power in the division. Well, at least John Dodson did. The number one contender in the flyweight division was quite tentative throughout the bout, seeming as if he were looking for the perfect shot to end the fight. Dodson flashed in and out of the range of Moraga, and quite frequently fell short of the mark with his exchanges early on. Moraga landed two crisp right hands on Dodson after he caught a kick, which may have led to the more cautious approach from Dodson until the end of the round. One tiny mistake by Moraga and he found himself on the receiving end of a brutal knee, that may have severely broken his nose. The knee dropped Moraga but did not finish him, as he survived the storm from Dodson as the round ended. Too bad Moraga could not escape the wrath of the doctor, as he called a stop to the fight in between the rounds.
Rafael Dos Anjos defeated Jason High via TKO (strikes) Jason High was the much larger of the two coming into the cage, but it did not seem to matter. Dos Anjos did not allow the former welterweight to rain on his parade as he climbs up the lightweight ranks. High started off strong in the first round, landing a few take downs in the beginning frame and using his larger body to control position on the ground. Dos Anjos attempted a few submissions from the bottom, but to no avail as High controlled most of the first round. High’s weight cut may have affected his performance from then on, as he looked quite lethargic coming out in the 2nd round. Dos Anjos pushed the pace in the striking game, and landed an array of various strikes before connecting with High’s chin with a heavy left hand. Dos Anjos swarmed High with some ground and pound before the ref stepped in to stop it.
Piotr Hallmann defeated Yves Edwards via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) The thug-jitsu veteran Edwards looked on top of his game in the first two rounds, avoiding the take down attempts from Hallmann and landing his shots with ease. At the end of the second Edwards appeared to have expended most his gas tank. Hallmann stalked the wily vet and took him down with ease from then on out. In the third Edwards was spent, while Hallmann turned up the pressure and went in for the finish. Hallmann took the fight to the mat and pounded Edwards relentlessly until he gave up his back, from that position it was all over. The opening came for the lightweight fighter, as Hallmann sunk in the rear naked choke submission for the tap.
Bryan Caraway defeated Erik Perez via Submission (Rear Naked Choke) The story of this bout was quite easy to figure out from the get go. If Perez could just avoid Caraway and his take downs and stick to his striking, he would win this fight. Guess Perez did not get the memo, as he came in aggressively for the take down. Not moments later, Caraway reversed into a take down in his own, and wound up on his opponents back. Needless to say the result did not end in Perez’s favor as he was on the receiving end of a rear naked choke. With no other option, Erik Perez tapped out. Caraway has now won five of his last six fights.
Sergio Pettis defeated Yaotzin Meza via Unanimous Decision, Lance Benoist defeats Bobby Voelker via Unanimous Decision, Scott Jorgensen defeated Danny Martinez via Unanimous Decision, Jon Tuck defeated Jake Lindsey via TKO (Verbal Tap), Patrick Cummins defeated Roger Narvaez via TKO (Strikes)
In other notable fights from the prelims, rising prospect, Sergio Pettis, put on a karate striking clinic as he battered Yaotzin Meza to a decisive decision. Scott “Young Guns” Jorgensen and Danny Martinez fought themselves into “Fight of the Night” honors, received the extra compensation for their efforts.
Next weekend the UFC will head to Vancouver, British Colombia; as flyweight champion, Demetrious Johnson, will defend his title against Ali Bagauntinov in the main event. Rory McDonald will take on Tyrone Woodley for welterweight title aspirations, and Andrei Arlovski makes his long anticipated return back to the Ultimate Fighting Championship. For all UFC coverage stay tuned into the Guardian Liberty Voice for anything and everything MMA.
Commentary by Justin Huffman
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Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer leading the coverage in MMA.