Nate Diaz (156) vs. Takanori Gomi (155)
Odd recap of the Nick Diaz vs. Takanori Gomi to act as intro to Gomi’s fight with his brother Nate with Rogan and Goldberg failing to mention the most salient and indeed hilarious aspect of that fight – that Nick’s victory was overturned due to him being as high as a kite flown from the highest height, up through the atmosphere, where the air is clear. One has to think that the same reasons why Nick was able to outfight a prime Gomi still apply in the matchup with his brother – Nate’s volume punching should wear down Gomi while his height and reach advantage should keep his chin away from the heavy hands of the former Pride Light Champion.
Nate starts out by firing out the jab as expected. Gomi struggling with the reach disadvantage. Nate drops Gomi with a jab. Gomi managed to land a shot to the body but this is a bad start with Nate landing at will. Gomi lunges in with an overhand punch and then a body punch. Diaz dominating with his usual boxing style, hurts Gomi with a hard right hook. Gomi managed to clinch up with Nate a couple of times but doesn’t do anything with it. Nate starting to really feeling it, putting together combinations and throwing with both hands. Gomi is dropped but quickly comes back. Nate hurts him again and Gomi goes for a desperation single-leg. Nate threatens on the ground and Gomi quickly gets back to his feet. Nate continues to lay into Gomi standing, just displaying brilliant boxing technique. Gomi is again forced to go for a takedown to get out of the firing line but that puts him in the crosshairs of Nate’s BJJ. Nate traps him in a triangle choke but can’t quite get it, with Gomi fighting strongly including powerboming the Stockton fighter. Nate however quickly switches to the armbar and that’s all she wrote at 4:27 of the first round.
Nate Diaz defeated Takanori Gomi via submission (armbar) at 4:27 of the first round.
Travis Browne (155) vs. Rob Broughton (261)
Please god let this and the next fight be quick. Browne goes for a wild overhand right and misses. Follows up with a leg kick. Browne is fighting light on his feet but his boxing is very wild. Browne pushes Broughton up against the cage, and they exchange knees and body punches in the clinch. Browne lands a couple of kicks on Broughton but Broughton responds with some punches of his own. Browne’s punching has looked god-awful sofar this round, all awkward lunges and off-balance throws. Broughton putting some punches again but he’s struggling to catch the quicker, more agile Browne. Browne just misses with a front kick. Browne again goes for the fast-ball overhand punch that Broughton blocks and counters with a leg kick. Broughton pushes Browne up against the cage but can’t do anything. Browne finally puts a combination together! Browne also catches Broughton with an uppercut, which hurts the Brit. Browne seeks to make the most of it with a flying knee. Browne takes Broughton to the ground and hurt Broughton with some heavy elbows. 10-9 Browne.
Browne continues as he started, again missing a wild punch. The two fighters exchange kicks from a distance. Browne is continuing to throw wild overhand punches that leave him completely off-balanced and exposed. Browne goes for another front kick but Broughton catches it. The crowd is starting to turn on the fight as Broughton is only able to plod forward as an illusive Browne comfortably moves around the cage. That spurs Browne to mount some serious offensive, rushing Broughton up against the cage with numerous knees. They break but quickly clinch up again as Broughton attempts a takedown. Crowd again expresses its displeasure at the lack of action. Browne returns to the legkicks. Again he chucks that stupid overhand punch and AGAIN he misses by a mile. Browne goes for takedown, Broughton drops down for a guillotine but he just slips of Browne’s neck. Browne works the ground and pound but Broughton does enough to avoid taking real damage. 20-18.
More leg kicks from Browne, but he’s breathing heavy and moving slower. Browne is clearly stalling for time and a newly aggressive Broughton catches him with a hard right hand. Browne gets another takedown very easily and this time he now has time to work over Broughton. The action on the ground is so thrilling that Rogan and Goldberg break off into a discussion about the provision of wrestling in British schools. Browne is doing very little on the top and both fighters look very tired. Crowd is booing and I’m bored. Broughton is looking for a kimura but Browne is able to escape. He rides out the position for an underwhelming decision victory. 30-27 to Travis Browne but far from impressive. All three judges agree.
Travis Browne defeated Rob Broughton via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Ben Rothwell (263) vs. Mark Hunt (261)
Okay…really please let this be short. Hunt is giving up a huge reach advantage but one would think Rothwell will be looking for the takedown. Hunt lands a nice short punch after Rothwell fails to secure a takedown. Hunt coming forward well, looking aggressive. Not much action as Hunt is content to circle outside Rothwell. Why he was keeping his distance is soon shown when Rothwell closes the distance he’s easily able to takedown Hunt. Hunti is able to get back up relatively quickly. Hunt manages to stuff another two takedown attempt of Rothwell…showing tremendous balance. Hunt is able get back to his feet. Hunt manages to duck under a punch of Browne and land in top position himself. Does some damage from inside the guard of Rothwell but he soon loses the initative on the ground. The ruond ends with Rothwell on top. 10-9 Rothwell.
Hunt has the better of the opening exchanges, with his focus on leg kicks proving dividends. Hunt is clearly feeling more confident, starting to throw leg kicks in the second half of the fight. Rothwell is just spamming Hunt with frequent takedown attempts. But he’s not stepping them up so Hunt is more than equal. Hunt dominants on the top without doing any real damage. But then towards the end he goes for an eyebar and comes EXTREMELY close to securing the finish. Rothwell is struggling to stand, needing he;p to make it to his corner. 19-19
Rothwell is dead. Absolutely dead. Hunt is from the start hurting Rothwell from top position, including almost knocking Rothwell down with a quick boxing combination. Rothwell displays no energy in his numerous takedown, so instead Hunt takes him down but doesn’t achieve much. They are stood up, and Hunt continues to dominate although he’s starting to tire. Hunt gets the fight to the ground again and seems content to ride out the fight by beating Rothwell up in side control. Terrible stand up call from the referee. Hunt lands another uppercut and follows up with some short punches. Rothwell has no energy, literally putting his hands on his knees. Hunt lands a high kick and goes for a takedown. Rothwell lands on top but doesn’t have the energy to do anything. 29-28 to Mark Hunt on my scorecard.
Mark Hunt defeated Ben Rothwell by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-27)
Matt Hughes (170) vs. Josh Koscheck (170.5)
This could be the last time that Matt Hughes fights in the Octagon, with many rumours swirling over the past few weeks that should he lose the Hall of Famer would call it a career. Hughes was of course originally scheduled to faced Diego Sanchez but an injury to The Nightmare resulted in Josh Koscheck finally getting the fight he had been demanding for years. It’s a much worse stylistic matchup for Hughes considering Koscheck’s ability to marry one-punch knockout power with top-quality wrestling. An X Factor in this contest is that both fighters are coming back from length absences after devastating losses – ten months in the case of Hughes and nine months in the case of Koscheck. An interesting tidbit is that Hughes has his old camp back surrounding him, including Pat Miletch and Robbie Lawlor. He comes out to a huge positive reaction from the crowd.
Hughes comes out with the jab from the start, with his striking looking better than usual. Loud ‘Koscheck Sucks’ crowd – which Rogan and Goldberg do their best to undermine. Koscheck clips Hughes with a tasty hook but Hughes comes back with a couple of left hooks of his own. Hughes seems to be targeting the left eye that GSP injured back in December. Hughes connects with an uppercut. Hughes shows great head movement to avoid the punches of Koscheck. Hughes stuffs a takedown attempt of Koscheck and lands a knee. Koscheck catches Hughes with a couple of clubbing overhand rights and the Hall of Famer is suddenly in trouble. Koscheck presses the advantage. Hughes is on his back, and Koscheck hurts Hughes with a dynamite straight punch from the top. He follows up with hammerfists and literally a second before the round is up Hughes is out. After the fight Hughes says he will not be retiring but is unclear whether he’ll be fighting again anytime soon.
Josh Koscheck defeated Matt Hughes via knockout at 4:59 of the first round
Jon Jones (204) vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (204) for the UFC Light Heavyweight Title
Here we are. Rampage Jackson lost his light heavyweight title over three years ago, so ushering in an era where the light heavyweight title has bounced a variety of different fighters. Since then the title has only been successfully defended once, and that was Lyoto Machida’s nonsensical victory over Shogun Rua. New champion Jon Jones who debuted in the Octagon a month after Jackson-Griffin is looking to change all that, seeking the victory over Quinton Jackson that will stamp his authority on what historically has been the UFC’s premier division.
Jones comes in with an extremely unorthodox low stance. Jones pushes Jackson up against the cage and starts connecting with knees. Rampage switches but has to give up the position after Jones catches his neck. Jones back in control of the clinch, and Jones looks for a trip. They eventually break. Jones starts throwing kicks from range. A variety of kicks in fact – to the body, to the head and to the leg. This makes it very difficult for Jackson to get inside. They clinch up and Jones just pushes him off like he was nothing. Jackson rushes in, swinging for the fences to no effective. Jones connects with a couple of high kicks. Jones’ reach is just a huge problem for Jackson. Jones is connecting with a couple of leg kicks. Jones pushes Jackson up against the cage, and is shoulder charging Jackson. Jackson slips in an uppercut. Jones gets a spinning back elbow. Jones misses with another kick and fails to get a trip. Jackson ends the round swinging but its a huge round for Jon Jones. 10-9 to Jones.
Jackson manages to close the distance but when up against the cage its Jones who takes control. Jackson manages to duck under the spinning back elbow but Jones catches his neck. Jackson again successfully defends the takedown, and goes close with an uppercut. Jones again having a lot of success with kicks – so much that Jackson actually threw one himself in response! Jones lands a straight jab, follows it up with a front kick. Jackson moves forward but can’t get close enough to connect. Jackson is just simply outsized in this fight and so just cannot get close enough to Jones to mount any offense. Jones is just picking Rampage apart with his kicks. He even pulls guard towards the end of the fight, moving straight in a traingle attempt. Jackson has no answer to Jones’ fighting style. 20-18.
Jackson starts with some success with leg kicks but soon reverts back to boxing type. He’s soon under the kosh due to Jones’ kicks and then the champion gets the takedown. Jones shows scarily good grappling to smoothly transition to full mount where he unloads devastatingly effective elbows to Jackson’s head. Jackson is able to hip escape but he’s hurt. Jackson is a sitting duck now…just standing in the pocket whilst Jones unloads in increasingly creative strikes. Its surely only a matter of time. 30-27.
Jones hurts Jackson with a left hook but slips when trying to finish him with a front kick. Jones gets Jackson down to the ground, and pressed up against the fence. Jones takes Jackson’s back. He quickly moves for a rear naked choke and becomes the first man to finish Rampage Jackson inside the Octagon at 1:42. Really impressive performance from Jon Jones who just monstered Quinton Jackson.
Jon Jones defeated Quinton Jackson via submission (rear naked choke) at 1:42 of the fourth round to retain the UFC Light Heavyweight Title